Reports & Tools that Every Agency Should Use
Over the past year at ShareASale, we have added new reports and improved tools to make it easier for our agencies to analyze and assist their clients’ Affiliate Programs.
By following the lists below, you will be able to better illustrate the benefits of having an Affiliate Program and also find new opportunities to drive incremental sales through this channel. If you’re a Merchant managing your own Program then this list will help you, too!
The reports that I find to be most helpful for analyzing a program’s activity and performance are:
· Affiliate Comparison Report – The Affiliate Comparison Report is used to track the performance of Affiliates. This is important because can be a way to determine why a program is doing better or worse on a month-to-month or year-to-year basis. Once the report is run, we often suggest taking a look at either your top Affiliates or those that have seen a decline in activity to find ways to incentivize performance further.
· Transaction Detail Report – The Transaction Detail Report will allow you to view all the transaction data, and provide the option to void or edit sales and set flags on specific sales. This report shows the complete details of every single transaction the Merchant has had in a time frame of your choosing. These details can include the advanced pixel data that the Merchant may have used like” new customer”, “coupon”, “SKU”, etc. You can sort by a number of different ways. Remember that the lock date for the previous month’s transactions is always the 20th of the current month; once locked, they will be paid out and will not be able to be edited or voided out.
· Download .CSV Feature – This feature allows you to generate comprehensive reports that can be helpful for those trying to backfill long data range data from the Transaction Detail Report. Each account is limited to five downloads a day, as the reports can be quite large.
· Monthly Payment Review – The Monthly Payment Review report summarizes all transactions that will be paid to affiliates on the upcoming 20th of the month. There are four parts to this report:
- The Affiliate Summary section groups payments by Affiliate, allowing you to see the total commissions in dollars that will be paid to each Affiliate partner.
- The Tracking Number Summary groups transactions by your tracking number. This helps you spot multiple transactions with the same tracking number that may require further investigation.
- The HTTP Referrer Summary groups transactions by HTTP Referrer. This helps you spot transactions that may require further investigation.
- The IP Address Summary groups transactions by IP Address. This helps you spot multiple transactions generated from the same IP address that may require further investigation.
· Year in Review Report – This report is useful in that it shows both numerically and graphically, the performance of a Merchant program either Month over Month or Year over Year. Our Agency Relationship Manager is often asked to evaluate the performance of a program, and it is common for her to use this report to determine trends over time.
· Banner Performance Report – This report is an excellent tool to drill down to not only what banners are being used, but it also as a means to see which pages the links and banners are on. One of the common concerns for Merchants is where their information as shown. This report provides that information while also showing the overall activity for the program.
· Affiliate Timespan Report – This is a report that should be used every day as it is highly valuable. It gives a quick snapshot of all of the activity on the account, including clicks, sales, bonuses, and voids. This report is an excellent way to get a picture of the Merchant’s performance and a way to calculate factors like the ROI for the program.
These reports are ones that should frequently be run to get a gauge of the program’s performance and to find ways to improve the overall program.
The tools that I find to be most helpful for evaluating a program are as follows:
· Custom Approval Rules – The custom approval rules are exceptionally useful and are a great way to start building relationships with Affiliates. For example, if the Merchant does not want a coupon site or someone with a low feedback, then you can set a rule to auto decline them. However, the rules should also be used to expedite the approval process for Affiliates that could be a great fit for the program as approving or declining affiliate applications is one of the most important aspects of managing a Merchant account.
· Merchant API– The ShareASale API is a tool for programmatically interacting with your ShareASale account. It can be used to retrieve reporting data or to automate certain tasks, such as creative updates or transaction edits.
· Conversion Lines – An advanced feature that expands the flexibility of your affiliate program. The primary function of this feature is to determine which clicks are eligible for a commission, allowing the Merchant to place value on different segments based on customer behavior.
· Advanced Tracking – Most everyone has a general idea of the sales and lead tracking our network offers. We do, however, have more advanced tracking methods to track and award based on new customer acquisition, coupon code usage, recurring/re-billing scenarios, etc. Our technical support team can often make suggestions to improve a tracking implementation plan that will grow as the Merchant grows.
· Tags – I cannot stress how important tags have been in terms of segmenting, incentivizing and attributing sales for Merchants. In some circumstances, it has been a tremendously effective method to increase the performance of the Merchant program.
These reports and tools are a short overview of what I find to be effective methods to allow agencies to drive growth in Merchant programs. If you have any questions on these reports and tools, please contact our Agency Manager, Tiffany at email@example.com
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