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Written By Chris Giddins
4 minute read

Affiliate marketing’s appeal as a low cost business growth model makes it a must-have strategy for eCommerce businesses. In fact, 80% of advertisers considered their affiliate partnerships to be more important than ever. 

To be successful, however, it's crucial to have a solid grasp of the metrics. Traditional tracking links, once considered the backbone of performance evaluation, now face formidable obstacles, from cookie rejection, and VPN usage, to the disruptive force of ad blockers.1 

This post will examine how to measure promotional effectiveness at scale, without the limitations of conventional tracking methods. 

We’ll discuss how promotional codes can provide you with a valid alternative when it comes to achieving accurate, transparent, affiliate reporting.

Suggested reading: Our downloadable guide “What Winning your Promotional Strategy Looks Like” shows you how to optimise your campaigns for success, revealing the tactics used by 14 successful eCommerce brands. 

The importance of accurate campaign measurement for affiliate marketing

Measuring the impact of promotions is crucial in the affiliate marketing space. 

  • By identifying high-performing affiliates and channels, companies can allocate their resources efficiently, and focus on initiatives that yield the best results and ROIs. 

  • Transparent and accurate reporting forges good relationships between partners, and ensures that successful affiliates are reimbursed in a timely, efficient manner. This is crucial for long term success. 

  • Regular measurement allows businesses to respond rapidly to consumer behaviours and demands, ensuring promotional strategies are on trend, and aligned with market shifts.

Traditional affiliate tracking methods

Many affiliate tracking methods use cookies to follow the digital footprints of website visitors. These codes are embedded in the affiliate’s materials or links, and they track the customer journey from the affiliate’s website, to the advertiser’s website. 

When users read content on a publisher’s website, and click through to buy (for example by clicking through an advertiser’s banner or text link), a cookie is dropped into the browser. 

This cookie helps to identify the advertiser and publisher, and consequently, the commission amount. These tracking codes can collect data such as the referral source, conversion data, and click-through rates, so businesses can attribute sales to specific affiliates, and accurately calculate commissions.

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Challenges in traditional tracking links

While traditional affiliate tracking methods are effective to some extent, they have their limitations. A major challenge is their reliance on cookies.

Here are some of the major issues presented by traditional tracking methods: 


1) Cookie rejection

18% of UK respondents in a recent survey say they reject cookies on websites daily.2 

Many users actively manage their browser settings, too, in order to reject cookies, due to privacy concerns. Consumers also erase cookies from their browsers regularly, and cookies expire after a certain period of time.

This disruption to consistent cookie data can lead to a loss of tracking accuracy, and make it difficult to attribute conversions to the correct affiliate source. 


2) Cross-device tracking 

This is challenging using cookies, too, since cookies are generally device-specific. The majority of eCommerce sales (56.8%) now take place on smartphones and tablets, so cross-device tracking has to be a priority.3 

In-app monitoring and attribution will also become more important for affiliate marketers, to track behaviours, identify areas for improvement, and improve customer acquisition and retention. 


3) VPN Usage 

The increasing use of VPN (Virtual Private Networks) for online privacy can obscure the true location of users. This can result in inaccurate attribution of conversions to specific affiliates, and make it difficult to understand the true reach, and effectiveness, of affiliate marketing efforts. 


4) Ad Blockers 

Ad blockers can prevent tracking pixels and scripts from loading, affecting the functionality of tracking links. Results include incomplete tracking data, with gaps in affiliate reporting, leading to a reduced visibility into user interactions with affiliate promotions.

Alternative affiliate tracking systems 

To overcome the limitations of traditional tracking methods, some companies are looking into other ways to measure campaign success, including fingerprinting, pixel-tracking, and server-to-server tracking. 

The rise of blockchain technology is also increasing transparency and security in tracking affiliate-led actions. AI and machine learning algorithms look set to play a vital role in predicting how consumers will behave, offering better ways to optimise affiliate campaigns and enhance tracking accuracy.

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Promotional codes:  A more effective way to measure affiliate campaigns

  • Promotional codes provide a “cookie-free” way to track affiliate campaigns. Unique vouchers are easily traceable, and allow for more precise measurement of affiliate performance (and sales impact), compared to link-based tracking. 

  • By getting affiliates to share unique codes with their audience, users can be offered exclusive discounts to incentivise them to purchase. Coupon codes also provide a straightforward way to track performance, without the problems of cookie expiration, ad blocking, or link manipulation. 

  • With more accurate measurement in place for affiliate campaigns, you can ensure your affiliates are properly compensated for their efforts. 

  • Tracking using unique promotional codes is less prone to fraud, since codes can only be used by the intended recipients. The ability to issue single-use, unique codes, on-demand, ensures that campaigns hit their targets precisely. This prevents codes from being misused, or leaked onto other unintended channels, allowing for more accurate attribution. 

  • Coupon codes allow you to go beyond a direct click-to-sale approach. They help you to understand the entire customer journey, and monitor how codes are being issued, validated, and redeemed, within an affiliate program. Using these insights you can see which affiliates are making the biggest impact, and adjust your campaigns accordingly. 

  • Affiliate marketing using coupons helps you scale your business effortlessly. Coupon code promotions can integrate seamlessly with your other marketing strategies. 


Case Study: Firezza — Enhancing Customer Acquisition

Problem: Firezza struggled with tracking marketing performance due to static voucher codes and sought to improve customer acquisition and retention in the competitive online food ordering market.

Solution: Partnering with Uniqodo, Firezza implemented unique codes to manage promotions effectively, enabling precise tracking and analysis of customer behaviour through dynamic and secure code technology.

Result: Achieved a 78% increase in customer acquisition and a 29% rise in active customers over six months, substantially boosting the number of active and new customers.

Uniqodo: Greater transparency, more accurate attribution, less fraud 

If you’re wondering how to measure promotional effectiveness without having to rely on traditional, cookie-led methods, Uniqodo can help. Our innovative promotion experience platform has the ability to affiliate with groups, and offer them specific discounts that cannot be misused by others. 

Uniqodo measures the success of every promotion, so you’re always learning more about how to reach your customers. We can help you track data across the entire promotional journey, and make real-time adjustments, to ensure your promotions continue to reach the right audiences. 

Using our unique coupon codes you can eliminate common tracking issues like cookie rejection, and VPN usage, and achieve greater accuracy in attributing conversions to specific affiliates.

Find out how Uniqodo’s promotion experience platform can help you deliver successful campaigns - and measure their performance - by booking a demo today.






















1. Affiliate Marketing: Data Reveals Top 4 Trends of 2023 so Far

2. Frequency of Rejecting Cookies on Websites in the UK as of February 2023

3. UK MCommerce Forecast 2023


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