I've used Post Affiliate Pro as an affiliate and recommended it to many small businesses who want to set up an affiliate program. Incidentally, I've had some of my very best success as an affiliate with private programs that are small and are not on an affiliate network.
They use affiliate marketing software (affiliate) to track leads and manage the program in house. There are pros and cons to both but for this post I'm focusing on Post Affiliate Pro which is the affiliate software I've had the most experience with as an affiliate and recommend most to my clients.
Affiliate Marketing Tracking Software – Post Affiliate Pro Review
Why do I recommend Post Affiliate Pro? Simply put, it has the features you need at the price a small business can afford. I've seen everything from a Google Analytics tracking system to plugins and other options. The problem with some solutions is it has no transparency or is too hard to use. Your affiliates want to be able to log in at any time, grab links to specific products or pages, see what's working and how much money they have made.
If I had a wishlist for Post Affiliate Pro it would be to add a browser extension so I could more easily link to any page I'm on of merchants who have an affiliate program.
For the small businesses I talk to most are looking for something that isn't overly complicated to use but that has the features they need. Price is also an issue. For a new program starting out you may not want to spend or be able to spend thousands per month on your affiliate program. I believe Post Affiliate Pro is a great option because it's affordable and has a full set of features. It's been around a long time and is reliable.
Features of Post Affiliate Pro:
Post Affiliate Pro offers split commissions so you can give part of a commission to one affiliate and part to another. If a customer clicks on 3 affiliate links before buying, you can give each affiliate a piece of the commission. Just be aware that advanced affiliates hate this feature so you may want to see if you can exclude them and pay your best affiliates the full commission.
They also offer Lifetime Commissions – bloggers love this option. Rather than paying on sales in the last 30 days you can pay on ALL sales they generate with no timeframe.
If you have a subscription or product that bills monthly, you can easily pay recurring commissions.
Action Commissions that let you pay for actions like when someone downloads a PDF or fills out a form or application.
Mass Payments so you can pay everyone at once – this saves a ton of time.
Commission Groups so you can pay content affiliates (bloggers) differently than other affiliates (such as loyalty reward affiliates).
Multi tier commissions so pay affiliates for referring other affiliates to your program. They have an unlimited number of tiers. Although I recommend just 2 tiers for most programs.
Affiliate Reward Incentives
It's important to reward your top affiliates. Post Affiliate Pro has private campaigns that you can set up that will just be available to the affiliates you choose. You can also set performance rewards, for example, give a bonus to affiliates who reach a certain goal. In Amazon Associates for example, your percentage paid goes up when you sell more in one month.
Other Features of Post Affiliate Pro
- Map Overlay report so you can see where sales are coming from geographically (restrict countries that you do not want in your program or focus your efforts on a certain part of the country that's performing well – maybe sponsor a conference there).
- SubID / Channels tracking so you can see where your sales are coming from – social media or blog posts or coupon sites, for example.
- Direct Link Tracking to see what link to which products are driving the most sales.
- Fraud Protection.
- Campaign, Banner, Affiliate Report so you can see which ads or creatives perform best.
- Reports such as: Top URLs, Top Affiliates, Trends, etc.
- The ability to offer Discount or Coupons.
- Banner ads that rotate, HTML banners, text links and flash banners.
- You can integrate Post Affiliate Pro with WordPress, popular shopping carts and apps. Magento and Big Commerce are just a few. Here's a complete list.
- Direct linking. Add the click tracking code to the global index.tpl template, and your affiliates can link to any page on the site.
- Plugins of all types to add functionality to your program.
Here's what my login screen looks like as an affiliate. There's a logo on the top left and I can grab my affiliate link at the top. It shows the first 30 days of sales, clicks, impressions along with my conversion rate. I just signed up for this program so there aren't any sales.
Right at the top when I log in there's my affiliate link. It's very easy to navigate and to get reports.
Drawbacks of Post Affiliate Pro
I think the biggest drawback of Post Affiliate Pro is that it's not easy to set up. If you're not technical then you will need to hire someone to install the software and then customize the software. Or pay them to (see below). Expect to spend 10 hours or more – even they take 8 and they are pros.
I've had a few clients tell me that they struggled with the installation and the user-friendliness of Post Affiliate Pro. I know that you want something that's easy to use and easy to install. I'm afraid that most affiliate marketing software that's worth using is not especially easy to set up. Nor is it cheap. However, it's powerful and necessary if you want to run a successful affiliate program that can be scaled to include hundreds or thousands of affiliates.
I'm going to tell you that the perfect solution does not exist. Every client has a different brand, size of program, requirements, etc. You need to find the affiliate tracking software that works for your business. So there is no best affiliate program out there. There are bad ones (not supported or updated) and expensive software that have more than you need, and software like Post Affiliate Pro that is a good middle ground. There isn't one software that works for everyone.
There are a ton of options out there and I'm going to go with one that's been around for years and that has a solid business. Not a plugin or difficult to use solution that affiliates won't sign up for.
There are several excellent affiliate programs that were created in-house. However, most of my clients don't have the programming team to build and/or maintain a custom solution. They don't need or cannot afford that option.
It's frustrating when companies change affiliate programs frequently. You will lose affiliates and if you make them change all of their links they may not stay with you. Try to stick with the program you start with if possible.
Post Affiliate Pro Support
You can chat or email support. Phone support is dedicated to pre-sale questions. They are located in Slovakia so the hours are 7AM to 11:30PM week days and 7AM to 8:30PM on weekends, those are GMT+1 times. This is pretty typical – this is a more DIY type solution. If you want a lot of support you will pay for it because that's a big expense to provide.
I've noticed that people who provide help with installation cannot keep up on the questions and requests for help. If they're not careful they'll become a Post Affiliate Pro customer service rep and I'm sure they have better things to do!
I did find a video sample that shows someone setting up their Post Affiliate Pro interface. He seems like someone who you could hire to help. This video was created in 2016 so it's recent. The rest were several years old. This is to give you an idea of how Post Affiliate Pro works.
Post Affiliate Pro Price
Plans starts from only $29 / month for hosted/SaaS version. Starting at $299 you can get a license and install Post Affiliate Pro on your own server and integrate it with your site.
Post Affiliate Pro is software as a service so it is hosted on their servers and you pay for it monthly. You will not have any file or database access. There is a licensed version available if you want to self host.
All the plans come with unlimited affiliates but they go up by the number of tracking requests. For the $29 plan you get 500,000 tracking requests per month. That's more than enough for most of my clients.
There isn't a contract. If you're not happy with Post Affiliate Pro you can request a refund within a 30 day window.
Bottom line: If it's in your budget I would pay the $299 and get Post Affiliate Pro's team to install the software for you. It's called Full Integration Service and it's only available with the $99 a month option and above. If you downgrade before 3 months you have to pay back the difference in integration fees. Lower cost plans do not offer an integration service.