06.06.2018   3406

How To Check Your Affiliate Links

by Yu Vorobyova

Part I. Why check?

The link is the technological foundation of the digital world. Just as well, it is the core of the affiliate marketing, basically “linking” the viewer through the publisher to the advertiser (not to mention all parties that come in between).

What if the tracking link is broken? There are a number of reasons why and how this could happen, but the outcome is what they all have in common. The goal of the ad won’t be achieved.

From the direct advertiser’s perspective – the potential customer, who’ve displayed the certain level of interest in their product or services by clicking on the ad, will get directed to an error page or get lost on one of the redirect pages. Lost potential customers = lost potential revenue.

A broken link is a bad news for the publishers. While direct ones (app, website or blog owners) can suffer from tarnished reputation and the loss of potential revenue, it’s media buyers who risk the most. Sending prepaid traffic to the wrong destination is as good as throwing your dollars out of the window.

Affiliate networks too can suffer from inactive offers if they’re not excluded from their lists. There’s obviously the question of reputation. As both publishers and advertisers can lose when the tracking link is off, they would try to partner up with networks that can assure such occurrences happen as rarely as possible. And there’s an obvious revenue loss when $ are spent on traffic to the link that leads nowhere.

So how does one, regardless of the place in the affiliate chain, make sure the offer is active? Obviously by checking the link upon receiving. Let’s have a look at a couple of routes to do that.

Part II. Fun and tricky ways to check your first 100 links.

The first thing to try is to view the redirection chain manually. Import the tracking link into your mobile browser and see where it leads. However, if your device and GEO is not the one the offer is targeted to, the only thing you’d see is the links in the chain, no content+ the setting might lead you to the pages destinated for your own location.

You can try using a VPN tool (and we’ve previously featured a comparative analysis of such software on our blog). Drawbacks:

  • number of countries is very limited;
  • low connection problems even when GEO is a country on the list of available ones;
  • no particular device emulation option to check offers with precise targeting settings;
  • many public IPs make it to the blacklists;
  • you only see the final page.

There are creative ways, invented by sole affiliate marketers, where you can employ people from the often targeted areas to check the links and send the results. Drawbacks:

  • a whole lot of manual work looking for people from targeted countries with the specific devices, specific OS version and the desire to help you;
  • this one basically depends on the quality of your communication skills, but how many people would do the checking and send you results (even if not detailed) for free?

There just seems to be too much communication and too many people involved. You’d need to come up with a spreadsheet (make that plural) to monitor the whole bunch of offers you’re dealing with on a daily basis. Sounds like a lot of routine.

Part III. How to check your affiliate links efficiently.

Where there is routine, there is a software made to automate.

If you’ve reached the level when you can brag about the number of offers you’re working with, it’s time to automate.

Although some of the tools that can do the scanning have been in the industry before Orangear took up the job of creating Checker, there is a significant difference in performance. As with any theory, this one required a process of proving it right and this is what the second part of this article is about.

The idea of creating a tool for verifying links came from our close partners – affiliate networks. With the number of offers they deal with on the monthly basis reaching far more 300k, they were obviously scanning tracking links automatically. The problems they’ve encountered is what we’ve tried to address in Checker, namely: speed, accessibility (especially when dealing with bulk) and the quality of results.

If you’re more of a hands-on person, just try our Checker for free and compare it to other verification tools to see the difference. If you’re into my writing style and reading as a whole, kindly continue at your own risk!

Speed. Orangear.Checker may not be the first solution for links verification. It is, however, fast and efficient enough to be in TOP 3. If you’re still not feeling like testing it yourself, take a look at our video comparison to measure the difference.

Needless to say that high speed is a vital quality when you’re working with large numbers of offers. Nothing shows off the speed better than the video, but let’s count really quick:

Let’s imagine you have 300 offers a day. Then, every +3 seconds to the waiting time into more than 91 hours a year. More than 3 days of waiting for your results. And Orangear Checker is more than 3 seconds faster, as you’ve seen on the video.

Accessibility. For the new players and those who want to check our Checker (pun intended), we’ve come up with a Free plan, where you get 25 checks a day following a simple process of registration (we are GDPR compliant so don’t wait on unexpected emails from us).

We’re also offering various plans that can fit both your needs and budgets.

It’s been an interesting journey for both our partners and Orangear team to see how some of them have grown from tiny numbers of requests to bulk in the blink of an eye.

Working with bulk. As our partners’ needs grew, we’ve come up with an API integration idea, to ensure that some automation can be achieved. Our point was in making it both fast and agile, thus as you receive the raw data on links and redirects in a form of API responses, it can be converted and displayed in the most preferable way within your own software.

Working with bigger numbers of offers also inspired us to add the autocheck feature to our product. You can check the stability of an offer over time, thanks to the saved history, and make the data-based decision within your partnerships.

The quality of the result. The market grows and the rebrokering chains get longer. This results in higher chances of various errors to occur on the way from the direct publisher to the direct advertiser.

That’s why we wanted to get as far and deep as possible into that chain. The problem was solved with the dynamic nature of our Checker, as it allows to run past some common obstacles (e.g. JS) as well as to predict, which part of the page contains the necessary redirect. It helps to find a right end of the link.

We also wanted to be able to provide a more detailed response than other solutions are offering. Let’s have a quick look.

One of the great tools to check your links offers this sort of response to the check request.

And this is what our tool provides.

And the “show request information” button holds these parameters:

As a result, you get a clearer view of the chain:

  • accurate data on the error (if occurred) – seeing the number of an error allows you to contact the providing party with a specific request, allowing them to take action to correct it;
  • thorough information on the chain lets you gain access to the sources of your offer that are closer to or, in many cases, is a direct advertiser. This is a whole new level of possibilities for your business.

There are obviously a couple of ways you can check your links to make sure the offer is active. And at the end of the day, choose the route that serves your needs and preferences. We just wanted to give you a choice.

Update: 

Just one month after the official release of Checker, we are presenting it’s first major update! It’s 10 times faster, and its API version received a couple of prominent features:

  • Blacklist — get notified if one of the undesired domains pops up in your offers; 
  • Express Check — check offers in bulk in under 60 seconds;
  • Test Drive — test how our API version performs by connecting and running 25 free checks.

Read on to find out more.

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