So, how do affiliate tracking pixels work exactly?
Affiliate tracking pixels are tools used to track user actions, like clicks or conversions, resulting from affiliate marketing efforts. These pixels allow merchants to know which affiliates should be credited for generating a particular action on their site, like a sale or a sign-up. Understanding how they work can give insights into the mechanics of online marketing and tracking.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how affiliate tracking pixels work:
- Affiliate Link Creation: Affiliates receive unique URLs (affiliate links) to promote the merchant’s product or service. These links contain unique identifiers (typically an affiliate ID) to ensure that traffic or sales generated through the link can be attributed correctly.
- Visitor Clicks on Affiliate Link: When a potential customer clicks on the affiliate link, the unique identifier (affiliate ID) is sent to the merchant’s website, signaling that the traffic originated from that specific affiliate.
- Placing a Cookie: Once the user lands on the merchant’s site, a cookie with the affiliate’s ID is placed on the user’s browser. This cookie serves to remember the affiliate responsible for directing the user to the site, and its duration can vary. Some last a day, some 30 days, and some even 90 days or more.
- Conversion Occurs: If the visitor decides to make a purchase or sign up (basically, completing a “conversion”), the pixel on the confirmation page is “fired” or activated.
- Sending Data: When the pixel is activated, it sends data back to the affiliate network or tracking system. This data typically includes details about the conversion, such as the sale amount, conversion date, and the affiliate ID (from the cookie).
- Data Interpretation: The affiliate network or tracking software interprets this data to determine which affiliate should be credited for the sale or sign-up.
- Reporting & Compensation: The recorded data is then reflected in the reporting dashboard of the affiliate network or tracking software. Based on these recorded conversions, affiliates are then compensated accordingly, usually through commissions.
If you’re interested in setting up an affiliate program to drive more leads or conversions, ReferDigital can help. Check us out today and let’s get you started with growing your business.