Deduplication between affiliate networks
Most advertisers are using several affiliate networks to increase leads and sales. So if an online buyer has previously clicked on two affiliate links on publisher websites of two different affiliate networks, then advertisers who are not deduplicating sales, will pay twice the commission for one single order. With affiliate deduplication advertisers only pay one affiliate/network, the most common practice is to pay the affiliate/network that set the last click/cookie.
Deduplication between online channels
Some advertisers also deduplicate their sales between different channels to make sure only credit is given to one marketing channel, such as paid search, display, affiliate etc. In most cases, advertisers credit the channel with the last click/cookie before the sale.
How does deduplication work?
Deduplication realtime via a script
A pixel firing logic script is being used, which allows the advertisers to identify, through a cookie, which marketing channel or affiliate network has generated the last click. When a conversion occurs, the advertiser only fires the tracking pixel for that specific network or marketing channel; to make sure only one network or channel will be credited for the conversion.
Deduplication manually afterwards
If an advertiser is unable to do deduplication automatically, they can also do this afterwards. Most sales that are registered by affiliate networks have a pending time and need to be approved or denied by the advertiser. Advertisers are able to cancel sales manually if they see in their system that sales should have been allocated to a different network/channel.
Deduplication can be setup in many different ways and will have different pro’s and con’s for each advertiser. Advertisers can choose to deduplicate sales on every channel, but could also choose to only deduplicate on specific channels or specific campaigns. Deduplication could result in lower costs per sale, but it will also make an affiliate program less attractive for affiliates, as conversion rates and eCPC’s for the publishers will decrease.
The Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct for deduplication and conversion attribution is an initiative by the Dutch industry association Platform Affiliate Networks (PAN). The affiliate market is getting more mature, in which unambiguous rules and advice are key. Transparency about the allocation of sales is very important, because this strongly influences the industry’s success. Therefore this Code of Conduct is introduced. PAN advises to only deduplicate between other performance based channels. This means, only other affiliate networks in cases that are applicable (i.e. not applicable when an affiliate network works with an advertiser exclusively). When other channels will be integrated in this deduplication as well, then the rules should always be made transparent to the publishers.