Voluum is a new tracking system that is causing a pretty big buzz in the online marketing industry, and for good reason. It’s the newest and the most advanced tracker to hit the market in years.
I have been a CPVLab user for several years but started experimenting with Voluum a few months ago. I posted some screenshots of my Voluum results on Facebook and people started messaging me right away.
Is Voluum better than CPVLab?
Do you still use CPVLab?
Is Voluum going to steal my campaign?
To answer all of your questions at once I’m going to give my personal review.
What Is A Tracking System?
A tracking system is a software used to monitor and optimize your online marketing campaigns.
Example: Malan creates ten Facebook ads for his band’s new CD. When someone clicks Malan’s ad, they are sent through his tracking system and it records the ad they clicked, their personal details (city, age, sex, etc.) and whether they buy a CD or not.
The next time Malan makes ads, he can use the ad that got the most clicks and target the kind of people who bought the most CDs and not waste money on people who don’t.
By doing this - Malan makes 10x more money.
Both CPVLab and Voluum are good tracking systems but they each have pros and cons. Keep reading to find out why.
CPVLab is a self-hosted, php based tracking software that myself and many other top affiliates have been using for the last 2–3 years.
I’ve recommended it many times on my site and still do, because it gets the job done.
CPVLab Tech Details (From Website)
- Linux Server – VPS or Dedicated Recommended GoDaddy & HostGator NOT Recommended
- PHP version 5.3 or above
- MySQL version 5.1 or above
- Minimum 100 MB of disk space
- IonCube Loaders 4.4 or above installed
When CPVLab came out it was a great replacement for Prosper202, an old school tracker that helped many of us get started, but stopped innovating and updating over time. So when CPVLab was released it was a fresh, new, easy-to-use way to track campaigns.
It was so much of an improvement that most of us switched, even though it was $297 and $147/year for updates versus 202 which was free.
There are a lot of good things about CPVLab. As I mentioned I still have a campaign or two using it. I’ve recommended it on the site in the past and for good reason.
List of CPVLab Pros
- Easy to Use & Split Test
- Rules and Colors
- Tracks many different campaign types
- Self Hosted
- 3rd party add-on for multi-variate testing (MVT)
- Good support
Easy to Use. Compared to 202, CPVLab is definitely an improvement. They simplified processes like setting up campaigns, split testing landing pages and rules-based manual optimization. You can be up and running in just a few minutes.
Rules and Colors. They have a rule system you can use that makes data turn different colors is it hits a target goal. For example: you can create a rule for a campaign that says my minimum desired ROI is 40% and when an ad or landing page hits 40% ROI it will turn yellow. It’s a great visual way to see when things are doing well.
Different Campaign Types. You can track all kinds of different types of campaigns out of the box. Direct linking, landing pages, multiple paths, lead capture, landing page sequences and email follow ups all work with no extra coding required.
Self Hosted. It’s also self-hosted (you install it on your server) so you can feel safe knowing that no one is looking at your data but you. Unless of course hackers target your installation, then there’s not a lot you can do.
3rd Party MVT Addon. A year or more ago a 3rd party developed a multivariate testing (MVT) addon that works inside of CPVLab. So you can optimize multiple points on a page at once. I used this add on off and on and found to be really useful for optimizing PPV landing pages.
Good Support. I’ve only needed to contact CPVLab support a few times over the years, but they were always responsive and helpful.
CPVLab does have it’s limitations. Over the years I’ve been frustrated many times with performance and server crashes when my traffic volume gets really high. On several occasions I’ve lost thousands of dollars due to this problem.
List of CPVLab Cons:
- Bogs down server at about 500k+ clicks
- Requires a VPS or Dedicated server to run well
- Requires a secure server to auto-post conversions
- Self Hosted
- It’s Kinda Ugly
- Lack of Updates
Bogs down server. Any super affiliate can tell you. If you use CPVLab on a high volume campaign you better watch it closely. Why? Because when CPVLab hits about 500–700k visitors in the database it starts to slow down and can crash your server.
If you want to use CPVLab on a big campaign you have to delete your precious data from the database on a regular basis or pay $100-$1500 a month for a dedicated server that can handle it.
VPS or Dedicated Server costs. As I mentioned above if you want to do real volume and be sure you don’t crash your server you need to spend $100-$1500 a month for a big server to handle the traffic. And unless you pay extra for a fully-managed server you’re going to be responsible if something goes wrong. I’m not a server admin so that meant I had to have a server employee on standby or spend hours myself fixing things when they went wrong.
Auto Posting Conversions. CPVLab requires a secure server (https) to auto-fire conversion pixels so that when you make a sales, it automatically shows in your CPVLab stats. If you don’t want to pay for the secure certificate or don’t know how to set it up you have to manually upload subids from the affiliate network into CPVLab. It’s doable but can take a lot of time when you consider you’ll be doing it multiple times a day, every day.
It’s Kinda Ugly. Sorry guys, I like the system but it ain’t pretty. When Tracking202 came out it looked amazing. Really clean design, cool charts and graphs. CPVLab is grey and flat and boring to look at.
Lack of Updates. When CPVLab came out it was great because 202 had lost interest and no longer updated the software and CPVLab had an active team that was going to be updating the software all the time.
Times change fast and code bases can become outdated in a year or two. Innovation for CPVLab slowed way down over the years, which left a lot of us looking for something new and up to date. (the same reason we moved to CPVLab from 202)
Overall Score: 6/10
CPVLab is a solid tracking system, has great support and is used by many top online marketers. But due to lack of innovation and updates the codebase can be a real problem if you run campaigns at high volume. To check out CPVLab click here.
Voluum was released in beta in late 2013 or early 2014. It has become a favorite of many top affiliates due to it’s innovation, ease of use, stable codebase and great design.
I first heard about Voluum more than 6 months ago by a gigantic Facebook affiliate who is always up to date on the latest tools and trends. He’s introduced me to several great tools in the past so when he told me that he’d switched from CPVLab to Voluum I knew I had to take a look.
The first thing I noticed about Voluum is that the sleek design. It’s white, minimal and really slick. Setting up new campaigns, split testing and optimization were really simple and I was up and running in about 10 minutes.
- Voluum Pricing: Free or $99/mo (based on traffic volume)
- Overall Score: 8/10
- Website: Voluum.com
Voluum Tech Details (From Website)
- Database technology: VoluumDB
- Programming language: Java
- Worldwide server locations
- 2 Year Data Retention
- Max click volume/day: 3 Billion+
Voluum came out at a time when most tracking system’s had stopped innovating their products. Not only did Voluum create a next-level tracker, they added so many new updates that it feels like you’re tracking campaigns in the future.
- They host it for you
- Servers around the world
- Built in Java
- Extremely simple to use
- Auto-fires conversion pixels by default
- International Redirect paths
- Redirect Path Rules
- Detailed info about your users
- 2 Year Data Retention
- Clean look / feel
They Host It For You. Voluum is a hosted tracking system which means it lives in the cloud. Some marketers are skeptical about allowing someone else to host their campaign data,but after using Voluum for a few days the upside of it being in the cloud was so huge that I quit being a skeptic.
Having a hosted solution feels like a dream and saves me $500+/month on my own dedicated server for CPVLab. I no longer have to worry about server maintenance or crashes again and that is a BIG relief.
Servers Around the World. Voluum has servers scattered all over the world. So when visitors hit your pages from other countries the redirects and server files are hosted locally. This results in faster redirects and speed = money.
Built in Java. I’m not a technical guy so I can’t tell you much about Java. But from what I understand PHP and MYSQL are the combo that was causing CPVLab to crash at around 500k users. Voluum uses Java and a proprietary database language to let them handle 2 Billion+ visits per day without going down.
Simple to Use. Once you get the hang of Voluum it’s a breeze to use. Once you get all of your traffic sources, offers and affiliate networks entered into the system, setting up a new campaign takes about two minutes.
Postback Pixels. If you’ve ever had to manually upload your subids from the affiliate network to your tracking system (1–25 times a day) than you’ll love this. Voluum uses postback pixels that automatically show your conversions in your stats by default. You just take a small code from Voluum, paste it into the affiliate network and pixels start tracking.
International Redirect Paths. Most traffic sources are not perfect at geo-targeting their users. So if you setup a campaign that is US only, you’ll end up with about 10–20% of your traffic slipping in from other countries. If your offer doesn’t accept international customers the affiliate network will redirect them to their own international offer on their backend. (Kinda shady, but true) Voluum solves this problem by letting you create a path just for international visitors, so that when they click your offer link they are redirected to an international offer that you get paid for. Using this international path, I’ve seen profits go up anywhere from 5–15%.
Redirect Path Rules. Voluum lets you redirect users to different paths based on their location, device type, browser and more. So if you want your mobile users to see a different landing page than your desktop users you can create that rule in the campaign setup in seconds.
Details About Your Visitors. One of the best things about Voluum that I’ve found is that they collect more info about your users than any other system by default. You don’t have to setup any special codes or scripts to get the info, making it a goldmine for mobile campaigns.
Voluum shows you the users OS version, Browser version, Device Type, Device Brand, ISP and all kinds of juicy details that will help you optimize. If you notice that a lot of conversions are coming from Windows XP (case study below) you can launch a new campaign targeting only those users and ROI goes through the roof. If all your mobile sales are coming from iPhones, you can eliminate all other phone types from the campaign and print cash.
2 Year Data Retention. To keep other tracking system from crashing you have to delete your data every few days or week depending on your volume. This means you can’t look back and study patterns. With Voluum you never have to delete your data and you can look back at campaigns for two years if needed to see what was working. Huge advantage.
Clean Look & Feel. Voluum’s design is good. I’m an ex-creative director and designer and I hate working in ugly software and applications. Voluum is white, minimal and uses strategic colors to help you keep track of things. Profits turn green, losses turn red. It’s nice to work in an app that looks as good as it works.
Since Voluum is so new it’s hard to bash it much because any feature that I think should be added is probably on their to-do list already. But there are a few things I don’t like about the system that I’ll go into now.
- Monthly Costs
- Hosted in the Cloud
- No multi-variate testing
Monthly Costs. Voluum has pricing tiers based on how many “events” (visits, clicks and conversion) you use. Most new affiliates with smaller campaigns can use Voluum for free, mid to high volume affiliates will fall into the $99/month category, and giant affiliates with huge campaigns will pay the higher rates.
- 0–100k events is Free
- 1,000,000 is $99/month
- 25,000,000 is $999/month
I’m really not a fan of recurring/monthly billing in my life so this was a big turn off for me. But using Voluum will allow me to cancel my dedicated server I had for CPVLab which and save me $150-$1500 a month which will balance out the costs.
Cloud Hosting. This was a turnoff for me at first. I mean, who wants to host their private campaign details on someone else’s server? If the guys at Voluum wanted to steal all of our campaign data they can just log in and take it. But as Voluum explains in their video – if someone wants to hack in and take all of your CPVLab data they can get that too.
No Multivariate Testing. Voluum does not currently support multi-variate testing. So for now, you can do MVT but maybe in the future the same developer will develop something for Voluum as well.
Overall Score: 8/10
Voluum is definitely a step forward from CPVLab when it comes to innovation, design and ease of use. But due to it being so new and with so many new features still being built it’s hard to give it a perfect score. However, most of my campaigns have been moved to Voluum now and that should say a lot. To check out Voluum click here.
Voluum Case Study
My first time using Voluum I ported over a campaign that was previously running in CPVLab. It was a profitable campaign that had been running for months. My idea was that I would split the traffic in half and see which tracker made more money.
Setting up a campaign in Voluum was very easy. You have to setup your traffic source, offer and landing page first and then you can create a campaign that use those assets. Once I had that down, it was a breeze.
About three days into the test CPVLab had a slight edge revenue-wise but not a big enough difference to call it a win. So while I waited for statistical significance I did some poking around in Voluum.
And that’s when I found this:
Voluum captures and reports a ton of info about your users by default, which to me was a new thing (CPVLab does not). As you can see in the image, I’m able to see their operating system, os version, browser, browser version, their device type (phone/tablet/desktop), device brand and all kinds of juicy details.
But the killer thing is that I can see how each different data point performs individually, meaning I can see which Operating System or browser is making the most MONEY.
My campaign had been running at about a 25% ROI for several months. But when I looked at the insider info provided by Voluum I saw that people using Windows were actually making 70% ROI. And when I dug deeper I saw that people using Windows XP specifically were making 110% ROI.
As you can imagine this was exciting to see.
The next time I put up new ads for the campaign, I set up two new ads and changed the targeting. The first ad targeted only Windows users and the second ad targeted only Windows XP users. (the XP user base was pretty small but I wanted to test it anyway.
As the data rolled in my ROI shot up. Windows users loved the offer I was promoting and my overall ROI for the campaign went from 25% to 55%.
Test Over, Voluum wins.
Voluum vs CPVLab Final Decision
As you can see from the Voluum case study above Voluum is now my tracker of choice. It’s hosted, fast as hell, looks great and it gives me all kinds of insider info about my visitors that I can use to optimize my campaigns and make more money.
That’s not to say that I think CPVLab isn’t good. It’s done the job for me for several years and like I said, about 10% of my traffic is still going through it.
But Voluum wins when it comes to using the latest technology and make things easy to use. I feel like my life is 10x easier since I switched. No more server maintenance, constantly clearing out data or server crashes. Voluum just works.
Voluum and CPVLab are both solid tracking systems and either one can get the job done. But the only advantage of using CPVLab has is that you can host it on your own server and buy a 3rd party add-on and do multivariate testing if you want to. But that’s just not enough of a reason for me to stick with it.
For me, Voluum is the tracking system I’ll be using moving forward. The fact that it can handle unlimited traffic, hold all of my data for 2 years and because it saves me the $500/month I was paying for a dedicated server for CPVLab it’s a no brainer.
But remember, even after the beta period you can run up to 100,000 events (visits, clicks, conversions) at no cost, which is more than enough for newer affiliates or for someone just wanting to take a test drive.