Common questions on affiliate tracking
How is an affiliate tracked?
When an affiliate promotes your products and services they use a referral URL which typically looks like this:
When a customer clicks this link and lands on your website, the affiliate's ID (123 in the example above) is stored in a cookie, within the customer's browser. If the customer makes a purchase, the affiliate that the customer is tracking is awarded commission on the sale.
Is the affiliate tracked across all pages of the site?
Absolutely! Since the affiliate's ID is stored in a cookie, the affiliate is tracked across all pages on the site.
Can I change the ?ref=123 to something else?
How long does the tracking cookie stay in the customer's browser?
The cookie's expiration is determined by how many days is entered from Affiliates → Settings → General → Cookie Expiration. By default it's set to 1 day, but you can change this to any number of days.
Note, a user may clear their browser cookies at any time, in which case the affiliate will no longer be tracked.
If a customer clicks on 2 different affiliate links from 2 different affiliates, which one is saved?
The first affiliate link that the customer clicks will store the affiliate's ID in a cookie and it cannot be overridden from the second link unless the cookie expires, or the customer clears their browser cookies and then clicks on the second link.
I would like the cookie to never expire so my affiliates can earn commission for the lifetime of a customer
You can technically set the cookie expiration to a very high number but you'll still be at risk of a customer clearing their browser cookies, or using a different browser altogether, in which case the affiliate is not tracked. Cookies are only stored in the browser that the customer is using.
Our Lifetime Commissions add-on allows your affiliates to earn commission for the lifetime of a customer. Once the customer uses an affiliate's referral URL they are linked to the affiliate, regardless of whether they use another browser or clear their browser cookies.
Why aren't any referrals being created when a customer purchases?
Can affiliates credit the last referrer?
Yes! There is a checkbox on the settings page.
Can affiliates refer themselves and earn commission on their own purchases?
Not out of the box, but v1.6 of AffiliateWP introduced a filter which allows this behaviour.