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How to Find Missing Commission

Weather 2 Travel website

Staying in control of which advertisers to promote - from a publisher's perspective

Chris Tradgett

If you’ve been involved in the affiliate world for a while, you’ll have heard the figure quoted that 5% to 10% of affiliate links don’t track. Translated, that means for most affiliates, something up to 10% of missing commission – and profit being lost.

It was this ‘unknown’ that was one of the drivers for founder Steve Brown in the development of the Moonpull platform. We are now increasingly getting asked – “how can this new technology help affiliate publishers to understand and deal with that – and decide which advertisers to promote?”

Deciding on Advertisers

Affiliates have to consider a number of factors when making a decision on promoting a new advertiser across their websites. Of course there’s some help to be had in the affiliate network user interface. 

This usually gives a commission figure for each campaign plus an idea of the average click through rates or EPCs other publishers experience to help. But that only gives a part of the picture. There’s always the implicit “5% of my affiliate sales don’t track” which we’ve all heard said.

Generally all affiliate networks and SaaS platforms provide solid dependable tracking, but there are of course a lot of other moving parts involved in the handover of their visitors to the advertiser website to be considered. 

Even in an ideal and proven tracking integration, it’s worth bearing in mind that things may change over time. There are usually ongoing fixes implemented for changes in SEO, PPC  or other tracking for advertising channels – which can lead to tracking breaking down.

Analysis for Weather2Travel.com 

In the case of weather2travel.com, this leading UK travel publisher has experienced variable conversion rates often without a clear idea of the reasons for variations, which Moonpull has been looking into.

weather to travel website

Usually, publishers keep an eye on any changes in EPC or other stats, which may indicate a less than ideal integration at the advertiser end. A low figure compared to a competing brand may also point to issues in the way the handover process is set up. 

Or there may be an issue in how the cookie consent is implemented interrupting a website’s flow – Marketers have to tread a fine line between the pressures of legal compliance and getting commercial results.

All of this may well be masked by persisting cookie length. This may still allow for conversions to happen after the point the tracking changed – and any drop off may appear to be gradual.

Example Links

Example 1 – Virgin Atlantic

In this example, we see a clickthrough from weather2travel via the Moonpull platform – a UK affiliate through to Virgin Atlantic via CJ.

Virgin Atlantic offers

In the Moonpull platform we can see the link construction and date of analysis, along with an outline of any technical issues encountered.

Virgin Atlantic analysis in the Moonpull platform to find missing commission

In this example, we see:

  • The network js tracking tag isn’t present in the document object model (DOM) on the landing page
  • That’s not necessarily an issue as not all networks operate in the same manner
  • The cookie consent was not properly constructed according to PECR advice – and this may change with stronger enforcement of online rules 

 

In the Technical Report, a lot more detail is available on the process and in this case, shows the Network Advertiser Cookie is present and the First Party cookie is present on accessing the landing page.

This should mean that it should not be impacted by Google’s deprecation of third party cookies in 2023. Other programs currently not using first party cookies may be compromised by implementing hurried changes to achieve compliance, so those will need to be watched over the coming year.  

 

 

Example 2 – Radisson Hotels:

Radisson offers

In this second example, Radisson Hotels via Awin, all appears clearer with few issues, and it shows the differences between initial landing and approval of cookie consent (CMP) all in stage two and three:

Radisson tracking analysis in Moonpull
  • The initial landing shows that the cookie is not set prior to the visitor hitting the Accept button – as PECR actually requires
  • When the consent is given we see in tab 2 that the cookie is then set correctly
  • Even after a further page refresh the tracking is still present to allow any conversion to be tracked and commission earned.

 

The technical report then lists the process and cookies being set at each stage of the handover process for a successful tracking event. 

Deeper Understanding of Tracking

This helps publishers to understand the process, any issues discovered and, where  any issue has been encountered, provides a report with detailed information to let the advertiser’s tech team address the issue quickly.

Colin Carter of Weather2travel.com in his feedback said, “The reporting in Moonpull gives a better understanding of which merchants we should avoid promoting too heavily – as well as the ones we need to keep an eye on in the medium term”.

Add that 5% to the Bottom Line

The potential for most publishers to overcome the 5%+ commission erosion that everyone talks about can be significant.

As an example of the effect, for any affiliate with say $100,000 annual commission earnings, that missing commission adds maybe $5,000 extra to the bottom line and represent a big increase in overall profitability. Work that through to what that $5k represents as a proportion of net profit and reclaiming it can make a huge difference.

The key benefit of Moonpull is that it makes that 5% tangible. Moonpull spots where it’s happening – and where its not – so the publisher can make commercial decisions on promotions to run – and how to reclaim that lost commission. 

 

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About Weather2travel.com

Weather2travel.com

Weather2Travel.com is a UK based online resource for travellers researching holiday destinations and booking leisure travel to every part of the world. They provide detailed weather guides, travel advice and engaging content to inform and inspire travellers who are planning their next trip.

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