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CJ’s Approach to In-App, Cookieless, and Cross-Device Tracking

June 7, 2018

Tracking affiliate engagement, influence, and transactions across both mobile and web environments is essential for a holistic understanding of true affiliate performance.

In-app and cross-device transactions are no exception.

Accurate visibility combined with the right compensation structure to reward publishers for driving same-device, cross-device, and app-based transactions will result in increased distribution, placement, and partnership opportunities—all essentials for long-term program growth.

Traditional cookie-based tracking is designed to capture the majority of online conversions but increased mobile shopping behavior has created cookie tracking challenges within digital marketing. Here's how CJ has overcome this obstacle to retaining tracking abilities without relying on cookies.

To ensure we provide comprehensive and privacy-friendly integration options for our clients across all devices and environments, we've developed our Cookieless Tracking Solution, our standard integration moving forward, designed to solve for various cookie-less, cookie-loss, and cookie blocking circumstances. These scenarios include the ability to track in-app transactions, Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP2.0) feature in Safari, and user-deleted cookies. Additionally, Cookieless Tracking also allows CJ to retain tracking abilities in a GDPR and ePD compliant fashion.

We anticipate privacy and security regulation to strengthen and broaden in the near future – this Solution was designed to ensure our clients are able to future-proof their CJ programs.

Understanding the Mobile App Environment

Often, mobile apps do not use cookies or tracking tags in the same way that mobile or desktop environments do. Because of this, placing a website tracking tag in an app is not a feasible solution for tracking in-app activity and credit Publishers for these transactions. In scenarios where consumers start their shopping journey in a Publisher's mobile app but complete their purchase on the mobile web, standard tracking technology will apply.

Tracking Solutions for In-App Activity

App environments rely on cookieless tracking technology to understand consumer behavior in-app while moving smoothly between cookie-based environments and non-cookie environments. Many app tracking solutions leverage URL parameters to accomplish this.

At CJ, we offer a Cookieless Tracking solution which leverages our proprietary Event ID, a simple parameter passed to Advertisers upon an affiliate click and returned to CJ once a transaction has taken place. This allows CJ to reference all necessary click and transaction information to track, report, and credit the appropriate Publisher for transactions in real-time without a CJ cookie present—including transactions that take place within an Advertiser's app.

Once our Event ID has been integrated, there are several methods Advertisers can leverage to capture in-app transactions, including Advertiser developed in-house SDKs (software development kits) and when Webview frames of desktop sites are being used within apps.

CJ and Conversant have also developed a proprietary SDK to provide an end-to-end tracking solution to commission affiliates on actions that occur in-app, capturing all pertinent transaction-level details.
Additionally, for Advertisers who have selected a mobile app tracking platform or tag manager for in-app tracking, we've partnered with top vendors in these areas for ease of use and expansion of app efforts within affiliate.

Creating a Seamless In-App Customer Experience

For all integration scenarios, we recommend that mobile apps be set up to support Universal Links (Apple's Documentation) and App Links (Android's Documentation) for the most optimal consumer experience. These link types send consumers directly to your mobile app when they click on a CJ link creating a seamless experience by linking them directly to the content they want to engage with. Universal Links and App Links allow apps to handle standard web URLs, which will include all the necessary analytics and tracking parameters, including our Event ID. This end-to-end solution creates a streamlined method for app-tracking to provide visibility into app performance within your program for both web-to-app and app-to-app tracking.

CJ's Cross-Device Tracking Solution

There's an essential need within affiliate for an accurate, persistent, and deterministic Cross-Device tracking solution, which CJ has been delivering to our clients since May 2017. Over half of our network is currently Cross-Device enabled, driving millions in Advertiser sales and Publisher commissions. In order to maximize partnership potential and discover new relationships, we've made it simple within the CJ Account Manager for Publishers to identify Advertisers who are tracking transactions across devices.

The Importance of a Complete Picture

Our goal is to provide our Advertiser's a seamless, one-stop-shop affiliate integration across all devices, apps, and environments—both on and offline—while ensuring Publishers are rewarded for the value they drive. We will continue to deliver cutting-edge, innovative technology that bridges the gap between cookies and individuals.

Learn more or get started today by contacting your Account Team reaching out through our Support Center.

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