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How to Use Direct Linking When Tracking Links Are Not Allowed

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What is Direct Linking?


Direct Linking is a form of click tracking within CAKE that sends consumers directly to the landing page URL with tracking parameters instead of redirecting through a  CAKE tracking link.


CAKE’s best practice for tracking clicks is to use a tracking link which enables CAKE to attribute campaign performance, track sub ID’s, and maximize monetization opportunities through features like caps, geo-targeting, and rules.


In some situations, however, a CAKE tracking link is not a viable option. Typically, this means a media buying platform restricts third-party measurement.  In these scenarios, a Direct Link can be used to track the consumer reaching the landing page. Upon the consumer’s arrival to the landing page, the CAKE Dynamic Click Pixel (DCP) will load and perform two primary tasks. 


  1. The DCP will generate a first-party session cookie 

  2. The DCP will store the CAKE Request ID in the cookie.  


When the consumer converts on the offer, a JavaScript SDK (JS SDK) conversion pixel is used to capture the CAKE Request ID from the first party cookie and records the conversion in CAKE.




Because direct linking uses the landing page URL with appended tracking parameters to be used for attribution and analytics, let’s review which tracking parameters are needed on a direct link within CAKE. 


For our example, we will use the following Landing Page URL: 

https://getCAKE.com


There are two options for configuring a Direct Link to ensure that CAKE knows which Campaign to attribute the click to:

  • Campaign ID and Creative ID (recommended)

  • Campaign 3rd Party Name


To configure the Direct Link with Campaign ID and Creative ID, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the Campaign ID into the ckmsc= parameter after the query string

  2. Insert the Creative ID into the ckmc= parameter after the query string


Example Direct Link after it has been configured with the Campaign ID and Creative ID:

https://getCAKE.com/?ckmsc=1&ckmc=2


To configure the Direct Link with Campaign 3rd Party Name, follow these steps:

  1. Identify, or create, a unique parameter on the Landing Page URL that can be associated to the Campaign in CAKE.

  2. Insert this parameter into the 3rd Party Name field on the Campaign

  3. Insert the Campaign 3rd Party Name into the ckmscn= parameter

  4. Insert the Creative ID into the ckmc= parameter if you want to track creative performance.



Example Direct Link after it has been configured with the Campaign 3rd Party Name:

https://getCAKE.com/?ckmscn=123abc


Note:

The Campaign 3rd Party Name is not enabled by default. Contact your Client Success Manager or Technical Support team to enable this feature.



How to Track Sub ID Parameters


Sub ID parameters are an optional tool that allows you to track additional attributes about the click. This could be an ad placement value, a UTM parameter, or any other metadata that you want to pass on the Landing Page URL that can be used within CAKE reporting.


Direct Linking also supports Sub ID tracking. By default, the CAKE DCP will look for the same parameters on the Direct Link that are traditionally used on a CAKE Tracking Link. 


To configure the Direct Link with Sub ID parameters, follow these steps:

  1. Append s1= on the query string of the Direct Link to track a unique SubAffiliate/Source

  2. Append s2=, s3=, s4=, s5= for additional campaign or click attributes


Example Direct Link after it has been configured with Sub IDs:

https://GetCAKE.com/?ckmsc=1&ckmc=2&s1=55&s2=email



How to Configure the CAKE Dynamic Click Pixel


To configure the CAKE Dynamic Click Pixel (DCP), follow these steps:

  1. Copy/Paste the below DCP JavaScript code into a notepad

  2. Identify the ‘cookie_dom’ parameter

  3. Replace “Enter Cookie Domain Here” with your Cookie Tracking Domain 


Once you’ve configured the DCP, send it to your advertiser for them to either insert into their tag manager or embed it onto the landing page directly.


Note:

We recommend that the DCP be applied to all landing pages on the website to ensure that you are capturing all traffic redirecting to the offer.


The Dynamic Click Pixel (DCP):

<script type="text/javascript">

    (function () {

        var c = { 'name': 'cp', 'args': {'sess_timeout':'','gclid_param':'gclid','gclid_chk_ref':0,'bingkw_param':'ckm_kw','sc_param':'ckmsc','bingkw_chk_ref':0, 'attr_param':'ckmscn', 'attr_chk_ref': 0, 'sess_param': '', 'sess_chk_ref': 0, 'crtv_id': null, 'crtv_param':'ckmc', 'crtv_chk_ref': 0, 'tpcrid_param': 'ckmcrn', 'cookie_dom': 'ENTER COOKIE DOMAIN HERE', 'ref_type': 1, 'ckm_sess_param': null ,'s1_param':'s1','s2_param':'s2','s3_param':'s3','s4_param':'s4','s5_param':'s5', 'sub_chk_ref':0} };

        var params = new URLSearchParams(window.location.search);

        var thirdPartyID = params.get('ckmscn');

        var creativeID = params.get('ckmc');

         var activeTracking = params.get('ckmat');

        if (thirdPartyID || creativeID || activeTracking)

            if (typeof CKMLib == 'object')

                    CKMLib.run(c);

        else {

            (_ckm = window._ckm || []).push(c);

            if (typeof CKMLib != 'string') {

                CKMLib = 'loading';

                var pix = document.createElement('script');

                pix.type = 'text/javascript'; pix.async = true;

                pix.src = '//cakecdn.com/jssdk/lib.js';

                var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];

                s.parentNode.insertBefore(pix, s);

            }

        }

    })();

</script>



How to Generate the JavaScript SDK Conversion Pixel


The JavaScript SDK (JS SDK) Conversion Pixel is a browser-based tag, similar to an iFrame pixel, that is embedded on the confirmation page, or the page the conversion is taking place. 


To generate the JS SDK conversion pixel, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Offer Card

  2. Click on the Pixel button located on the Home tab

  3. Click Next

  4. From the Tracking Type dropdown, select JS SDK

  5. Click into the code, which will highlight the entire tag

  6. Copy the tag and then deliver to your advertiser



FAQ


What are the best situations to use Direct Linking?

    Direct Linking should be used as an alternative to active tracking with a CAKE tracking link if a tracking link is not an option. We typically see this with major media buying platforms like Google Adwords or Facebook.


Can I still use Geo-Targeting with Direct Linking?

    Monetization features, like Geo-Targeting, Rules, or Caps require a redirect through a CAKE Tracking Link. Because of this, these features are not available.


Will Directed Campaigns still work with Direct Linking?

    Yes, Direct Campaigns will function with Direct Linking when you append a Sub ID or Creative ID on the Direct Link.


Can I use CAKE Tracking Links and Direct Links on the same Campaign?

    Yes, you can use both forms of click tracking for a Campaign. The DCP will be ignored if a user redirects to the Landing Page URL via a CAKE Tracking Link.



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