How to Add SID Tracking to the “Big Network” Affiliate Links

Call it an SID, CID, MID, TID, … but no matter what you call sub campaign affiliate link tracking, you damn sure better be using it.

Sub campaign tracking is critical in helping you determine which affiliate links on your site are working and which aren’t, rather than using a generic link site-wide that only shows you what your website makes as a whole with each program.

Unfortunately, almost every network calls sub campaign tracking something different, has a different way to implement it, has different ways and options of viewing sub campaign reporting and usually doesn’t promote the feature (well anyway) to new affiliates. I often have to dig to find the proper method for each network if it’s been a while since the last time I’d used it.

Below you’ll find the method of creating sub campaign ID links for each of the 6 “bigger” affiliate networks as well as how to view those sub campaign reports with each. This is as much an aggregate “reminder note” for me to be able to reference personally as it is a “how to” post for you. ;-)

Commission Junction – SID Tracking

cj logo
Commission Junction calls their sub campaign tracking an “SID” which stands for Site ID. And in my opinion, they definitely make it the easiest of all the networks to figure out how to add it.

Adding a SID to a CJ Link

Find the link you want to use and click Get HTML code or Get JavaScript. Choose the website you wish to use the link on from the Web Site dropdown and then in the SID box, put whatever SID code you wish to. (for example, I might use “SIDEBAR” to denote it was a link that would appear in that site’s sidebar). Click Update Link Code after you’ve entered the desired SID in the box and the “wizard” will add your SID to the link for you.

Now, you don’t need to use the wizard to add an SID to your CJ link, but I find for new affiliates, creating new links, you might as well. But let’s say you wish to update CJ affiliate links currently on your site that you’ve already generated.

Simply take your current CJ affiliate link and add ?sid=YOURSID at the end of it:

http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-1111111-11111111?sid=WHATEVERYOUWANT

Commission Junction will automatically begin tracking that SID once it’s been clicked on and start showing it in your reports.

Viewing your CJ SID stats

While CJ makes it easy to add an SID, a decent reporting interface showing the stats for them is another issue. The only way I can see to view them is via the “Commission Detail” screen or report. To run a Commission Detail Report you need to go to Run Reports > Transaction Reports > Report Options and run a Commission Detail Report under “Select Report Type” and the when the “Filter Results By” section updates, you can choose to change the “Order By” drop down bar to Order By: SID and click Generate Report.

If you want grand totals for each SID or other aggregate totals, you’ll need to download the report and do it via excel.

About CJ SID limitations

  • The SID can be up to 64 characters, and may include spaces.
  • If spaces, commas, periods or @ symbols are used in the SID, they must be URL-encoded (e.g., %20 for a space, %40 for a @, %2E for a comma).
  • The following characters are illegal and cannot be used in the SID: ” / < > ? \ | * : ‘ “
  • Do not set the SID value to 0 (zero).

Linkshare – Signature Tracking

linkshare logo
First, I hate the Linkshare backend. It’s confusing as hell and a usability nightmare. So, finding anything is a chore. Linkshare first called their sub campaign tracking an SID but later moved to calling it a “Signature” (don’t ask me, no idea).

Adding a Signature to a Linkshare Link

To have a wizard add the sub campaign tracking (Signature) to a Linkshare link for you, you’ll need to go to Links > Deep Linking. Choose the advertiser you want to make the link for from the drop down, check off single link or multiple links, add the URL of the merchant’s site you want to turn into an affiliate link, choose the output format and then put your sub campaign tracking into the “U1 Value” box (I don’t know why there’s yet another name for it).

I’m not sure why there isn’t a wizard to add a Signature to a standard graphical or text link, but to my knowledge, there currently is not. And if the advertiser isn’t setup to ALLOW deep linking – or you need a link to their homepage and not a deep page, then you can’t use the wizard for them at all. [headdesk]

So in most cases you’ll need to add the signature to your Linkshare link manually by taking your current Linkshare affiliate link and appending &u1=YOURSIGNATURE to the end of it:

http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=V/11xxddbb1&offerid=111111.11111111&subid=0&type=4&u1=WHATEVERYOUWANT

Linkshare will automatically begin tracking that Signature ID once it’s been clicked on and start showing it in your reports.

Viewing your Linkshare Signature stats

To view the reports for your “Signatures” go to Reports > Advanced Reports. Choose the date range you wish to view and then under report type, select Signature Activity or Signature Orders depending on what you want to view, choose the advertiser you want to look at and click View Report. It will show you the total statistics for clicks, sales and commissions of each Signature ID you’re using.

About Linkshare Signature limitations

The only official limitations we seem to be able to find in their help files is that the Member ID field can be up to 72 alphanumeric characters in length.

Shareasale – Afftrack Tracking

SAS logo
ShareASale calls their sub campaign tracking “Afftrack” which is their shorthand for “Affiliate Defined Tracking”.

Adding a Afftrack ID to a ShareASale Link

If you normally get your links through Links > Get a Link / Banner you won’t see the option to add an Afftrack ID to those predefined links via a wizard. To find the wizard to add the Afftrack ID into the link for you, you must go to Links > Create a Custom Link. Pick a merchant from the drop down, add your Afftrack ID where it says “Optional – Additional Tracking for your end (afftrack)”, choose the page of the merchant site you wish to create the link for and click Create Custom Link.

However, as with every other network, you can easily append the Afftrack ID to your ShareASale link yourself by adding &afftrack=YOURAFFTRACKID to the end of the end of it:

http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?C=11&U=1111&M=11&afftrack=WHATEVERYOUWANT

IMPORTANT NOTE: Most generic ShareASale links already include the &afftrack= parameter within one, but without YOURAFFTRACKID after the equal sign. If the SAS link you’re using ALREADY includes that parameter, then you only need to add in the YOURAFFTRACKID part.

ShareASale will automatically begin tracking that Afftrack ID once it’s been clicked on and start showing it in your reports.

Viewing your ShareASale Afftrack stats

Honestly, the ShareASale reporting system is always a little confusing and cluttered to me. If there’s a better way to view Afftrack stats then the ways I list, please feel free to share it in the comments below.

If you go to Reports > Activity Detail you can run an activity detail report that will show you all the sales you’ve made in the date range you’ve specified individually and if an Afftrack ID was specified for the sale, it will show you that on the right hand side. To see an aggregate Afftrack stat report go to Reports > Traffic Report. From there, you can choose a Date Range and Specific Merchant. Once you choose a Specific Merchant from the drop down, a “Group Report by” option will appear and you can select Afftrack Value from the drop down and click Refresh Report to see a reporting of your clicks and sales by Afftrack ID.

About Shareasale Afftrack limitations

Shareasale says: “The tracking string must be alphanumeric, and can not contain any spaces or special characters. There is a 255 character limit.”

Google Affiliate Network – MID Tracking (Deprecated – Network Closed)

GAN logo
I honestly will only use Google Affiliate Network (GAN) when absolutely forced to (meaning I need a merchant and they don’t have an additional program anywhere else). If you don’t know that they call their sub campaign tracking an MID (which stands for Member ID) then you’d be hard pressed to find any documentation on it or that sub campaign tracking even exists.

Adding a MID to a Google Affiliate Network Link

The only way that I have found to add an MID to a GAN link is to do it manually. To do so you’ll need to add the MID tracking to the end of your GAN links by adding ?mid=YOURMID at the end of it:

http://clickserve.cc-dt.com/link/tplclick?lid=00000000000000000&pubid=00000000000000000&mid=WHATEVERYOUWANT

GAN will automatically begin tracking that MID once it’s been clicked on and start showing it in your reports.

Viewing your GAN MID stats

The easiest way that I’ve found to view MID stats is to click on Reports > Activity Detail. It will show you the MID associated with each sale reported if one exists. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, you can only see SALES generated by an MID and not the number of clicks the MID has received or any other statistics. Additionally, as with CJ, there doesn’t appear to be a way to view totals for a specific MID. So if you want to get more detailed numbers, you’ll need to export the report and do some additional work in excel.

Pepperjam Network (now called Ebay Enterprise Affiliate Network) – SID Tracking

pepperjam logo
Pepperjam refers to their sub campaign tracking as an SID, which stands for Site ID.

Adding a SID to a Pepperjam Link

Pepperjam definitely has their shit together when it comes to their SID wizards. Pretty much every way you can possibly generate a link through their admin panel allows you to append an SID to the link. I’m going to use the Banners link wizard in this example. Click on Creatives and find the merchant you want to create a link for in your list. Click Banners on the right side and a wizard will appear. Add an SID into the SID box and click Update. The wizard will add the SID you specified to ALL of the links listed in the banners section. Then choose a link as you normally would.

You can also manually add the SID tracking to your current Pepperjam links by adding ?sid=YOURSID at the end of it:

http://www.gopjn.com/A/R0BGSkRFQ0BFFGABHUBER0RIRg?sid=WHATEVERYOUWANT

Pepperjam will automatically begin tracking that SID once it’s been clicked on and start showing it in your reports.

Viewing your Pepperjam SID stats

In my opinion, they also have hands down the best SID reporting interface and reports. To view your SID stats, go to Reports > Transaction Reports > SID Reports. Pepperjam will show you the clicks, sales and commission associated with each SID you’re using. You can also limit the report to only show the stats for a specific SID.

About Pepperjam SID limitations

The only limitation officially listed is that an SID has a “limit of 100 characters”.

Clickbank – TID Tracking

CB logo
Holy hell was it hard to find out how to add sub campaign tracking to Clickbank links the first time I went to figure it out. Probably because I never thought to look for “TID” (which is what they call their sub campaign tracking) and searching for anything but that brings up little helpful information.

Adding a TID to a Clickbank Link

To add a TID to a Clickbank link, you’ll need to add it to the link manually by adding ?tid=YOURTID to the end of your current Clickbank link:

http://example.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=WHATEVERYOUWANT

Clickbank will automatically begin tracking that TID once it’s been clicked on and start showing it in your reports.

Viewing your Clickbank TID stats

Viewing the stats for your TID reports in Clickbank is almost as easy. Go to Reports > Transactions. Select a Date Range and click Go to see a listing of all sales you’ve generated in that timeframe. If a TID is associated with the sale, it will show in the TID column of the report. You can also set the report to show you ONLY sales from a specific TID as well.

However, if would appear you can only see SALES generated by a specific TID. Their basic analytics reporting doesn’t show TID in the output.

About Clickbank TID limitations

Clickbank says that “the Tracking IDs can be up to 24 characters long, and must consist only of numbers and/or letters (no punctuation or other symbols).”

About Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is an affiliate marketing veteran and the CEO of PushFire, a search marketing agency specializing in SEO audits and link building strategies. She is also the author of the often controversial Sugarrae blog. You can connect with Rae via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Sugarrae runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

If you’re someone who doesn’t understand a lot of PHP, Genesis will give a ton of functionality that you wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise with a simple control panel instead of having to alter code. For the advanced, Genesis has incredible customization possibilities via Genesis hooks.

The theme is not only highly customizable, but it has allowed me to run Sugarrae more professionally, with a much more targeted focus on monetization than it ever has been able to achieve before.

You can find out more about Genesis below:

Comments

  1. Hi Sugarrae,
    Thanks for the your very detailed post on how to add SID tracking to affiliate links. I’m finding it more important to understand which campaigns are converting and it is nice to have this information in one spot for all of the affiliate networks I use.

    Cheers,

    Peter

  2. Terrific post! Subid tracking is one of those things that I think most affiliates completely under-utilize. I rely on it for so much across every network. It’s great to have a resource to refer other people to.

  3. Rae, please keep this kind of post coming! I’ve used a ton of your posts which lay out how to actually get things done. This is the kind of info I really appreciate and which is so hard to find amongst the noise of online marketing pablum which passes for posts. I’m running a network of seasonal affiliate sites right now and this is exactly the kind of info I need to be passing on to the marketing and dev teams.

  4. I wanted to add one discovery I made about GAN’s MID feature that’s not documented. If you’re using an advertiser’s primary link to deep link to specific pages on the advertiser’s website the MID parameter must be appended *before* the redirect URL. Otherwise, the MID won’t be associated with a sale. Examples:

    MID is not recorded (Incorrect Method):
    http://gan.doubleclick.net/gan_click?lid=00000000000000000&pubid=00000000000000000&adurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.test.com%2Fcustom-page&mid=ABC

    MID is recorded (Correct Method):
    http://gan.doubleclick.net/gan_click?lid=123&pubid=456&mid=ABC&adurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.test.com%2Fcustom-page

  5. Perfect timing, Sugarrae.

    Will you follow-up with a post depicting how you track keywords conversion data when using organic traffic?

  6. Hi Sugarrae,

    Interesting post. Somehow it didn’t occur to me testing different campaigns although I perfectly knew that the landing pages differ. I was just using the same link but masking it differently with Eclipse Link Cloaker to be able to track my clicks and know where they come from.

    I personally begin to hate CJ because of the fiddly interface and poor tracking and reporting tools, I wish they’d improve on that quickly…

    • Using Eclipse is great, but using it with an SID is better – because then you know exactly which links you’re tracking with Eclipse drove the sale without having to do a bunch of workarounds to do it. :)

  7. Great post, Sugarrae, I am really interested in pepperjam, now, and am wondering if you could do a side by side comparison between them and Commission Junction; pros & cons?

  8. Sugarrae, This post is freakin’ fantastic! Seriously.

    I’ve used all these guys’ affiliate programs and have been completely befuddled about how to track conversions for the same link in different places. I use various links via prettylink, but that still doesn’t tell you which ones convert, so this really helps.

    You’d think they’d make it a lot easier for people to learn this stuff. I’m pretty good at self-teaching, but some things like this are really hard to figure out if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Now I’ve got a great reference, thanks!

  9. Great post! I am always forgetting the url parameters to use. I use sub id tracking to track commissions earned by members of my cash back portal and also when using several sources of traffic to a merchant. Too bad there are still lots and lots of merchants who won’t allow sub affiliate id tracking and frankly I am scared of using sub id tracking on a merchant that won’t allow it because they might come back and reject my commissions.

  10. Rae,

    Do you use Google Analytics on your affiliate sites? If, “yes”, can you offer some recommendations for the best way to track / report on affiliate ads in that platform?

    Great post too. We’re just starting to learn about affiliate advertising and blogs like this really help!!!

    Steve and Tim.

  11. Sugarrae – great info is right. I do agree with Youssef. A follow-up with a post depicting how you track keywords conversion data when using organic traffic would be very helpful. I struggle with knowing how to pass parameters through the SID when you dont have control of the conversion(merchant) page. This would allow us to gather alot more info knowing this…

    • Russ – as I mentioned in my reply to him just now, not provided has definitely thrown a kink in that regard. I hope to have some workarounds I can share soon. :)

  12. Do you ever use these ID Tracking codes in conjunction with GoCodes or PrettyLinks? Does it work? Woudl love to hear more about that or in using them with Google Analytics.

    Thanks!

  13. Hi Sugarrae, I just happened on your link as I was searching for info on SID tracking and, honestly, I m so clueless and in awe of even the language you use, that I am laughing at myself. I thought I was smart about most things but was proven otherwise. I dont even know where to begin so if you can give me some pointers of where to find an Idiot’s Guide to SID tracking, I would be eternally grateful. Cheers! Bertil

    • Bertil – the above is the simplest way I know how to explain it – which part are you finding the most difficulty with in regards to understanding it? If I know that, I may be able to help. :)

  14. WOWWWW thank you so much! This post really helped me because CJ was frustrating me…I couldn’t find any info on how to see reports with the SID. I was about to give up so thanks.

  15. Any clue on how to track the users on Amazon Associates? I can´t find any information.

    Thanks in advance.

    • According to their site “Upon your request but subject to our approval, we may issue you additional “sub-tag” Associate IDs that permit you to monitor and optimize the performance of your Special Links by including different sub-tags in the URLs of different Special Links” (source)

      So, it seems you have to request the ability to use them. I don’t see instructions on how to do so though and I’d be willing to bet they only approve the request for larger affiliates, but I could be wrong.

  16. This is great. It would be even better if you provided (or told us where to find) the allowable parameters for the sub-IDs. For instance, I think that Linkshare has a 72-character alphanumeric limit. And the others?

    Thanks!

    • Robert – that was actually a great suggestion, so I’ve updated the article above to include that information for each network (except GAN which has shut down since this article was originally written) under the new “[network name SID] limitations” heading in each section. I hope it helps!

  17. Pradip Rathod says:

    Any clue on how to track the users on Amazon Associates? I can´t find any information.

    Thanks in advance.

  18. Very Helpful. Just wanted to say thanks :)

  19. It would be great if you could address a way to download reports from say CJ, Linkshare, export the data to a database, so we can examine SID’s easier. Correlating them back to a blog post would be great, so we can see what is working and what isn’t.

  20. Great information, have just added signatures to a couple of linkshare banners. They’re converting well but now I’ll know which in particular is sending the sales for me!

    I’ll have to look for similar information for Affiliate Window – I’m a heavy user of their banners too.

    Thanks again,
    Carly

    • Good stuff Carly – yeah, sorry, no familiarity with that network. Good luck with the tracking – hopefully it will give you intel to help you improve your sales!

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