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Guide Understanding tracking links and postback URLs


Grand Guru
Community Leader
Hi AffLIFTers

I’m still pretty new to affiliate marketing but I'm feeling a lot more confident that I did when I first got started. In the beginning, one of the things I struggled with IMMENSELY was tracking tokens… but after persisting for about a month I had a nice little lightbulb moment and since then it’s been smooth sailing. I shared this post on STM a few months ago and the post was really well received and is still getting some attention over there even though I’m not active on that forum at the moment.

I’ve been meaning to share this over here for a while and after seeing the post from @Nick earlier today (see below) I thought I would get onto it.

I have an explanation of that on my blog... unfortunately it's in English though:

If you have any questions about it you should create your own thread ;)

If you’re struggling with tracking tokens and URL parameters, hopefully Nick's post above or the rest of this post might trigger a lightbulb for you the way it did for me.

When I first started out I’d be reading a guide or blog post and I’d be following along with this or that and just when I thought I had it figured out there’d be something like, “…don’t forget to add &tid=[IMPRESSIONID] at the end of the offer URL”.

…and I’d be like, “OK, I get the [IMPRESSIONID] is a PopAds token (and I’d give myself a big pat on the back for even knowing that much), but why is the parameter name ‘tid’? Where did that come from? Why isn’t it ‘sid’ like it was in the last follow along? Or ‘s2’ like that blog I read before?

I mean, it seems like URLs roll off most affiliate’s tongues like they’re at Starbucks ordering their morning iced half caff ristretto venti 4-pump sugar free cinnamon dolce soy skinny latte… but I was a mess.

Then one day, I was setting up a new traffic source and something just clicked.

Here’s what the new traffic source set up screen looks like in FunnelFlux if you’re setting up MGID:

Which suddenly reminded me of something I’ve seen a thousand times:

And the thing that clicked for me was that the registration form above is simply a way for a website to capture information for its database, where it’s directing the user to enter the information it wants for its various database slots: “Name”, “Company”, “Email” and “Phone”.

And that’s when I realised that that’s what tracking tokens are doing – they’re identifying the name of the slot and the required information to be entered into each slot.

I guess what I really saw when I pictured an online registration form in my mind was that instead of requiring some dude to fill out a form with the data my tracker wants (and he’d never do that) I can use URL parameters to ask the database from the traffic network or affiliate network (that has already captured information about the dude) to do me a favour and “fill out the form for him” so to speak.

But the problem for me has always been the way that different traffic sources and affiliate networks call their slots different things (even though they're tracking the same information), but then the lightbulb lit up and I saw this something like this in my mind:

Which is when I realised for the first time that if I want a website to send some dude’s info to me then I just need to find the tokens the sending site uses that correspond with the slots I want to populate when I receive the data (or vice versa).

e.g. https:// www. coolevent. com/?name={whatchacalled}&company={yabidness}&email={inboxinfo}&phone={demdigits}

Of course, the reverse is also true. If I’m sending the dude from my tracker to the offer and I want to pass the info I have about the dude, then I do the reverse:

https:// www. eventdirectory. com/?whatchacalled={name}&yabidness={company}&inboxinfo={email}&demdigits={phone}

Now I know some of you guys are shrugging between sips of your iced half caff ristretto ventis and wondering what all the fuss is about, but I just felt so much relief since this sunk in and I know that there are newbs like me who are scratching their heads the way I was in the beginning, and hopefully this might help them grow some hair back!

And just to have a bit of fun with the whole thing, here’s the story I wrote for myself when I was trying to test myself to see if I understood – it’s about a dude called Bob and his wonderful adventures in my funnel:

I really hope it might help you in some way if you’re still struggling with this stuff – even if it just serves to give you confidence that one day, maybe right out of the blue, it’ll all make sense and you’ll finally be able to relax and just get on with it.


Super Contributor
Yep, we’ve all struggled/still struggling with that stuff. It’s such a shame there isn’t any standardisation for these tokens. Great guide and love the artwork! 😍

And @Nick ‘s blog post is excellent too! 👍
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Grand Guru
The analogy to a registration form is brilliant! Once you realise that, the next part - placing yourself as a receiver or a sender and setting up your links accordingly, comes much easier.

Now I know what to share anytime someone has a very hard time comprehending it all. Great job and hats off for putting in the effort to create this.



Staff member
Since this thread is so awesome, I have went ahead and made it Public. You can share it with people who are not a member of affLIFT yet and hopefully it'll help them and encourage them to join our awesome community. Thanks again, @jimmyvanilla 👍


Were you a teacher in a past life? I suddenly get it!

When I saw/read the registration form analogy - that's when the light bulb came on. 😲 Once you can visualize that it's just passing information from one place to another and back it makes sense. When you 'read' the process it's way too complex to understand, but as they say - a picture's worth a thousand words.

Thanks, @jimmyvanilla - this is what Einstein must have felt like when, after years, he finally worked out the theory of relativity!(y)👨‍🎓


Grand Guru
Community Leader
When I saw/read the registration form analogy - that's when the light bulb came on.
this is what Einstein must have felt like when, after years, he finally worked out the theory of relativity!(y)👨‍🎓
I'm really glad to hear that. When the concept clicked for me it was a cool feeling. That was only about a year ago for me but I still remember how hard it was to understand. Now I'm like iced half caff ristretto venti 4-pump sugar free cinnamon dolce soy skinny latte. It's amazing how our minds work.