What Are Traffic Leaks?

In affiliate marketing a traffic leak is defined as any diversion or distraction that causes your referral to leave the merchant’s site causing you to lose your commission. 

For example, a customer clicks on the affiliate link on your website leading to your merchant’s site only to have the site visitor spot a toll-free phone number and call the merchant directly to place his order.  Even though the tracking cookie from your site is placed properly, the connection (and your hard-earned commission for the sale) is lost forever once he picks up the phone to order.

It’s not just phone numbers that lead to traffic leakage.  There are other things to watch out for:

Types Of Traffic Leaks

  1. The aforementioned telephone number or live chat
  2. Amazon widgets leading to other products
  3. Links to other offers including:
  • Google Adsense ads
  • Other related (or unrelated) network offers
  • Stores or merchants

Phone numbers are easy to spot on your merchant’s sites but leakage links can often be difficult to locate since they can be either banners, text links, or even images.

Are All Traffic Leaker’s Bad Merchants?

No.  Some are knowingly trying to rip you off but others are just ignorant of their site’s design and function and simply don’t know better.  That, or they haven’t thought about it from an affiliate marketer’s viewpoint.

Either way, before you promote any merchant take a good hard look at their landing page to make sure you know if there are any potential leaks.  If you find any leaks contact the merchant and ask nicely if they would consider removing the traffic leaks from their site to increase conversion.  You may have to explain to them what a traffic link is since some of them really don’t know.  If they won’t cooperate with you then its time to find a new merchant to send traffic to.  You should never have to compete with your merchants for sales.

What About Phone Numbers?

Removing a link or two may be an easy request to make to a merchant but asking them to remove a phone  number is an entirely different suggestion.  They’ll argue that the phone number must stay for the program to work.  In that case you can either ask them to place it in a less conspicuous place or consider setting up phone commission tracking – which is a service that’s available to them.  One such service is Invoca:  www.invoca.com

Photo Credit: the real Tiggy Flickr via Compfight cc

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