Track and Optimize Affiliate Partnerships

In the previous guides, we showed you how to benchmark your referral performance, find new potential affiliate partners, and then vet those affiliate partners.

Now, let cover how you can monitor the performance of those partners to optimize your affiliate marketing strategy and expand your traffic share.

Think of it like Darwin's survival of the fittest: your network of affiliate partners should be constantly evolving. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you're getting the best return on your investment -- and we're here to help you do that.


In this guide, we'll show you how to use Similarweb to:


Track referral traffic performance against competitors

First, we check in with the competition and set up some monitors for easy tracking. So, let's start with a little game of "I SPY... your Visits Over Time"! to spot the things that others may not be able to see.

When you Create an Arena of your competitors, you can easily track Traffic trends, Engagement metrics, and add automated Dashboards.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Navigate to your Marketing Workspace and select the + icon to create a new arena.

    Add your primary website and up to four competitor sites for comparison. - Select your Geographic region and indicate whether you'd like to receive monthly updates by email.

  2. With the arena created, note the three tabs along the top: Strategic Overview, Organic Search Overview, and Referrals Overview.


    Metrics that Matter: Strategic Overview

    • See a side-by-side comparison of traffic and engagement metrics. View Visits over time, Traffic Share and Change over time.

    • Look at Engagement Metrics to compare the quality of your traffic against your competitors, across both Mobile and Desktop. Keep an eye out for the Golden Trophy that will tell you who's in the lead.

  3. At the bottom of the page, in the Dashboards section, select Affiliate Marketing Optimization. Select Create Dashboard to add the dashboard to your arena.



    Metrics that Matter: Affiliate Marketing Optimization

    • Analyze Referral Traffic data across multiple timeframes, compare Engagement metrics, and assess your Referrals Battleground for highly competitive domains -- all in one place.

Track website performance of your affiliate partners

Now that you have your Arena with analyses up and running for your competitors, how can you use it to monitor the performance of your existing (or potential) affiliate partners? By adding your partner lists to your arena!

  1. Under Affiliate Research, select Monitor Partners.

    Review the Partner Lists that you created in the previous guides (Finding Affiliates and Qualifying Affiliates). Click See All Partners to view a complete list.

  2. In a Partner List, scan the Referring Domains to confirm your domains of interest are in there. If you have some new additions, select the Pencil icon to add or remove websites for analysis.


    Metrics that Matter:

    • The MoM Change and Trend columns will tell you the latest in affiliate traffic performance and what their traffic trajectories are over time, which is important as you consider either starting a new affiliate partnership or renewing one. You want to know whether they'll grow your business.

    • Also, consider the Traffic Leader and what that says about the affiliate. Are they primarily driving visitors to e-commerce sites? Social media? At the end of the day, you want these referrals to help you convert so e-commerce sites may be the better outcome for you.

  3. Next, select Benchmark Against Your Arena to compare Referral Traffic to competitor sites. Click your Arena of choice.


    Metrics that matter:

    • View the updated data in your Partner List, especially Total Outgoing Traffic to your selected Arena. This will tell you how much traffic these affiliates are driving to you and your competitor sites, and how this has changed from the past month (MoM).

    • Scan the table to see the Organic Competitive Traffic Share for each Domain.

Track top keywords for your affiliate partners

Evaluating outgoing traffic tells us how "healthy" a referral site is, and what potential they have moving forward to help you grow your business.

Evaluating the top keywords of affiliates tells us more about their content specialization, and what core material they are known for. This will help you understand if they are aligning more with your business interests (great!), or potentially shifting in a different direction (not so great!). Then, it's time to prune.

To track Top Keywords for your Partner List

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the Partner List and click Analyze This List > Top Keywords.

  2. On the Keywords by Industry page, your list of partners has been set up as a custom industry which allows you to get a full view of the keyword activity for the list.

    Set the desired timeframe and geographic region.

  3. Evaluate Key Metrics and Insights:

    • Which keywords are driving the most traffic for these affiliates? Look at the % Change (MoM), Volume Trend, and Traffic Leader to see how these keywords are trending and where they're also driving traffic to (apart from the analyzed affiliates).

    • Check the Trending Terms box to see which keywords are on the rise for affiliates. What's gaining in popularity?

    • Next, try the Top Question Queries to see what questions the affiliates are answering through their content. Does it connect to your business, your industry?

    Use this information to gain insight into your affiliates' content strategy and whether they are focused on content (and therefore, partnerships) that will help drive growth for your business.

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