It’s been shown time and again that starting a business is not easy.
New companies open their doors only to close down a year later. Sometimes it happens in as little as a few months.
This fact has been known in the brick and mortar retail world for decades. But it’s proving just as true in the world of ecommerce.
In a world where the failure rate for U.S. companies after five years is over 50 percent, and more than 70 percent in 10 years, it’s no wonder that so many online retailers are failing to keep the doors open.
Some experts have said that ecommerce businesses have an 80 percent failure rate.
Image: Magento Extensions
Drop shipping appears to be in an even more precarious position, with only about 10 percent surviving their first year.
So, if you’re planning on opening your own online retail business, the odds aren’t exactly in your favor. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to mitigate the risks that come with entrepreneurship.
Advertising has always been an important tool for businesses. It’s simple: no one is going to buy your product or service if they don’t know about it.
So of course you’ll likely be investing a fair portion of your hard earned cash toward your advertising budget. But this isn’t always easy.
You need to decide who to target your ads towards, which platforms will best promote your product, and come up with effective ad designs that can help drive conversions.
And those are just a few of the things you need to worry about.
Because, even after you’ve made every decision, checked every detail, and sent your ads out into the world, you still need a way to know if your efforts were successful or not.
Determining which processes are the most helpful to your business will ensure you stay afloat, but it will also ensure your advertising costs stay affordable and you have a higher likelihood of success.
Given the overwhelming demand for solutions to these problems, it should be no wonder that so many companies have popped up to help online marketers track their advertising performance.
Voluum brings with it experience. The company was founded in 2013 by Robert Gryn.
Given that it’s been on the scene for a relatively long time, Voluum has built a reputation for itself as a reliable ad tracking program.
The company provides a complete ad tracking solution that online marketers can use to manage, track, and optimize their ad campaigns from a single dashboard.
Their tools allow you to view both organic and paid traffic.
You can also monitor each event, click, and conversion with the goal of helping you make data-based decisions to help optimize your promotional efforts and improve your return on investment.
Of course, thanks to the company’s good standing, it can be a little pricey. We’ll discuss that a little further on.
Direct Tracking Pixel
Pixel tracking allows users to monitor the number of visits associated with your individual campaigns without the initial redirect.
This helps you by speeding up the process of redirecting visitors from the original advertisement to your landing page because there’s no need to set up a redirect page in the middle of the process.
Rather, your visitors are sent directly to your page, allowing you to view both the organic and paid traffic arriving at your landing page.
You can also track ad impressions using Voluum. One advertisement on a page counts as one ad impression.
This process involves enabling the feature on a traffic source (the website where the ad is displayed) and then configuring your ad campaign accordingly.
Voluum actually offers this ability for free and users aren’t billed for the event.
Conversion tracking is an important part of the advertising process. Afterall, you need to be aware of exactly how much money you’re making.
This tool helps you keep track of any event that is generated by a user who is performing a desired action. For example, they may be signing up for a newsletter, installing an app, or making a purchase.
When a conversion happens, this is recorded by an affiliate network. In order to record the conversion within Voluum, the information needs to be passed from the affiliate network to Voluum.
This feature involves a bit of work to set up, but once it’s up and running, it can be one of the most effective ways to measure the success of a campaign.
Invalid/bot traffic detection
Malware, malicious bots or scripts, and spyware are just some examples of the nefarious things floating around the internet than can slow down your campaign.
Voluum offers a monitoring tool to help you ensure your campaign is safe. It will notify you if it spots any suspicious traffic – that can include the aforementioned bad actors or suspicious referrers.
Whatever the source, there are things operating on the web that would try to impact your business and this tool helps you avoid them.
According to Voluum, this is “the world’s first offer marketplace built into a tracker.”
It helps Voluum’s clients by finding offers that they may want to promote. It also removes postbacks and offers pre-set URLs.
Currently, this is in Beta mode, and so some of the features could change by the time the full feature launches (at an unspecified time in the future).
As of now (and without spending too much time on technical jargon), Office Marketplace uses APIs to communicate with affiliate networks, according to Voluum’s website.
Depending on how much integration exists, it can fetch publicly available offers, show you private offers that would be available after integrating your own affiliate network account, and apply for others from within the same panel.
Voluum App Notifications (iOS/Android)
Voluum has created a tool that allows you to get push notifications for a number of different events.
You can set up alerts for the first conversion of a new campaign. Maybe you’d prefer to receive a notification when you hit a specific sales target.
According to Voluum’s website, in terms of notifications, its Mobile App allows you to receive system notifications when one of the events listed below occurs:
First conversion in campaign
Conversion cap at 75% of daily limit
Conversion cap at 100% of daily limit
Exceeded the limit of events
Twice exceeded the limit of event
The mobile app also allows you to create your own custom notifications.
As we said earlier, Voluum has a certain amount of clout within the industry that allows it to charge a slight premium for its products and services.
However, it does still have a tiered system that can be useful for helping different users meet their different needs.
Fortunately, the company recently introduced a new tier at the lower end of the pricing spectrum to help attract smaller businesses and entrepreneurs.
Voluum’s Entry Plan is $69 per month and features one million events a month, one custom domain, one dedicated domain with SSL, and three months of data history.
It also includes a Group Onboarding Webinar, Marketplace with exclusive offers, organic paid and pixel tracking, and the mobile app with basic notifications.
The Basic Plan will cost you $224 per month and comes with two million events per month, six months of data retention, one customized domain, and one dedicated domain.
The company’s most popular option, The Advanced plan, will cost you $449 per month.
It comes with ten million events each month, two additional users, a year’s worth of data retention, three customized domains, and one dedicated domain.
Each of these services come with a free seven-day trial. You can also create your own customized plan and save further with annual subscriptions.
ThriveTracker was originally named simply Thrive and was founded in 2014 by Tom Fang as part of his iPyxel company. That makes it only a year younger than Voluum.
Fang started Thrive because he saw that the self-hosted tracking programs that existed weren’t up to snuff.
Initially, the company only offered a self-hosted plan, but has since come to offer a cloud-hosted option that is powered by Amazon Web Services, according to Fang.
This option has brought it into direct competition with Voluum.
In 2017, the company was acquired by Clickbooth, a well-known affiliate network, proprietary performance exchange, and a portfolio company of the private equity firm Centre Lane Partners.
At that time, the product was rebranded as ThriveTracker, but remained a stand-alone division within Clickbooth.
“We believe in the performance marketing space.
We have known Tom Fang, Thrive founder, for years and watched him build a product that very clearly punches above its weight,” said Clickbooth CEO Erin Cigich at the time of the deal.
“It acts as a ‘home base’ for affiliates to monitor the performance of their campaigns and is a vital tool we see all of our top affiliate partners using to increase the quality, consistency, and volume of traffic they can drive.
We are planning to immediately invest in additional resources to augment the development and customer service teams.”
As a result of these movements, ThriveTracker has proven itself to be a fast growing and ambitious company. Let’s see how its features live up to this reputation.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about ThriveTracker is that it is constantly being updated.
The company purports to have a dedicated team of developers constantly working on rolling out new features and ways to optimize the platform.
Thrive makes use of a globally distributed AWS (Amazon Web Services) infrastructure and its own proprietary technology to provide its services.
Self-Hosted Vs. Managed-Hosted
ThriveTracker is one of the first platforms on the market to offer the option between self-hosting and cloud-hosting.
That means that if you prefer the full control of the self-hosted platform, you can have it.
Or if you prefer to rely on the speed and versatility of the cloud-hosted tracker, giving you time to dedicate your energies to other important matters, then you can make use of that option.
The self-hosted tracker costs significantly less as well, at $99. The managed ThriveTracker will run you $299.
You will need to have a fairly robust infrastructure already in place if you choose to host your own tracker.
ThriveTracker’s click tracking pixel can be placed on your landing page to help run traffic directly from there from your traffic source.
This allows ThriveTracker to track everything without a redirect, while still allowing you to split test offers, according to the company’s website.
The feature integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google ads, and many others.
That’s because your actual landing page is the final destination URL, which has the added bonus of decreasing latency and increasing performance.
It literally has a 0 millisecond redirect speed, meaning it isn’t possible to get any faster.
You simply enter the code into the body of your landing page. Once there, the code will dynamically pass any traffic source parameters to the appropriate variable in the landing page pixel.
Just remember to read the instructions in the model that comes up after you click the button.
The pixel automatically recognizes which landing page in your campaign rotation to post the clicks to, and the Thrive landing page code will redirect visitors to the appropriate offer or offers in your rotation, according to Thrive’s site.
Track Multi-Step Upsell Funnels
This is a unique way of tracking up-sells that ThriveTracker offers. It allows you to attribute upsell conversions to different offers.
So, for example, if you have an offer for the primary conversion and then separate offers for each up-sell, you’ll be able to see the conversions for each.
Essentially, ThriveTracker generates a unique sub ID for each upsell offer, even if its converted within the same sub ID.
That means each upsell conversion will be marked as a separate conversion and attributed to the appropriate offer, the company’s website asserts.
This is generally considered higher quality data since you can run reports and analysis on the up-sells separately, which allows for more flexibility.
This is one of ThriveTracker’s relatively new features, which supports the claim that their team is frequently updating the platform.
Rev-share, according to ThriveTracker, is designed to help you keep a portion of the total revenue private, reporting only the amount you specify to the source because you are collecting the remaining percentage.
This allows ThriveTracker users to reduce their visible revenue amount by a specific percentage when certain URL criteria are met. Ostensibly, you get to control how others see your revenue.
Thrive released a new dashboard in the last year with the intention of allowing users to see their most vital analytics in an advanced, modern display, according to the company.
The skeleton of the dashboard was unchanged, but the information was reorganized to make it easier to understand and provide users with all of their most valuable metrics at a glance.
The new update made the dashboard fully mobile responsive. You also gain the ability to view your top five best and worst performing offers, campaigns, landing pages, and traffic sources.
This is perfect for the online marketer who enjoys getting out into the real world.
ThriveTracker’s pricing packages are much more competitive than Voluum’s.
That could be based on the fact that this company has something more to prove, given that it’s been around for such a short time.
The company offers a sliding scale of tiers that is different from any other company we’ve seen.
For example, at the low end of the spectrum is the Cloud Lite plan at $35, which offers 100,000 clicks. The next step up is the $79 Cloud Classic.
There’s also Cloud Pro, Cloud Entrepreneur, and Cloud Enterprise:
Basically, the company allows you to decide on your price range based on how many clicks you think you’ll receive in a given month.
The granularity of the pricing scale make this an attractive option for companies of any level.
Furthermore, this speaks to the company’s attention to detail and customer support.
ThriveTracker also offers a two-week free trial.
There are many companies out there that are vying for your ad-tracking dollars. These are certainly two of the best.
Voluum has a long history of providing a top of the line products and services to its customers and has built up a positive reputation as a result.
The company has robust and unique features. But its pricing plans put it out of reach of many dropshippers.
ThriveTracker has many varied and interesting features that set it apart, as well as a proven track record of frequently updating and adding new features.
Add to that it’s plethora of pricing tiers and it starts to pull ahead of the competition.
Perhaps it’s thanks to the backing from Clickbooth, but ThriveTracker seems to have edged ahead of Voluum in recent years. So, for now, our suggestion is ThriveTracker.THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Sam Zaman loves to write on technology & related stuff. Ecommerce, mobile and internet marketing equally drive her interest. Likes gardening and experimenting with new recipes. An avid reader and absolutely mad @bout donuts 🙂