Affiliate marketing is an avenue that many bloggers and various content marketers use to monetise their content. One of the ways of doing this is by signing up as publisher with a network such as CJ Affiliate, Rakuten Affiliate Network and Amazon Associates, just to name a few. Once signed up with these networks, its a matter of partnering with advertisers whose products or services are a good fit for your site/brand and will resonate with your audience.
Publisher networks are continually innovating and coming up with ways to make it easier for publishers to connect with advertisers and help maximise revenue. Some of the tools that they come up with work to help publishers connect advertisers offers to their audience in a more seamless manner.
One of the more recent innovations is the automatic conversion of links on publisher websites that lead to various advertisers into affiliate links. If the clicks convert to sales or leads for the advertiser, the publisher earns a commission. The beauty of this innovation is that publishers don’t need to log into an affiliate network dashboard or use a browser deep link generator bookmarklet to generate an affiliate link.
So, instead of having a link that when a visitors hovers over looks like this:
you can simply link directly to the advertiser site like this:
As already mentioned, this automation process takes away the need of having to generate affiliate links thus freeing up a bit more time for publishers. The time saved from affiliate link automation can be better spent in other areas such as content creation. To add to that, a link such as the last one in the list above looks a lot cleaner to site visitors. Some visitors may be a little sceptical about clicking on strange links that when they hover over, shows up as something like www.kqzyfj.com/ek……. They may be more likely to click on a link that looks like it is pointing directly towards a credible site which for the publisher means a potential commission.
In some instances, the landing page URL is UTM tagged with affiliate details. When this happens, it makes it easy for you to see that automation is working as it should.
But, landing on a page where the URL is appropriately tagged doesn’t always happen. So, when this happens, how can you find out if automation is working? There are a number of options but in this instance, I will only take a brief look at two options that you as a publisher can use to follow the path that a link on your website takes as it directs towards its intended landing page.
Google Chrome Developer tools to trace a redirect path
Google Chrome Developer Tools (DevTools) is an option that you can use to trace the redirect path of a url. If you are a Chrome user, all that you need to do to is open the DevTools console and open the network tab. Once that is open, click on the link that you would like to check and wait for the destination page to load. When the page completed loading, take a look at the ‘requests table’ and within that log (the first entry) should be a link indicating that the affiliate link has passed through the affiliate network correctly.
Some users may see this method as being a little too cumbersome or technical and this brings us on to the second option which requires less effort.
Ayima Redirect Path Google Chrome extension to trace a redirect path
Redirect Path, a Google Chrome extension developed by Ayima (a search agency) is a free tool that flags HTTP status codes and redirects thus highlighting any potential issues. Given that this extension flags redirects and automated links are redirected, using it makes the process of determining if clicked links are working as they should. All that you need to do is click on the icon and you are presented with a list of information. From this list, you should be able to determine if automation is working correctly by the path it has taken.
If you have implemented (or are thinking about implementing) link automation and haven’t run tests to see that everything is working it literary does pay to do so. After putting in good work into creating high-quality content that drives traffic that clicks through to advertiser sites, you want to be sure that the affiliate links are working and that you get compensated accordingly.