Challenges facing affiliate networks
The affiliate industry is facing a perfect storm of changes in browser management all of which affect tracking over the coming year. This is likely to impact anyone in any affiliate network partnership.
1 Third-Party cookie deprecation – Firstly, we are probably all aware of the effects of Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) that means that Safari, Mozilla and Apple iOS now block all Third Party tracking cookies. Unfortunately, many in the affiliate industry seem to tolerate that Chrome still tracks such third party cookies just fine – and after all that covers over 70% of online activity. However, we are facing the deprecation of third-party cookies in 2024.
2 Cookie consent – Secondly, there is the issue of Consent Management Platforms (CMPs) – increasingly used to comply with cookie and consent legislation (e.g. CCPA in California or PECR in Europe) – meaning user consent is needed in most cases for networks to track sales using first party methods.
Moonpull is assisting a number of networks globally now to monitor tracking and CMP implementations to audit any issues that could impact the affiliate handover. The objective is of course to share best practice amongst advertisers to keep the channel working efficiently and see the commissions correctly earned and attributed.
Affiliate Networks Tracking Changes
The issue of Third-Party tracking has largely been addressed by almost all affiliate networks. Many of the newer tracking providers and SaaS platforms have only ever worked on a first party basis, others such as Webgains moved early to first party only tracking.
Setting up CMPs is also an important consideration, and there has been a lot of discussion about how this should work for publishers, who have already alerted their referred visitors about cookies. This particularly applies to coupon and cashback publishers, where an operational tracking cookie is central to their consumer offering. The networks all appear to have subtly differing approaches in their advice on best practice to advertisers.
Moonpull still sees around 90% of advertisers’ tracking implementations include third-party tracking methods. Therefore it is usually additional to a first-party implementation – and as such it has the potential to mask any issues in the first party tracking, as highlighted as the most important affiliate metric in this article.
How networks work with Moonpull
Moonpull provides a fully functional platform and UI for networks, OPMs and publishers to audit specific affiliate links at scale. This can be on an individual basis for a quick check by a account manager following a publisher enquiry- or for scheduled audits at scale, into the thousands, in a bulk submission.
As well as the platform, Moonpull provides API access for submitting and retrieving results and also to integrate with a clients’ CRM systems. This enables individual checks from the scheduled audits to be allocated to team members to escalate with their advertisers.
A frequent first indicator of a tracking issue is from a missing cashback request. By undertaking regular audits, many of these potential claims can be averted, reducing the account management time required by both publisher and network. The Moonpull Audit Overview Report is a report that outlines the commercial issue alongside a technical explanation that can be passed to the advertiser’s tech team to outline the issues identified.
Use Case: Partnership with Awin
One of the first networks to apply Moonpull’s unique technology was Awin, which globally monitors tracking across more than 20,000 advertisers. Moonpull’s software ensures that commissions and revenue driven by the channel are protected for Awin’s affiliate partners.
The partnership also enables Awin to efficiently identify, diagnose and respond faster to advertiser tracking queries. This has resulted in an increase in accurately tracked transactions for its 250,000 affiliate and partner relationships.
Awin’s Assessment of Moonpull
Paul Stewart, Group Strategic Partnerships Director at Awin, said “We recognise that one of the key contributors to reporting inaccuracy and subsequent commission erosion is the difficulty of jointly monitoring advertiser tracking integrations at scale and in-detail – but success here is key to unlocking continued industry growth.
The introduction of Moonpull to our suite of tools will help us more quickly and efficiently monitor the tracking performance across all of our territories and this will bring about universal benefits to clients; publishers and retailers alike.”
Thomas Bilz, Senior Project Manager, Strategic Technologies of Awin, added “the initial signs are that Moonpull is a game-changer for us in the analysis of our cookies, MasterTag and other identifiers especially with regards to their interactions with CMPs.
“Moonpull enhances our ability to respond swiftly to ensure that both our advertiser and publisher communities continue to experience a world-class service”.