According to research conducted by Marketing Sherpa, the average online conversion rate for the financial services industry is around 10 percent. In education and health care, it’s 8 percent. In the travel and hospitality industry the average online conversion rate is just 4 percent. And what about e-commerce? Only…3 percent.
What does that mean? It means that 96 percent of visitors leave a hotel website without booking a single room night, and 97 percent leave online store without buying anything. Now that’s a scary thought.
One way to help marketers with this problem is retargeting.
What Is Retargeting?
Retargeting, also referred to as remarketing by Google, is the science of using tailored ads to reach visitors who did not originally convert on your site. It helps keep your brand fresh in visitors’ minds.
If you want to track clicks out of your site but you don’t own the page that is being linked to, it might not be immediately obvious how you can learn about your outgoing clicks. But how do you do it?
Don’t worry: tracking affiliate links clicks (or any other click on your site) is super easy and free.
Installing Google Tag Manager (GTM) on your site is one of the best things you can do right now.
Why Is Retargeting Important for Your Affiliate Business?
Retargeting is one of the most crucial things in affiliate marketing for several reasons.
First, tracking affiliate links allows advertisers to track sales back to the affiliate and pay rewards. It is crucial for identifying top affiliates and rewarding them accordingly.
Second, tracking is invaluable for identifying the most profitable links and the most converting pages. Understanding which promotional methods drive more conversions is essential for improving your performance and increasing your revenue, no matter whether you are an advertiser or an affiliate.
Retargeting is extremely useful for both companies and affiliates, as it helps them to understand their campaign’s strengths and weaknesses and improves their products or campaigns.
The Best Tools For Retargeting
Nowadays, the internet is packed with affiliate links tracking software, which promises to boost conversions. However, not all these tracker programs are accurate and reliable enough. That’s why we highly recommend to use highly effective Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager tools.
Setting Up Tracking With Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the best web analytics platforms available on the market. It helps you collect data, and track and analyze your entire website traffic, so affiliate tracking is just one of the metric types Google Analytics tracks.
So what to do?
- Sign in to Google Analytics and set up a property. Properties are where you send data and set up reporting views. The whole process is described here.
- A property generates a tracking ID (shown below)in which UA-XXXXX-Y is your personal tracking code.
- Place the tracking code on the pages you would like to analyze.
Make sure that this code is installed, even if your property has already been added to Google Analytics.
If you want to track inbound links, you can simply place your personal tracking code into your site code. If you want to track outbound links, you have to copy and paste this code as the first item into the <HEAD> of every web page that you want to track.
You’ll also need to add (or modify) the onclick attribute to the links you are going to track. The following example can be used as a model for your own links:
Tracking With Google Tag Manager
Google tag manager is a free tool which, as its name suggests, manages your tags (code) for you. It places a container on your website that you can put stuff in. This way next time you want to add third-party tags to your site, you don’t need to do a release, you can just add them into GTM and update it. GTM has a number of other things it can do, like listen for links, track scroll depth, set user timing events, etc.
How GTM Click Tracking Works
Here’s the simple version of what’s happening: You put a GTM tag on your site, we tell the tag to listen for click to any clicks that follow a certain pattern, like “amzn.to” or “amazon.com” or “shareasale.com.” When GTM notices once of those links get clicked it fires an event that gets sent to and stored in Google Analytics. An event contains a category, and action, and a label, which you will define.
Events are a data type in GA that you can go back and check at any time, just like a pageview. In fact, a pageview hit is basically just an event. Using your set category, action, and label can store things like where the click happened, what product was clicked, etc.
If you want to see events in GA, you simply need need to navigate to Behavior > Events.
Setting up your account
To start setting up your account, go here and click “Start for Free.”
Enter the relevant info into the fields and select the platform. In this article, we’re talking about using GTM for web, but you can also set up accounts for apps and AMP (Google’s framework for mobile pages).
Click Create, and you’ll see the GTM code, which you can then add to the site. If you’re comfortable editing your site’s source code, add the first code within the <head> and the next code right after the opening <body> tag, or send the codes to a developer to install.
Setting up tags
GTM includes several built-in tag templates for major analytics and ad platforms. These include Google products, such as Analytics, Ads, Optimize, and Surveys, as well as several third-party platforms, such as AdRoll, Microsoft Advertising, LinkedIn and Quora. If a tracking tag doesn’t have an existing template, you can also use a Custom HTML or Custom Image tag.
To create your first tag, click “Add a new tag” from the Overview screen.
Now you can start defining criteria for your tag.
In the top field, add a name. Be sure to think about naming conventions that will allow you to keep track of several tags easily. I like to start with the name of the platform associated with the tag, followed by the type of tag and unique criteria.
Google Ads – Conversion – Brochure Download
Google Ads – Conversion – LP Lead
Google Ads – Remarketing
Clicking within the “Tag Configuration” box allows you to choose your tag type. You can scroll through to find your desired tag, or you can click the magnifying glass to search by name.
Once you select your tag, you’ll see fields customized based on the associated platform. You can then fill in the criteria.
Generally, for each template, you’ll need to pull an ID number from your analytics or ad platform, and then you can use the additional fields to adjust what you want to track.
Have the code for a tracking tag, but don’t see a template? Choose a Custom HTML tag type, and paste your code into the box.
Setting up triggers
Next comes the Triggering box, where you can choose a trigger that will cause your tag to fire. Triggers can be based on a number of actions such as pageviews, clicks, element visibility, form submissions, time on site, custom events and more.
Choose the trigger you want and then use the fields to specify criteria.
For instance, this pageview trigger will fire when the /thanks URL is viewed. You can also add multiple conditions, all of which will need to be true before the trigger fires. For instance, you might want to only fire a tag if a certain page is viewed and a user completes an event on the page.
Note that a limited amount of variables appear in your options by default when setting up triggers. If you want to delve into more precise customization, be sure to enable additional variables in the interface.
Navigate to the Variables section and select “Configure” by “Built-In Variables.” You can now select the additional ones you’d like to add. For instance, you might want to target clicks for buttons that all have the same CSS class. You can check the box next to “Click Classes” and you’ll now see this variable as an option.
You can also create custom variables from the User-Defined Variables section. One common use is the Google Analytics Settings variable, which holds your Google Analytics ID to be used whenever setting up an Analytics tag. Custom events are also useful to target specific actions on the site that can’t be otherwise pinpointed with the default variables.
Going live and testing
All changes you make within GTM occur in a draft mode that doesn’t go live until you submit it. You can preview your setup on your site by using the Preview button on the upper right. You’ll see a bar at the bottom of your browser window letting you know when tags fire.
Once you’ve confirmed your setup appears to be accurate, click “Submit” to make everything live.
After deploying tags on your site, you can also test for proper installation with Google Tag Assistant. Install the Chrome extension and navigate to the site. Click the Tag Assistant icon, and select “Enable” for your site.
You should now be able to see what tags are firing on your site, as well as if there are any errors. Click on an individual tag to see more details about errors and any recommendations to fix your implementation.
Wrapping It Up
Once you’ve set up your GTM account, take the time to play with setting up tags. A global Google Analytics tag, a Google Ads remarketing tag and a Google Ads conversion tag are good ones to start.
Detailed tracking can show you what is or isn’t working on your site.
If your visitors are not clicking from your product review to a sales page, then maybe your call to action is unconvincing.
Or if your bounce rate is high, or time on page is low, then possibly your review is not appealing enough.
Or if you are reviewing multiple products on the same page, and most visitors are clicking on product #3, you might want to move it up higher in the page.
Knowledge is power: The more you know about the effectiveness of your website, the more income you can potentially add to your bottom line. So try it out and let us know if you have any questions!