When to Appraise Tracking
The Tracking Conversation
Over the past 18 months, Moonpull has been gathering results on specific publisher to advertiser handovers, generating a huge depth of insight. The knowledge gathered from auditing links highlights best practice, outlined as follows:
Publishers should be checking links when composing a marketing email or new suite of affiliate links for a new campaign or site. Errors Moonpull has identified for which pre-emptive correction was possible include:
- A publisher linking to a leading network domain including a ‘typo’ in the domain of the URL,
- Publishers Including deeplink references that are invalid so their users end up at an advertisers’ 404 pages (sometimes with tracking enabled, sometimes without),
- Publishers linking to advertisers with only 3rd party tracking configured, so that links don’t track for their users clicking out on a safari browser on an iphone, or
- Publishers configuring their affiliate links with a mismatch of the program Id and the deeplink pages so the deeplink offer is from the incorrect advertiser.
Advertisers should check their suite of deeplinks, after a site change or significant catalogue refresh. Moonpull has identified deeplinks that:
- Break following new internal redirection of links when a site architecture was changed to improve SEO performance, or
- Have absent tracking because the deeplink itself is redirected because a product is out of stock, or permanently discontinued.
Consent Management Issues
Advertisers implement a new consent management platform but it is done in such a manner that:
- The network’s first-party cookie is subsequently not set properly, or is only set after a refresh of the landing page on which the CMP is present, or
- The network’s cookie was only in the ‘accept all’ category while a prominent button for the user is ‘allow recommended’.
It’s important to emphasise that Moonpull’s experience is that all networks have tracking that is extremely reliable when implemented correctly; but human-error and oversight causes issues, with the errors most often at the advertiser level or publisher level. Errors broadly occur:
- At program outset (e.g. common links work, so the program passes testing, but actually some others don’t from day one)
- After an ‘urgent’ fix (e.g. to get a broken attribution system up and running, but affiliate tracking is compromised in the process)
Moonpull can help all users of the channel check their own role in keeping tracking up and running but also roles that are the responsibility of others too. The timeliness of checking tracking is crucial; there is shared responsibility between all parties. If a publisher is going to focus a high volume of users to specific pages it is reasonable to expect the publisher to perform a check of whether the user arrives at the advertiser’s site in a way that commision will be payable if a transaction occurs.
For example, while an advertiser might check deeplinks twice a month, a publisher launching a content piece with expectations of driving a high volume of users to a specific item, or a publisher using a voucher code for a specific category page, should invoke ‘caveat emptor’ and test the relevant link themselves.
Appraising tracking is a mixture of collective and personal responsibility. Networks and advertisers reasonably should share the bulk of the responsibility, but publishers should participate in this vital activity too.
Moonpull as well as providing high volumes of link audit data to networks, advertisers and OPMs, recommends that publishers test their specific links to use affiliate tracking to maximise their revenue and avoid operational costs associated with problems that are disproportionate to the underlying untracked commissions.
Steven Brown, Moonpull