Affiliate Tracking Software: How to choose the right one for your program

Aleksandra Velkova on April 24, 2024

If you’re planning to launch an affiliate program for your brand or have already launched one, you need to consider using affiliate program tracking software. 

Tracking affiliate sales is essential for the success of the affiliate program because of a few reasons: affiliates’ sales get properly attributed and their rewards are sent on time, making sure the relationship is nurtured and supported. 

It also allows you to scale your program, as managing affiliates through an affiliate program software is much easier and effective than doing this manually. 

It’s also well-organized, giving you a clear picture of where you need to direct your efforts to help your affiliates drive more sales to your store. 

With that said, when you start looking for affiliate program tracking software, you should be equipped with the knowledge on what are the must-have features a software should have and what to look for to make the best decision for your business. 

This guide talks about everything you need to know to expertly look for an affiliate program software for your brand. 

What are the must-have features of an excellent affiliate program software?

The affiliate software needs to help you track affiliate applications, their sales and enable you to pay commissions seamlessly. 

It should make the process function independently, meaning with little to no work from your end. This means, the software should take care of any fraudulent activities to protect your brand. It should also be easy to use for both you and your affiliates through  intuitive user interfaces. 

So let's look into the separate must-have features a software should have. 

Option to set different types of commission

You should be able to create different types of commission offers. This is essential because not all influencers or publishers you decide to work with will agree to the same commission structure. So ensure you have options, and this should definitely include the multi-tier commission offer. This one is great as it allows for more control over commission payments and more visibility into how the affiliates are performing. 

Accurate tracking and reporting

This is probably the most important aspect of the software; accurate tracking of sales through affiliate links and coupon codes is essential. This allows for transparency, timely payouts and easy analysis of your program’s effectiveness. 

There are different types of affiliate tracking; the most common one is through the use of cookies, but there are also methods based on flash cookies and tracking IP addresses. There are pros and cons to all methods, but in general, cookies is the least reliable method, as once the customer clicks the affiliate link and purchases the product, then clears cookies, you can no longer track that sale. Whereas usage of flash cookies and IP addresses are a more reliable method. 

Fraud detection and prevention mechanisms

Fraud in affiliate programs refers to an affiliate trying to take advantage of their own link or coupon code to earn commissions fast or to get a discount on the product price. 

Your software should have this fraud detection mechanism built-in and not require additional work to have it setup. 

There are a lot of affiliate program scams out there, but it will largely depend on how you have your program set: if anyone can join it can be a bit tricky, but if you have a screening process in place, you will know whether the affiliate applying is legitimate or not. 

Opportunity to scale the program

It’s fairly easy when you’re just starting with affiliate programs; you may not have as many affiliates to manage, so you can be very hands-on and the process can be relatively easy. However, the goal is always to scale and grow, and you want the software you end up using to support scalability. 

Scalability means there will be no limits on the number of affiliates you can have in the program, no limits on the orders you can process and the payments you can send out. In order to grow, you need support, and not additional constraints to think about. 

Self-service affiliate portal 

Part of the scalability idea along with the definition of seamless user experience, is a self-service portal or dashboard, where affiliates can get all the information they need about their collateral, their link or code and their financials without having to engage with your support team. It is imperative to allow affiliates to work with their data on their own terms, in an easy to use manner. Especially when you’re looking to grow the program. 

I would also add here that the affiliate dashboard should also have a clear hook for new affiliates who are looking to apply to your program. Whether you’re doing this in the programs widget or on the dedicated affiliate program details page, make it super easy for an application to be sent, without having to engage a member of your team to either answer questions or assist with the application. 

Automatic link/coupon generation

The affiliate software should handle the generation of affiliate links and coupon codes on demand; meaning whenever you approve an affiliate application and enroll an affiliate to your program, the system should generate their link or code and have it sent to them automatically and instantly. 

This will save you tons of time and if we think about scaling the program down the line, it will make the entire process super seamless for both sides. 

Commission management

Being able to send commission payments via your affiliate software is another must-have feature you should be looking for. This is imperative as it will ensure accurate and timely payment of commissions to your affiliates which ultimately works towards strengthening your relationship and establishing a solid image as an affiliate program owner. 

What to look for in an affiliate tracking software offer

There are a few factors that should be taken into consideration when evaluating different affiliate tracking software. 

Easy to implement, manage and use

If the software requires a lot of development resources to be involved in the setup, it usually means it will require a lot of technical support down the line as well. You want something that is easy to set up and manage and tweak as needed without too much resources deployed to this task. 

Pricing structure

Pricing is essential when it comes to choosing a software vendor. Always have scalability in mind; if you want to scale your programs, the software’s offer needs to support you in this and not grow in cost to you. 

There are few pricing models you’ll encounter on the market: 

  • Monthly subscription - this is pretty simple, you pay month-to-month for the use of the software. There may also be a platform fee (commission) which is a percentage of the total monthly approved affiliate orders that you pay on top of the software monthly price. 

  • Pay per use -  with this model you pay based on the number of approved affiliate orders. This may be a good model when your program is fairly small, but as you scale it it may become costly. 

  • One time fee - with one time pricing models, it’s usually the case where the vendor will self-host the program on your server, so they charge you a one time setup fee. 


The affiliate program, much like loyalty, rewards and referral programs, is an asset to your company and its goal is to drive revenue for the business. As such, you want to make sure it’s branded, it fully reflects your brand image, and emits a sense of community through clarity and concise language. 

The software you end up using needs to support this goal through advanced customization options. Text, colors, font, images and even a CSS editor for the front-end elements should be available to allow you to fully control the look of your program. 


Having a seamless flow of information between your tech stack is important as it will support your marketing and promotion efforts as well as ensure frictionless functioning of your affiliate program. 

You should be looking at integrations to payment tools, like PayPal for example, email marketing tools and CRMs. 


Having support available to you when you purchase an affiliate tracking software is also something you want to have. This is crucial for a seamless setup process and ensuring a frictionless launch. 

Wrapping up 

Part of launching an affiliate program for your brand is finding the right tools to support your goal. An affiliate tracking software is the most important tool you can invest in if your long term goal is to scale the affiliate program and grow it into a massive sales driving channel. Make sure the software has the must haves to support various use cases and the offer to be comprehensive in terms of pricing, ease of implementation and support.

Aleksandra Velkova

Aleksandra Velkova

Aleksandra is the Customer Success Manager at Lootly

Grow your brand with Lootly

Whether you are looking to acquire new customers, increase customer loyalty, or drive
new DTC subscriptions, Lootly’s loyalty marketing platform software can help.

Request a Demo