Tracking Optimization - Standard Pixel to 1st Party tracking (Clickref Pixel)
This article will review:
- How to upgrade your pixel tracking solution to 'clickref' pixel (1st Party tracking)
- Updating your website to start accepting the 'clickref' value
- Creating & Implementing a TEST- version of the clickref pixel solution
- Reviewing and monitoring the data for comparison checks
- Switching to the new clickref pixel tracking solution
This guide will outline the steps required to upgrade pixel tracking to a clickref pixel tracking solution. The goal is to make sure that live pixel tracking activity continues as normal while the new clickref pixel solution is tested fully before switching over.
A 'clickref' pixel is an enhanced solution as it utilises the Partnerize click ID ('clickref') to identify sales as opposed to relying on the Partnerize 3rd party cookie. As the brand captures the 'clickref' in a 1st party context, this avoids the need for any 3rd party cookie tracking to be involved, resulting in an extremely robust and reliable tracking solution.
|Implement clickref / 1st party cookie||Update website to start accepting the 'clickref' value and store in a 1st party cookie||Brand|
|Implementation of TEST- version of clickref pixel tracking solution||Implement the 'TEST-' Clickref tracking solution to run in conjunction with the current live pixel||Brand|
|Inform Partnerize the TEST- clickref pixel has been implemented||Inform PZ when the 'TEST-' Clickref Pixel solution is implemented||Brand|
|Review the TEST- clickref pixel data||Feedback on performance & syntax of the 'TEST-' Clickref tracking||Partnerize|
|Switch from pixel to clickref pixel tracking||Advise brand when tracking can be switched over to the new solution||Partnerize|
|Monitor performance||Monitor the new Clickref Pixel activity||Partnerize & Brand|
Step 1 - Implement clickref / 1st party cookie
The 'clickref' is generated by Partnerize and passed through into the Advertiser URL/query string at the point of click.
This 'clickref' must be stored by the brand in a 1st party cookie and ultimately returned to Partnerize via the S2S call so that sales can be allocated to the originating publisher.
- The most recent clickref should always be passed at the point of sale, so that the last click attribution model is upheld.
- You will need to begin capturing the clickref for at least the length of time set as your cookie period in advance of switching over the new S2S to live. For example, if your cookie period is 30 days, you will need to capture the clickref for 30 days before the switch over. This is to account for all conversions within the cookie period, where the sales can take place after the changeover, where the click happened prior to the changeover.
- The 'clickref' is a unique ID which defines a Partnerize click all associated information regarding the click (E.g which partner, creative used, which brand, time&date etc). This 'clickref' is generated every time a link is followed and allows Partnerize to allocate a sale back to a partner.
Step 2 - Implementation of TEST- version of clickref pixel tracking solution
To ensure that your LIVE pixel tracking solution continues as normal while the new clickref pixel is tested, we advise that you implement a TEST- version of the clickref Pixel. This should be implemented to fire in conjunction with the existing pixel tracking solution. The existing pixel tracking solution should NOT be amended in any way at this point.
If these steps are not followed, this could result in tracking issues with LIVE conversions and in turn cause problems with the reporting and commissioning.
TEST- Clickref pixel call:
Here is how a standard pixel example would look:
Here is how the new TEST- clickref pixel could look:
There are two changes to make to the pixel format. Do NOT change your live pixel yet. Simply make a copy of your existing pixel and then add in these new data parameters.
- 'campaign:TEST-XXXXXXX': This is the campaign ID but is prefixed with TEST- for the purposes of testing.
- 'clickref:TEST-CLICKREF': This is a new parameter to be added to the pixel, to be populated with the latest captured clickref. Note: TEST- must be prefixed before the clickref value.
If you are unable to obtain a copy of your current tracking solution in order to check which parameters need to be included, please contact email@example.com and we can provide this to you.
Step 3 - Inform Partnerize the TEST- clickref pixel has been implemented
Once you have implemented the TEST- version of the clickref pixel to run in conjunction with your LIVE pixel, please inform the Partnerize Integrations team, so that we can begin monitoring the performance.
Your system should be set up so that when live transactions take place, we should be seeing 2 logs in our pixel/server logs
- Live Pixel
- TEST- clickref Pixel
The live pixel is what is being used at present to track your live conversion activity. The TEST- clickref pixel will not track in the Partnerize platform. We will however still see the TEST- pixel call come through to our server logs.
Step 4 - Review the TEST- clickref pixel data
Partnerize will now need to monitor and compare the live pixel data with the TEST- clickref pixel data to make sure everything is correct before advising the brand when to make the switchover.
We will check the following during this process:
- Live pixel tracking is continuing as normal
- The volume of TEST- clickref pixel calls match the volume of live pixel calls
- The TEST- clickref pixel syntax is correct and that the data being passed through matches that of the live pixel
- The TEST- version includes a valid clickref format value
- Further internal checks to make sure that the Campaign is ready to switch from pixel tracking to clickref pixel tracking.
Step 5 - Switch from pixel to clickref pixel tracking
Once Partnerize has performed the necessary checks and confirms with the brand that the data in the TEST- clickref pixel looks correct, we will then advise the brand to make the switch over. Only when the clickref has been stored for the same amount of time as the cookie period (eg 30 days).
This involves the following actions by the brand
- Brand to remove 'TEST-' from the prefixed campaign ID value within the TEST- clickref pixel call.
- Brand to remove 'TEST-' from the prefixed clickref value within the TEST- clickref pixel call.
- Remove the old (live) pixel
- Informing PZ that the above 3 steps have been actioned
BEFORE - Here is how the TEST- clickref pixel will look BEFORE the changes:
AFTER - Here is how the TEST- clickref pixel will look AFTER the changes:
Now that you have removed 'TEST-' from both the Campaign ID and the clickref parameters, this will instantly make this a LIVE clickref pixel call.
The last step is for the brand to turn off the old 'live' pixel, leaving only the live clickref pixel in place. Instead of deleting old pixel, we would recommend simply turning it off and potentially rename to PZ-OLD so it can easily be reverted back if necessary.
Please inform Partnerize when you have made the changes to the TEST- clickref pixel and removed the old pixel.
Step 6 - Monitor Performance
Both the brand and Partnerize must monitor the live clickref pixel activity to make sure sales are tracking as expected.
Once we can see live conversions tracking via clickref pixel, then the work is complete.
- The latest clickref should always be used at the point of sale.
- You will need to begin capturing the clickref for the exact time period set as your cookie period in advance of the switching over to clickref pixel tracking. For example, if your cookie period is 30 days, you will need to capture the clickref for 30 days before the switch over. This is to account for all conversions within the cookie period, where the sales can take place after the changeover, where the click happened prior to the changeover.
If you have any technical questions with regards to this document, please contact our onboarding specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org