Best Analytic Tools

Your ability to track, measure and adjust the performance of your online ad campaigns is critical to the success of your business. There are a multitude of tools and products available for both affiliates and suppliers, most of which can be sourced from affiliate networks, suppliers or third-party vendors.

As active marketers (both as an affiliate and supplier), we run many small campaigns across a number of advertising platforms; to help guide our business decisions, we are currently using or testing three different sets of tools:

1. Website Analytics

2. PPC Analytics

3. Affiliate Tracking Analytics

  • Website Analytics. For pure website analytics, we have found that Omniture’s SiteCatalyst works best (although it is a bit pricey, and some affiliates may find that it is cost prohibitive). We have tested Clicktracks, Coremetics and a number of other similar tools or smaller software packages but none compare to the reporting and segmenting capabilities provided by SiteCatalyst.
  • PPC Analytics. We have used Omniture SearchCenter, Google Analytics and MSN Analytics (beta). Based on our experience, Google Analytics is the best all around tool to gauge our success on Google. It’s quick, easy and hits all the high points well. We have also found that, once we’ve honed our PPC campaign on Google using Google Analytics, replicating the Google ad campaigns on other search engines works quite well.Omniture’s SearchCenter is a far more complicated tool. If we were running monster campaigns on just the major search platforms (Google is SearchCenter’s focus), then this is a great tool. But when you have a large number of small campaigns across many advertisers (as we do), we found ourselves working almost full-time on it rather than on marketing our products.As a result, our conclusion was that it takes more time and staff resources to manage Omniture than the benefits we derived.  One other major negative for us was that Omniture’s SearchCenter is not a “real-time” tool. Affiliate marketers work in real time; with SearchCenter, you have to wait until the next day to see what’s ‘going on’ with your campaigns.With respect to MSN Analytics, thus far we continue to run into problems with MSN compiling all our data……so we are waiting to see if they can fix this issue before we render our final opinion.  Kudos to MSN, however, when it comes to customer service – they do take our calls quickly and attempt to resolve the issues or problems as promptly as possible.
  • Affiliate Tracking Analytics. Since we wear different hats – as Affiliates, Sub-Affiliates and Suppliers – much of our data and analyses has by necessity come from applications or software developed in-house. To be sure, these include a tangled web of Excel spreadsheets and MySQL.To ascertain if we can ameliorate our internal inefficiencies through off-the-shelf solutions, we are now looking at a group of software packages such as DirectTrack, HitPath, and Linktrust. We are also in discussions with one of the major Affiliate Network’s about private labeling its existing platform.  We’ll be sharing more about this initiative with you as our discussion progress and our proposed testing period is completed.
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