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When you really want to increase conversions and monitor what traffic channels are working for you, deep links and sub IDs are your friends. But it’s not always easy to figure them out with all of the various networks. So, I’ve made a little cheat-sheet for you.
|Commission Junction||sid||url||Only for creatives that allow deep linking|
|mid||redirect or adurl*||See support site|
|Pepperjam||sid||url||Only for creatives that allow deep linking|
|ShareASale||afftrack||urllink||No http:// in urllink|
Make sure you urlencode your SubIDs and Deep Links!
Affiliates use SubIDs for many reasons, including tracking campaigns, websites, or even individual users.
If you’re direct-linking a campaign, you’ll want to tag the link with a SubID that identifies the campaign.
Some networks, like Commission Junction, allow you to choose which website you’re generating the link for, using a SubID to identify the website is not necessary here. However, others (like ShareASale) don’t specify this, so you’ll use your SubID (or, afftrack in their case) to specify which website the lead was generated from.
Finally, you can also use SubIDs to track individual users. For my sites, I log each incoming visitor (storing referring URL, referring keyword, IP, date / time and other info) and give them a unique ID. Then, my outbound links include this ID. When they convert, I can tag that database entry with the commission amount, and then run various reports on what keywords, countries, time of day, etc. give the best ROI.
When you deep link to a product, you help the user by not making them search from the merchant’s homepage to find the product you were talking about on your site. The fewer the clicks, the greater the conversion.
One thing I like to do is use my deep affiliate link in the action of a form. This way, the form (say, for a travel program) can be on my website. When the user enters their arrival and departure dates, then clicks submit, the cookie is set and they’re shown the results on the merchant’s site. It can require a bit of engineering to get this to work, but it’s worth it with the conversions you’ll see!
For more on deep linking, see Jangro’s post from 2008.