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Desperately struggling to know 3rd party tracking and which one to use for multiple accounts

Discussion in 'Tracking' started by marketerLevi, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. marketerLevi

    marketerLevi Affiliate affiliate

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    Hello guys, I've spent at least 8 hours reading various forums, videos and explanations and this whole 3rd party tracking or analytics thing is really making my head spin. I've been relying on old-style manual checking my stats on both affiliate networks and ad agencies (one-by-one) for 9 years, and now I'm trying to finally transition into an all-in-one tracker, if it's possible. I basically understand the point of a tracking pixel or postback URL is to send data from the conversion page to the ad agency, but am hitting a brickwall after that, things such as:
    • What is the advantage of using postback vs. pixel tracking?

    • Which of these types should be used (or both) if using multiple ad agencies and multiple aff. networks? Or can a combination of pixel and postback tracking work in one tracker? (say, if aff. networks A-D use postback, but networks E-J use pixel tracking)

    • If using a 3rd-party tracker like Voluum or Prosper, does the postback / pixel tracking send data only to that 3rd-party tracker, or also to the ad agency; or would I need two tracking codes on my page to show up on both?

    • Regarding the 'postback variables' I understand that the tokens %offer% or {offer_id} and the %commission% send back offer name and payout info. back from the conversion page, but what is the purpose of the %subid1% (2 and 3) tokens? IE, what kind of data is generally used for these sub-ID fields?

    • Do 3rd-party tracking systems replace the need to use sub-ID tracking in the URL of the affiliate network?

    • Regarding tracking on the affiliate network: how does a global postback URL differ from an offer-specific postback URL, and which is most recommended?
    Regarding using one 3-rd party tracker to track data through multiple ad agencies, and multiple affiliate networks simultaneously (I'm using about 6-8 of each)
    • Is the above even possible?
    • Which tracker is most recommended for this?
    • What if I'm promoting the same offer from the same aff. network on multiple ad agencies - will I be able to track this as two separate campaigns on the tracker, or will the data be intermixed?
    Also I would prefer a free tracker if possible, since I'm barely breaking even on my conversions now. Thanks-a-million, folks... ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
    trackingdesk likes this.
  2. Voluum
  3. marketerLevi

    marketerLevi Affiliate affiliate

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    PS - feel free to post answers only to the ones you know. Any help would be welcomed. Thanks
     
  4. trackingdesk

    trackingdesk Moderator moderator Service Manager affiliate

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    Hi @marketerLevi - I will try to give you an overall picture but in general, using a third party tracker will definitely allow you to save time, get a much better idea of your business and allow you to improve your ROI.
    Postback is more precise as it doesn't require a cookie to track the conversions. Depending on the tracker you are using, it can be a little complicated to set it up, but once you understand the setup, it's fairly easy and straight forward. In addition, it allows to pass back to the tracker a lot more information - commission value and additional parameters.
    If you are to chose which to use, always go for the postback.

    Normally, the decision to use postback / image pixel is based on the affiliate network's guidelines. Some will allow for both type and some will only work with one type. The fact that one works with postack and the other with image shouldn't affect you.

    The postback that you provide to the aff network will send the conversion to your tracker only. the ad egency should provide you with a postback that you will place in your tracker which will send the conversion to the agency.
    The all point of using a tracker is to avoid having to place your ad agencies' pixels in the aff networks.


    Theoretically you don't need to get the offerid in the postback since your tracker should pass ad dynamic variable into the aff network (the dynamic variable should be unique and generated upon click/impression and associated with the campaign/offer/trafficsource/landing page/creative etc...). The dynamic variable is passed into a placeholder that your aff network will use to tag the conversion and send this same variable back into the postback so the tracker can count the conversion and associate it with the ad agency, campaign and other entities related to the conversion.

    No. If you use a 3rd party tracker, you normally still have to pass a value to the subid placeholder. But the tracker adds the subid value automatically on each click so you don't have to mess with such issues. YOu just need to know the "format" and token the aff network uses.
    Technically it's the same process. The only difference is that a global postback will fire for each and every conversion as opposed to an offer specific postback. Generally speaking and from experience, the global postback is mainly used to save time and avoid doing the same action multiple time.

    1. Yes
    2. There are a lot of options out there. I would obviously recommend TrackingDesk which is integrated with most popular affiliate technologies - cake/hasoffers/linktrust - and top aff networks - clickbank, peerfly, maxbounty etc... - as well as over 50 ad networks.
    3. That's the all point of the tracking system. It allows you to setup an offer once, and use it with unlimited number of ad networks and campaigns.

    I wish r&d was a free resource;) Unfortunately, to build professional software used by professional marketers, you need to hire top people. Having thousands of people trusting a tracking software with their traffic requires certain level of service, software. TrackingDesk doesn't come free, but the pricing model is fair and shouldn't be a deal breaker.

    Any other questions, you are welcome to shoot me an email directly or reply here.

    Good luck!
    Laurent
     
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  5. marketerLevi

    marketerLevi Affiliate affiliate

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    Thanks very much for your super helpful insight! That really clears up a lot of things for me, as well as others probably. Yeah I'll probably take you up on your offer for another question or two. thanks!
     
    trackingdesk likes this.
  6. Crownstone

    Crownstone Affiliate affiliate

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    I recommend trackingdesk bro! I wasted two weeks trying to track conversions with different trackers... Same day I tried tracking desk it worked!

    Their support is excellent A+ got me wondering since it's free till tomorrow at least..lol
     
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  7. marketerLevi

    marketerLevi Affiliate affiliate

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    Two quick questions for now: does TrackingDesk offer custom geo-redirects so I can choose a specific lander for specific countries? And what will the price be when they do start charging us?
     
  8. Crownstone

    Crownstone Affiliate affiliate

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    Sure! They offer Geo redirect. They will still continue the free plan but it's limited. They got $50 and $100 plans...

    Ask the guy up there, I think he's a TrackingDesk rep :)
     
  9. trackingdesk

    trackingdesk Moderator moderator Service Manager affiliate

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    Thanks @Crownstone for the good words and happy we could help!
     
  10. trackingdesk

    trackingdesk Moderator moderator Service Manager affiliate

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    Glad I could provide the help you needed and dont hesitate to reach out to our support or via pm.

    1. Yes, you can select one or multiple geos for each of your landers. In addition you can also mix Geo and Language if you want to add an additional targeting layer (for instance: Spanish speaking in the US or french speaking in canada etc..)
    2. Pricing is available here: Traffic management platform for performance marketers

    Good luck!
     
  11. Stillbroke

    Stillbroke Member affiliate

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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  12. trackingdesk

    trackingdesk Moderator moderator Service Manager affiliate

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    Hi @newaff - Thanks for the feedback.
    1. The asset page doesn't pull automatically all your assets in order to avoid consuming server/db resources. the search box allows you to select what you're looking for and pull only what you're looking for. Some of our users have thousands of assets and it wouldn't make sense to pull all of them everytime you load the page.
    2. not sure to understand the archive issue and the templates. can you please describe what you're trying to do?

    thanks for the feedback!
    Laurent
     
  13. azgold

    azgold Super Moderator Super Mod moderator affiliate

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    Sorry, @marketerLevi don't mean to hijack your thread, just have a question on this topic:

    What about afftrack?
     
  14. trackingdesk

    trackingdesk Moderator moderator Service Manager affiliate

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    Hi @azgold - they are lined up with a couple of other technologies for the next batch of integrations.

    Any network on afftrack interested in being integrated should reach out to us.
     
    azgold likes this.
  15. Stillbroke

    Stillbroke Member affiliate

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    1 i guess that makes sense didn't think of that


    2 i added network from the templates and then i messed something up so i deleted it its no longer available in the templates - should be able to reuse them if you messed something up or maybe have more then 1 account

    3. i have a bunch of test campaigns and just tests in general in archive why cant u delete those
     
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  16. marketerLevi

    marketerLevi Affiliate affiliate

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    * OK please correct me if I'm wrong. My intrepretation:
    - I put a postback from the tracker co. in the aff. network, which sends conversions back to the tracker co.
    - I put a postback from the ad agency in the tracker co., which sends conversions back to the ad agency.

    next questions please
    * How does the tracker know how much you spent on eack click / impression so you can view ad costs on the tracker?
    ... especially if the bids are variable

    * Would I be using a tracking URL from the traker co. to promote all my offers on the ad agencies, or the URLs from the aff. networks?

    You lost me there. So it looks like you're saying that the aff. network automatically sends data to the tracker including offer ID, if you put a put a postback in the aff. network from the tracking company, I think.

    * So I think you're saying that the sib-ID info. I usually append to a tracking URL from an aff network such as
    campaign/offer/trafficsource/landing page/creative, that I would still append this to their URL as usual, but somehow these tokens get transferred back to the tracker co. Or do I append it to the trakcer URL instead?

    * Each time I set up a new ad campaign I also need to set it up somehow in the tracker, right? Also, assuming I already have a global postback from the tracker co. in the aff. network, I also need to put another postback from the ad agency in the tracker co. for each campaign right?

    Thanks very much as I try to finish comprending this service
     
  17. trackingdesk

    trackingdesk Moderator moderator Service Manager affiliate

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    If that's what happened, then this is a bug and we'll fix it.

    we are still weighting on how to handle archive - delete or archive.
     
  18. trackingdesk

    trackingdesk Moderator moderator Service Manager affiliate

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    First questions you are 100% correct.

    You have 2 options:
    1. The ad network passes in each click the cost and we collect/display it in the analytics
    2. you manually set the campaign cost - cpc,cpv, cpi,cpl,cpa etc...

    You would be using the link produced by the tracker during the campaign setup process. Practically, you would define the campaign settings - Traffic source/ad agency, geo target, category, fallback, rules - select the asset(s) (landers and/or direct offers) you want to run on the campaign. The tracker would then produce a tracking link which carries all the ad agency parameters (keyword, subid etc..). (Ex for google adwords: This domain is being used by one of TrackingDeskcVaOQFPbHp5xCX3DI?Keyword={Keyword}&Placement={Placement}&MatchType={MatchType}&Creative={Creative}&IfSearch={IfSearch:Search}&IfContent={IfContent:Content}&gclid=)

    If you look above, you will see that the campaign URL has a specific ID (cVaOQFPbHp5xCX3DI). This id carries all the campaign information/settings/promoted offers/landing pages etc.. etc...
    The link that you take from your affiliate network and add to your tracker is still the affiliate link that carries the offerid, your affiliate id etc...
    So your ad agency sends a click to your campaign URL, which redirects to your affiliate link while it appends the tracker clickid into the aff network subid/s1/tid/sid placeholder and a conversion occurs.
    1. the aff network knows which offer was promoted and by which affiliate
    2. the aff network has the postback url to fire with the clickid
    3. the tracker knows everything about the specific clickid - which offer was promoted, which creative, on which campaign etc.. etc...
    4. so when the tracker postback is called with the clickid, the tracker makes the association with the initial click and closes the loop.

    No. Instead of passing all the info - offerid, trafficsource et.c... - you pass only the clickid which carries all the campaign information. The aff network doesn't need to know the traffic source and any other info to attribute the conversion to you since your affiliate id, the offer id and the ad id is already in the link they provided you.
    The campaign url would simply pass to the affiliate link one click id and it would look like:
    Link provided by aff network: http://affnet.com/?offerid=213123&affid=aff12345&linkid=xy746
    Tracking template in tracker: aff_sub={event_id}
    Upon click dynamic value is added:
    http://affnet.com/?offerid=213123&affid=aff12345&linkid=xy746&aff_sub=014C75599EEE000001000001
    Postback url:
    https://servedbytrackingdesk.com/546b17a70bf18e81647d8950/a.gif?c=1&h={aff_sub}&a={payout}
    https://servedbytrackingdesk.com/546b17a70bf18e81647d8950/a.gif?c=1&h=014C75599EEE000001000001&a=4.5

    Once the postback is called, the tracker collects the clickid and associate it with the initial click which is associated with the campaign in which there are settings and offers and links and landers etc.. .etc..
    The all point of tracking is that one value has to pass from one entity to an other and back. During this "passing" of information and depending on the tracking system you will use, it is very likely that the info is being translated.
    An other example:
    Adwords has it's own click id. It is called gclid and you probably noticed it in your campaigns or when "spying" on competitors. What our tracker will do (and i assume that others will too):
    - Collect the gclid
    - create our own clickid (we call it event_id)
    - pass it to the aff network and they might call this the aff_sub, or sid or tid or s1 or clickid
    - upon conversion they will fire our event_id back to us
    - we will associate this event_id with the gclid
    -
    you will then be able to upload the gclic in your adwords account to see which keyword generated the conversion (note that the tracker will show the keyword information and conversion before it shows in adwords).

    If you decide to go all the way with a tracking software (and i assume this is what you're trying to do right now), the process is fairly simple:
    1. You need to import/add all your aff networks tracking links in the tracker
    2. Do it by category, geo target, type of traffic (mobile/web etc..)
    3. Each aff network has its own technology - hasoffers, cake, linktrust etc..etc... so you need to follow the templates in order to make sure you pass to the right placeholder the clickid/event_id etc...
    4. each aff network has its own postback/pixel format - so you need make sure you don't mess up with this otherwise you wont see conversions in the tracker and wont be able to pass those conversions into your ad agency
    5. you will need to setup your ad agency following their "tokens" rules, especially the clickid they pass as this is what you will need to pass back into their postback URL for conversion tracking
    6. Once you've setup the above, you can start building your campaigns - simple, complex with rules, rotations, with landers, with landers and mutliple call to actions, with geo target, with fallback etc..etc..

    NB: regarding 3, 4,5 - This is normally where people struggle and eventually fail since each network (aff/ad) uses different tokens, placeholders, parameters. At trackingdesk we've pre-formated over 50 ad networks/agencie and most aff technologies so you and others don't have to manually ad/update/create such tokens and postback URL's.


    You might not realize it @marketerLevi, but going over those questions - basic and complex alike - is a fantastic mind exercise as it forces even the most experienced tracking person to go back to the basics and take apart every step of the tracking chain and re-assemble the puzzle token by token so you and others can visualize this process.

    Obviously, if you still have questions - I'm here.

    Good luck and good day!




     
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  19. azgold

    azgold Super Moderator Super Mod moderator affiliate

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    @trackingdesk

    Amazingly detailed guides and explanations, thank-you!
     
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  20. trackingdesk

    trackingdesk Moderator moderator Service Manager affiliate

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    thanks @azgold - happy to shed some light on the subject.

    I forgot to mentioned that naturally, while my explanation can, to some extent, apply to other trackers, it primarily applies to trackingdesk and unfortunately I won't be able to address questions related to the other tracking co.
     
  21. marketerLevi

    marketerLevi Affiliate affiliate

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    @trackingdesk I recommend that your company make a tutorial video explaining all these type of set-up steps for 3rd party trackers. That way you wouldn't have to re-explain it like this, and your customers would grasp it better... a video with not only talking but screen-sharing with a visual walk-through. That would especially be helpful for visual learners like me, who have to read things like that 3-5 times to grasp it.

    Thanks so much for your clarification! I will refer back to it for sure
     
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