Call it a 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) 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 post is as much an aggregate “reminder note” for me to be able to personally reference as it is a “how to” post for you. ;-)
Commission Junction – SID Tracking
Commission Junction calls their sub campaign tracking an “SID” which stands for Site ID. And in my opinion, they make it the easiest of all the networks to figure out how to add it.
Adding a SID to a CJ Link
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:
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
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:
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
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:
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)
I honestly will only use Google Affiliate Network (GAN) when 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:
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 refers to their sub campaign tracking as an SID, which stands for Site ID.
Adding a SID to a Pepperjam Link
Pepperjam has their shit together when it comes to their SID wizards. Pretty much every way you can 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:
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
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
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 letters (no punctuation or other symbols).”