3rd party cookies

No 3rd party cookies? What does this mean for iGaming affiliate marketing?

3rd party cookies have played a large role in affiliate marketing for some time. They are key components of tracking and tracing, and helps affiliates to gain helpful insights concerning the unique links assigned to them by their program. However, this all looks set to change in the future.

In 2022, major browsers like Google and Mozilla Firefox will be removing 3rd party cookies. This is due to privacy concerns raised by their customers. While it is important that we are allowed our privacy on the internet, removing these cookies does present a problem for affiliate marketers.

How will affiliate marketers be affected?

When a visitor uses an affiliate link with a specific set of 3rd party cookies, the program will be able to determine the affiliate that provided this traffic. This allows them to determine where commission should be paid. This practice is one that is widely spread throughout the world of affiliate marketing. It does not matter what niche a program might operate in, there is a good chance that they use 3rd party cookies for their tracking.

In the world of iGaming, this is incredibly important. Affiliate links will frequently have a bonus attached to them for the visitor to take advantage of, and this can be a massive incentive as to why they decide to click through. They are able to grab a set of free spins or a match bonus, while the iGaming affiliate program tracks which of their affiliates the conversion came from.

Remove 3rd party cookies, and it will be very difficult to attribute traffic correctly, and it also might make things such as ad campaigns more difficult to optimise effectively. What practices could affiliates adopt instead?

1st party cookies

One option that some affiliate programs are turning to is 1st party cookies. These are built slightly different from 3rd party ones, and they could be used to help track data and information concerning how affiliates might act on their site. This is done through the use of a pixel.

However, for this to be a feasible option for the program, affiliates need to ensure that their data is correctly synchronised with that of the affiliate program. This is especially important when you consider that many affiliates could be a part of multiple affiliate programs.

1st party cookies, when set up properly, allows the program to track users and conversions in the same way that the affiliate will do. This allows for the easy tracking and payment of affiliate commissions. It could be a fantastic solution for iGaming affiliate programs to use.

Server-to-server tracking

This is another option that affiliate programs use, and could work in much the same way that 3rd party cookies currently do. When a visitor clicks an affiliate link, the system would create and store a unique identifier for that particular user.

Should that user then convert, the affiliate program will be able to identify the affiliate who drove the user there. The great thing about using server-to-server traffic is that there is no precise time limit on the credit for the traffic. Whether the visitor decides to convert as soon as they click the link or after a little while, the relevant affiliate is still going to get the payment.

This could be useful in the iGaming industry since there is no guarantee that a visitor will go with the first casino link they choose. They are more inclined to take a look at some of the different casinos out there, or even just some of the different brands that one program might offer, before they make their final decision. No matter how many sites they go to, the proper tracking will be in place to ensure that the right affiliate receives their commission for the conversion.

Watching for workarounds

All affiliate marketing programs need to ensure that they are complying with the drop in 3rd party cookies. It is likely that we will see a host of apparent workarounds appearing on the market that will promise to deliver similar results. In reality, they might infringe upon a customer’s privacy and therefore should not be methods that are used.

It is likely that we will see browsers like Google come down hard on these methods. Alternatives like navigation tracking and cache inspection are examples of practices that we might see being frowned upon in the future.

These changes are likely to have an effect on the world of iGaming affiliate marketing and other niches, but there is a strong chance that we might see some other alternatives arise. It is likely that we will see more advertisers close direct deals with affiliates, something already at play within the iGaming industry. We could even see this practice become widespread in other areas of affiliate marketing.

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