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The vital role of cross-device tracking

By Emilia Rynkowska
Emilia Rynkowska, head of affiliates at EnergyCasino, discusses an imperative asset

Ask most i-gaming affiliate managers today about the state of the offline affiliate business and they’ll stare at you vacantly. The what? People tend to only truly know the subject they’re directly immersed in. Those who’ve spent their entire lives delivering email may not even recognise that direct mail (actual physical cardboard and paper) marketing is still a thing. It’s a thing that once delivered, according to properly researched data-sets, and continues to outperform anything the online marketing gurus have come up with. So how are those offline affiliates sure they’ll get their CPA commission? With bonus codes. Quick, easy, trackable, done!

Ask most i-gaming affiliate managers today about cross-device tracking and how it is implemented to ensure their affiliates get their dues, and the response may be exactly the same blank stare. “The what?” This time though, it’s imperative they’re in the know. The online behaviour of end consumers has changed. It’s still true that the formalities of sign-up with an online casino can be off-putting when using small screens. All that pesky legally required data to be inputted sends them straight to their laptop browser and the enchanting autofill function. So how does the affiliate site owner who delivered the last point of contact before the click-through get their lifetime earnings? Maybe they don’t!

Depending on whether the affiliate successfully implemented their unique tracker ID, they’ll get everything they’re due, or nothing at all. Affiliate managers need to know this, they need to encourage affiliates to do this, and in instances where the affiliate is unsure, they need to have the capability to talk the affiliate through the process. Most affiliate marketing software solutions deliver a solution beyond ‘standard tracking’, a method that does not match the consumer on both mobile and desktop journeys.

It’s a very real issue, creating very real dilemmas for the affiliate. What if the first touch point occurs on mobile with one affiliate, and the last touch point occurs on desktop with a different affiliate, but the sign-up occurs on mobile? Who is the referral attributed to? The consumer device choice is fluidly interchangeable now, depending not just on whether they’re at home or on the bus. It varies down to whether they are sitting or standing, and which device is most comfortable to use at that moment in time.

It is down to the affiliate to get it right, and yes, given that this fluidity of device usage exists, there is a likely need for a simpler solution to cross-device tracking in the affiliate channel. The dilemma isn’t only one for the affiliate however – there are major issues being identified now concerning consumer privacy and the protection of their data. Some run-arounds being created to ensure cross-device tracking is accurate are causing concern.

Some software solutions are going further, way further, possibly too far, to ensure accuracy. The Digital Advertising Alliance, a body dedicated to protecting online privacy, has noted possible contraventions of fair business practice with certain fixes being used. Solutions like positively identifying users on a device based on their being logged into platforms like Google or Twitter, that uses the consumer’s personally identifiable information, could be viewed as a privacy breach.

Right now though, the main solution that covers the bulk of scenarios, and does not interfere with the rights of the consumer to opt-out or delete their browser history etc, is this: the affiliate should use a tracker with a unique ID for use with people coming to them through mobile. Then, they should use a tracker with a unique ID for people coming to them via desktop/laptop. If they are the last touch point before the sign-up before the cookie expires, the referral will be correctly attributed to them. Or, they could just use bonus codes. Quick, easy, trackable, done!
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