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How to Implement Server-to-Server Tracking Using a Postback URL

Server-to-Server tracking is a cookie-less conversion tracking method that is highly accurate and has added benefits, such as fraud prevention and conversion update API tools.

This Article Will Help You

  • Understand Server-to-Server Logic
  • Format a Postback URL and Offer Link
  • Generate a Postback URL
  • Placing Postback URL's within CAKE's Affiliate Portal

Section 1: Server-to-Server Logic

Server-to-Server conversion tracking does not rely on cookies, which makes it nearly 100% accurate; this is because cookies can be cleared, expire or never stored on the user's browser to begin with. With cookie-less tracking, another user specific value will be required in order to attribute the Postback URL back to a click. This value in CAKE is called the Request Session ID, also referred to as a Request ID or Reqid.

CAKE's Request ID is a session-specific numeric value that is generated on the click of a CAKE Unique Tracking Link or the load of a Click Pixel. Because this value is session-specific, it is not unique to the click but rather the user's browser session. This means a Request ID can be the same across campaigns.

The Request ID generated for a user should be passed to the advertiser to store until the user converts on the given offer. Upon conversion, the Request ID needs to be passed back to CAKE in the R parameter of the Postback URL. If a Postback URL with a valid Request ID for the given offer is received, a conversion will be stored in CAKE.

Section 2: Formatting a Postback URL and Offer Link

Section 2: Formatting a Postback URL and Offer Link

The CAKE Request ID can be sent to your advertiser by appending the Request ID token, #reqid#, to your Offer Link within CAKE. Your advertiser should specify which parameter to pass the Request ID in so that they are able to store it. 

For example, if your advertiser is also on CAKE, your Request ID token should be placed in one of the Sub ID parameters; s2, s3, s4 or s5 of the tracking link they have provided you with.

The Offer Link within CAKE can be updated from the following fields on the Offer card:

  • Info sub-tab of the Home tab
  • Contracts tab

Creative Offer Links overrides are also available, to update a Creative Offer Link follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Creatives tab of the Offer card.
  2. Click on the Creative Name to open the Creative card.
  3. Edit the Offer Link Override.
  4. Click Save.

Your Offer Link within CAKE would look similar to this once the token has been added:

Note: If utilizing Server-to-Server tracking, all Offer Links for your Offer, including Creative Link Overrides and Offer Contract Links, will need to be updated with the Request ID token as well.

Once a click occurs on the CAKE Unique Link for your campaign, a redirect will occur to the Offer Link and onto the landing page. When this happens, the Request ID token, #reqid#, will be dynamically replaced with the Request ID for that user's browser session. The URL on the browser query string would then look like this:

Finally, when the user converts on the designated action, the advertiser will fire your CAKE Postback URL with the Request ID that had been captured on the user's click to the landing page. The Postback URL will look like this:

Section 3: Generate a Postback URL

Section 3: Generate a Postback URL

There are two places to generate an Offer Postback URL, most commonly, from the Offer card.

From the Offer card, follow these steps:

  1. Begin on the Home tab.
  2. Click on the Pixel button.
  3. Select Conversion/Install/Lead.
  4. Press Next.

An alternative option is from the Advertisers main tab.

  1. Hover over the Advertisers main tab.
  2. Select Generate Conversion Pixel.
  3. Search for the Offer to generate a pixel for.
  4. Select Conversion/Install/Lead.
  5. Press Next.

Note:  From the first page of the wizard, there are additional fields that are not required:

  • Include Request Session ID:  This parameter is included in the Postback URL by default; however, enabling this setting will add it to the HTML Conversion Pixels. This solution is recommended when there is a concern of user's having cookies disabled on their browser. Without a valid cookie, CAKE can convert the user based off of the Request ID value, similar to Server-to-Server tracking.
  • Ecommerce Parameters: If the Ecommerce license is enabled within your instance, this option will be displayed. Enabling this checkbox will append all CAKE Ecommerce parameters to the generated conversion pixels.
  • Email to Advertiser: If this box is selected, an email containing the generated conversion pixels will be sent to the Advertiser's contact(s) email address after selecting Finish on the last step of the wizard.

The second step of the wizard will display the generated Postback URL. In this display, you will see the following default characteristics of the pixels.

  • Cookie-Domain: This is the selected Cookie Domain for the Offer. This should be the same domain that is within the Unique Tracking Links, unless Redirect Domains are used. By default, this will show HTTP, however, if you have the SSL checkbox selected on the Home tab of the Offer card, an HTTPS will display in the generated pixels.
  • O: This parameter contains the Offer ID value that CAKE will use to attribute clicks back to the correct Offer.
  • E: This parameter will show the Event ID of the default Conversion/Install pixel.
  • R: The CAKE generated Request ID should be passed back to CAKE in the r parameter of the Conversion Pixel.
  • F:  This is the pixel format parameter that will tell CAKE which type of pixel is being fired. Only the iFrame pixel does not contain the f parameter.
    • f=js: Javascript
    • f=img: Image Pixel
    • f=pb: Postback URL, this parameter will provide an XML response
  • T:  The Transaction ID parameter is optional but recommended for use of reconciling conversions with your advertiser. The value passed in this parameter should be a Conversion or Transaction ID that is specific to your advertiser's tracking system.

Note: Additional parameters can be added to the Postback URL for the purpose of overriding settings within the CAKE admin portal.

  • P: This parameter can be used to override the Received amount set within CAKE for that campaign. This amount can also be referred to as your revenue.
  • AP: Affiliate Payouts can be overridden by passing in a dollar amount in the AP parameter of the Conversion Pixel. This will override the existing campaign payout set within the UI.
  • A: The Advertiser ID parameter can be used in place of the O parameter on the conversion pixel to make it a Global Advertiser Pixel. This is only recommended when multiple offers have the same thank you page. However, the use of this pixel is not recommended without the use of the r=REQUEST_SESSION_ID parameter because it is not the most accurate in tracking as the conversion would be attributed to the offer that drove the last click, which may not be true.

Section 4: Placing a Postback URL within CAKE

Section 4: Placing a Postback URL within CAKE

If you are an affiliate of another CAKE client, you have the ability to place your Postback URL within the Affiliate Portal.  

To place your Postback URL within a CAKE Affiliate portal, follow the steps listed below:

  1. Click on the Offers sub-tab in the Affiliate Portal.
  2. Click on the Offer Name you wish to place a Postback URL for.
  3. Click on the Testing & Tracking tab on the Offer card.
  4. Place the Test Link.
  5. Place the Postback URL.
  6. Click Save.

The r parameter in your Postback URL should be replaced with the token for the Sub ID parameter you are passing the Request ID in. For example, if you appended #reqid# to the s2 parameter of your Offer Link, your Postback URL should include r=#s2#.

Note: The Test Link is the URL of the Testing Instructions page for your Offer. This can also be found on the final step of the Pixel Generator wizard.

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