Suzy: Week 20 Goals-Affiliate Advertising Reports

Suzy's Goals for her travel blog, Week 20 - Analyzing Affiliate Reports

If you’re wondering what this Case Study is all about, please read the introductory post from Week One.

You can browse through all the older installments here.

Last week we talked about how Suzy is tracking what people search for once they get to her travel blog (see “Suzy: Week 19 Goals-Tracking Your Site Searches), and using that information to improve her site and increase the number of people who can find her.

This week we’re talking about how Suzy periodically reviews her Affiliate Advertising reports, to see which ads are “performing” (by getting click-throughs) and which ones aren’t. She can then use that information to make changes to improve the revenue potential of her travel blog.

Each step in the Flow Chart links to explanations, free tools, and resources
By now you should have (free) accounts set up with Google Affiliate Network, Commission Junction, and LinkShare, and possibly others.

Each will have their own variation of affiliate reports for you to view, but they should all show you some basics stats, such as:

  • Impressions – this is how many times an Ad has been displayed to site visitors. If you add up all of your Impressions across your various Affiliate Network accounts, the total should roughly correspond to the number of Page Views you have for the same period of time. It will likely never be exact, but should be fairly close;
  • Clicksaka “click throughs” – how many times a given Ad is clicked on, taking the site visitor to the advertiser’s website;
  • Earnings – whatever amount a given ad has earned for you over the time period you’re viewing

As you’re looking at your reports it’s important to keep in mind the placement of those ads on your site. Are they in your Banner area (top of the page) or sidebar? Above or below the fold? While you want your best performing Ads (those that earn you the most revenue for each click/action) placed in your most noticeable spots, you can test other Ads that may not be performing as well by moving them around and assessing the results after a week or two.

Ads that have few to no clicks are wasting space on your travel blog – seek out other relevant advertisers and replace them.

Another important ratio to look at is clicks-to-earnings – do you have Ads that garner lots of clicks, but little to no revenue? Look at the page your visitors are landing on when they click on the Ad. Is it relevant to what was advertised? Is it a compelling page that seems like it should inspire a purchase? If not, remove that Ad and test another one in it’s place, but be sure to give feedback to the advertiser – sometimes they are willing to make changes to help improve their sales.

Tip: As we mentioned in Week 15 (Suzy: Week 15 Goals–Affiliate Advertising ), DO be sure to communicate with the Affiliate Managers and support team at each affiliate network you use – it’s their JOB to help you succeed and they will be able to give you good advice;

But wait – there’s more! In some cases a particular spot in your banner or sidebar could earn you more from a Direct Advertiser (for more on Direct Advertising see Suzy: Week 16 Goals–Direct Advertising). You’ll want to weigh how much that space is earning for you (after testing a few different ads and advertisers) with what it can earn from someone who wants to pay a monthly/annual fee to have their ad there.

It’s ALL ABOUT testing, testing, testing. Eventually you’ll hit upon the optimal combination of advertisers and placement to maximize what that space can do for you.

Stay tuned! Next week we’re wrapping things up with a summary of the whole Case Study and will discuss what worked – and didn’t work – for Suzy, so you can learn from her experience!


Do you read and act on your Affiliate Reports? Share your advice!

About Trisha Miller 116 Articles
Trisha Miller Editor-in-Chief, - Trisha joined the Travel Industry in 1996 with a background in telecommunications and helped to build (and later sell) one of the industry's top inbound call centers specializing in air travel. Her career in Travel Writing began with creating destination-specific content for a corporate travel intranet, and continued as she contributed content to a large number of travel-related companies that were establishing an online presence throughout the late '90's and early '00's. Currently she is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, and a former Board Member of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (2009-2015).  Still a frequent world traveler, and occasional guest-blogger on a number of other Travel Blogs, Trisha writes about travel and technology, sometimes both at the same time. You can follow Trisha on Twitter at:


  1. Sigh…I’ve been focused on finding writing opportunities that my affiliates have been neglected for some time. I’ll put it on my “to do” list. Thanks for the reminder about Affiliate Reports.

    • Thanks Dave and Deb – your support is greatly appreciated!

      I do plan to flesh it out more for an eBook, but need a little hiatus from my normal work to do it – I may been less visible for the next month or two while I do that, but will still be following your travels through India with great interest!

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