An interview with Peter Varga, managing director of ThriveTracker

A click-tracking application needs to be a part of every performance marketer’s toolkit, allowing multiple campaigns and media buys to be analyzed in one place using independent data. There are a few good click-trackers in common usage, and one of the most interesting is ThriveTracker, designed from the ground up to challenge the industry leaders and provide better value. Blue Book recently sat down with ThriveTracker’s new managing director, Peter Varga, to find out how he plans to increase ROI for everyone.

Blue Book: When I think about tracking solutions, Voluum and FunnelFlux spring to mind. What does Thrive do better? What’s your elevator pitch for why an advertiser should choose Thrive for their campaign management?  

Peter Varga: We have spent the last five years building what we believe is the best tracking solution in the industry. We offer class-leading reliability in a platform that provides detailed insight into the performance of content, creatives, and traffic sources, resulting in a fully transparent picture of a media buyer or affiliate’s business. Not only that, we offer state-of-the-art features like AI optimization at every plan level, so that every advertiser can take advantage of the benefits. And we work harder. Our clients receive world-class support including after-hours and weekend guidance as we work in partnership to grow their business. 

BB: What makes ThriveTracker better? How is it different from other trackers and why do those features matter to performance marketers? 

PV: I believe we improve on competitor offerings in all kinds of ways, however the two I’ll highlight are the Entry Click only charge and our new AI Optimization tool. 

Entry Click is one of the ways in which we save our clients money. Modern sales funnels often include multiple clicks before conversion takes place. These can be described as “hits” or “events” or some other term that will often conceal the fact that, under competitor plans, these all get counted towards their total click allocation and are charged for accordingly. We don’t do it that way. We track every click in the funnel, but we only charge you for the very first Entry Click. We keep it simple and cost effective. If you look at complex funnels that might include redirect rules and/or offer branches, you can see how quickly clicks can accumulate. We take away all the guesswork out of how they will count towards your plan by simply counting the entry click for cost purposes while still providing complete in-depth tracking and insight. 

AI Optimization is included in all our plans at no additional cost to our users because we think everyone should benefit from the impact it can have on profitability. Our tool uses complex bayesian algorithms to automate the distribution of traffic to the highest performing offers/landers. This directly contributes to improved bottom line ROI while saving huge amounts of time spent on split-testing or other optimization. We really aim at maximizing campaign ROI. Users have the ability to enable AI Optimization on a campaign level and can even customize their settings most notably within the calculation method choosing between CVR, EPC or ROI. We also try and make the optimizations the system makes as transparent as possible. We have a timeline chart so you can see what changes were made when by the AI system, at 15 minute intervals. It’s a whole new level of insight. I think our AI tools are the best in the business. 

BB: Tracking seems to be constantly evolving and I’m hearing more and more about Parallel-Tracking. What is it and what will it do for me?

PV: The idea is to improve conversion rates by letting landing pages load faster. Faster load times have a direct correlation to increased ROI, so we developed a way to separate the tracking parameters from the actual landing page URL. That’s what Parallel Tracking is. It sends the visitor directly to the final landing page, and lets the tracking happen in the background. We do this by providing a parallel tracking URL that our clients can implement as their tracking template within Google Ads. We also have a cookieless landing page pixel to go with it. It’s simple and super-effective

BB: Browsers and mobile devices are becoming less welcoming environments for tracking, and regulations like GDPR are having a big impact on some companies. How do you think this will affect affiliate marketers over the next few years? 

PV: Short answer, it will push marketers to adapt. Most people who have been in the space for an extended period of time have encountered challenges and come out on the other side with a stronger, more stable business. This evolution will be the same and we are working hard to make it easier for our clients. Directly relating to GDPR, for example, one of the features we built to support our clients in that transition was the Landing Page pixel. ThriveTracker’s landing page pixel allows users to track direct to the landing page without a campaign redirect, and we also added cookieless functionality earlier this year to track those clicks when browser cookies are not enabled.

BB: Advertisers new to performance marketing sometimes face a steep learning curve when it comes to tracking. What is your best advice for an advertiser wanting to set up their own tracking solution for the first time? 

PV: It can be intimidating, even while it’s also exciting to be setting up a new campaign. My advice would be to simply take a deep breath and utilize the resources around you. We work hard to make things easy. Our support team has done a great job building out how-to docs along with video tutorials that take complex setups and break them down into simple step-by-step instructions. For those clients looking for a higher level of support, our VIP onboarding program includes one of our account managers working directly with you to setup your campaign(s) and provide ongoing support. And regardless of the level a customer might be at, we always welcome questions.

BB: You’re working hard to grow ThriveTracker which means that new clients will often have to move their campaigns from one platform to another. How hard is that? I’m always worried about possibly losing data.

PV: It can be a big worry if the platform you’re moving to doesn’t make it easy. Our goal for Thrive clients is to mitigate the hassle and avoid any potential loss of data. We have three different tools available to help with this process. First, our Migration Tool which  allows Voluum users to migrate over all their traffic sources, networks, landing pages, offers, rotations, and campaigns in as simple a way as possible. Then we also offer our Bulk Import tool for Offers and Landing Pages, Affiliate Networks and Bulk Insert into Rotation. Third, API Calls for creating offers, landing pages, campaigns, rotations, redirect rules, and branches. Taken together we think these tools provide the easiest migration path in the industry. We’re always looking for ways to save our clients time and money.

BB: Okay, a big question that I know will be on the minds of a lot of readers: ThriveTracker is a part of the Clickbooth group of companies. I could imagine some people being bothered by a tracker being under the same ownership as a network so what’s the deal?

PV: Yes, ThriveTracker is a part of the Clickbooth family of companies. We have dedicated leadership, sales, and customer service teams, but we are able to tap into a huge development team with massive experience in performance marketing. It is actually a huge benefit for ThriveTracker and our customers. In addition, we can utilize corporate services for technology talent, marketing support and accounting which also passes on to clients in the form of cost savings. I’m sure you’ve seen us “co-branded” at shows – we don’t hide it.

BB: You have only recently taken over leadership of ThriveTracker but we here at Blue Book have known you for years. Tell our readers a little about yourself and your background in the industry. 

PV: I was introduced to performance marketing back in 2003 while in college. You could say I had a “eureka” moment and have been hooked ever since. I was largely focused on SEO and Paid Search campaigns utilizing Google Adwords which was the hot new traffic source back then… crazy, right? After five years of being on the front lines as an affiliate marketer, I wanted to learn more about the network side of the business and started my career with Clickbooth in the summer of 2008 as an Affiliate Executive. In 2016, I transitioned over to Revcontent which gave me great insight into how native traffic sources operate. After rejoining Clickbooth in January, I was presented with the opportunity to lead ThriveTracker starting in May and I haven’t looked back since.  

I love the performance marketing space. 16 years in the space and never a dull moment. This industry is always on the move and forever changing, which creates unique challenges but even greater wins. How can you not love that!

Peter Varga, Jr. is the Managing Director of ThriveTracker, the premier AI tracker for performance marketers. Peter is a 16-year veteran of the industry, and excels at developing key relationships with clients, providing guidance in the performance marketing space, and helping customers to optimize return on investment (ROI).