To know the tracking process let’s know the roots of tracking procedure so that the process becomes crystal clear. There are two primary ways to track transaction flow from the moment of first click to the point where conversion takes place. Either you are tracking users via cookies on their browser or doing a server call to store a unique identifier.
The two ways , formerly called as :
- Client Based Tracking
- Server Based Tracking
CLIENT BASED TRACKING :
Now what is client based , seems like all the tracking done at client side is client based tracking then who is the client here ? The client here is no one but the user’s browser.Client based tracking is completely based on cookies that are stored on user’s browser. It relies on storing information on the actual user’s computer by placing a cookie in the user’s browser when an advertisement is clicked. If the user reaches the conversion page (final sale or lead), a tracking pixel that was placed on the conversion page sends the cookie information back to the tracking platform, recording a conversion for the proper affiliate.This type of tracking is the most common technique used and most commonly used by the advertisers as embedding advertiser tracking pixel on the conversion page is the only thing required to do. The ease of setup for advertisers and low requirement of technical savvy make client-based tracking an excellent solution for many networks.
SERVER BASED TRACKING :
Another type of tracking which is done is server based tracking.This kind of tracking is totally independent of cookies and so also called as cookie-less tracking. Also don’t get confused by server to server tracking as it’s an another name to server based tracking.
Server-based tracking requires nothing to be placed on the user’s computer.This feature of this tracking method makes it best as no conversion is lost even when the user disables the cookie on it’s browser.It works by generating and storing a unique identifier of some kind when a user clicks a tracking link or generates an ad impression. All the information regarding the user , the advertiser or the site is stored in the server with an unique identifier associated with it . The unique identified can be the transaction ID or site ID.The ID gets passed through the tracking URL to the server hosting the offer landing page and is stored by the advertiser. This identifier is passed through as a variable throughout the conversion funnel. When the transaction is complete, the ID is passed back to the affiliate tracking server by calling a “Postback URL” at the time of conversion.
Postback URL looks like : http://domain.com/sid=123456 .
Also server to server tracking do not use third party cookies like client based tracking do but they make use of first party cookie as they are normally never blocked by any user.The use of this cookie comes when someone do no get converted at that instant but may be after a week , than this local cookie helps in catching the user.