We spoke to John Vickers, Head of Client Services at Affiliate Future, for our Cracking Tracking: Network Q&A.


In one sentence, what makes your tracking so good?
Our tracking is exceptional because we offer first-party, server-to-server, and third-party plugins for major eCommerce platforms, making it highly adaptable to any advertiser’s needs.


Now explain to me how it works as if I’m a five-year-old…
Imagine you’re planning a holiday and you visit a website with cool holiday reviews. You find a hotel you like and click on it to book. When you click the link, it’s like your computer gets a message saying, “This person came from the review website.” Your computer then sends you and the message to the hotel’s website. The hotel’s website saves the message in a special file called a cookie. You book the hotel, and the hotel’s website tells our computer, “Someone booked a hotel, and here’s the message.” Our computer reads the message and tells the hotel to give some money to the review website as a thank you for helping them get a booking. That’s how it works! The review site gets some money when you book a hotel through their link. 


How are we going to get rid of third-party cookies from the affiliate channel once and for all?
To eliminate third-party cookies from the affiliate channel, we are focusing on robust server-to-server (S2S) tracking, which bypasses the need for any cookie storage. While this setup can be more complex, we are actively assisting clients in transitioning to S2S tracking. In the meantime, all clients must implement our first-party cookie tracking as a fallback. Given the potential challenges with correctly saving first-party cookies, we continuously monitor and optimise the performance to ensure accurate tracking.


What should best-in-class tracking do?
Best-in-class tracking should be flexible, adaptable and reliable, with backup solutions in place to ensure continuity if one method fails. It should include active monitoring to ensure all sales are accurately tracked. Additionally, it must be data-light, capturing only the essential information to respect user privacy.



Tell us some of the work you’re doing to push its adoption.
To push the adoption of best-in-class tracking, we are actively collaborating with clients to transition them to our advanced tracking solutions. This involves providing detailed setup guides, personalised technical support and continuous monitoring to ensure a smooth implementation process. We are also hosting educational webinars and creating informative content that underscores the benefits of our tracking solutions. Also, we are continually enhancing our tracking technology to make it more user-friendly and efficient, minimising setup complexity and maximising reliability. Through these efforts, we aim to set a new standard in affiliate tracking.


App tracking tends to get overlooked. What are you doing to make sure it doesn’t?
Our server-to-server tracking solution ensures app tracking isn’t overlooked by offering flexibility for use with any apps, websites, or even Point of Sale tills. Additionally, our voucher tracking allows influencers to generate sales without needing tracking links, further ensuring comprehensive coverage across all platforms.


There’s so much confusion about tracking because every network uses different terms. Is it essentially all the same?
While it might seem confusing because different networks use various terms, the core principles of tracking are essentially the same across the industry. All tracking systems aim to accurately attribute sales or actions to the correct source, ensuring that commissions are properly credited. The differences typically lie in the specific technologies and methodologies used, but the fundamental goal remains consistent. At Affiliate Future, we prioritise flexibility and reliability in our tracking solutions to meet diverse advertiser needs. 


What does the future of affiliate tracking look like?
The future of affiliate tracking lies in moving away from the user’s browser and adopting server-to-server solutions. Browser-based tracking can be disrupted by misconfigured consent management platforms, third-party extensions and missing tags on deep-linked pages. By transitioning to server-to-server tracking, we eliminate issues related to first-party cookies and ensure high-quality conversion tracking that operates seamlessly behind the scenes, using the minimum amount of data necessary. This shift promises more reliable and robust tracking, enhancing both accuracy and user privacy.


Thank you to John, if you have any questions or would like to get in touch, please email him.