How To Define Cookie Life Time In An Affiliate Program
One of the reasons why affiliate marketing works is the cookie. A cookie is a simple tracking code that an affiliate program installs into the computers of potential buyers. It is triggered once a buyer clicks an affiliate link. When this event happens, the cookie is placed on the buyer’s browser, and he is identified to be the referral of the affiliate who advertised the link.
Since cookies play a vital role in sales conversion, you must know about cookies if you want to become a successful affiliate marketer or run a successful affiliate program. You need to know more than its definition. You also need to know the length of time that a cookie stays in your potential customer’s computer. For affiliates, they want the cookie to remain there for as long as possible. The customer is still counted as their referral when the customer chooses to buy at a later time.
In this article, you’ll learn more about affiliate cookies. You’ll learn about the information included in each cookie, where it is stored, how it works, how long it stays, and how some people abuse it. This article will give you an overview of cookies so that you can use them effectively in your affiliate programs and promotions.
Table of Contents
- 1What is Inside an Affiliate Cookie?
- 2How Do Cookies Work?
- 3What is Cookie Lifetime Parameter?
- 4How Does Cookie Lifetime Affect Tracking Capability?
- 5How Do Cookie Lifetime Affect Sales?
- 6How Long Should Your Cookie Last if You Want to Attract Affiliates?
- 7Cookie Abuse
- 8How to Use Cookie Lifetimes as an Affiliate
- 9How to Define Cookie Lifetimes as an Affiliate Program Owner
You may think that an affiliate cookie is a simple code stored in your potential customer’s computers that points to an affiliate ID. But it is more than that. It even stores information about your potential customer. It includes their IP address, the time and date of their visit, and their time on site. All of these things are recorded to prevent abuse of affiliate links. It will not record all sales from the link. It will only record valid ones.
You can understand how cookies work when you see them in action. Let us say that you are promoting an affiliate product. You are given an affiliate link to advertise. So you announce that link on your website, and someone clicks on it. When this happens, the cookie is now installed on that person’s computer. It will keep track of when he clicked it and how long he stayed on the website. From here, the person can decide whether or not to buy the product you are advertising. If he chose to buy it, it would be recorded as a sale, and you will receive some commission. If he decided to put it off, the cookie would stay on his computer so that the deal will still be registered to you once he buys it.
The cookie lifetime parameter in an affiliate program is the length of time of the association between the customer and the affiliate. If the cookie expires, the association is finished. If the customer chooses to buy a product after the cookie expires, the sale will no longer be associated with the affiliate who promoted the product. It will just be a sale for the product owner.
Cookie lifetime starts when the customer clicks on the affiliate link. It can last for as little as seven days or as long as 365 days. It all depends on the affiliate program.
We experimented. We tried three cookies with different lifetimes. We used one that expires in 24 hours, another one that expires in seven days, and another expires in 30 days. It turns out; the tracking capability is not affected. 93% of conversions were tracked in the 24-hour cookie. 96% were monitored in the 7-day cookie, and 98% were observed in the 30-day cookie. It seems that more sales were tracked in a more extended time. Maybe it is because it gives the cookie a chance to ‘settle in’ the target customer’s browser so that he gets counted as a referral of an affiliate.
It seems that cookie lifetime has nothing to do with sales. The likelihood that someone buys through an affiliate link depends on the offer. Even if the cookie is only active for 24 hours, it can account for over 90% of sales. It has already been ruled out that cookie lifetime doesn’t affect tracking capability. This means that even if the cookie lifetime is extended. The transaction will still be recorded.
If you plan to launch an affiliate program, you are probably wondering how long your cookie lifetime should be. The acceptable lifetime is 30 days. Anything less than that will usually push some affiliates away. As you may have noticed, cookie lifetime doesn’t affect tracking and sales. So affiliate product sellers will not lose anything if they give longer cookie lifetimes to their affiliates. If you want to make it better, you can set it to 1 year. It will give your members the peace of mind that their advertisements will not be wasted by expiring cookies.
Before you start attracting affiliates or advertising affiliate products, you must know about the case of cookie stuffing. This is a black hat method that has been used by abusers who want to get credit for sales when they have not done their advertising share. With cookie stuffing, the cookie is immediately planted into the target customer’s computer, even if it does not click on the affiliate link. This could result in an influx of sales associated with an affiliate ID, also if that person did not promote the product or service.
As an affiliate, it may be best to stay away from cookie stuffing. It will prevent you from getting blacklisted in affiliate networks and other affiliate sites. It is not worth it. You may earn some money at the beginning, but if it gets banned, you will immediately lose a source of income, and that’s not cool. And it can get worse – Some companies can choose to take legal action. This can land you in jail. So stay away from cookie stuffing. The consequences are not worth the effort.
As an affiliate program owner, you need to know cookie stuffing to protect yourself from it. You don’t want to pay thousands of affiliates when someone just planted the cookies in their computers to reap the profits. You’ll want them to be genuine recommendations. You can set up systems that will protect your affiliate program from cookie stuffing. As mentioned, you can set up some intelligent cookies that will help you track the traffic information. These cookies will help you know when and where the cookie is planted so that you can find discrepancies if they exist. It will help you only to count legit sales.
If you are an affiliate, you can adjust your strategy based on a cookie lifetime. You need to know this so that you can customize your advertisements around these timelines.
STEP 1: Know Your Cookie Lifetime
When you plan to sell a product or service, it helps to take a closer look at the product to see its cookie lifetime. The length of time that the cookie will last should be indicated so that you can plan your advertisements.
STEP 2: Structure Your Advertisements around This
Once you have the length of time, it is time to structure your advertising plan around this. If the cookie expires in 24 hours, you’ll need some bonuses to propel people into action. You can add a time element to this – You can say that the gift is only available once they act in 24 hours. This will ensure that you get that sale even if the cookie expires. If you have more time, then you can create a more extended game plan. You have time to create your brand, send emails, and build a better relationship with your potential buyers.
STEP 3: Create a Repeatable Advertising Process
Cookies expire. Some expire for a day while others terminate in a year. You must have a repeatable advertising process to ‘renew’ your cookies in each cookie life cycle. With this strategy, you can “replant” your affiliate cookies after it expires.
Affiliate Best Practices
The best way to attract sales is through social media. You can get better conversions on social media through the use of images. It always helps to show an image or a video of the products that you are selling. It is suitable for conversions, especially if you are working with a cookie with a shorter life span.
Another practice that has worked through the years is the bonus technique. In this technique, you give potential buyers complementing bonuses when they buy through your affiliate link. It works because some prospects have already made up their minds that they are going to buy a product or service. The bonus is just an extra reward.
Make Your Links Look Good
Affiliate links are not sexy. They usually have a combination of letters and numbers that is most commonly known as the Affiliate ID. You’ll want your market to click on your links, knowing what you are promoting. They don’t want to see your name or your affiliate ID. To solve this problem, you can set up redirects on your website or create links in link shortening websites.
You’ll also need to define your cookie lifetime if you own an affiliate program. Finding the right time can require some trial and error, but it is worth the effort to help you get more affiliates.
STEP 1: Put Yourself in the Shoes of your Affiliates
You must understand your affiliates before you can decide. Some members prefer shorter promotion times because conversion rates are often higher. Others like the peace of mind of longer cookie lifetimes. It all depends on the attitude of your affiliates towards cookies. It will help if you will put yourself in their shoes. This will help you to understand their needs.
STEP 2: Consider the Pros and Cons of Different Cookie Lifetimes
Shorter cookie lifetimes may push some affiliates away. But the shorter time promotions usually result in higher conversion rates.
On the other hand, longer cookie lifetimes attract more affiliates, but the conversion rates are lower. What you should choose depends on your preferences.
STEP 3: Ask your Affiliates
Don’t know what lifetime you should choose? You can ask your affiliates. If you have existing members, you can ask them about the lifetime that they prefer. If you do this process, you will no longer be second-guessing yourself because your affiliates have already told you what they want.
STEP 4: Experiment with Different Cookie Lifetimes
If you don’t have existing affiliates, you have no choice but to experiment. You have to choose a cookie lifetime and test if it can help you attract members. Testing will let you see if cookie lifetimes have an impact on your affiliates. There may be some cases that the length of time doesn’t affect them. If that is the case, you don’t have to think about your cookie lifetime overly.
Cookie lifetimes play a significant role in affiliate programs. It can attract more affiliates or push them away. It can also influence the way your members will promote your programs. Shorter lifetimes can translate to more aggressive or active affiliates. Longer lifetimes can result in more affiliates with peace of mind. Be sure to choose a time that is ideal for your products and services, for it can make or break your program.
A cookie is a useful tool if you know how to harness it in your affiliate program. It can help you manage advertising practices and can even be used to attract more affiliates to your system. It is an amazing tool for it is where affiliate marketing is based. Without it, there is no way for you to tell who you are going to pay when your affiliates sell something. Cookies automate the process so you can see all your affiliate referrals in one convenient dashboard.