“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”.


Management guru Peter Drucker wasn’t thinking about online marketing when he wrote those words but he could have been.

Affiliate marketing is going from strength to strength. With thousands of brands launching campaigns for the first time and a surge in new publisher models, the industry is posting double-digit annual growth.

But dark clouds are looming. Third-party cookies are reaching the end of their natural lives, and consent banners are suppressing affiliate links. Poorly implemented tech, adblockers and a lack of app tracking add to the list of potential woes.

For every blocked link or poor integration, affiliate marketing is losing revenue as well as being underreported for its contribution. Affiliates drive more than 12% of the UK’s online retail revenue but are allocated just 4% of marketing budgets. That’s a great return on investment for Britain’s retailers, but for a channel rewarded on conversions, how much activity is going unrecorded?

It’s time for the affiliate channel to stand up and be counted. Publishers offer fantastic ways for brands to find their next customers. This can only happen if our tracking records every one of their interactions and sales. And those publishers need assurances that their ongoing investments are being funneled into profitability activity.


So what shall we do as a collective?


That’s why we’re launching Cracking Tracking, a year-long campaign to drive technical excellence in affiliate marketing.

Cracking Tracking’s core mission is to guarantee that every affiliate link counts, every valid transaction is rewarded and brands are clear about how their marketing budgets are spent.

Over the coming months we’ll publish practical guides, advice on futureproofing your programme, the challenges of consent banners, case studies and interviews with the businesses pushing for total tracking transparency. We will show how tracking excellence builds confidence and drives ongoing investment. 

With today’s launch today we’re publishing a one stop shop guide showing how affiliate tracking works, a digest of useful links and a free downloadable guide to Google Analytics 4 through the optics of the affiliate channel. Sign up to our newsletter for future content.


How The APMA and its members can help 


The APMA founder and director, Kevin Edwards, said: “Tracking is one of our cornerstone projects for 2024. The affiliate channel is a brilliant antidote to the concerns and confusion that are rife in digital marketing because of the sunsetting of third-party cookies. The APMA members offer some of the most robust, future-proofed and privacy-first solutions on the market. 

“It’s our job to champion how they’re helping brands smash their acquisition targets while enhancing their trust. We can act as guides for cautious advertisers worried about how they’re going to maintain their ad campaigns in light of the numerous tracking challenges they face”.