You can use this Tutorial to learn about how to manually track the sales that each individual keyword produces for an Adwords Campaign that is selling affiliate products. When you combine this data with how much you spent on advertising for each keyword in Adwords, you will be able to tell exactly which keywords are profitable and which ones are not. You can then use this information to either delete the unprofitable keywords or tweak your bid prices in order to make unprofitable keywords, profitable.
Here is the general concept with keyword tracking:
In the beginning, lets say you want to promote a clickbank affiliate product called “clickbankproduct”. Your url from clickbank would then be similar to the one below ->
You would then use this url in your Adwords campaign. All sales from that url would be shown in your clickbank account, but no information about which keyword produced the sale would be given.
However, with keyword tracking, each keyword would be given its own unique destination url to be used in Adwords. An example destination url would be like this:
Now, any sales that came from that particular url would be shown in clickbank. If each keyword in your Adwords campaign had its own unique destination url, you would then know exactly which keywords produced which sales. With that information, for each keyword you would know how much you spent in Advertising (in Adwords), and how much commissions it generated (in clickbank).
Fortunately, almost all of the major affiliate networks (such as cj.com, clickbank, modernclick, etc) have keyword tracking enabled for you to use. All you have to do is create the destination urls and use them in your Adwords account. I will show you how to do this, and then later use the data to alter your Adwords campaigns.
Creating the Destination Urls
In adwords, every single keyword can have a different destination url. Since this is the case, you can create unique destination urls fairly easily by simply adding a url paramater to the destination urls that you are using. For example, lets say my standard destination url that I use for all of my keywords before I start using keyword tracking is this ->
On your index.php page, you’ll probably have links to the affiliate products, which for right now won’t have any special tracking on them. Thats about to change though.
So, what you’ll want to do is add a url parameter to your original destination urls. For example, like this ->
Each keyword will have a different number instead of 101. You can just use Excel or a similar spreadsheet program to create the destination urls for each keyword.
Then, the only change that you’ll need to make on your landing pages is to change the affiliate urls themselves. Fortunately, its very easy. Generally speaking, each affiliate network has their own url parameter that you can add to your affiliate urls that will do “subID” tracking…..each network calls it something different, like “channel tracking”, “id tracking”, “sub-id tracking”, etc. They are all the same thing though. I’ll you’ll need to add next to the particular url parameter is this little bit of code ->
<?php print($_REQUEST[‘id’]); ?>
Where ‘id’ is the url parameter that you added to the Adwords destination urls.
Here are several examples from the Affiliate Networks. THESE ARE JUST EXAMPLES!
ModernClick http://www.m0dernclick.com/redirect.php?a=CD1500&b=505&optinfo=<?php print($_REQUEST[‘id’]); ?>&d=5900&l=0&p=0
Commission Junction http://www.kqzyfj.com/jb108wktqks7A9DCAEB798AHGGAH?SID=<?php print($_REQUEST[‘id’]); ?>
http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-1467706-10375662?SID=<?php print($_REQUEST[‘id’]); ?>
Azoogle.com http://c.azjmp.com/az/chb.php?f=600&i=22982&sub=<?php print($_REQUEST[‘id’]); ?>
Azoogle 2.0 http://x.azjmp.com/06Fy7?sub=<?php print($_REQUEST[‘id’]); ?>
Clickbank AFFILIATE.PUBLISHER.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=<?php print($_REQUEST[‘id’]); ?>
NOTE: if you see the php code on your landing page in a browser, then your webserver is not executing the php code. Contact your webhost and find out if php is enabled in your account or what you’ll need to do to get the php code executing on your pages.
Analyzing the Keyword Tracking Data
This step is what separates a profitable campaign from a money hole. Most adwords advertisers stop one step before this and more often than not struggle to turn a decent ROI (return on investment). Fortunately, you are now here to learn this step. Mastering this step will come with time, but will reward you greatly. The Keyword tracking analysis gives you the ability to weed out unprofitable keywords so you can spend more time and money on the keywords that give you the greatest ROI.
Now, you will learn how to gather the keyword data (or subID data) from the affiliates and how to use it to remove unprofitable keywords.
Gathering Keyword Data
The first step in the Keyword Tracking Analysis is to gather the data that the affiliate programs have been collecting for you. I will show you how to collect this data from ModernClick, which is intuitive, and from Commission Junction, which is not intuitive. I’ll also include instructions on gathering keyword data from Google Adwords.
1. Login to ModernClick 2. Click on “Statistics” 3. Select your campaign, enter a time frame, and select “Download Optional Info” 4. Save the .csv (Comma Separated Value) file to your PC. A lot of programs can read .csv files….the most common being Microsoft Excel. If you don’t have Microsoft Excel, you can download OpenOffice from http://www.openoffice.org/ which is an open-source (free) version of Microsoft Office.
I’m not sure why they hide the subID tracking information in Commission Junction. They should make it much more obvious to download. Also, for Commission Junction, subID info is called SID.
1. Login to cj.com 2. Click on “Run Reports” 3. Click on “Transaction Reports” 4. Click on “Report Options” 5. Under “Select Report Type”, select “Commission Detail” 6. Select your time frame 7. You can now download the report in several different formats, including .csv and .xls (Excel)
1. Login to adwords.google.com 2. Click on “Reports” 3. Click on “Create a Report” 4. Fill out your report options, such as time frame, campaign, etc. You can also have this report emailed to you automatically. 5. Click on “Reports” again and you will be able to view or download the Report when it is completed.
Combining the Data
Once you have the Google adwords data and the affiliate programs subID tracking data, you are now able to manually merge them and know exactly how much you spent on each keyword and how much that keyword made for you.
The first step is to analyze the affiliate programs transaction data. For each unique subID that you find in the report, make a total of the commissions that the subID made for you. Lets say for a particular subID that during the period it made $100 in commissions. We then take that $100 dollars and find where the keyword is in the Google adwords data. Fortunately, this is easy since in the adwords report it gives each keywords’ “Destination Url”, which includes the subID that you assigned to that keyword. Once you find the keyword, copy the $100 dollars to a new column in the excel spreadsheet, on the same row that the keyword is on.
Once you have calculated the totals for each keyword and transferred them to your Google adwords spreadsheet, the real analysis begins. Google tells you everything about the keyword, including ->
- Avg CPC (cost per click)
- Total Cost
- Avg Ad Position
Now, coupled with actual data about how much each keyword made, you can make some Real Decisions! First and foremost, you are easily able to tell which keywords are currently providing you a profit or a loss. Simply have excel subtract your commissions column from your adwords “Cost” column and you will have the profit or loss on that keyword. Do a query in google if you need to know how to add/subtract columns in excel, or use excel’s help files. A simple analysis would tell you which keywords to stop promoting and which keywords to continue to use. But please don’t stop there!
Analyzing the Data
If you wanted, you could simply remove the keywords that weren’t profitable. Your analysis would take all of 2 minutes and you would be done. But would that be the best for your adwords campaign? Of course not!
The profit/loss analysis simply tells you that at the CURRENT settings which keywords are profitable and which are not. With more test data you will be better able to tell at which keyword settings give you the best ROI (return on investment…or simply, the most bang for your buck).
For example, lets say that for a keyword of “Dog Training”, you are currently paying $.50 a click, and have an average ad position of 2.3. You collected 200 clicks during the past week and had 3 conversions for a total of $75 dollars in commissions. Your initial analysis would tell you that this keyword is unprofitable and you should probably dump it. However, you should really be asking yourself what kind of results you could be getting at a different price point.
You then decide to lower your minimum CPC to $.30. A week later you regather your data and you notice that “Dog Training” has had 100 clicks with an average ad position of 5.1. However, you notice that you have made 2 conversions, for $50 dollars in commissions, but you only spent $30 in advertising. At a different price point, that keyword is now profitable!
In this example, most likely you were collecting too many “dummy” clicks. These are clicks that come from people who, without thinking, click on the ads in the top 1-3 positions, or who aren’t very serious about the particular subject. However, at lower ad positions, you tend to attract fewer of these kind of people and more of the customers that are actively looking through the ads and finally deciding that your ad is the best/most compelling.
In practice, you’ll notice that you’ll get fewer clicks at the lower ad positions, but the conversion rate is usually higher. Now, please don’t assume that you will always want the lower ad positions, because that isn’t true either! At lower ad positions you might not even get enough traffic to make all of your hard work worth it.
Lets look at another example where you would want to increase your bid on an already profitable keyword.
On one data analysis you notice that your keyword of “Dog Obedience” is already profitable. You received 50 clicks at $.30 cents a click with an average ad position of 7.8. You also had 2 conversions, for $50 dollars in commission, so you made a profit of $35! That’s good news…but what if you could make even more money?
Sometimes you’ll find that there is a large spread in your advertising costs and affiliate commissions. In these situations, I think it’s generally advisable to at least test a higher price point.
So, you decide that you want more clicks on this keyword, so you raise your CPC to $.40. After reanalyzing your data you see that “Dog Obedience” is now at ad position 4.9, has gotten 200 clicks, and has made 5 conversions. The conversion rate is lower on your landing page (5/200 = 2.5% whereas at the lower price point it was 2/50 = 4%) but since you now have had more conversions, you have made $45 in profit, $10 more than the lower price point.
Technically, your ROI is lower at the higher price point. You had to spend $80 in advertising to make $45 in profit, whereas at the lower price point you only had to spend $15 to make $35 in profit. However, would you rather make $45 in profit in a week, or $35? You need to decide this for yourself, whether spending more to make more is worth the risk.
You are now able to make these types of decisions by yourself. Through careful analysis of your price points and conversion rates you will be able to make a campaign much more profitable. Keyword Tracking is the only way to get this kind of per keyword analysis accomplished! Can you imagine simply guessing which keywords were actually giving you your conversions? That would be like taking 5 kinds of medicines to cure your cold and hoping you picked the right one!
Further tips on Keyword Tracking Analysis
- Make sure that you collect enough data before you start making drastic decisions. Deleting keywords before they have had enough clicks to determine true conversion rates can be devastating to your campaign!
- Keep each of your analysis reports. Put the time frames that they cover in the name of the file. Then, you can look back through your previous data files and fully determine if a keyword just doesn’t work for any price point. If so, delete it!
- Keyword Tracking Analysis might seem like a lot of manual work at first, but once you master it, it will become second nature to you. You’ll develop your own process of collecting and analyzing this data and the process will go much quicker. Don’t give up!