Best Affiliate Software
Affiliate program software – so many choices and so much promise.
As an affiliate marketer I’ve used 20+ different affiliate software programs and I know the quirks, features and frustrations that your affiliates will experience.
This guide should enable you to find the best affiliate software for your brand.
Looking for a quick answer? Check out our recommended products for the three top categories below.
Cheers, Dave Downing
PartnerStack (formerly GrowSumo) helps companies to leverage partnerships to grow revenue
Enabling ecommerce stores to track sales driven by promoters, influencers and affiliates
Thrivecart is shopping cart and funnel software that also has advanced affiliate functionality
What Is The Best Affiliate Tracking Software?
Affiliate program software, also known as affiliate marketing tracking software or referral software are tools used by online companies to track the referral of customers from existing customers or affiliate marketers, to manage and reward people for promoting their products, typically on a CPA (cost per acquisition) basis.
The best affiliate management software for your business will depend on whether you are a SAAS, eCommerce of digital product business. Some have unique features, such as an ability to track earnings per click or create sub-IDs to track how different pages or marketing campaigns are converting. All of the software we review have varying levels of support, which does tend to correlate to the market they are targeting and price point. In general, they all offer integration with your website, CRM, or email marketing software. Still, you will need to ensure that your existing marketing stack can integrate fully with your new affiliate software.
Promoting your company through affiliates is one of the most effective ways to boost sales and gain more exposure, and the best part is, you only pay after you get each sale.
What Is Affiliate Tracking?
Affiliate tracking is the management of marketing activities by a company’s affiliates. Brands use special affiliate program software to track the number of clicks and sales that each affiliate generates, and pay out referral commissions at the agreed commission level.
How To Place A Tracking Code On An Affiliate Url?
Some programs enable you to add your ID code to any page on a company’s website. The best example of this is Affiliate WP where you simply add your ID to the end of any URL. For instance, if I wanted to add my affiliate ID 69 to this blog post https://www.humanproofdesigns.com/time/ the generator will append it as https://www.humanproofdesigns.com/time/?ref=6
How Do You Make An Affiliate Tracking Code?
You create an affiliate tracking code using marketing software which creates a unique ID for every affiliate so you can track who is driving the most traffic and conversions for your business.
How To Get An Affiliate Link For Tracking?
You get an affiliate link for tracking using software which generates an ID for all affiliates to use and append to a landing page.
How Does Affiliate Software Trigger A Commission?
Affiliate software can create either a unique URL for a user or a unique URL parameters added to the end of the page URL that enables it to track which person sent the referral traffic and then credits them when a sale is made.
Full-featured affiliate marketing plugin for WordPress
Marketing tool for online businesses to set up an affiliate network
Established in 2008 by the founders of Commission Junction
Post Affiliate Pro
Trusted by over 2,700 companies globally, it can link to more than 100 CMS and payment gateways
SaaS focussed software
Top referral marketing software. for top global brands
Common Features amongst the best affiliate marketing software
Dashboard where your affiliate users can log in and see their commissions. Also, all the marketing collateral that you need to manage affiliate programs such as banners social sharing, newsletters, and promotional emails, all of which they can use to promote your business.
The last thing you want is affiliate marketing programs to be stalled because of clunky and challenging software so here are the things we have identified as critical to users and what they want to find in their tracking platform;
Dashboards that give an overall view of campaign management and can guide decision making.
Best Affiliate Tracking Software for SAAS?
So, which software is ideal for SAAS users?
Partner Stack is a specialist SAAS marketing tracking software that goes way beyond the traditional affiliate role of link tracking and encompasses a true partner network for affiliates and promoters.
They believe that your own customers are the best promoters of a business, and also your suppliers and associated software vendors should be part of the promotional mix.
They claim that, on average, a 30% lift is what can be achieved by utilizing their software.
Partner stack is a fully customizable management platform and network, so you don’t have to go further to enable your promoters. They can choose how they want to promote you and with what tools.
In particular, for a SAAS company that will no doubt be integrating with many other tools, Partner Stack makes it easy for you to reward these tools when referring you more business. This integration is why Partner Stack can claim such a lofty 30% increase.
As a leading PRM (Partner Relationship Management) tool, they have facilities specifically designed for Agencies and re-sellers of your platform. The traditional marketing facilities such as lead forms, links, and emails, but even the emails can be based on events. Partner Stack also helps with the setting up of events and challenges and of course, the essential payouts and discount codes.
Additionally, they have similar facilities for your customers, the technology partners previously mentioned, such as other apps and SAAS you can integrate with.
Finally, everything your marketing team needs to analyze which campaigns within your overall affiliate program are working and driving the most revenue. These reports indicate individuals, partners, and technology partners are pushing the most sign-ups and business your way.
It also has extensive facilities for your accountancy department enabling payment of your affiliates and partners quickly.
Many businesses find growing through affiliates is made easy with Partner Stack due to its built-in marketing tools.
Best Affiliate Tracking Software for ECOM?
One of the critical aspects required by the ideal affiliate tracking software for e-commerce is that of detail down to the SKU level in your store. They need more than just an overall tracking platform but one that can promote on a product level.
Revision integrates to this level with Shopify, Bigcommerce, Magento, and Woocommerce, so covering 55% of the market according to Builtwith.
They also integrate with coupon codes and customer emails.
Your affiliate program is also going to need some supporters, and Revision has a marketplace where you can promote your offers and referral program.
Aside from the software and affiliate network itself, they have a great blog and onboarding program so you can understand and get the most business out of your affiliate program.
On their blog, they include a lot of stories about successful affiliate marketers and affiliate marketing campaigns; itâs great to see them going beyond the software and talking about features. As an affiliate marketing software, they do tick all the boxes for eCommerce retailers, especially with the added affiliate network and integration with other affiliate networks. You do get the impression that they look after their clients with such high-quality content for their benefit.
Their integrations list reads like a whoâs who of eCommerce apps jumper.ai for social media posting, Klaviyo, for interactive eCommerce email marketing. One of the most exciting app integrations is that with Magiclinks, which helps social media influencers and publishers to drive their share of the internet pie to your business and help increase those all-important sales numbers at the end of the month.
It also comes with a free 14-day trial. You can’t say fairer than that!
Best Affiliate Tracking Software for Digital Marketers?
For traditional digital marketers, its all about the affiliate links, but where ThriveCart excels is that its a full cart software to enable the digital marketers to sell products and then use one-click up-sells and the all-important 1 click bump offer. The cart also allows you to send follow up sequences to build a full-funnel and embed the cart on your website.
Affiliates in this space are all about attribution and payments at the end of the month, and thrive cart excels at providing not just the usual affiliate program requirements but also a simplified way of managing affiliate payouts.
Any other Affiliate Tracking Software that you should check out?
We couldn’t t go without mentioning Affiliate Pro this software commends the most reviews online and certainly have a large following hailing from Slovakia.
I love their feature list being around so long means they do have an extensive features list. In particular, they have so many different ways to promote your business, and infinitely customizable to your needs. These include;
An area for Promotional Materials, many different types of banners – peel – lightbox – HTML – Image – Flash – rotators. Also, discounts, pdfs, smartlinks, and site replication
Any other Affiliate Tracking Software that you should check out?
Post Affiliate Pro – A publisher’s favorite is Post Affiliate Pro who claims to be the most reviewed and rated software out there. They are certainly a favorite in part due to the fact they do not focus on one type of use case. Post Affiliate Pro is used by eCommerce, SAAS, content publishers, and lead generation businesses alike. With 30,000 affiliate programs run on their affiliate network, they are a force to be reckoned with and have been going since 2010, so they are a well-established player in the market. They also include fraud detection as standard.
Ambassador – Have an all in one affiliate platform that allows you to run partner, affiliate, influencer programs in a single piece of software. They have designed the software with marketers in mind. They include a visual editor, automated workflows, lots of pre-built templates, and designs for campaigns. Within the software, you will also find a dashboard for customers and many integrations with various other software and apps. They include multi-language and mobile compatibility as standard.
iDevaffiliate – Has been around for over 15 years, iDevAffiliate is a well-established tracking platform. It includes fraud protection, various marketing tools, the ability to fully customize your commission and payment structure, a variety of reporting tools, and an ability to customize the look and feel of the application so businessesâ can match their branding to their affiliate platform. They integrate with over 150 apps.
Click Funnels – is an extensive list of marketing tools. It is a landing page builder, a cart, an autoresponder, and a merchant account while also doubling up as affiliate management software. While not cheap, it is worth considering all of the bells and whistles included and can work out less expensive than just buying all the individual software components separately. Customer reviews are generally positive, and they always include lots of customer examples in their marketing.
Impact – Impact affiliate software is used by brands such as Adidas and Airbnb. They are a more inclusive partner marketing platform. Instead of just assuming that affiliates are your primary customer focus, they include other partners such as social media influencers, strategic business partners, brand ambassadors, and publishers. Furthermore, they are particularly hot on cross-device linking such as when your end customer is using a mobile app. Traditionally in the social media influencer space, you would pay per post. Impact allows you to budget more intelligently and only pay on sales. It also has itâs own mini CRM so you can track all of our interactions from your various referral sources and partners, including when a payment has gone out to them. A truly global application, they even have servers in China!
Leadpages – Most online marketers will have heard of this product. Primarily a landing page builder, but it can also be used to promote your affiliate program. Over 40,000 businesses use leadpages as their software of choice. What started as a landing page builder has now grown into a fully-fledged website builder, pop up and alert bar generator, and all-round business builder. They offer real-time tips to use the software solution, simplified analytics, and A/B testing to make a fully-fledged software solution simple for the end-user. Afterall the reason the software exists is to make the tech department redundant. Over 1000 integrations make it quite a complete package.
Omnistar – Is also known as OSI affiliate software. It has been designed so you can launch your in-house affiliate program and can do far more than generate your affiliate links. They have a particular focus on social media. Additionally, they have pre-built campaigns to help you advertise your new affiliate links helping your affiliate customers earn their share of payments from your affiliate network.
Affiliatewp – Affiliatewp, as you might imagine, is designed for you to get your share of the affiliate marketing pie if you are running a WordPress site. Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways you can increase your revenues as your affiliates are the ones doing the heavy lifting of obtaining new customers.
LeadDyno – Many SAAS businesses use LeadDyno, and it has been a longstanding player in the SAAS affiliate business. It is designed to increase your SAAS sign-ups through affiliate marketing. Their primary focus is ease of use and how easy it is to launch your affiliate program. Their management platform is one of the easiest to use for businesses. As part of the Leaddyno family, you can join their affiliate network, thus quickly expanding your network. They are mobile-friendly.
Is It Worth Investing In Affiliate Software?
Aside from the ease of adding a new marketing channel, the best affiliate software will add ease of use and a cost-saving by way of making payment to your affiliates a far more straightforward process.
How Does Affiliate Software Work?
Affiliate software firstly enables affiliates to sign up for your affiliate network. Once inside, they can create unique links that will, in the future, attribute to them sales acquired through their promotional channels. Using a unique URL is the crucial component that the affiliate program or software will bring to the table. Additionally, the best affiliate software will have a repository that you can store your digital marketing assets for use by the affiliates. The software will also allow for automatic payouts or at the very least, reports to make payouts easy by attributing and reporting on the exact amounts of commission generated by each affiliate. Lastly, your affiliate software should provide a dashboard for each affiliate to allow them to see which promotions and which links are making them the most money.
Before Choosing Any Software Affiliate
You know you need more than just link tracking when choosing software to manage your affiliate program, so what do you need to look out for? An easy to use management platform early versions of affiliate software were clunky at best. As with any purchase, it is worth considering the budget. With software like Partner Stack, they claim that they will lift your conversions by 30%. This increase will give you an indication of what it is worth to you per month. At the same time, such lofty claims will have to be proven by your use case and business and compared against the $500 monthly starting fee for such a complete software.
Here is a checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything or any considerations when choosing our software.
- Ease of use
- Which brings us to Can you trial the software?
- Affiliate software that is built on top of an affiliate network does not often come with the ability to build on top of your domain. So this needs careful consideration depending on your plans for building out your affiliate network of partners.
- Mobile compatibility is essential in 2019. One not to miss – try it out on your handheld or note if the software has a downloadable app.
- Can it integrate with your existing software and website?
- Check if it has more than one type of cookie to make sure the sales are correctly attributed. The last thing you want is a name for not paying out affiliates.
- Support – Everything is always fine until it is not. Call the software company up, hit up live chat to see what their response is like during the buying process, so you can see what it will be like when you eventually become a customer.
- No long term commitment. With the best will in the world plans change, don’t get tied into something you will not need in 6 months.
- Social media sharing for affiliates.
- Be able to run multiple campaigns.
- Easy reward system where you can add bonuses and competitive elements to your affiliate program. Gamification has been proven to get the best out of affiliates. The best affiliate software will have a contest manager.
- To get you up and running straight away, consider software that has templates such as emails and thank you pages already built into the software.
- One to consider if it applies to your business, but that is of auto-translate around half of the affiliate software on the market allows for multi-language.
How Much Does Affiliate Software Cost?
Affiliate management software starts around $29 a month. The best software will start nearer the $97 mark, and then the price rises considerably for a complete management software like Partner Stack at $500 per month starting. By the time you get to this level, though, you will be well versed in what you need and how much you can afford to spend as your affiliate networks will most likely be generating its share of revenues and affiliate users. Most software will also be free to set up and help you get listed in the various affiliate networks and directories.
If you are on a very tight budget, you could look to combine programs and get a combined cart and affiliate software with something like Thrivecart.