4 Types Of Affiliate Tracking

Affiliate tracking is a crucial part of this process as it enables businesses to track the performance of their affiliates and calculate commissions.

There are different types of affiliate tracking methods that businesses can use, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will explore the different types of affiliate tracking and help you determine which one is best for your online business.

Types of Affiliate Tracking:

Cookie-based Tracking:

Cookie-based tracking is one of the most common types of affiliate tracking. It involves placing a small piece of code, called a cookie, on the visitor's device when they click on your affiliate link. This cookie tracks the visitor's activity on the advertiser's site and records any transactions that take place.

The cookie typically lasts for a specific period, such as 30 days, and during that time, any purchases made by the visitor on the advertiser's site will be attributed to you, and you'll earn a commission.

First click attribution and last click attribution matter in this case to credit who gets the commission. learn more here

Pixel-based Tracking:

Pixel-based tracking is another popular type of affiliate tracking that involves placing a pixel or a tracking code on the advertiser's site. When a visitor clicks on your affiliate link and lands on the advertiser's site, the pixel records their activity and sends the data back to the affiliate network.

This type of tracking is particularly useful for tracking leads or sign-ups, as well as sales.

Server-to-Server Tracking:

Server-to-server tracking, also known as S2S tracking, is a more advanced form of affiliate tracking that eliminates the need for cookies or pixels. Instead, it involves a direct communication between the advertiser's server and the affiliate network's server.

This type of tracking is faster and more accurate, and it can also help prevent fraud and tracking errors.

Postback Tracking:

Postback tracking is a type of server-to-server tracking that sends data back to the affiliate network's server in real-time. This allows affiliates to track conversions and other events as they happen, which can help optimize campaigns more effectively.

Postback tracking is typically used for more complex campaigns, such as those involving multiple offers or upsells.


Do all affiliate networks use the same type of tracking? 

No, different affiliate networks may use different types of tracking, and it's important to understand which type of tracking is being used for each campaign.

Are there any downsides to using cookies for tracking? 

One potential issue with cookie-based tracking is that some visitors may delete their cookies or use ad-blockers, which can make it difficult to track their activity accurately.

Cookie Vs Cookieless Tracking

  • Cookie tracking and cookieless tracking are two methods for tracking affiliate links.
  • Cookie tracking stores the ID of an affiliate in the clicker's browser as a cookie, while cookieless tracking stores all information on the advertiser's server.
  • Cookieless tracking is considered more reliable than cookie tracking.
  • To mitigate the risks of cookie tracking, you can set the cookie expiration time to a high number, but an automated solution is always the best option.

Which type of tracking is the most accurate? 

Server-to-server tracking is generally considered the most accurate type of affiliate tracking, as it eliminates the potential for errors or fraud that can occur with cookies or pixels.