Affiliate Tracking and Reporting Transparency

The Income Access affiliate tracking software offers users affiliate tracking transparency.

Have you ever wondered what happens between the time a player clicks on one of your affiliate links and when that player appears in your affiliate tracking reports? This section of our site is designed to guide you through the process, and give you the transparency required to have a successful affiliate program.

Below is a guide to transparency through tracking and reporting. Browse the sections below for more information.

1. Complete Affiiliate Marketing Solutions

Income Access is in a unique position in the world of affiliate marketing. We’re a third party, which means that we’re not a gambling operator ourselves. We do three things:

  1. Build comprehensive affiliate tracking software that lets operators manage their own affiliate programs.
  2. Offer affiliate program management services (we have a team of 15 affiliate managers on staff. Meet them at blog.incomeaccess.com ).
  3. Run the Income Access affiliate network, which is home to bingo, casino, poker, and sportsbook affiliate programs.

The Income Access affiliate network runs on the same software that we develop for operators who want to run their own independent affiliate programs.

2. How Income Access Makes Affiliate Tracking Transparent

When a new iGaming operator signs on with us, the first question is whether they want to be in the Income Access affiliate network, or opt to be a “white label” (i.e. use our affiliate software to manage an external affiliate program).

To get the ball rolling, our integrations team starts working with the operator’s technical (web and database) team. Much of this stage involves the operator getting set up to capture the data necessary for an affiliate tracking solution, and report that data back to Income Access.

To put this in perspective, let’s begin by reviewing how Income Access’ affiliate tracking works, end to end:

  1. Affiliate pulls his link code from the Income Access software and places it on his site.
  2. A player visits the affiliate’s site and sees the affiliate link. Income Access records this view of the affiliate link as an “impression” in the affiliate’s reports.
  3. While on the affiliate’s site, the player clicks on the affiliate link. The click on the link is recorded by Income Access and displays in the affiliate’s reports.
  4. A cookie is placed on the player’s computer. This cookie contains the affiliate’s unique identifier, the site ID.
  5. The player arrives at the operator’s site and creates a player account.
  6. The operator’s site reads the site ID in the cookie, and stamps that new player account with the site ID in question.
  7. The next day, the player signup is reported to Income Access and displayed in the affiliate’s reports.
  8. When the player deposits or generates any other kind of sales data, this data is also reported to Income Access the next day and displayed in the affiliate’s reports.
  9. The Income Access software calculates commission based on the data that the operator sends to us.

How Affiliate Tracking is Divided Between Income Access and Gaming Operators

When it comes to your affiliate tracking, some steps are taken care of by the operator, and other steps are taken care of by Income Access. Below is a breakdown of who is responsible for what in this process.

What Income Access tracks

Income Access is in charge of tracking the impressions and clicks for your affiliate links. We do this in real time, because the technology we use lets us know immediately when there is an impression or a click for an affiliate link.

Income Access is also responsible for thoroughly testing that the tracking has been properly installed on an operator’s site before an affiliate program goes live.

What iGaming Operators Track

Operators working with Income Access need to make sure:

  1. That the cookie is dropped on the player’s computer when he clicks on an affiliate link.
  2. That every landing page their affiliate links point to is set up to capture the site ID put in that cookie.
  3. That the referring affiliate’s site ID is successfully stamped on to new player accounts when they are created.
  4. That they send us the complete player registration data every time a player is referred by an affiliate and signs up.
  5. That they send us the complete sales data (deposits, revenue, bonuses, etc.) for any player referred by an affiliate.
  6. That this data is in the correct format, so that we can import it and display it in the reports for affiliates.

If you’re an affiliate, you can easily test that #1 above is working. All you need to do is clear your cookies, click through one of your own affiliate links, and then check your cookies for one that references the affiliate domain for the operator in question (e.g. affiliates.operator.com). Open that cookie in Notepad, and you’ll see that your numerical site ID is there, appearing in this format: a_siteidb_creativeid

(In case you were curious, we call the strange formation above the “btag”).

How does Income Access receive data from operators?

So, how do we receive this data from an operator who uses our affiliate marketing software? It’s sent to us in the form of daily files that contain data on player registrations and player sales.

The operator sends this data to us by placing it on our FTP server in the form of .CSV files. Then, we import this data into the database, so that it appears in the affiliate reports, and so that affiliates can see their signups and referred player activity for the previous day.

We’re set up to import any new data found on the FTP once an hour, so anytime an operator sends us new affiliate program data, it shows up on affiliate reports a maximum of one hour later. Most operators only send data to us once a day, however, so affiliate reports tend to be updated every 24 hours.

Affiliate Tracking: The Testing Process

Because we are a third party, we put special emphasis on the testing process before an operator goes live with an Income Access-powered affiliate program. After the operator implements the tracking on their site, here are the steps that we follow:

  1. Create an affiliate link, click through it, and sign up a player account.
  2. Play/bet on the operator’s site, using that player account.
  3. Check that the player registration is reported to us the next day and that all the data in the operator’s backend matches what they reported to us.
  4. Check that the sales data for this activity is reported to us the next day and that all the data in the operator’s backend matches what they reported to us.
  5. Import the data and make sure that it displays properly in the affiliate reports.

We always do several tests to ensure that the data sent to us by an operator is the same data that shows in their backend. In other words, if a player generates $20 in revenue, we check that this is the same revenue amount that the operator sends to us, and then that this is what shows in affiliate reports.

Income Access Monitoring Systems for Affiliate Tracking

Income Access has over seven years of experience integrating with all types of operators, so we have solid systems in place to detect any tracking issues that may arise. We carry out regular audits of tracking for all the operators in the Income Access affiliate network (i.e. all the programs we manage), and we use an established investigation process whenever an affiliate contacts us concerned that his links may not be working. A brief synopsis:

On a daily basis, our team of 15 affiliate managers checks the reports for all the affiliate programs in the Income Access network. If there are any stats missing or numbers that look strange, the operator is immediately contacted to arrange for those stats to be sent to us as soon as possible, or to ask if there might be a problem with the stats being reported to us.

If an affiliate contacts us with a tracking concern, we immediately follow this process using his/her links to ensure everything is in order.

Every month, we carry out tracking testing for merchants in the Income Access network, clicking through affiliate links, signing up player accounts, generating activity and then ensuring that all activity is accurately reported to us.

Troubleshooting Affiliate Tracking

If your affiliate links aren’t tracking, there are a few likely reasons why. Income Access breaks them down here.

Affiliates changing their tracking code

One very common reason for tracking problems is affiliates altering tracking links. It’s important that as an affiliate, you use the tracking code exactly as it appears when you copy it from the Income Access system. If you make changes to the code, it may not track properly.

Creation of new landing pages

Sometimes, operators create new landing pages (the ones that players land on after clicking through affiliate links) and forget that those pages need to be set up in a certain way. They need to capture the affiliate site ID from the cookie dropped by the affiliate links, which sometimes falls by the wayside, especially in large IT teams.

We try to educate operators as much as possible to avoid this scenario. This is also why it’s important that as an affiliate, you self-test new campaigns to ensure your tracking is working properly.

Operator data issues

We’ve also encountered operators who have internal technical issues. Perhaps the operator is having problems sending us complete or accurate affiliate program data. When this happens, we work with the operator as closely as possible to see if we can assist in solving the issue. Our primary aim is to ensure that affiliates using our software are getting the reporting they need to maximize their marketing efforts, so it’s in our best interest to assist our operator partners whenever we can.

Delays in transferring data

Occasionally, an operator will not be able to send us their latest data on time. This tends to happen more often if an operator manually uploads data to the Income Access FTP. The Income Access team checks the stats daily for all the affiliate programs in the network, so we will contact the operator as soon as we notice that we are missing stats for a particular affiliate program, in an attempt to get it and display it to affiliates as quickly as possible.

Ask us about Affiliate Tracking

Being a transparent affiliate network and affiliate software provider is important to us, as it allows us to offer complete affiliate marketing solutions to both our affiliates and operators. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about tracking and reporting in the Income Access affiliate software. Call us anytime at +1 514 849 8595 to speak to one of our affiliate managers, or send us an email at info[at]incomeacess.com.