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How Reliable Is Affiliate Tracking?

How Reliable Is Affiliate Tracking?


One of the most basic requirements of any affiliate network is for sales to track correctly.

On occasions, there may be instances where a sale has failed to track for a variety of reasons. This could be because a customer has inadvertently deleted their cookies or their browser security settings are set at a level that does not accept certain types of cookies.

There has recently been a thread on the forum asking how many sales take place through the affiliate channel that have not been tracked. This is something that we have been monitoring over a period of time.

While it may be difficult to determine how many transactions have taken place that have not tracked, a good starting point is to look at the volume of (valid) missing transactions that have been referred through cashback sites, and look at this as a percentage of their total transactions.

If we consider the concept of a cashback site, consumers are using these in order to get money back from their purchase. If for one reason or another their sale does not track, they are going to raise a missing transaction query with the cashback site. In turn this will be passed onto the network to be resolved with the advertiser. In essence, we are able to get a true reflection of tracking reliability through the network.

Contrary to a common misconception, the percentage of sales that do not track is minimal. Looking at five of the key cashback sites on the network, it is evident that on average the tracking is 98.3% accurate. The most recent stats show that the tracking reliability over the past 3 months is just under 99%*

*Please note, data has only been included up to the end of September as missing transaction queries from October and November have not been submitted yet.

If we look at two of the key cashback sites that are on the network and their individual reports, we are able to see how these perform.

Site A

Site B

Again it is evident that the vast majority of sales through the network are tracking correctly.

It is important to point out that tracking is not affected by periods of reporting delays. All sales continue to be tracked and will be reported on once the delay has been caught up with.

While there are undeniably some sales that will not track for reasons beyond our control, the vast majority of sales through affiliate networks will track successfully. This is something that is important to monitor and we will continue to do so.

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Matt Swan

Matt Swan

As a Client Strategist at Digital Window Matt works with advertisers across both Affiliate Window and platforms. The role involves working closely with the account management and business development teams on delivering and optimising affiliate campaigns.

Matt also works on research projects both for individual clients and overall market trends. He has recently undertaken research into the mobile network sector and also investigating the growth of m-commerce within the affiliate channel.

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