Tracking performance in affiliate marketing is a favorite past-time of the affiliate marketer.
We’re creatures who pay a lot of attention to numbers, conversion rates, and click through rates.
So what if you could see clicks on your affiliate links in Google Analytics for your site as they happen? Wouldn’t that be nice?
Today I want to introduce you to a very cool feature. It’s actually one we’ve had for a while, but we gave it a makeover when we launched ThirstyAffiliates Pro back in October 2017.
It’s called Google Click Tracking, and it’s the module responsible for pushing clicks through to your Google Analytics account.
How Google Click Tracking Works
Google Analytics is a great platform because you can use it for tracking just about any kind of analytical data for later examination. I especially love it because you can push events to it, and those events can track all sorts of neat things.
We harness the power of events in Google Analytics with our Google Click Tracking module to track clicks on affiliate links on your site.
The Click Tracking module sends information about click-throughs to your site’s Google Analytics profile, allowing you to query information about your clicks over a period of time.
Once the module is set up, you can see click-throughs in your Google Analytics account under Behavior > Events.
This module shows you which links were clicked, when they were clicked, how many times they were clicked, and on what page they were clicked.
Beyond that, you can use the module to do other cool things with Google Analytics by cross-matching it against what types of people clicked your links, what devices and operating systems they were using, and even more data mashing.
Setting Up Google Click Tracking
In ThirstyAffiliates Pro, Google Click Tracking is a module you can activate under ThirstyAffiliates > Settings, Modules tab. By default, it’s already turned on, so it may already be working for you if you have the default Google Analytics setup.
Google Analytics can be inserted into your website a number of different ways:
- Global Site Tag (gtag.js) – The latest version of their script code.
- Universal Google Analytics (uses the ga() function) – This is what most people use currently and what most of the Google Analytics helper plugins (such as Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights) use.
- Legacy Google Analytics (uses the older _gaq() function) – This is the older script that is no longer in use but is still supported. If you have a really old site it might be using this.
- Google Tag Manager (uses the tag manager code) – This is the tag manager product that Google provides to larger sites and agencies for easier management of script tags. This type requires some extra steps to setup.
To get Google Click Tracking working in ThirstyAffiliates Pro, you just need to tell it which tracking script you’re using on your site:
As you can see in the screenshot above, it’s very easy to switch between tracking scripts. As far as basic steps to get it working goes, this will be all you need to do for 98% of all sites.
There are also two other options on the screen which you may have noticed:
- Custom event category name – By default, events are recorded under the Event Category in Google Analytics as “Affiliate Link.” This option lets you change that.
What It Looks Like In Google Analytics
Click events on your affiliate links get pushed to your Google Analytics profile in real-time.
You can also see the affiliate link clicks in report style under Behavior > Events.
The Events > Overview section will show you the raw numbers of clicks on all affiliate links.
Then, if you drill down into the Event Category (default name is “Affiliate Link” as mentioned above), you can see the Event Actions, which contains the cloaked affiliate link URLs that were clicked (great for seeing how many visitors clicked a particular link).
Drill down another step and you can see the Event Label which will, by default, show the page the affiliate link was clicked on. This is quite handy if you have a link and you want to find out on which pages that link was clicked most.
Great! How Do I Get It For My Site?
Google Click Tracking is a module in ThirstyAffiliates Pro, which is the paid extension to our free ThirstyAffiliates plugin.
I encourage you to download the free version first, play with it, and get used to the functionality of ThirstyAffiliates. Then explore the pricing page to see if upgrading to the Pro extension will benefit you.
There’s also a lot more to the Pro version than just Google Click Tracking, which is just one of our amazing features. Click through here to see all the features compared side-by-side.