How Server-to-Server Attribution Tracking Empowers Your Brand’s Affiliate Program

Like most tech-based industries today, affiliate marketing has evolved so much and so quickly in recent years. What was possible when the industry began has rapidly evolved, fueled by new technological innovations that improve accuracy and potential.

Instrumental to affiliate marketing’s growth into a multibillion-dollar industry was the invention of third party tracking tags. The industry would not be where it is today without that technology and because of this, third party tracking became the industry’s default tracking method. But with mounting privacy concerns about the implications of the use of cookies to track and store data, digital marketers have had to adjust to the evolving regulatory landscape. The old model reliant on third-party tracking to ascribe affiliate attribution no longer makes the cut. And we think this is good news — for a number of reasons.

First and foremost is, of course, the importance of keeping people’s private information and data safe. Second to this is the fact that third-party tracking is no longer the most ideal, nor the most sophisticated way to realize the full potential of affiliate marketing. In fact, using third party tracking can sometimes harm rather than benefit brands, since it doesn’t always align with a brand’s own internal analytics. Because of this, discrepancies between what brands report as true sales and what the third party reports as sales continue to grow.

The days of third party tracking are numbered and it is time for a new way of tracking that marketers can rely on to help the industry grow to the next level. What’s needed today is a straight-forward solution that not only addresses compliance issues but one that also empowers brands to grow by only paying for sales that are truly incremental to their business.

The solution, for brands that want to prepare themselves now rather than having to play catch up later, is server-to-server attribution tracking. This is an attribution alignment method that eliminates the need for third-party tracking altogether. It empowers affiliate marketing leaders to reward their partners for adding true value and do so with full confidence that those sales are incremental to their business.


How server-to-server affiliate attribution works: 

Server-to-server tracking is the only tracking method that cannot be interfered with by browsers, privacy and ad-blocking extensions, or even operating systems. This is because there is no personal data being stored by a third party using cookies. Instead, an advertiser is simply passing conversion data (be that a sale or a lead) back to a tracking provider via API or FTP, eliminating the need for a cookie.  That data is then validated against the brand’s analytics, after which the tracking provider confirms the attributed sale with the network.

This tracking method does not require any new data to be collected by the advertiser and is therefore not vulnerable to current or future changes that Safari, Chrome, or Firefox may make. This method only relies on information that advertisers are already collecting, and it does not require any new cookies to be saved in a user’s browser (which means that browsers can’t delete them).



Server-to-server tracking empowers brands in four key areas:

  1. Spend Alignment: When using a server-side solution, you pay commissions only on incremental sales that align with your attribution model. Instead of being locked into attribution models prescribed by a third party, (generally, last-touch models that may or may not be benefiting your brand), you decide what to value and what to pay partners for.
  2. Stability: Affiliate tracking stability is extremely important because it offers companies more autonomy and confidence in operating their affiliate programs. When using third-party tracking, it’s almost inevitable that at some point technical issues will arise or third party tags will go down, losing sales data for the network and publishers. But with server-to-server tracking, the data is always accessible to you.
  3. Compliance: Server-to-server solutions can future-proof your affiliate program against the ever-changing data privacy landscape. The value inherent in this feature can not be overstated. Third-party tracking, and now, with the introduction of ITP2.2, even first-party tracking may eventually fail to meet privacy compliance standards.
  4. Attribution Control: Eliminate the reliance on last-touch attribution and apply the model that works best for your business. Third-party tracking that employs a last touch model does not take into account all of the other channels that have supported the sale, nor does it allow the brand to ascribe value to the other phases of the sales funnel. This means that partners who provide value at the top of the funnel are not rewarded as much as those at the bottom of the funnel who end up getting credit for a sale that they may not have added much value to. Last touch attribution can often encourage bad behavior and disincentivize true value creation.

Server-side solutions are the way forward in the affiliate attribution space. They offer brands innumerable business benefits and will become the industry standard for the most competitive and forward-thinking affiliate programs. This is what Pernix was built for.


Fuse by Pernix

Pernix gives attribution control back to the brand by replacing affiliate network tracking and fusing a brand’s own internal analytics to those networks. This empowers brands to build and grow an affiliate program that is aligned with their source of truth. When you are able to pay commissions to affiliates that provide true incremental value, you can attract top partners that are most aligned with your brand — and pay them competitively.

With Pernix as a trusted third party, your partners will also have confidence that your tech is sound and your data accurate. Both you and your partners also benefit from the security that comes with knowing that your attribution technology has a team of professionals behind it, providing maintenance, resources and time-saving service that is very difficult for brands to provide on their own. Pernix makes implementation, maintenance and ongoing support simple and straightforward. Partners appreciate this added stamp of approval.

A true server-to-server solution, Pernix meets the changing needs of today’s affiliate marketing programs and sets them up for future success and more autonomy as the industry evolves. 

Ready to take back control of your affiliate attribution?

Contact us for a free assessment.