Managing cookie consent for affiliates
From the early stages of building Moonpull, the team has been monitoring the effect Consent Management Platforms (CMPs) are having on the affiliate tracking process, particularly in cookie consent management.
Since the definition of consent was bolstered in GDPR legislation, the impact of PECR compliance has led to user consent often becoming the first thing that a website visitor reads.
Of course every website owner wants to ensure that a user lawfully accepts cookies and scripts to gather valuable website usage statistics to further improve their offering. It is important not to sway the visitor even by different button colouration or placement to encourage acceptance. The ‘I’m OK with Cookies’ bar we still see is definitely not in the spirit of regulations in almost any of the global jurisdictions we have encountered.
Equally, a website with a properly compliant CMP runs the risk of high levels of refusal. There was an issue with the UK ICO website with their initial CMP, which was so heavily compliant that it led to a 95% rejection of cookies!
Most websites are now taking a more balanced view and tread a fine line between the two extremes. We examine that in more detail in the article on Reading Affiliate Cookies.
Choosing a privacy technology
So, how should an affiliate or advertiser website decide on what to install to achieve compliance? Given that review websites such as g2.com or Trustpilot list over 120 consent technologies, this is obviously a highly active market. The variety of tools cover a huge range of options; here are the top ranking on g2:
Top 5 by review ratings
CookieYes – 4.8/5 from 107 reviews
Mine PrivacyOps – 4.8/5 from 145 reviews
illow – 4.9/5 from 80 reviews
Segment – 4.6/5 from 496 reviews
Didomi – 4.6/5 from 71 reviews
They were also viewable in a satisfaction grid against market presence:
Other review websites show different results. Capterra showed a very different set and their review page is more commercially driven and set to be ordered by sponsored results.
Among the providers are a wide variety of functionalities from simple tools to fully integrated privacy suites for global enterprise websites. There are certainly enough options for any publisher or advertiser application in any market.
Consent requirements in Affiliate Marketing
Based on Moonpull analysis of advertisers in the affiliate marketplace, the largest CMP in use is OneTrust with 58% of Moonpull’s advertisers having it as their CMP of choice, as outlined in our recent blog article.
One enterprise reviewer shared “The script on our sites does not need to change. Onetrust will make geolocation changes automatically occur. We can push out to sites from our consent management”. Others concur on “Ease of dashboard use and simple navigation”.
In reality most appear to be well configured and adapt to market specific privacy requirements, as well as compatibility with other website tools.
Consent management platform pricing
Pricing ranges from the freemium option as with much online software, with options to upgrade for additional functionality. There are plenty of these, such as CookieYes, Iubenda and Osano for simple cookie banners and many are available as a simple WordPress plugin.
These range to $100 a month upwards, for comprehensive privacy product suites and with specific integrations for CRM and other web tools. This all provides for wide variations in implementation as we cover in the article on Cookie Consent Banners.
CMPs for publishers
Privacy and cookie compliance is of course not just an advertiser requirement and all publisher websites need to address the issue. What’s New In Publishing made recommendations for publisher websites in the early days of GDPR panic. Their snapshot reported there were 113 IAB registered CMPs available, 29 of which were publisher specific.
The top of their list by publisher adoption were Quantcast, Captify, Iubenda, Cookiebot and OneTrust.
Importance increasing on a global basis
Following the European lead with GDPR, privacy legislation and regulation is being introduced around the world, with recent news including new legislation enacted or in process in Australia, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Thailand and more.
From June 2023, 5 more US states will be introducing new privacy laws; Indiana, Montana, Tennessee, Florida with Texas due very soon.
The complication for both advertisers and publishers, is that each of these new rules will be subtly different from state to state. Each market has quite different regulations and many of the CMPs available are configured to accommodate these.
The impact on affiliate tracking
So what are the consequences for affiliate marketing? The big picture is that consent management platforms are affecting conversion rates for affiliate marketers in almost every area. Recent research published in the Drum has indicated that the proportion of web users refusing cookie consent is in excess of 40%.
From a legal standpoint, in European legislation even first-party tracking cookies and scripts should be withheld until consent is given. On that basis that would lead to significantly reduced tracked sales. As Moonpull has identified across many thousands of link audits, not all affiliate advertisers apply this rigorously and all cookies are routinely applied as a user is redirected to the landing page.
Understanding the effect of CMPs on the ‘Memory Cookie‘ in affiliate tracking is essential for all involved in the affiliate handover process. At very least, knowing the proportion of consumers who reject cookies can give publishers an estimate of the commission they are missing out on. This is something that scheduled Moonpull auditing can identify and thus provide the detail for an informed conversation with an advertiser on the appropriate reward for the service being provided.
There are further pointers in the article on 9 Tips to Fix Tracking Issues.