Affiliate Reference ID

The affiliate reference ID is a parameter that carries a unique value designated by an affiliate. The purpose of the affiliate reference ID is to pass information from the affiliate to LinkTrust and then back to the affiliate. The maximum number of characters allowed is 500.

How the Affiliate Reference ID Works

The affiliate reference ID is used by affiliates to pass data to LinkTrust on their tracking URL. The full tracking URL has a tracking domain followed by parameters and their values. For example, a tracking URL follows the following format:

TrackingDomain?CID=value&AFID=value&SID=value&AffiliateReferenceID=value

The following identifies the parameters found in the tracking URL:

Parameter Description
AFID  Affiliate ID Number
AffiliateReferenceID Affiliate Reference ID
CID Campaign ID
SID SubID

The affiliate reference ID process works as follows:

  1. An affiliate uses a third party tracking system that generates a system value called a tracking ID or click ID. The system value may be 10 to 12 characters long. This value is unique, because the affiliate's system never generates a duplicate tracking ID. The affiliate uses the tracking ID to track successes and needs it returned to them for each consumer success. Each time a consumer clicks on the affiliate's tracking URL and is redirected to the affiliate's system, the third party tracking system generates a unique tracking ID.
  2. The affiliate sends the tracking ID number to a LinkTrust partner using the affiliate reference ID parameter.
  3. When a consumer selects the tracking URL, LinkTrust captures it. The affiliate sends a confirmation pixel that indicates where they want the tracking ID placed in the confirmation pixel.  
  4. Because LinkTrust recognizes the affiliate reference ID parameter, LinkTrust takes the value of the parameter and places that value into a token. The only effective method of placing the tracking ID into the confirmation pixel is through a token. This is called tokenizing the value.
  5. The token containing the tracking ID is sent back to the affiliate or down to the merchant in real time on their confirmation pixel.  To do this, the data is passed from LinkTrust using the affiliate reference ID token.
  6. Because the affiliate uses the affiliate reference ID parameter, LinkTrust can use the affiliate reference ID token in their confirmation pixel to send the tracking ID back to the affiliate's system for each success.

Basically, the affiliate sends information on a query string, LinkTrust captures that information and sends it back to the affiliate.

The affiliate reference ID is not an effective tool for obtaining reporting information. You cannot gather information about the value of the affiliate reference parameter, because the value of the parameter is taken and automatically placed in the token, or tokenized, and sent back to the affiliate or down to the merchant. LinkTrust does not gather reporting information on the value of the affiliate reference ID parameter.

Difference Between the Affiliate Reference ID and the Sub ID Parameters

The affiliate reference ID is not the same as a simple sub ID, but they work the same way. In LinkTrust, there is an affiliate reference ID and a sub ID (SID). The following table outlines the similarities and differences between the affiliate reference ID and the sub ID parameters:

Similarities Differences
Both parameters have the ability to pass data into LinkTrust.  Reporting information cannot be gathered on the affiliate reference ID because it should be unique data. You can have common data in the affiliate reference ID, but since you cannot retrieve any reporting information like performance information, it is not worthwhile.
The values of both parameters can be placed into a token and sent back to the affiliate. The sub ID can be reported on in LinkTrust and should contain common or repetitive data; the same data coming in over and over. This allows you to view performance.
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