Affilimate is an affiliate analytics platform that aggregates all your affiliate commission data in one place. I’ve been trialling it on my main blog for just over a month now.
While looking for reviews of Affilimate I found just a few that didn’t seem to be based on real user experiences. I thought I’d write this review of Afflimate from my own perspective of actually using it live on my blog.
Table of Contents
What does Affilimate do?
If you’ve been blogging for some time you will no doubt end up dealing with a sprawl of different affiliate programs.
My primary blog is a 10-year-old travel blog and it now uses 36 (!) different affiliate programs.
Some of these are part of affiliate networks such as CJ, Affiliate Window, or Avantlink. Others are direct affiliate programs managed by the companies themselves.
All of them use different dashboards. All of them use different reporting and tracking methods. And some offer dashboards that are simply infuriating to use (hi there CJ).
Yep, it’s a hot mess.
Affilimate is an affiliate analytics tool that lets you import data from all these different sources and view them in one centralized dashboard. This will allow you to gain insights into your entire affiliate strategy, and not just how one particular program is doing.
Even if you use a lower number of affiliate programs than I do, Affilimate may be an interesting solution to look at. Besides just aggregating your affiliate data within one dashboard, it gives you different tools to label your links and track their performance.
Aggregating affiliate data in Affilimate
Affilimate has a range of different features, but what initially attracted me to this solution was being able to automatically aggregate the sales data from all my affiliates.
Normally, at the end of every month, I manually aggregate data from my different affiliate programs into a Google Sheets file.
The only thing I end up tracking in this manual way is honestly just how much each program generated in total that month. It’s how I track my overall total monthly income. It’s already a cumbersome manual process, so I don’t track anything besides the total commissions generated.
Once or twice a year I also make a Google Sheet of all my individual blog posts and how much income they generated across all channels (display advertising, affiliates, etc.). This is an extremely manual process, so I only do it every now and then.
Affilimate has the ability to do this automatically, saving time doing it yourself but also giving you (close to) real-time insights.
Plugging different affiliate programs into Affilimate is fairly easy. Most of them can be imported automatically, though some you’ll have to manually download a .csv file from the specific affiliate program dashboard and upload it to Affilimate.
In cases where there is an automated API-based connection, you typically just have to copy/paste one or two fields from the affiliate dashboard to Affilimate. It differs with every affiliate platform but the instructions inside Affilimate are very clear and easy to follow.
Once this is set up, Affilimate will pull transaction data from these sources every 24 hours or so. Affiliates that will work in this way include CJ, Awin, Partnerize, and many others.
I recommend studying the list of integrations to check if it will cover the affiliate programs you use.
It’s worth pointing out that many direct affiliate programs use off-the-shelf (white-label) affiliate software. For example, my car rental affiliate is Discover Cars and they use something called Post Affiliate Pro. Because Affilimate supports Post Affiliate Pro, it supports Discover Cars.
Most sources can be imported automatically but some have to be manual. Amazon is rather difficult in terms of getting data out (and I’m not a fan of Amazon Associates) but you can import CSV data and add it to Affilimates by hand. For my travel blog, there are a couple of others I need to manage in this way, such as Viator, Agoda, and Booking.com.
In case the date range of your uploaded transactions overlaps with a previous upload, you won’t end up with duplicate entries. So you don’t need to think very much when uploading CSV’s and it’s really quite easy.
Once you’ve hooked all your affiliate programs into Affilimate, you still need to connect transactions with specific pages. This can be a bit of a chore when you’re first setting it up, but it’s an essential step.
You can do this in two ways:
- Manually. If you already use sub-id’s (also called campaign id’s) to track your affiliate links, you can map these labels to specific pages on your blog. Affilimate will then know to display affiliate sales from these labels in the correct place
- Automatically. The easier way is to let Affilimate take care of it. When you switch on Smart Labels, it will override any existing sub-id’s. This enables page-level attribution and in most cases even link-specific attribution.
In other words, using Smart Labels you can see exactly which specific link on a specific page led to an affiliate conversion.
I waited to switch this on as I’ve been using my own labels for so many years. Luckily, the Smart Labels that are created are still human readable, so even if you stop using Affilimate you can still identify which pages the labels refer to. And the advantage of using Smart Labels is that it will give you far more granular analytics in Affilimate.
Integration with affiliate link managers
Affilimate does not replace the functionality of link management plugins.
Which is a good thing!
I personally use ThirstyAffiliates Pro to keep all my affiliate links in one place within WordPress. I also use it to clean up the look of the URLs and to redirect some clicks to localized affiliates.
Happily, Affilimate doesn’t care at all if you use something like ThirstyAffiliates or not.
There is just one setting you have to change if you want to use ThirstyAffiliates in conjunction with Smart Labels. This takes just 1 minute to sort out.
Using Affilimate’s analytics tools
Once properly set up, Affilimate will show your affiliate clicks, sales, refunds, etc. all in one place, along with consolidated trend data, RPMs, and more.
On the most basic level, it just lets you see which pages are performing well. The Affilimate dashboard gives a nice overview of your overall earnings.
This is definitely nice and takes care of what I used to do manually in Google Sheets every month.
Where things get more interesting is looking at the page-level data. You can rank all your pages in different ways (e.g. earnings or RPM) and click on them to get affiliate data just for that page.
What immediately proves to be an advantage of Affilimate is that the specific products sold will be displayed here. This kind of transaction-level data can also be found in platforms like CJ or Avantlink, but it tends to be deeply buried and often not intuitively assigned to specific pages.
In Affilimate I can just click on the title of one of my product reviews and see the exact conversions generated by it.
This has already led me to interesting insights. For instance, users might be buying a different variation of the product than the one I’ve reviewed. Or they might be buying an accessory that I haven’t even mentioned in the review. This information can be useful for updating the post (maybe I need to specifically mention that accessory?).
Affilimate also generates heatmaps for every page. These will show you which affiliate links are actually being clicked on.
I find these cleaner and more useful than the kind of heatmaps generated by heatmap tools like Crazyegg or Hotjar. These tools tend to show many accidental clicks and displays all clicks as ‘blobs’ whereas Affilimate just shows a circle above each link that will be smaller or bigger depending on how much it’s clicked.
Apart from the heat map, you can also just see a big list of all the affiliate links on the page, along with their click-through rates and other stats.
When you use Smart Labels you can also see how many products were sold by each link, which is a pretty amazing statistic to have. You can technically do this without Affilimate by making new labels for every affiliate and every link on your blog but that would be an enormous chore.
The Analytics aspect of Affilimate is great and I have to say I’m immediately getting insights that help me tweak my affiliate pages.
One thing that feels a bit missing is an integrated A/B testing solution. Affilimate does helpfully keep track of page revisions and you can set up A/B testing in conjunction with Google Optimize redirects, but this is not my preferred solution as it means duplicating your posts in WordPress and taking several steps in Google Optimize (which I’ve yet to use).
(Update: Google announced on Jan 23, 2023 that it’s sunsetting Google Optimize. Another one to be added to the Google graveyard.)
For simple A/B testing (such as changing the text of a link or button) it would be amazing if it could be done in Affilimate as this would give it enormous utility beyond just analytics.
Affilimate pros and cons
Whether Affilimate is the best tool for you will depend a lot on your blog, your level of revenue, which affiliate programs you use, and whether you think the insights gained from this dashboard will help you at least earn its subscription price (but hopefully more).
- Dashboard is super nice to use
- Amazing to view product data and sales data at the page or even individual link level
- Many integrations offered (and they work super smoothly)
- Heatmaps are clean and useful
- Plans are somewhat expensive (particularly for entry-level bloggers)
- No integrated A/B testing
- No manual solution (as of yet) for affiliate programs that aren’t officially supported
Sign up for the 15-day trial (no creditcard needed)
My assessment for my own blog
Since Affilimate’s pitch is really to be the “everything dashboard” it stands or falls by the integrations it offers. For my travel blog with 36 affiliate programs, there are unfortunately still some gaps in their coverage.
Currently, Affilimate does not import data from:
- Stay22, my main hotel affiliate
- One of my travel backpack affiliates which uses an internal custom affiliate program (I believe they’re using a WordPress plugin that Affilimate doesn’t recognize)
- My two travel insurance affiliates (Heymondo and Safetywing).
Affilimate tells me integration with Stay22 is in the works, which is great news. As for Safetywing, this program doesn’t provide transaction-level data, which makes it incompatible with Affilimate. So not having Safetywing integrated is fair enough.
For other missing affiliate programs, it would be really amazing to have a generic CSV import tool, where you can map different columns to import fields. This would enable me to import Heymondo data, for instance. Affilimate says such a tool is still in the works.
I am going to continue using Affilimate as it’s already led me to some great actionable insights. However, I’m currently debating whether I’ll keep the subscription year-round or give it a pause until it can truly import nearly all of my affiliate programs.
I recommend checking their integration list carefully. You may find that it already covers 100% of the affiliate programs that you use.
I should mention that occasionally Affilimate gave some errors. For example, some of my labelling rules didn’t immediately trigger. And one annoying thing when copy/pasting API data from one tab to another is that Affilimate always closes its overlays when you navigate away from the tab. Occasionally it feels like Affilimate is still in development with minor wrinkles still to be straightened out.
In terms of pricing, Affilimate is probably on the high side if you are a beginner blogger with not much revenue yet. The Solo Creator plan starts at $82/month. (However, click the rather hidden link on the pricing page and you’ll also find a Lite Plan for $24 per month paid annually.)
For me, just aggregating all the data is already worth part of the price, especially now that I have multiple blogs which makes it harder to keep a good overview. It saves me a lot of time doing it manually (and Affilimate does it better).
But it’s the heatmaps and link-specific Smart Label tracking that push the value up to where I believe it will justify the price. The insights gained should allow Affilimate to essentially pay for itself.
The easiest way to see if Affilimate is right for your blog is to activate their 15-day trial and play around with it for a while.
Affilimate is a really solid product, though a generic CSV import, more integrations, and a simple A/B tester would make it truly the perfect solution for me.
The dashboard is absolutely a joy to use, which can’t be said for most affiliate platforms. The granularity of the analytics is also beyond what you can (easily) achieve by using the affiliate platform dashboards directly. If your revenue levels justify the expense, I think it’s an excellent affiliate management tool.