Don't be afraid to ask.....

Don't be afraid to ask.....

Is your team laughing at you behind your back?

Mine were….

Once upon a time, I managed an affiliate team of 20 without understanding how tracking worked……..

And I mean, NO IDEA. AT ALL.

How's that even possible?

I was too scared to ask.

They knew I didn’t “get it”.

I saw the eye rolls and the sniggers.

It was crushing.

If only someone has taken me aside and explained it…….

Because, you know, it’s really not that hard…….

If a dummy like me can understand tracking, you can too!

Here is how it works:

There are two main ways to track - (forget pixels - they are dead)

Server to Server (S2S) and Direct Linking.


1) Take a link you want to send a user to (to buy something or to fill out a form: it doesn’t matter)

2) This is called the Destination URL or the Final Landing Page

3) Your tracking software generates a Tracking Link which links to this. 

4) The Tracking Link is where the attribution magic happens. 

5) When a user clicks this link, they hit the tracking software’s server and all

targeting is engaged (caps, payout, anti fraud etc). 

6) In the process of hitting that server, a Transaction ID / Click ID is generated. 

7) This is a unique ID for that engagement in the system

8) That Transaction ID is appended to the URL and is passed to the Final Landing Page as the user redirects. Just like a UTM parameter.

9) Once the user is redirected, the owner of the Destination URL, stores the Transaction ID, server side and passes it back via a postback 

10) The data comes into your tracking platform and conversion data is tracked. This data can also now be made available to your Affiliates if you are in the middle.

Direct Linking

Facebook and Google deem the above redirect as a poor user experience.

There are variations on the below, but Direct Linking solves this.

1)You take a Destination URL that you want to send the user to.

2) Your tracking software generates a tracking link, but this time appends an Offer ID & Affiliate ID to the original Destination URL.

3)A user hits that link and via an Offer ID & Affiliate ID combination plus a piece of code, a Transaction ID / Click ID is generated after the click. 

4) This Transaction ID / Click ID can be carried through to post conversion events.

The image here explains it better……

Think my description sucks? 

Take a photo of the image with GPT Vision and ask it to explain……It will……without the waffle.

Bottom line?

Don’t be afraid to ask.

Life is too short to be scared about asking dumb questions.