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Revisions in Affilimate: How to track your affiliate website experiments

By Monica Lent   ·   October 4, 2019

One of the main things we hear from bloggers is that it can be hard to know whether or not the changes you make are really working.

At the end of the day, what matters is the amount of money that gets deposited in your bank account. But most of the time, that number is a bit of a black box. On top of that, revenue is what we call a "lagging indicator", because it can come days or weeks after the initial click on your website.

We can get an idea sooner of how your changes are working.

That's why today we're announcing Revisions. Read on to learn what they are, how they can help you, and what's coming next.

Revisions in Affilimate

Not using Affilimate for your affiliate analytics yet? Apply to join the beta program for a 50% discount code. This offer is only valid for a limited time!

What you'll learn in this post

  1. What are revisions?
  2. When is a revision statistically significant?
  3. What can you learn from revisions?
  4. Our plans for revisions v2

What are revisions?

Revisions are a historical representation of how your blog posts have changed over time.

Here's how it works: every night, Affilimate crawls your sitemap and checks for pages with a "Last Modified" date of that day. If it finds a modified page, it takes a screenshot and also creates a new "revision" of that post.

The important thing is that it helps put your data into context.

Because what does it matter if your post is performing better, if you can't remember exactly what you changed to get it there?

Otherwise, it's hard to take that strategy and apply it and test it on other posts!

Let's walk through the new "Revisions" tab in the Pages section of Affilimate.

Revisions in Affilimate
  1. Revisions tab: New tab which you'll find for every Page in Affilimate
  2. Modification date: The day you published your last revision to that post
  3. Active days: The number of days that revision of the post was live
  4. Total pageviews: The total number of times that revision has been seen
  5. Pageviews / day: On average, how many pageviews did you have per day for this revision
  6. CTR: Average click-through rate per page
  7. CPM: Average clicks per one thousand visitors
  8. Jump to Details: Open the "Details" tab for the timeframe this revision was active
  9. Jump to Heatmap: Open the "Heatmap" tab for the timeframe this revision was active

Besides the tab, you'll also find a new element called the Revision Selector which has a little "Stack" icon and lives next to the current Timeframe Selector.

Here's what it looks like.

Revisions in Affilimate

This allows you to choose a revision whose data you want to view, whether you're looking at your "Details" or your "Heatmap", so you don't need to jump back and forth to the Revsions tab.

How it works: You choose a revision and then check the box "Sync timeframe with revision", and you'll then see the lifetime data for the duration that revision of your post was active.

When is a revision statistically significant?

As a rule of thumb, for heatmap data you want to collect at least 2,000-3,000 pageviews in order to be confident in the results.

However, a lot of things can change over time when it comes to people's shopping habits. They can be affected by the day of the week, month, or year.

For example: Traffic on some websites tends to peak on the weekends (let's see what Amazon can still deliver while I'm home today!) while on others, it diminishes (like on those news sites you browse when you're procrastinating something at the office 😏). Shopping habits can also change depending on whether it's the beginning of the month (just got paid!) or the end of the weekend (crap, I need to book my vacation, I am such a procrastinator!). Seasonality is also a big factor for some niches too (summer holidays vs. Christmas shopping are two classic examples).

For that reason, a longer timeframe is better when it comes to making decisions.

That's why we recommend you leave a post revision live for at least 2-4 weeks before acting on the data, assuming that post reached a minimum of 2,000-3,000 pageviews in that timeframe.

Revisions in Affilimate

TIP: To determine if a post has been active long enough for the data to be significant, check that the "Total Pageviews" is at least 2,000-3,000 and that the "Active days" is 14-28.

What can you learn from revisions?

So much of optimizing affiliate posts is about context. What's the intent of the reader who lands on your page, and how you can optimize for that, answer their questions, and help them find a solution: ideally through a product or service you're promoting.

With that in mind, here are a couple of starting points you can use for exploring your revision data.

Compare adjustments using CTRs: In this example, you can see that I changed a lot of the products I was promoting in the post and managed to add more appealing affiliate links early in the article. This post gets decent traffic, so I knew that if I worked on it a bit I could get more out of it.

Revisions in Affilimate

Compare adjustments using Heatmaps: In this example, I changed my link text from "Japan Rail Pass" to "compare different Japan Rail Passes". This adjustment improved my click-through rate from 0.8% to 2.8%, and for a partner that offers a long cookie duration.

Revisions in Affilimate

TIP: Use your heatmaps to compare revisions and determine if a different call-to-action or placement results in a much higher click-through rate!

Revisions in Affilimate

Those are just two concrete examples from a post I've been tweaking over the last few months!

Not using Affilimate for your affiliate analytics yet? Apply to join the beta program for a 50% discount code. This offer is only valid for a limited time!

Our plans for improving Revisions

As they are today, Revisions is a foundation for a lot more features that can help bring context to the data-driven decisions you want to be making about your affiliate posts.

Here are a few things we're planning to add to revisions over time:

  • Notifications of new revisions: Get notified after we've created a new heatmap for one of the pages you've changed.
  • Notifications when a revision has become significant: That way you know which posts are ready to have their results checked and compared.
  • Compare heatmaps by revision: Easily compare two heatmaps side by side.
  • Revenue: Compare revisions with stats such as EPC (earnings per click) and RPM (revenue per thousand visitors).

Got an idea? Feedback? Join the discussion on Facebook and let us know how you plan to use Revisions and what could be better!

Title photo by Alex Kondratiev on Unsplash

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Monica Lent(@monicalent)

Co-founder of Affilimate. Software engineer by day, blogger, affiliate marketer, and SEO geek by night. I'm here sharing data-driven tips for earning more from your website.

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