How Affiliate Marketing Cookies Work

In Affiliate Marketing, Marketing by Compass Creative TeamLeave a Comment

In affiliate marketing, cookies are important because affiliate sales are normally tracked using affiliate marketing cookies. Cookies are small text files that are stored on the visitor’s or customer’s computer for a set amount of time, which provide information on the conversion process.

The set amount of time that a an affiliate marketing cookie remains on the customers’ computer is known as the “cookie life.” The cookie life is the time period between the end users’ click on an affiliate link and the last day when the merchant is willing to pay a commission on the conversion.

As an affiliate marketer, you want the sale or action that the customer takes to be attributed to you and not to someone else. So, if the customer goes away from your link for whatever reason and then returns via another marketer’s link at a later time, you lose the conversion if the cookie life on their computer has expired.

Today “Last Click Wins” is the main model of how a merchant credits affiliate-referred sales. This means that regardless of how many affiliates touch the customer in the pre-sale process, it is the last affiliate that sets the affiliate marketing cookie on the visitors’ machine before order placement that will get the full commission.

As you sort through and select affiliate networks, inevitably you will come across various programs which offer extremely short cookie life periods. This is an unfortunate reality and your first reaction might be why even bother with these affiliate programs, however if you dig deeper you will find that an encouraging 85% to 91% of conversions occur either immediately after or within 24hrs after the end customers click on an affiliate link.


Taking this into account–plus the reality that the above referenced brands generally yield higher than average conversion rates– the affiliate network which predominately uses short affiliate marketing cookie life spans is not necessarily a bad thing. It really depends on the product and how quickly the customer makes up their mind and completes the sales process for that type of purchase.

At Compass Marketing, we are always advising and helping our clients make the right decision, be it in affiliate marketing or other campaigns, making the right decision almost always saves you money in the long run and often makes you a great deal more money.  Contact Compass Marketing and let us help you make those right decisions, those decisions which make you and your product a market leader.

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