One of the main goals of affiliate marketing is to track and monitor the whole process right from when a customer is redirected to a site to completing a specific action, such as buying a product from the merchant. When this happens, the merchant awards the specific affiliate with a commission. Essentially, this is what happens with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing allows businesses to monetize their site traffic and earn commissions. It’s a great source of revenue businesses can leverage, irrespective of their niche or industry. This post will take you through managing cookie duration in affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing entails marketing and selling products/services for a commission. It’s a simple concept that involves other smaller processes. But at its core, affiliate marketing generally means selling someone else’s product to earn money.
What Are Cookies?
A cookie is a tiny bit of info a website collects and stores on your PC. The next time to revisit the website, the browser that collected the cookies sends the data back to the site. Cookies are designed to collect and remember your details.
For instance, if you are shopping from an online bookstore, the site will store information about the titles and names of the authors of the books you buy. The next time you revisit the online store, your browser provides the site with the relevant cookie information.
The website can then put together a list of related books from the same authors or topics you may be interested in. Cookies can also remember your login information, username, passwords, and more.
Customer Tracking Duration in Affiliate Marketing
Modern means of tracking customer duration rely on IP addressed and e-mail. When the customer clicks on the affiliate link and buys a product/service before the expiry period, the link earns the website some commission. But if the purchase is made after the tracking period has expired, the affiliate doesn’t receive any commission.
For instance, if you’re a blogger and wrote about “The 5 Second Rule,” a book by Mel Robbins that is sold on Amazon. If you add an Amazon link to this book on your website, the Amazon link creates an affiliate cookie.
This link is unique to all visitors, and the cookie information is stored on their respective browsers. If one of your visitors buys from the affiliate link before it expires, the affiliate (the blogger) gets a commission.
The Average Customer Tracking Duration
Usually, the average customer tracking duration lasts between 1-30 days. One gets a commission if someone revisits the affiliate link and buys a product when the cookie is valid. Most customers, including affiliate program owners and merchants, often wonder how long a customer duration should last in their affiliate program.
It should be noted that cookie lifetime begins when the customer revisits the affiliate link. The lifetime of a cookie can be as little as one day or even 365 days. It all comes down to how the affiliate program is designed.
So, does customer visit lifetime validity affect tracking?
After experimenting with three types of cookie lifetimes, i.e., one expires in 1 day, seven days, and 30 days. Results show that tracking capability is unaffected. About 93% of the conversions were not tracked while running the 24-hour cookie.
On the other hand, We monitored 96% of the conversions in the 7-day cookie. The 30-day cookie recorded a 98% monitoring capability. This indicates that a longer cookie duration allowed more sales to be tracked. This could result in giving the cookie more time to settle.
Does Customer Tracking Duration Affect Sales?
Typically, cookie duration doesn’t affect sales. The main thing that will influence customers to click on the affiliate link and make a purchase is an offer in question. The numbers above show that even when a cookie is active for a day, it accounts for more than 90% of the sales. So, whether you extend the cookie expiry period, the sales transaction will still be recorded.
If you’re planning to launch an affiliate program, the chances are that you’re wondering how long the cookie period should last. As mentioned previously, the average period is usually set to 30 days. Limiting the cookie duration to anything less than 30 days will only push affiliates away.
Since the cookie duration doesn’t affect sales and tracking, affiliate sellers don’t suffer any losses when the period is extended. Setting the cookie lifetime to 365 days may be a good idea since the affiliate owners will be comfortable knowing their ads are not wasted by cookies expiring soon.
Customer Duration Abuse
Before attracting affiliates or using affiliate links to advertise affiliate products, it’s worth knowing more about cookie stuffing. Abusers often use this black hat technique to get commissions for sales, even without any form of advertising. Cookie stuffing occurs when cookies are planted in a customer’s PC without necessarily clicking on the affiliate link. Usually, this leads to a massive influx of sales connected to the affiliate ID.
If you’re an affiliate looking to earn something from selling other people’s products and services, it’s good to keep off such black hat practices. Doing this will ensure that affiliate websites and networks do not blacklist you.
It’s not worth the risk! Sure, it’s appealing because you’ll earn money when starting. But you risk losing a long-term source of income just because of short-term gains. Worse, some companies can proceed to take legal action against you. So, in some cases, you can land in jail. The repercussions are not worth it.
To make the best out of affiliate marketing, it’s crucial that you’re aware of cookie stuffing and how you can safeguard yourself from it. The last thing you need is to pay thousands to someone who planted cookies on their PCs to reap profits without genuine recommendations.
Luckily, you can use intelligent cookies designed to track traffic data. These smart cookies will help you discern when cookies are from legitimate suggestions.
Using Customer Duration Lifetimes as an Affiliate
To this point, you understand that setting the cookie duration to last longer ensures that the affiliate owners don’t have to worry about the expiry of their cookies. Accordingly, you must take advantage of the timing strategy to time the ads effectively as an affiliate. Here are a few pointers to help you get started.
Determine the Customer Duration Lifetime
Before you use any affiliate link to sell other people’s products/services, determine the cookie lifetime. Knowing the expiry period will help you to schedule and optimize your advertisements.
Optimize Your Ads
Now that you know how long the cookies last, you should optimize the ads around the specific times. For example, if a cookie lasts for seven days, you’ll have to adopt specific marketing strategies to trigger people into taking action as soon as possible.
You can entice people to buy by indicating affiliate links’ huge discounts. You can also make your audience aware that the offer is only valid for that specific period. If the cookie is valid for one day, ensure your audience is familiar. This will motivate them to take action before the offer expires.
Leverage a Repeatable Advertising Process
Cookies only last for a specific period before they expire. Some will expire in a day, whereas others will last 365 days. It makes sense to adopt a repeatable advertising process where you can renew the cookies once they expire. This allows you to replant the cookie even after it expires continuously. In other words, it reactivates the cookie so that you can earn commissions from the products/services sold using it.
Best Practices When Using Affiliates
There are a few things that can really benefit you as an affiliate.
Use Images and Videos
Social media platforms remain one of the best platforms to attract sales. You can draw your audience and generate more sales using images and videos of the products or services. Studies reveal that people have a short attention span when browsing the web.
Therefore, images and videos are the best way to capture their attention and generate sales. This works best for affiliate links with a shorter lifespan.
People will want to click on your affiliate links if there are other complimentary benefits they can gain. Offer incentives, and you’re more likely to get many clicks, allowing you to increase your commissions.
Make the Affiliate Links Look Attractive
People might not click on your affiliate links if the links have your name on them. Try to create shortened links that look good. The links can also include the name of the product or service you’re selling. This way, your market will be sure they are clicking on the correct links and are not getting scammed.
Over to You
Managing your customer duration will impact how you benefit from the affiliate links. Therefore, you must know how to optimize your marketing techniques to match the cookie lifetime. Whether you’re using cookies with a shorter or longer lifetime, you must understand the needs of your affiliates. Moreover, ensure you weigh the pros and cons of customer duration with varying lifetimes.