Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting and selling another company’s products or services. Becoming a successful affiliate marketer means understanding cookies. But this has nothing to do with the favorite sweet! This is how your affiliate marketing business ensures that you get paid for the sales you generate.
What is a cookie?
An HTTP “cookie” is a type of message that a web server sends to a web browser. This is used to identify users and web surfers, personalize online experiences, and track information. Cookie technology works for many things. For example, it works when your computer “remembers” your password when you log into one of your online accounts.
How do cookies work for affiliate marketers?
Cookies are an affiliate marketer’s best friend. When you promote a product as an affiliate, the product owner will assign you a unique affiliate URL or affiliate link.
When someone clicks on your affiliate link, a cookie is placed in their browser. This means that your computer stores information that says you are the person who directed the visitor to that website. If that person makes a purchase, the affiliate company can trace that sale back to you and pay you their commission.
Not all cookies are the same
From the first time someone clicks on one of your affiliate links, you can earn commissions for the designated duration of the cookie. Different affiliate programs have different lifetimes for their cookies.
For example, if you promote products as an Amazon affiliate, your cookie will only be valid for 24 hours. That means the website visitor must purchase within 24 hours if they are credited for that sale.
This is why you should choose your affiliate companies very carefully. Some affiliate marketing models allow a cookie duration of 30, 60, 90 days or even 1 year. Some offer cookies for life!
marketing affiliate programs
When someone buys something from a website that you, as an affiliate, have directed them to, the cookie shares your affiliate ID. The product owner then knows that you are the affiliate and should be paid any commission from that sale. Obviously, it is extremely important that you use the correct affiliate ID on all your links to ensure you get your commissions.
The only issue to be aware of with cookies is that if a potential customer uses a different computer to browse again to purchase the product, your Affiliate ID will not be saved on that machine. However, it is not a major problem, since most people use the same computer, laptop or tablet to buy products and services online.