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Affiliate code

Affiliate code definition

An affiliate code is a unique identifier used in affiliate marketing to track the activities and sales generated by an affiliate marketer. These specific alphanumeric strings are usually embedded in URLs (also known as affiliate links). Affiliate codes are integral to affiliate marketing programs, enabling accurate tracking, reporting, and payment processes.

How affiliate codes work

When an affiliate (a person or business who promotes products) joins an affiliate program, they receive a unique affiliate code. This code is embedded in links or provided as a special coupon code. The affiliate then uses these links or codes to promote products on their website, blog, social media, or other channels.

When a customer clicks on one of these links or uses the code during their purchase, the merchant’s system tracks the affiliate code. If the customer makes a purchase, the system records the affiliate code, attributing the sale to the affiliate who referred the customer. 

This process ensures that the affiliate gets credit for the sale and earns a commission based on the sale amount.

Affiliate code components

The key components of an affiliate code typically include:

  • Unique identifier: This is a code or ID assigned to each affiliate. It distinguishes one affiliate from another and allows the affiliate program to track referrals and sales generated by each affiliate.
  • Tracking parameters: These parameters are appended to URLs to track the source of traffic and attribute sales or leads to specific affiliates.
  • Base URL: The base URL represents the destination website or landing page where the affiliate directs traffic.

Example of an affiliate code:

<script type="text/javascript" src="https://partnerlink.com/scripts/partner.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
    PartnerLink.getAd("WIDGET_ID", function(adData) {
        if (adData) {
            const adContainer = document.getElementById("ad-container");
            adContainer.innerHTML = `<a href="${adData.url}">${adData.text}</a>`;

Why use affiliate codes?

Affiliate codes are used for several strategic reasons in marketing and business operations. Here are some of the key benefits:

Tracking and attribution: Affiliate codes are a straightforward way to track where sales are coming from. By assigning unique codes to different affiliates, companies can accurately determine which affiliates are driving traffic and conversions. This helps in measuring the effectiveness of individual partners and various marketing strategies.

Cost-effectiveness: Since payment is based on performance, affiliate marketing can be more cost-effective compared to other marketing strategies that require upfront payment, such as traditional advertising. Companies pay only for results, whether those are clicks, leads, or sales.

Expansion of reach: Affiliates can help a brand expand its reach to new audiences. Affiliates often have their own following or customer base, and their promotion of a product exposes it to people who might not have discovered it otherwise.

Overall, affiliate codes are a valuable tool for driving sales and growth through a network of motivated partners, making it a mutually beneficial strategy for both companies and their affiliate marketers.


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