Back to Blog

30 Important Affiliate Marketing Metrics to Focus On

Rewardful Team

Where would we be without data? Nowadays, nowhere. 

Measuring the right metrics in affiliate marketing sets great affiliate programs apart from the ‘meh’ programs. But with so many vanity metrics and controversial calculations, how do you determine what truly matters? Here is a list of affiliate marketing metrics often used by affiliate managers. 

How to Use These Metrics

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that many affiliate marketing stats are available in your dashboard. That alone can be overwhelming, so start by jotting down the numbers that take priority. 

  1. Identify your affiliate marketing KPIs and goals
  • Are you looking to increase traffic, boost conversions, or enhance your engagement rate? Not all metrics will be relevant. Some will be crucial.
  1. Analyze regularly
  • Set a regular schedule to analyze these metrics. Whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, consistent analysis can spot trends, issues, or opportunities early.
  1. Use smart tools
  • Employ robust SaaS affiliate software that can track your metrics accurately and provide insightful reports in seconds. Go for a tool with strong visualization capabilities to make data analysis more intuitive.
  1. Segment your data
  • Segment your affiliate marketing metrics based on different criteria like the type of affiliate, the products being promoted, or the channels used, to get more insight into your program’s performance.
  1. Benchmark against industry standards
  • Understand where you stand in comparison to industry benchmarks. This comparison can provide a reality check and identify areas for improvement in your performance.
  1. Educate your affiliates
  • Share relevant data with your affiliates to help them understand how they are performing and how to improve.
  1. Evaluate cost-effectiveness
  • Calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) of your affiliate program by evaluating the cost versus the revenue generated.
  1. Explore new strategies
  • If certain metrics are stagnating or declining, it may be time to explore new promotional strategies or even recruit different types of affiliates.

The Metrics That Matter for Affiliate Marketing Managers

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to measure affiliate marketing, let’s look at the metrics that make targeted improvements possible.

1. Traffic Numbers From Affiliates

Traffic is the lifeline, but it’s not everything. The number of visitors directed to your site from affiliate links indicates the reach and effectiveness of your affiliate program. Do look further: if traffic is high, but other metrics aren’t, there might be an issue.

  • Calculation: this can be tracked using web analytics tools like Google Analytics.
  • Importance: higher traffic can lead to increased sales opportunities, and understanding the source can help in optimizing the affiliate program.

2. Conversion Rate

This measures the percentage of affiliate-referred visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up.

  • Calculation: divide the number of conversions by the number of visitors, then multiply it by 100.
  • Importance: a higher conversion rate indicates a better ROI and shows the effectiveness of affiliate marketing strategies.

3. Sales Per Affiliate

This metric gauges the sales generated by each affiliate, showing the productivity of individual affiliates.

  • Calculation: total sales generated divided by the number of affiliates. Important: always look for outliers.
  • Importance: identifying high-performing affiliates can help with optimizing the program and establishing rewarding partnerships.

4. Percentage of Active Affiliates

The proportion of affiliates actively promoting your products versus the total number enrolled in your program.

  • Calculation: the number of active affiliates divided by the total number of affiliates, and then multiplied by 100.
  • Importance: a higher percentage implies a more engaged and productive affiliate network.

5. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

The predicted net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.

  • Calculation: the (average purchase value x by the purchase frequency) x average customer lifespan.
  • Importance: understanding CLV from affiliate channels helps in allocating resources efficiently.

6. Average Order Value (AOV)

The average amount spent each time a customer places an order through an affiliate link.

  • Calculation: total revenue from affiliates divided by the number of orders.
  • Importance: AOV helps in understanding buying behavior and setting commission structures.

7. Cost Per Affiliate Sale or Cost Per Lead (CPA/CPL)

The cost incurred for each sale or lead generated through affiliate channels.

  • Calculation: total cost of affiliate program divided by the total number of sales or leads.
  • Importance: lower CPA or CPL indicates a more cost-effective program.

8. Overall Engagement

The level of interaction and activity within your affiliate network.

  • Measurement: through communication frequency, responsiveness, and promotional activity. You’ll find these numbers in your social media analytics.
  • Importance: high engagement often translates to affiliate marketing success.

9. Rate of Return or Rate of Cancellation

The frequency at which products are returned or services are canceled.

  • Measurement: tracking returns and cancellations in your sales software.
  • Importance: lower rates signify better customer satisfaction and product-fit.

10. Revenue

Total income generated through your affiliate program.

  • Calculation: the sum of all sales generated through affiliate links.
  • Importance: a direct reflection of the program's success and profitability.

11. Growth Year-on-Year

The rate at which your affiliate program expands compared to previous years.

  • Calculation: [(the revenue this year - the revenue last year) / the revenue last year] x 100.
  • Importance: indicates the scaling and evolving capacity of your affiliate program.

12. Lifetime Value of Referred Customers (LTV)

Similar to CLV but specifically for customers acquired through affiliates.

  • Calculation and Importance: same as CLV but filtered for affiliate-referred customers.

13. Retention Rate

The percentage of affiliate-referred customers who continue to make purchases.

  • Calculation: the (number of returning customers / the total number of customers) x 100.
  • Importance: high retention signifies customer satisfaction and recurring revenue potential.

14. Churn Rate

The percentage of customers who stop making purchases.

  • Calculation: the (customers at the start of the period - the customers at the end of the period) / the customers at the start of the period x 100.
  • Importance: lower churn indicates better customer retention and product satisfaction.

15. Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)

The revenue generated per user over a specific period.

  • Calculation: the total revenue divided by the number of users.
  • Importance: ARPU helps in evaluating the revenue potential of your affiliate program.

16. Profit Margin

The net income generated from affiliate sales after deducting all expenses.

  • Calculation: the (total revenue - the total expenses) /  the total revenue x 100.
  • Importance: indicates the financial health and viability of your affiliate program.

17. Incremental Revenue from Affiliates

The additional revenue generated through the affiliate channel that wouldn’t have been realized otherwise.

  • Measurement: through analytics and comparison of periods with and without affiliate promotions.
  • Importance: shows the true impact and value added by the affiliate program.

18. Contribution Margin

The revenue remaining after variable costs associated with the affiliate program are deducted.

  • Calculation: the revenue from affiliates - the variable costs associated with affiliates.
  • Importance: demonstrates the profitability and scalability of the affiliate program.

19. Number of New Affiliates Recruited

The new affiliates recruited within a specific timeframe, indicating the program's attractiveness and expansion.

  • Measurement: tracking the sign-ups in your SaaS affiliate software.
  • Importance: growing the affiliate base can lead to increased exposure and sales.

20. Affiliate Satisfaction Rate

The level of satisfaction among your affiliates, gauged through surveys or feedback mechanisms.

  • Measurement: through feedback surveys or direct communication.
  • Importance: satisfied affiliates are likely to promote more passionately, leading to better results.

21. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The percentage of clicks affiliate links receive compared to the number of times they are viewed.

  • Calculation: the (number of clicks divided by the number of impressions) x 100.
  • Importance: a higher CTR indicates more effective affiliate link placements, possibly better audience engagement and conversions.

22. Cost Per Click (CPC)

The cost incurred for each click on an affiliate link.

  • Calculation: the total cost of affiliate programs divided by the total number of clicks.
  • Importance: lower CPC values suggest more cost-effective link placements and possibly better budget management.

23. Affiliate-to-Customer Conversion Rate

The percentage of affiliate-referred visitors who become customers.

  • Calculation: the (number of new customers from affiliates / the number of visitors from affiliates) x 100.
  • Importance: higher rates imply affiliates are sending high-quality, relevant traffic.

24. Revenue Per Affiliate (RPA)

The average revenue generated by each affiliate.

  • Calculation: the total revenue from affiliates divided by the number of active affiliates.
  • Importance: RPA helps assess the average productivity and effectiveness of affiliates.

25. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

The cost incurred to acquire a customer through affiliate channels.

  • Calculation: the total cost of affiliate programs divided by the number of new customers acquired.
  • Importance: lower CPA values indicate a more cost-effective affiliate program.

26. Re-engagement Rate

The rate at which inactive affiliates are re-engaged and start promoting your products/services again.

  • Measurement: monitoring the activity of previously inactive affiliates.
  • Importance: higher re-engagement rates may reduce the need for recruiting new affiliates and can rejuvenate the program.

27. Recruitment Rate

The rate at which new affiliates are joining the program.

  • Measurement: tracking the number of new affiliates over a specified period.
  • Importance: a higher recruitment rate can expand the program’s reach and potential revenue.

28. Affiliates' Earning Per Click (EPC)

The average earnings generated by affiliates for each click on their referral links.

  • Calculation: the total earnings from affiliate links divided by the total number of clicks.
  • Importance: higher EPC values can attract higher-quality affiliates and encourage current affiliates.

29. Compliance Rate

The rate at which affiliates comply with the program's terms and conditions.

  • Measurement: affiliate program monitoring and auditing affiliate activities.
  • Importance: ensuring compliance maintains the program’s integrity and reduces the risk of fraudulent activities.

30. Rate of Affiliate Attrition

The rate at which affiliates leave the program.

  • Calculation: the (number of affiliates at the start of the period - the number of affiliates at the end of the period) / the number of affiliates at the start of the period x 100.
  • Importance: lower attrition rates indicate a more stable and possibly more attractive affiliate program.

Which Affiliate Metrics Will You Focus On?

Every affiliate program will have different strategies and goals – and, therefore, focus on different metrics. Make sure that your software supports you regardless of your specific goals and offers valuable insights at every step of the journey. Check out Rewardful pricing and our easy-to-use dashboard for affiliate tracking and find the data you need in seconds.

Share on social media: 

Turn your biggest fans
into your best marketers.

Rewardful is a simple way for companies to setup affiliate and referral programs with Stripe. Just connect your account and let us track referrals, discounts and commissions for you!
Or learn more about Rewardful
"Transistor wouldn't be where it's at today if it wasn't for Rewardful"

Unlock your best new revenue channel today.

Get up and running in just a few minutes, with zero risk.
Try Rewardful free for 14-days
Used by many of the fastest growing companies in the world

More from the Blog

Affiliate Marketing

How to Create an Affiliate Program for SaaS Companies (2024 Guide)

Creating an affiliate program for your SaaS company can be a game-changer, but it requires detailed planning, the right team, and strategic execution. This guide will walk you through actionable steps to set up a successful affiliate program, with insights on roles, timelines, and how to avoid potential hurdles.

Affiliate Marketing

Best Affiliate Software Management for Stripe in 2024

In this SaaS affiliate software comparison blog, we’ll discuss the four best affiliate management software for Stripe, including their features and prices.

Ask an Affiliate Manager

Ask an Affiliate Manager: 5 Proven Outreach Strategies (+ Email Templates Included)

Emmet Gibney, CEO of Rewardful, and Farzad Rashidi from Respona recently shared valuable insights on effective outbound affiliate recruitment strategies. This article summarizes their insights into the top five outreach strategies for affiliate marketing that can enhance your program's recruitment efforts.