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Affiliate
Server Side Tracking

Challenges in Affiliate Client Side Tracking

Affiliate marketing is an essential channel in the digital marketing mix. But with constant updates in privacy laws and browser functionality, tracking is becoming increasingly challenging. With the current way, all affiliates have a unique identifier in the affiliate network and receive an affiliate link with their ID for each offer.

When a user clicks on the affiliate link, a cookie with the unique identifier is set in the user’s browser. This cookie saves information about the affiliate and reports back when a user converts.

In some cases, browsers such as Safari, because of their Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), will not allow the setting of third-party cookies. This means that user conversions are not attributed to the affiliate. Even when cookies are set as first-party cookies, Safari limits the lifetime of such cookies to one day.

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How Does Affiliate Server Side Tracking Work?

Server Side Tracking uses first-party cookies that are communicated directly from the partner server to the affiliate network’s server.

Suppose you are using a server Google Tag Manager container with a configured custom subdomain. Using server Google Tag Manager, configure affiliate tags that set first-party cookies. These cookies cannot be blocked because they have first-party cookie status.

However, some affiliate networks advise against switching to Server Side tracking alone. They argue that browser tracking is currently more robust but less reliable. Therefore, a hybrid approach is the best solution.

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Little known fact: When you include parameters in the URL, for example UTM tags, the cookie's lifetime is limited to 1 day in Firefox and Safari!

Server Side Tracking extends this cookie life, ensuring that all affiliate conversions are attributed to the correct source.

Why Affiliate Server Side Tracking?

More Conversions Can Be Measured

An increase in conversion tracking leads to more revenue for affiliates. According to research by Awin, which analyzed 150,000 tracking calls, 12.6% more cookies were set when using Server Side implementation. In many cases, client-side cookies were blocked by browsers such as Safari and Firefox, which impose restrictions on third-party cookies, while the remaining blocks were mainly caused by AdBlockers.

Server Side Tracking bypasses these blockages and tracks all Conversions.

Improve your Web site speed

By switching to server-side tracking, you can significantly improve the loading speed of your website. Imagine you have offers in three different affiliate networks. Each of these networks requires you to add their tracking code to your website. This means you have to integrate three different JavaScripts, which can negatively affect your site's performance. With server-side tracking, these scripts are executed directly on the server, reducing the load on the client-side. The result? A faster website that satisfies both users and search engines. Moreover, you retain control over first-party cookies, which improves the reliability of your tracking.

Better aligned with the GDPR

If you implement affiliate JavaScript code on your site, you run the risk of uncontrolled data collection. This could result in the collection of more information than allowed, including potentially sensitive personal data, which could violate your privacy guidelines and the GDPR.

Server Side Tracking via TAGGRS gives you complete control over what data you share with what software. You can even filter out specific personal data from the tracking, which is a big advantage in terms of privacy protection. TAGGRS has servers around the world, allowing the data to be saved within EU borders, which is also GDPR compliant.

So you make sure you're in compliance with GDPR laws while still collecting and using valuable data to improve your online marketing efforts. You can offer your customers the privacy they deserve while making effective use of the data you collect.

Setting Up Affilate Server Side Tracking

Create a Google Tag Manager Server Container

This is the first step of your implementation because you need a server container to Administer your server side tags. A server container allows you to place tags on your website without having to change your website's code. It allows you to Administer tags from one central location. We have written a blog of how to set up a good basic setup in 7 steps so you can get started with affiliate Server Side Tracking.

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Install the tags for your Affilate platform

To run Affiliate server side tracking, we need to install the tags in both the Webcontainer (client side) and the Server container (server side). Choose your favorite platform and we'll help you step by step through implementation. (Comming Soon)

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Test your settings: Be sure to test the tracking set up to make sure everything works correctly. This is a crucial step to ensure that you don't have problems with your tracking later.

Ready for the next level?

Start using Pinterest Server Side Tracking and generate more sales and conversions in a world without third-party cookies.