How to analyze affiliate marketing metrics

As an affiliate marketer, it is crucial to track some key affiliate marketing metrics, like sessions, affiliate link clicks, and sales, in order to optimize and ensure the profitability and success of your travel blog or business. Keep reading below to learn more about the key metrics to measure affiliate marketing success, the importance of setting goals, and how to effectively track your performance.

You’ve started an affiliate program, or you plan to start one. But how do you know if your affiliate sales are meeting expectations? As with all marketing campaigns, you’ll need to set specific, measurable and time-bound goals to track your affiliate program’s success. But what are the most important affiliate marketing metrics to track? Which ones tend to be misleading or not very helpful?

We surveyed 29 affiliate marketing experts to get their insights and opinions. Below, we list the affiliate marketing metrics to keep an eye on. But first, let’s examine a few key statistics on tracking affiliate programs.

How to analyze affiliate marketing metrics


The number of clicks indicates your product’s level of exposure among affiliates’ promotional channels. A very high number of clicks driving only a small number of sales, or even no sales, can be an indicator of inaccurate affiliate tracking, low affinity between the audience and your products or inadequacy between the ad promoted and the landing page.

Number of sales actions

The number of completed transactions is of no less importance than the sales revenue metric. The number of sales effectively reflects the rate of new customer acquisition independent of the revenue associated with it.

Conversion rate

One of the more highly used KPIs in e-commerce, the conversion rate applied to affiliate traffic will demonstrate the effectiveness of individual affiliates, and about the performance of this channel compared to others. Very high rates (>10%) could mean that the affiliate’s traffic has a good affinity with your market or that they may be employing suspicious promotional methods.

Return on ad spend

This is a useful metric when dealing with rigorous budget planning. ROAS can be calculated in several ways. One common method involves dividing the earned affiliate revenue by the amount spent (commissions paid to affiliates, affiliate system usage costs, affiliate management, OPM, etc.)

Incremental revenue

Typically considered as the new to file customer—referred by affiliates—that has not been “touched” by other marketing channels (SEM, email, organic, etc.), the ultimate goal of the affiliate channel is to deliver incremental revenue. However, defining and measuring incremental revenue is not always an easy task.

Cost per click and cost per sale

These two derived performance indicators are useful when benchmarked against other marketing channels such as AdWords or Facebook ads. They establish the average price you have paid for each new customer acquisition.

The affiliate sales numbers in your advertising dashboard can be very useful for reporting, but for a better understanding of the source of your affiliate sales, you need to look at your program quality metrics to understand what is working well and what is actionable.

Percent of active affiliates

The first step is to define what “active affiliates” means to you. You can define this to mean affiliates generating clicks —or alternatively, affiliates generating sales—in a given period of time. A six-month interval is typically taken into consideration.

Type of active affiliates

Segmenting your affiliates based on the way they generate traffic will help you understand at which stage of the user journey your product is converting most effectively, your audience price elasticity, and finally the incremental value that each type of affiliate is generating.

Traditionally, affiliates are segmented based on their content or how they are closing the sales: content websites such as editorial reviews, deals & coupons, paid search affiliates, email marketing affiliates, bloggers or even affiliate networks working as sub-affiliates.

Number of top affiliates and their share of total sales

Very often, the Pareto law applies in the case of affiliates sales as well. The definition of “top affiliates” is relative, though, and it depends on the size of the program and of your overall online sales.A “super” or “top” affiliate can be considered one that brings in a minimum of 5% of the overall online sales.

For example, if your total online sales—including affiliates—are $100,000, a typical top affiliate should count for $5,000 of it. Extrapolating, advertisers with $1M in online sales can expect their top affiliates to drive at least $50,000 of this revenue.

Reversed sales rate or chargeback rate

This will give you very useful information about the quality of the traffic that your affiliate partners are sending to your website. A reversed sales rate of greater than 10% of sales will probably indicate that the affiliate sending the traffic might not be promoting your product to the right audience or might exaggerate some of the product features in order to obtain the conversion.

Get a grip on your affiliate sales performance & quality metrics with help from FastSpring’s Affiliate Program KPIs template. Once you’re able to accurately track the performance of every aspect of your program, you’ll have a better handle on your business’s potential for success.

The Importance of Setting Goals and KPIs

It is crucial to set goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to be successful as an affiliate marketer. KPIs help you determine if the affiliate campaigns you are running are successful, and they can also help you pivot your strategy to improve your company’s profitability.

Goals also help your business achieve short-term and long-term objectives. For example, travel bloggers often have the vision to generate passive income with affiliate marketing. However, they lack a strategy and step-by-step goals to make this dream a reality. KPIs help you measure the progress of your goals so you can achieve them more quickly — and who doesn’t want that?

Instead of aimlessly adding affiliate links to blog posts, emails, and social media posts and hoping to make a sale, measuring KPIs can help you create an informed affiliate marketing strategy that results in success. By regularly measuring your click-through rate, conversion rate, and earnings per sale, you can determine if your marketing strategy is going well or if you need to make small changes to see the results you want from your campaigns.

Tools for Tracking and Measuring Performance

In order to track your affiliate marketing success, it is vital to utilize the tools and platforms available for monitoring and measuring your affiliate marketing performance. These are a few of the tools you can use as an affiliate marketer: 

Affiliate Program Dashboards

When you join an affiliate marketing platform like Travelpayouts, you will gain access to a dashboard that reveals important statistics from your affiliate marketing campaigns, including impressions, clicks, sales, and potential payouts in an easy-to-read format.

While this dashboard will not show other key metrics like your click-through rate or conversion rate, you can always use the equations listed earlier to calculate these statistics for yourself.

SubID Tracking

SubID tracking is another helpful tool you can use with Travelpayouts and other affiliate platforms to track the success of your affiliate marketing campaigns. When you create an affiliate link, you can create a SubID — a unique identifier tag — that adds extra data to your link that is recorded beside each commission that occurs as a result of a click on that link.

In the example below, the affiliate partner created an affiliate link for a Small Group Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, & St. Peter’s Basilica Guided Tour. When making the link, she added a SubID that reads “Weekend in Rome” to remind her that this link is included in her blog post about “How to Spend a Weekend in Rome.”

Now, when someone purchases this “Small Group Vatican Museums Tour” from the blogger’s post about “How to Spend a Weekend in Rome,” the partner will know the purchase came from that specific blog post. This helps you see which blog posts (or campaigns) are performing well and which could use improvement.

How to Interpret the Data and Optimize Your Affiliate Campaigns

Now that you know some key metrics and tools to measure affiliate marketing success, we can use the information to inform our decisions in the following scenario. Imagine you were looking at your overall analytics for your blog and noticed that while you had a high-click through rate, you had a low conversion rate. This means that while many people who visit your site are clicking on your affiliate links, few are making purchases. With your newfound knowledge about affiliate marketing metrics, you realize the following reasons could be causing your high CTR but low conversion rate:

Misleading Promotion

Perhaps you were promoting a “luxury” resort in your blog post, but when the reader clicked on the link, they saw the resort was a three-star hotel with poor reviews. It is essential to accurately promote hotels, tours, activities, etc., to convert affiliate clicks into sales.

Incorrect Search Intent

Maybe you included several tours for day trips to the Palace of Versailles in your blog post about “One Day in Paris.” Since the reader is looking at your blog post for ideas on spending one day in Paris, it is unlikely they would want to spend their entire day traveling to Versailles.

It is crucial for the products you promote in each blog to match the intent of why the reader is searching for the post. This tour would be a better fit in a post about “Top Things to Do in Paris” or “Best Day Trips from Paris.” To gain a better understanding of search intent, watch a video from the free SEO course offered by Travelpayouts Academy.

Slow Page Speed

It’s possible that a person would click on a link and not make a purchase because the website was slow to load. Though there may not be much you can do if the company selling the product is the one with the slow site speed, it may be worth checking the speed of your website to ensure it is not inhibiting sales. As you can see, when you track key metrics and analytics for your marketing campaigns, you can “fine-tune” your campaigns to achieve optimal results and meet your affiliate income goals. 

Measure Affiliate Marketing Success & Get Results

It is crucial to track key metrics, like impressions, click-through rates, and conversions, to ensure your affiliate marketing campaigns are performing optimally. Affiliate marketing success doesn’t come overnight — it comes with persistence, hard work, and fine-tuning that can only happen by evaluating key metrics to see what is working well and what needs to change.
If you are a travel blogger or content creator looking to join an affiliate partnership platform that will make it easy to measure key metrics and succeed as a marketer — we hope you will join us at Travelpayouts! Travelpayouts offers access to affiliate programs for 100+ travel brands and comes with a user-friendly dashboard to track your progress — helping you to measure your affiliate marketing success with ease!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a KPI in Affiliate Marketing?

A KPI in affiliate marketing is a measurable value tied to specific objectives of an affiliate marketing campaign. It indicates progress during the campaign and helps measure the effectiveness at the end of a campaign or a period while the campaign was running.

Why Are KPIs in Affiliate Marketing Important?

KPIs in marketing are important because they help you define your goals, the patch to reach your goals, and how to optimize this path. Without KPIs, it isn’t easy to create strategic affiliate marketing campaigns and assess marketing results.

What is the most important affiliate marketing KPIs (metrics)?

There are many affiliate marketing KPIs that you can use to track the success of your campaign however, we always recommend keeping an eye on your ROI and ROAS.

What is the difference between ROAS and ROI?

ROI and ROAS are different. When calculating the ROI, you include all other expenses like staff, tools, licenses, etc. In contrast, when calculating ROAS, you only look at your spending with the platforms (outside of agencies, employees, and management fees) to figure if your campaigns were profitable on an ad spend basis alone.


Remember that nothing happens overnight, especially when it comes to business growth. Therefore, you must ensure that you stay consistent with your plans and track everything you do to have a clear map of what works for you and what doesn’t and needs to be improved.

If these KPIs are overwhelming for you now, I recommend hiring an affiliate marketing consultant to help you choose the metrics you should track and the best way to do it.

To monitor your affiliate program performance, you must watch the metrics discussed in this article. It is critical to have a strategy for tracking and reviewing your affiliate program’s goals regularly. I recommend starting your affiliate program using a WordPress affiliate plugin or affiliate network that offers extensive tracking capabilities so you can monitor your KPIs.

This is essential in determining where changes may be made and new techniques to implement to keep your affiliate program growing.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Scroll to Top
Verified by MonsterInsights