Avoiding affiliate mistakes: Understanding the importance of tracking duration

Author: Vincent Weening - Product Manager E-commerce & Richard Nab - Data Consultant

Date of publication:


The tracking duration, also referred to as measurement time, cookie duration or lookback window, is part of the Daisycon campaign settings. It determines the maximum number of days between a click and a pixel request (conversion) to be registered as a transaction. In most situations the tracking duration is set as a default. If this setting is being changed, it is crucial to understand the impact it has on your campaign performance.

The impact of changing the tracking duration

The tracking duration can either be increased or decreased. By increasing the tracking duration, more transactions can be registered from the same amount of traffic. This would increase the Earning Per Click (EPC) of your campaign which incentivizes your publishers to place your products and ads in a more prominently visible location.

Maximise potential with other campaign settings

Depending on your product and the kind of conversion, the tracking duration should be between 30 and 130 days. Going for a shorter time range would limit the amount of conversions being tracked from traffic sent by your publishers, lowering their EPC for your campaign and making it less attractive to give your campaign more prominent spots. This could lead to missing out on good potential customers. There are multiple reasons why a short tracking duration can be bad for business.

1. Psychology
First of all the psychological factor plays a huge role. When a publisher notices a short tracking duration set to a campaign, the chance they will take the time to promote that campaign is low. A low tracking duration in most cases means missing out on EPC which will discourage a lot of publishers.

2. Customer journey
The tracking duration should be at least as long as the typical customer journey. That way all publishers that are part of the total sales funnel get a chance to convert. Depending on the type of product, a time range should be available to create awareness, attention and desire before the audience will proceed to buying. When looking at the sales funnel from the top to the bottom, the higher the publishers rank in the top, the more they get impacted by a short tracking duration. Top-of-the-funnel publishers, such as influencers, content creators, and blog sites, drive attention and interest.

Alternatives to lowering the tracking duration

Changing the tracking duration affects all publishers in a campaign. So in cases where it makes sense to customise campaign settings for a single publisher or media type, there are different ways to optimise the campaign without impacting the overall performance.

1. Analyse the campaign’s engagement mapping
When working with upper funnel publishers is a preference, a longer tracking duration is key. As a result of a longer time range, more attention and interest will be gained at the start of the customer journey. The engagement mapping exports, available in the transaction overview of the Daisycon Interface, make it possible to visualise which publishers have contributed to the transactions. By looking at the media type it can be analysed which step in the sales funnel is the most crucial for achieving transactions. Engagements will be tracked for the total period of the tracking duration with an additional 30 days.

2. Variable commissions on different publisher types
It is possible to use variable commissions on different publisher types. Because different types of publishers have other purposes, the use of other commission models, such as CPC (Cost per Click), sometimes better suit their services. Offering variation in commissions will attract different types of publishers.

3. Variable commissions on different product types
Another option is to offer variable commissions on different product types. Some products may have a longer customer journey, so setting a higher commission would be appropriate here. When you want to track multiple products with variable commissions in one checkout, you need to implement the Daisycon product level conversion pixel.

4. Fixed fees for top-funnel publishers
Offering a competitive CPS and/or CPC will attract and retain high-value top-funnel publishers. Supplementing a CPS with periodic fixed fees will keep these upper-funnel publishers interested and promoting, even at times when they don’t see transactions in their account.

Always communicate changes to tracking duration

If other options do not have the desired outcome and shortening the tracking duration is needed, you must communicate this via the Daisycon Newsletter. We advise you to do this at least 30 days in advance, because otherwise it may leave you with unhappy publishers.

Tracking duration – what to do?

In short, the tracking duration impacts your campaign’s EPC and how it appeals to publishers. A longer tracking duration increases the chance of capturing more conversions from the same amount of traffic. This incentivizes publishers to place your campaign on a more prominently visible position. If a higher tracking duration is not ideal for your campaign goals, then other options like analysing engagement mapping, setting variable commissions for publishers and products or offering fixed fees become interesting alternatives. If you want to learn more about the possibilities for your campaign, please reach out to your contact person at Daisycon to hear more about the options.

More information?

Reach out to your local channel manager for information and support regarding any of the above topics.