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  1. #1
    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    Question The Cookie Monster

    Cookie tracking lengths are a really important conversion factor in our experience. They may not be an important factor in other affilaite’s experience, but over the years we have done a lot of research on our traffic (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of click throughs to various advertisers), and we’ve consistently found that brands that convert badly have short cookie tracking lengths.

    As you’ll probably know, most advertisers operate their cookie tracking policies this way – a cookie is set on a user’s device when they click through on your ad/banner, and that cookie links you to the referral if that player signs up with that operator, during the tracking time period. The LAST cookie set gets the referral – so if someone clicks through on your link today, but then on our link in 2 days time, then I’m the last referrer, so in general I would get the referral.

    Our research has shown that advertisers with 3 day or shorter cookies convert 5 to 7 times worse than advertisers with 30 day+ cookies. We are only talking about the number of clicks to achieve a registration here (not first time depositors or anything like that). So, it takes us 7 times the number of click throughs to get a registration on some advertisers compared with others!

    Of course, there are hundreds of factors that make an advertiser convert well – and by no means is the ordered list below a reflection of which sportsbooks convert best. Conversion relies on a number of factors – how good the brand is, what bonuses they offer, how good landing pages are etc etc. And, of course, once the customer is through the door and signed up, things like player value, player retention and a whole host of other factors determine the value in promoting an advertiser.

    However, cookies are important to us – if we can’t get the customer through the door in the first place, I don’t care how good your sportsbook is, how competitive the odds are, how great your retention is and player value, or whether you’re offering me 60% rev share for the first few months! If we can’t get customers in the door, we don’t get paid. We would take a longer cookie advertiser ahead of a short cookie advertiser every time if the two advertisers compete well on other factors.

    Anyway, cookie tracking lengths are sometimes overlooked by affiliates, who worry more about getting a few extra percent on their rev share, worry about minimum player quotas and all those other unfavourable things that are discussed many times across the affiliate forums.

    Most affiliates probably do this, but it’s worth getting a cookie viewer plugin for your browser, so you can test out cookie lengths (they sometimes change without you knowing too!). Most advertisers do not publish the cookie tracking length in their T&Cs so you have to find it out yourself sometimes. Here’s an example of one for Firefox - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/fir.../view-cookies/

    This list below must come with a health warning though! – before jumping in and advertising those people with the longest cookie tracking, delve deeper into the T&Cs of these programs – some stop paying you when a customer has been with them 24 months! (yes, no joke!), some have bad reputations you can research for yourself, some just don’t convert because their brands or offerings are not strong enough in the market, some of the programs below DO NOT provide you cross product earnings!, and some only pay you a small percentage on cross products (e.g. 10%).

    Interestingly some of these programs have DROPPED their cookie length when they recently moved from one affiliate system platform to another! (by chance, or by calculation/business case? – you decide ). You may not have noticed this drop, as we don’t all spend our time checking these things.

    However, if you have not looked deeply into the reasons that some of your advertisers are not converting, then perhaps see if they figure towards the bottom of this list – it might explain a few things. We would be interested to hear people’s experiences.

    You might not be worried about cookie lengths because you’re already earning $x hundred per month from an advertiser that has a short cookie length. However, if your user behaviour is similar to ours then for every new registration you achieve you’re losing x registrations in those people not tracking because they’re only session cookied, go away to do something else, and come back a few hours later, or because they’re only cookied for a few days and come back at the weekend to place a bet and go direct to the site.

    Cookie Tracking Lengths By Sportsbook

    Betonline (Commission.bz) - 90 days
    BetAtHome - 60 days
    bet365 - 45 days
    StanJames - 45 days
    Betdaq - 45 days
    Betfair - 45 days
    Betfred - 45 days
    10bet - 30 days
    BetVictor - 30 days
    Pinnacle - 30 days
    188Bet Europe - 30 days
    Coral - 30 days
    Sportingbet - 30 days
    Sportingbet Australia - 30 days
    Mobibet - 30 days
    SkyBet - 30 days
    Bet3000 - 30 days
    Centrebet - 30 days
    Tipico - 30 days
    SBOBet - 30 days
    YouWin (WinAffiliates) - 30 days
    Bwin - 30 days
    Bovada/Bodog (BettingPartners) - 14 days?
    Dafabet - 7 days
    188Bet Asia - 7 days
    ComeOn - 7 days
    138.com - 7 days
    William Hill - 3 days
    Ladbrokes - 3 days
    Europartners (TitanBet) - 3 days
    12Bet (Europe) - 2 days
    12BetAsia - 2 days
    Betsson (Affiliate Lounge) - 2 days
    Betsafe (Affiliate Lounge) - 2 days
    Ufilliates (888Sport) - Session?
    Nordicbet (Affiliate Lounge) - Session or 2 days
    Betway - Session
    BoyleSports – Session
    PaddyPower - Session

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  3. #2
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    louie.wilson is offline Former AM
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    Interesting "chart" mate! Thanks for that

  4. #3
    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by louie.wilson View Post
    Interesting "chart" mate! Thanks for that
    No probs - been meaning to share this for a long time - I keep a spreadsheet of notes on aff programs with links to various issues i've read, but also defining the fundamentals about each program. It's largely unfinished, but I finally got around to documenting the cookie stuff. I think it's useful to share as no matter what your view on cookies and tracking is, I'd find it hard to disagree that longer tracking cookies work better than shorter ones (and yes, an advertiser recently tried to tell me that their new shorter tracking cookie was showing MUCH better conversion rates!! - my response - How?!).

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  6. #4
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    Fantastic information, thank you.

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    Voids is offline Private Member
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    From my statistics most of our sign ups are from sportsbooks with 30 day plus cookies.

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  10. #6
    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    Just to add, my first thoughts on this were - "well, there are loads of things that affect conversion", which is true, but if you don't try to address each of these factors in turn and then try combine them into some multi-variate analysis then it's difficult to know where you're advertising good value for clicks advertisers (or maybe you frankly don't care! )

    But, we've pushed big brands at the bottom of that list and have had poor conversion - you might expect good conversion with those who have the most well known brands, the big TV ad campaigns, the best promos and bonuses and regular offers, and we've pushed no-name brands with long cookies and they've done much better.

    Equally we've pushed big brands with long cookie lengths and they've converted poorly, but in those cases we know why - the websites, landing pages, and offers available have not clicked with our visitors i.e. you can track a referral as long as you want, but if at the other end of the click there's something not at all attractive it won't convert.

    I suppose the thing to do if you're going to analyse this for yourself is to rank your advertisers by their best click to registration ratios. Then pick out a strong brand who does well and compare this to strong brands further down your list that should compete with this strong performer. When you're looking at 100 clicks per registration compared to 2000 clicks per registration (we had this for a couple of months running!), then there's something wrong.

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    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voids View Post
    From my statistics most of our sign ups are from sportsbooks with 30 day plus cookies.
    Very interesting Voids, thanks for that. What would be really interesting is to see some sort of analysis from the bookies on the average length (or distribution of stats) of time a new sign up had been cookied before they signed up. For example, if you could tell me that 50% of my registrations signed up there and then as they clicked through, 25% came back within 3 days and signed up, 15% came back within 10 days, and the rest came back within 30 days.

    If a long cookie advertiser published this on their affiliate system it would give them a serious competitive edge on other shorter cookie advertisers.

    You could actually get to a point where you advertise "weaker" brands because ultimately you get twice the sign ups on these brands and more revenue.

  12. #8
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    Nice list.

    Just as important to consider is whether the cookie is over-writeable.

    If it isn't, those making the sale do not get credit if the visitor/player has visited the property previously before the cookie has expired.

    Rick
    Universal4

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    We have a "scatter" across your list. I don't really see a relationship between cookie session length and returned value for us.

    Our high value sportsbooks are Bet365 (45), Bovada (14), Ladbrokes (3), Pinnacle (30), BetOnline (90), Paddy (session).
    All these are reliably good monthly properties with top payouts despite the variation in cookie lengths.

    We then get a batch of casino / poker site which are not listed in your table that are solid places worth 4 figures each.
    RewardsAffiliates, Affiliate Edge, WagerShare, ChipSpilt, Dafa888

    Way down the list are sites that are low earners - if they get to 4-figures it's a good performance for them.
    I cannot explain why we are so poor with BetFred, BetVictor, Coral and SkyBet ... it's always been a mystery to me.
    BetFred (45), BetVictor (30), Coral (30), Centrebet (30), SkyBet (30) and Betsson (2).

    So our top six includes three short and three long cookie durations, and our bottom six shows 1 short and 5 long cookies?
    Go figure!


    =========

    We keep several metrics including value per click and value per depositor.

    Pinnacle, Bet365, and Ladbrokes lead these metrics which might tend to show a cookie length / value correlation ..
    Or it might simply show an operation that is good at getting "share of wallet" once the customer has joined.

    Alternately, Bovada has a low per click payoff, but I throw some lower quality free play traffic at it ...
    And they do come out highly in total value per month - showing an ability to spin that traffic into cash.

    All four sites are world class sites for customers to play at - which probably is the REAL REASON that they rate so highly.

    ==========

    Finally, a thumbs up for Renee and Rewards Affiliates, as they stand out at a staggering $12.27 value per click to us according to our records - about three times the average value - possibly as a result of their turnover share payment scheme. It's a different model - but one worth checking out.
    =D>;
    Last edited by TheGooner; 13 February 2014 at 8:11 pm.

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    Excellent points Gooner.

    This is just more proof that some sites do better with some folks than they do with others.

    No matter how many people tell you that casino A or sportsbook B is the best on the internet, you just have to test test test since some of those that everyone has been screaming about being the best on their sites, might be a total loser on another site.

    That is how it is....test test test and demand campaign/channel/adID/subGID so you can code the links and track results.

    Click results that have no way of tracking campaigns doesn't help much with this.

    Rick
    Universal4

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  17. #11
    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    One factor to consider though when you're looking at earnings per month on a low value cookie advertiser is the amount of accounts you built up over the past that continue to return monthly earnings. This is why we're only measuring on current month - clicks to registration ratios, because revenue can be a result of someone signing up on your account 5 years ago and continuing to play.

    That's a valid point though, as I said in the first post things like player value and retention and a whole load of other factors do go into the "should I advertise someone" equation.

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    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    Thanks Gooner, really useful insight - our stats play along similar lines, although some of those advertisers we've not pushed hard, and like you too we've thrown lower value traffic at some advertisers, so it's difficult to judge.

    As a general point to all readers - Let's say cookie lengths don't really affect conversion at all - it doesn't matter. Just being devil's advocate. If so, then if I were a bookie I would throw out a 100 day cookie for all affiliates in order to win more share of the affiliate market.

    Ultimately, I believe cookies must have an influence on conversion - there has to be x% of users who don't convert upon clicking through and come back at a later date. There's probably an optimum time when, on average, your cookie gets overwritten by a new referrer though (depends how well advertised the sportsbook is and your chances of getting overwritten), so having a cookie of 500 days might not be any better than having a 30 day cookie, as last referrer usually overwrites.

    Interestingly I did find a Unibet landing page that gave us a 10 year cookie! Must have been a mistake on their side

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    Pinnacle, Bet365, and Ladbrokes lead these metrics which might tend to show a cookie length / value correlation ..
    Keep an eye on your Ladbrokes performance going forward - don't know if you noticed but with the move to the new Mexos system they dropped their cookie length to 3 days - on the Income Access system (Score Affiliates) it was 15 days I believe, although some people are saying it used to be 30 days.

    Interestingly enough I think Income Access links still track for Ladbrokes (check your cookies when clicking an old link - you get Mexos tracking as well as IA) - they haven't switched off the tracking, so if you were to use the old links until they disappear you'll get a longer cookie tracking period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by webanalysissolutions View Post
    Interestingly I did find a Unibet landing page that gave us a 10 year cookie! Must have been a mistake on their side
    Yes, unibet is not in your list. When I last checked they were 14 days. There has been a lot of discussion about cookie lengths and I do think it becomes crucial for affiliates that this is part of their negotiations. I see cookie length as an area ignored by many affiliates and so an area where firms will try to chisel. Irrespective of stats and figures (important though they obviously are), it is plain as day to anyone with a single brain cell what wins in a session cookie v a 30-day cookie scenario . . . personally I have always reckoned a session cookie v a 14-day+ cookie would lose you around 50% of sign-ups. That is from something I read about a major analysis of online shopping habits (people browsing then returning to purchase). I think it is an issue for affiliates at large because you know damn well that if we don't make cookie length a recurring negotiation issue and area of contention then it will only head downwards in length (look what just happened with ladbrokes move to mexos, 14 days became 3 days, like all firms on that sh1te).

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    justbookies is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    Our high value sportsbooks are Bet365 (45), Bovada (14), Ladbrokes (3), Pinnacle (30), BetOnline (90), Paddy (session). All these are reliably good monthly properties with top payouts despite the variation in cookie lengths.
    So our top six includes three short and three long cookie durations, and our bottom six shows 1 short and 5 long cookies?
    Go figure!
    An excellent post as always, but I would take issue with your conclusion on this particular point. I would say of your top six you have five long and one short. Ladbrokes was 14 days until the recent move to mexos (only then becoming 3 days, unacceptably short), so your existing player base was referred on a 14-day cookie. Also I would call 14 days a long cookie (to everyone but an affiliate program!). I think if they haven't signed up by then they are unlikely to. So only paddy of those six actually has / had a cookie length that is so short as to affect referrals.

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  24. #16
    webanalysissolutions is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by justbookies View Post
    it is plain as day to anyone with a single brain cell what wins in a session cookie v a 30-day cookie scenario . . . personally I have always reckoned a session cookie v a 14-day+ cookie would lose you around 50% of sign-ups.
    50% loss on registrations rings true with our analysis too. Like I said before, if cookies are not important (according to advertiser companies), why are they so reluctant to change them upwards? The fact is, companies know how many players come from which sources - affiliates, direct, paid Google advertising, organic searches etc, so i'm sure anyone in a decent marketing department would know the exact answer to your shopping habits question.

    An advertiser might argue that it's only fair they pay you on referrals that convert at the time of clicking through (session cookie), but ultimately it's a competitive market out there and other advertisers will provide you a better deal.

    Also, I do take issue with session cookies - not only are you losing out on people who return later (perhaps close the browser, go off to their bank account to check funds, then come back, or check out a football game odds on a Thursday night for Saturday, then come back on Saturday morning to bet), but they're getting a lot of brand awareness by affiliates promoting their logos all over their sites. Ultimately when you get paid for a depositing/playing referral this is the aggregation of all the hard work and exposure you've given a company that is not directly rewarded in order to drive that sign up. Brand awareness is a big thing - if you can make your brand stick in someone's head they're more likely to convert further down the line if they've seen it plastered everywhere - a good example of this is how conversion increases when timed with advertiser TV campaigns..... which reminds me:

    Going off on a tangent here but check out point 6.11 of Betfred's terms:
    http://www.betfred.com/affiliates/terms-and-conditions

    6.11 You acknowledge and agree that, in addition to the affiliate program, Betfred.com also uses television advertising as a way to promote its products (“TV Advertising”) and that, from time to time, such TV Advertising exposure will be increased to take the form of a campaign intended to drive customers to the Betfred.com Site. You further acknowledge and agree that during campaigns of increased TV Advertising (to be determined solely at Betfred.com’s discretion), any Customer that accesses the Betfred.com Site via a Link on the Partner Site must place a qualifying bet on the Betfred.com Site within 48 hours of access via that Link in order for you to receive a share of the Net Revenue derived from that Customer’s bet.
    They say they don't enforce it, but why have it if so? Someone put it in there in the first place according to some marketing logic, presumably?

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