This article will cover the following:
- All of the components of a standard CAKE unique link
- Optional link parameters
What is a CAKE Unique Link?
Unless you're also tracking impressions, the CAKE unique link is where tracking begins. Unique links, or tracking links are distributed to your Affiliates for the purpose of redirecting consumers from an advertisment to the intended landing page.
Every new CAKE client starts with one tracking domain which is also referred to as a cooke domain. This cookie domain will be used in your conversion pixels and your unique links.
In our example above, http://track.com is the cookie domain.
When an Affiliate's unique link is clicked, CAKE redirects the consumer through CAKE to the offer link. In order for a tracking link to be valid, there are 2 additional required parameters which tell us:
- Who the Affiliate is that generated the click
- What Campaign is this click and potential Conversion related to?
The "a=" Parameter
The "a=" parameter defines the CAKE Affiliate ID and answers #1; Who the Affiliate that generated the click is. In our example above, a=1 is referencing Affiliate ID 1.
The "c=" Parameter
The "c=" parameter is the CAKE Creative ID and helps answer the question to item #2 above; What Campaign is this click and potential conversion related to? In our example, c=1 means that this particular Unique Link is referencing creative ID 1.
Knowing the Creative ID allows CAKE to know the Offer associated. If CAKE knows the Offer, then we are able to use the Affiliate ID to discover the campaign. After all, Affiliate + Offer = Campaign.
Defining the creative ID, as opposed to using the campaign ID directly, allows for more granular reporting. Creative reporting becomes extremely important when optimizing performance campaigns.
The "s1=" Parameter
The s1 Parameter, or Sub ID parameter, is all too often misunderstood. Since CAKE has 5 Sub ID parameters, the s1 parameter should only be populated with real SubAffiliate or source ID's as opposed to unique click ID's that CAKE will only see once.
If unique values are placed in the s1 parameter by your affiliate, CAKE will soon ignore these values as that is not the intended use of this feature.
It is also important to note that the character length for "s1=" is 50 characters.
Additional Sub ID parameters
Although the first Sub ID parameter should only be used for reoccurring SubAffiliate IDs or values, affiliates have access to 4 additional Sub ID parameters which follow the same naming convention (s2, s3, s4 and s5). These optional parameters can contain unique values and also allow for more characters.
As opposed to the s1 parameter, the s2-s5 parameters can contain up to 100 characters. Additionally, extra long Sub ID values will roll over when placed in s2-s5. For example, a 150 character s2 value will cut off at 100 characters and roll over the remaining 50 characters to the s3 parameter.
Offer Contract Parameter
Some clients want specific control over campaigns at the offer contract level. Normally, multiple campaigns from the same offer and affiliate, but differ on the offer contract, are considered non-original.
However, there is a global setting that allows campaigns to be original if the offer contracts are different. Because of this, the Affiliate unique link will need to define which offer Contract it belongs to.
In this situation, CAKE will insert a new parameter named "oc=".
Media Type Parameter
Similar to the Offer Contract situation above, some clients would like to track campaigns separately based on their Media Type. Normally, multiple campaigns from the same offer and affiliate, but different on the media type, are considered non-original.
However, there is a global setting that allows campaigns to be original if the media types are different. Because of this, the Affiliate unique link will need to define which media type it belongs to. The media type is represented in the form of an ID.
In this situation, CAKE will insert a new parameter named "m=".
Alternate Price Formats
Up until now, the Affiliate unique link example this document has been using is based on a CPA campaign.
However, CAKE supports several price formats which include:
- CPC - p=c
- CPM - p=m
- RevShare - p=r
- Fixed - p=f
CPA Campaigns will not define the price format in the unique Link. CPC, CPM, revshare and fixed, however, are unique and are therefore defined in the Affiliate unique link.
This allows you to build multiple original campaigns for the same affiliate and offer with the flexibility to run traffic to different price formats.
Some clients, for various reasons, wish to encrypt the values within the Affiliate unique link. Encrypted links is a global setting that can be enabled within your CAKE instance and will affect all Affiliate unique links.
The encryption will hide the Affiliate ID, Creative ID and any other optional values mentioned above. The Affiliate does still have access to Sub ID parameters.