An Overview of CJ Affiliate’s Cross Device Tracking

Affiliate Marketing continues to evolve and CJ Affiliate has recently introduced (and long overdue) a new technology solution called Cross-Device Tracking. What is it? Why is it important? How does it work? All of these questions will be answered in this post.

What is Cross-Device Tracking?

CJ Affiliate’s Cross-Device Tracking solution gathers all impressions and clicks from all devices a customer uses during a single transaction. Up to this point only one device was trackable, but now customers can use multiple devices (computers, smartphones, tablets) and the final device will be attributed to the sale. This will also allow affiliates to feel better knowing that they will get credit for their hard work even if the sale does not occur on the originating device.

Here is an example: A customer clicks on a CJ Affiliate link today from their tablet and then decides to not continue with checkout, but a few days later (given the cookie is still valid) they use their smartphone to continue the transaction and ultimately purchase. The CJ Affiliate Cross-Device Tracking will track the entire path and credit the appropriate device and affiliate.

Why is it important?

Cross-Device Tracking allows merchants to study customer behavior and market to them more effectively in the future. Understanding why it is important for the merchants is essential, but also understanding why it is important for affiliates is equally as important. When affiliates now promote CJ Affiliate merchants they can be assured they will be credited with transactions if they are completed using one device or four. Happy affiliates will continue to promote merchant’s products and this is one technology solution that affiliates are excited to see.

How does it work?

Currently, this technology solution is unique to CJ Affiliate and connects customers to all of their different devices. They lump together first and third-party data and then create customer ID’s, which enables them to track customers from device to device without losing them after the first one. It is labeled as the most accurate tracking solution in the industry, but it can recognize more customers than any other affiliate network in the world.

If you are a CJ Affiliate merchant and want to learn more about this or enable the technology solution you can contact CJ Affiliate directly or follow the following steps:

  • Navigate to the main navigation bar and click Account > Settings > Account Integration Settings and then locate “Cross-Device Tracking
  • Click “Enable

Simple, right? From there a support ticket will automatically be generated and a CJ representative will be in contact with any next steps or integration instructions. Some merchants are automatically enabled, but check with CJ Affiliate to ensure it is operating properly.

How to View Affiliate Creative Performance in CJ Affiliate

Providing affiliates with plethora of creatives is essential for any affiliate program. The creatives could be banners, text links, coupons/deals, and videos; but providing as many as possible is advantageous for any affiliate program. Having a wide selection of creatives is great, but how do affiliate managers know the top converting ones and what new ones should be introduced? Affiliate networks provide merchants (and affiliate managers) access to important data regarding their creatives. This data helps determine what creatives to keep creating in the future and what ones to discontinue, but will also tell the needed statistics like clicks, revenue, etc.  CJ Affiliate is one of the networks that provides in-depth data on how specific creatives are performing. The following steps will show affiliate managers how to view affiliate creative performance in CJ Affiliate.

Step 1 – Click “Performance” under the Reports Tab

Once logged in to the CJ Affiliate merchant interface, navigate to the “Reports” tab and click “Performance” from the drop-down menu.

Step 2 – Filter Performance by Link

After clicking on “Performance” in the reports tab the next screen will allow affiliate managers to sort performance by links. Under “Performance by” click the drop-down box, select “Link” and then either hit “Run Report” or add a specific “Link ID” to the box. By not adding a link ID it will generate a report with all the creatives in the inventory, but by specifying a specific link it will only show data for that one.

Step 3 – Review Performance of Current Creatives

Each creative (banner or link) will have the following information available to analyze: publisher commission, total commission (includes CJ Affiliate’s fees), sale amount, number of sales, leads (if applicable), items, clicks, impressions, conversion rate, click through rate, and EPC (earnings per 100 clicks).

Whether it is just checking the performance of banners and links for basic knowledge or using the data to build a top-notch creative inventory affiliates can use to grow your affiliate program and their earnings, the data is extremely helpful. Finding out the best converting links (or deals) and banners will help make the affiliate program an affiliate friendly program that will be fruitful for all parties involved.

How to Create a Custom Recruiting URL in ShareASale

As an affiliate manager one of the main responsibilities is recruiting new affiliates to grow the program. There are different methods and places to find prospective affiliates, but keeping track of where new affiliates come from can be a cumbersome task. ShareASale offers a way for merchants to “tag” prospects and have them use a custom URL that will allow them to attribute the signup to a specific outreach campaign and create and make the recruiting process more organized.

The following steps are how to create a custom recruiting URL within ShareASale.

Step 1 – Create a Tag for Recruiting

First, navigate to the “Affiliates” tab in the main menu and click “Affiliate List”. Next click “Add Tag” and then Click “Create Tag” (in blue).

Next, the “tag” will want to be specific regarding the recruiting campaign, so in the smaller rectangular box the title of the tag should be entered (ex. SIGNUP FROM CONTENTAFF). Click “Create Tag”, now the tag is created and will be used in the recruiting URL.

Step 2 – Adding the Tag to the Recruiting URL

Below is the standard URL used for affiliates to sign up to an affiliate program.

http://www.shareasale.com/join/XXXXX

Merchants can use the URL above, but the recruiting link with the created tag should look as follows:

http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=XXXXX&source=CONTENTAFF

The source= should be the tag title minus the “SIGNUP FROM”.

Please note that the XXXXX should be replaced with a ShareASale merchant ID.

Each time a prospect applies to the affiliate program using the custom URL it will indicate that in the application.

Recruiting is one of the most critical components in building an affiliate program, so creating custom recruiting URL’s for all prospects is highly recommended. It will streamline the process and make campaign attribution easier as well.

If you have any questions please contact me at rick@amnavigator.com

ShareASale Transaction Breakout Report and Why It Is Important

Want a quick way to analyze affiliate transactions to determine their sources? ShareASale merchants are now using the “Transaction Breakout Report”. This report is exactly what it sounds like. It breaks down affiliate transactions within a specific time frame and tells merchants if the transactions are new customers, mobile transactions, or coupon transactions. I will go into detail below on the report and how to access.

Step # 1 – Accessing the Transaction Breakout Report

Once logged in to the ShareASale merchant account, navigate to the “Reports” tab and then “Transaction Breakout” (second row).

Step # 2 –  Adjust Filters to Get Necessary Data

In the image below, the red box on the left has filter options to use. Select the date range you want to review (ShareASale defaults to the past 7 days), a specific affiliate, breakout metric (mobile transactions, new customer transactions, and coupon transactions. The mentioned filters can be ordered by gross sales, number of transactions, commission, or breakout ratio. Hit “Filter” and the results will appear to the right.

Step # 3 – Review Provided Data

As you can see in the image above, over 91% of the transaction during the week were “Non-Mobile”.

Below the graph will be a detailed breakdown publisher by publisher. This example is based on mobile transactions, but some merchants are concerned with the number of new customers being brought in, so when running the report, remember to change the “Breakdown Metric”.

This report is quite valuable. It can show merchants where time and effort should be focused as well as determine if more or less coupons/deals are needed. The report can also assist in affiliate recruitment. How is that? Merchants can determine that they want to spend more time gaining new customers, so reaching out to prospective affiliates that are similar to the ones currently performing in that category. The “Transaction Breakout Report” is not just a bunch of numbers, but a tool to help (or continue) to grow a ShareASale affiliate program.

Optimizing a ShareASale Affiliate Program with Internal Logos

There are numerous ways ShareASale merchants can optimize their program to increase their brands awareness to prospective affiliates. In the past I, have discussed various program optimization tips on ShareASale to help recruit affiliates, but today I am going to outline a free ways to get the word out there about your affiliate program on ShareASale. It is called “Internal Logo Files.”

ShareASale uses merchant’s logos in various places within their interface to help attract affiliates to merchant’s affiliate programs, and now I will describe where those places are and the requirements.

First, to navigate to this section of their interface you will go to “My Account” -> “Internal Logo Files.”  It will bring you to a page that looks similar to this (see below)

Main Logo

ShareASale uses this logo on the merchant details page, or better known as the page where affiliates sign up to an affiliate program. It can be up to 500 x 500 px, but make sure it is not too large and doesn’t overtake the page. Here is an example:

Search Results Logo

This logo is used on the merchant search results page. When affiliates are looking for new merchants to promote a merchant will stand out more with their 88 x 31 logo shown along with vital statistics of the affiliate program. Having a logo there gives a merchant a better opportunity to be seen and seriously considered. Here is an example of a merchant with one and without:

Product Showcase Logo (small)

If a merchant has a data feed their logo will be displayed when affiliates create product showcases for specific products. This logo should be 120 x 90 px. Here is an example:

Product Showcase Logo (Pop-up)

This logo is very similar to the one right above, but it will be shown when an affiliate chooses the pop-up option. It should be 400 x 75 px Here is an example:

ShareASale Merchant Match

This particular logo helps ShareASale to recruit individual affiliates from local marketing events (Meet-Ups), conferences, and other interactions (magazine, email newsletters, etc.) This logo should be 216 x 384 px. Here is an example:

Merchants, there are up to 5 additional ways to spread the word about your programs via logos within the ShareASale interface (free of charge). It is highly recommended to take advantage of as many of them as possible because you never know what you could be missing out on.

How to Book a ShareASale Featured Program Placement

Are you a merchant with an affiliate program, but struggling to find quality affiliate to promote your brand? If so, you are not alone. One of the biggest struggles is to recruit quality affiliates. If you are a ShareASale merchant then most likely you tend to see an influx of coupon affiliates applying, but the more valuable affiliates are out there, but may need to discovered. What your affiliate program may need is additional exposure to those affiliates. ShareASale offers different ways, through paid placements to reach affiliates that may be a fit for your program. To help in this I am going to show you how to purchase and set up a ShareASale Featured Program of your Category placement. This particular placement displays a logo and description of your affiliate program at the top of the individual category page for which you belong.

Step 1 – Navigating to the Featured Program of your Category Placement

You will start by navigating to the “TOOLS” menu option, followed by “PROGRAM BOOST”. This will take you to the section where you will make the purchase.

Step 2 – Purchasing the Featured Program of the Category Placement

There will be multiple placement options, but you will scroll down and click the “BUY PROGRAM” button for the Featured Program of your Category. The next screen will be to select a month to have the placement run. To the right will be a list of the next 12 months. The green represents “available” and the pink represents “booked”. Click on the month you want to run the placement and click “CONFIRM DATES & PAY”. You will then be asked how you want to pay for it. It can be done from the current ShareASale balance (given there is enough to cover the $300) or credit card.

Step 3 – Setting up the Featured Program of the Category

Now the fun part! Navigate back to the Program Boost page. You will see a tab labeled “MY PROGRAMS”, click that and it will have the placement just purchased. There you will be able to edit the text and add the image needed.

To start creating the placement, click “EDIT”.

You will be brought to a screen that look like the image below. There are four (4) tabs. In the “EDIT TEXT” tab you will place a description of the program along with up to five (5) bullet points highlighting your affiliate program.

To add the banner image, click the “EDIT IMAGE” tab. The image should be in either JPG, GIF, or PNG form and be 350 px wide and 230 px tall. Once the image is loaded click the “PREVIEW & SAVE CHANGES” tab.

This is the final step. Review everything from the text to the banner. If there are any changes needed make them as soon as possible, but you do have up until the day before to modify the placement. Once all is good, click “COMMIT” and you are finished.

Creating brand awareness is a critical piece to a successful affiliate program, but also aids in attracting quality affiliates. For $300 the Featured Program of your Category can get you in front of highly influential affiliates and help take your program to the next level.

How to Implement an Affiliate Data Feed in ShareASale

Data feeds are an important piece to a successful affiliate program. Keep in mind that not every merchant will be able to utilize data feeds since they are designed specifically for merchants with multiple products. Data feeds are files that include information about a merchant’s products. Information that is included is: SKU, price, image, availability, description, etc. A merchant should include as much information as possible so that affiliates can promote their products effectively. How does a merchant make their data feed available to their affiliates? Today, I am going to outline how ShareASale merchants create and distribute their affiliate data feeds.

Step 1 – Navigate to the Data Feed page

A merchant can either use this link – https://account.shareasale.com/m-productmanagement.cfm or they can get there by clicking the “Creatives” tab and then “data feed”.

Step 2 – Requirements

The merchants can now see how what it will look like once a data feed is loaded. It will list the number of products included in the feed, the last date updated, number of times processed during current month, and the number of updates allowed in the current month. By clicking the “View Your Products” merchants can also view their entire product data feed.

There are specific requirements ShareASale needs merchants to include in their data feeds, but not every piece of information presented in their requirements is necessary. By Clicking the “View Data Feed Requirements” merchant’s will see specifically what needs to be included.

The required fields are designated below with a red arrow.  In the column “Null Value Allowed”, No means the field is required. Merchants will want to fill in as much data as possible even if it is not required. The more the affiliates have the better they can promote the products.

After reviewing the requirements, merchants should download the sample file and use it as their guide. Please note that all column headers must remain in the sheet even if they are not complete. If not, the uploaded it will not be successful.

Step 3 – Upload the Data Feed

The data feed file has been completed based on ShareASale’s requirements, so the final step is to upload it.

Click the green “Upload a New Data Feed” button on https://account.shareasale.com/m-productmanagement.cfm.

Click “Choose File” and then “Upload Data feed”. If there is an error, it will pop up and will need to be addressed. To be safe we ask merchants to reach out to ShareASale directly to ensure the data feed properly loaded.

Merchant’s should be updating their feed as often as new products are introduced, removed, changes in pricing, and availability. Affiliates should be armed with the most up to date information in order to successfully market the products.

An Overview of the ShareASale Affiliate Recruiting Tool

Earlier this month ShareASale opened to public their Recruiting Tool (https://recruiting.shareasale.com/), along with a face lift of the merchant interface. It has been a long wait, but finally ShareASale allows merchants to invite affiliates into their respective programs through the ShareASale merchant interface. They now have a similar tool like CJ Affiliate and Rakuten Affiliate Network. This is great news for merchants as well as affiliates.

The new recruiting tool is set up to provide merchants that are exclusive to ShareASale more “affiliate invites” than merchants who have their program on multiple networks. A merchant exclusive to ShareASale is entitled to 30 invites per month, whereas, merchants on multiple networks are entitled to only 20. Also, if a merchant has multiple programs on different networks the affiliate invite list is not allowed to be used on the other networks. Without further ado, let’s get in what this tool looks like and how it works.

The layout is easy to understand and maneuver, with each section clearly marked. There are four steps to be completed in order to search for prospective affiliates and send invites.

Step 1 – Create a Basket – Merchants should name it something related to the affiliates being targeted. The goal is to be able to distinguish each basket month to month and not be targeting the same affiliates.

Step 2 – Create an Incentive – ShareASale requires an incentive to be attached to each invite, recruiting campaigns tend to be more effective if it includes an incentive in some form. Merchants can offer a first sale bonus, a commission increase on “X” amount of sales, etc.

Step 3 – Search for Affiliates – There are two ways to search for prospective affiliates (screenshot below), first, a “Keyword Search” and then an “In Network Search”. For the “keyword search” simply type in a phrase in the search box and hit search. ShareASale will look around the internet for blogs that are talking about the keyword used and then provide the results below. Next, the “In Network Search” allows merchants to browse niche categories already provided by ShareASale. Simply click on the category and the results will be placed directly below. What is nice is that the tool sifts out affiliates that are already in the merchant’s program so that an invite is not wasted.

Step 4 – Invite Affiliates  This is where the email is created that will be sent out on merchant’s behalf. Make sure the subject line is catchy and the message includes: the prospects name, information about merchant’s business, the program terms (commission, cookies length, etc.) and the incentive. After the invite is complete it will be available directly under the editor so that it can be modified at any time.

After all four of the previously mentioned steps are complete merchants can now send invites. Using the search functions described above merchants will create their prospect list and then invite them. The final step to this is inviting affiliates to participate in a merchant’s program.

On the right side of the page there will be a group of four sections that include: notifications, prospecting baskets, incentives, and invitation templates. To send the invites click one of the “Prospecting Baskets”.

In the prospecting basket will be all the affiliates to be contacted. Simply click the invite button to the right and the invite will be sent directly to the prospective affiliate. Once an affiliate accepts an invitation to join the merchant will receive two credits back to their balance.

There you have it ShareASale merchants, an overview of the new recruiting tool. If there are any questions please email me.

Manually Cancelling Affiliate Orders in Rakuten Affiliate Network

In my last post, I detailed how to manually credit affiliates for sales that did not track through the Rakuten Affiliate Network, so today I going to show you how to manually cancel (void) orders. Cancelling orders is not something affiliate managers want to do, but it is part of the game. Orders can be cancelled for various reasons including: customer refunds, PPC bidding, unauthorized coupon code use, and the list goes on. Below is a step-by-step approach to manually cancelling orders (one or multiples).

Step 1 – Navigate to “Transactions” Page

In order to get started you need to go to the “Account” tab and then click the “Transactions” link. It will bring you to the page where the cancelling process begins.

Step 2 – Click “Manual Cancellation” to Begin the Process

This page should look familiar to you. This is where you can manually credit affiliates for sales. To cancel an order, click the “Manual Cancellation” link.

Step 3 – Cancel by Single Order ID or Multiple Order ID’s

If you have just one order to cancel, simply put the order ID in the box and click the radio button to the left of Single Order ID. If there are multiple orders to cancel, then you must select the Multiple Order ID option or you can upload a cancellation file and the orders will be canceled. If you want to upload a cancellation file (which I recommend if there are more than 10 orders to cancel) you must click the “Upload Cancellation File” and it will show you the format it must be in and the fields that are required. For the purpose of this exercise I am cancelling a single order.

Step 4 –  Confirm the Order to Cancel

After the order ID to be cancelled is input and “submit” is hit, you must verify the action. Once everything is verified and correct click “Submit Selected Items” and the action will be processed and be reflected in the account within 24 hours.

After the orders are cancelled I recommend following up with a network representative to ensure they processed and the commissions were cancelled. Cancelling orders should be done as frequently as possible so that they do not pile up and then require a lot of time at the end of the month.