Last week we began a three-part series taking a look at the behind-the-scenes processes that occur as URLs resolve within an app, and what you, as a developer, can do to ensure both the UX and your commissions are preserved.
In our final installment, we bring your attention to an uncommon but dirty little devil of an affiliate-related problem we call “Swallowing the Cookie”. This issue can happen when code has been implemented into an app or SDK to improve the user experience around resolving a link but interferes with correctly setting the affiliate cookie.
By implementing the code that Apple has provided, QA 1629, this issue can easily be avoided. However, if you’re seeing a high number of affiliated clicks, no commissions after waiting for the reporting lag, and have implemented code to keep links from opening in Safari, you could be unknowingly reversing your affiliate-linking efforts:The Stutter Step Dealing with URLs inside an iOS app can be complicated. When an app isn’t prepared for multiple http-based redirects, like an affiliate link, the resolution of the URL can sometimes cause your device to jump around between apps, Safari and the iTunes store. This user experience faux pas is called the “Stutter Step“, and in a world where providing users with a streamlined UX is not an option, it can cause a few frowns. QA 1629 Fortunately for developers everywhere, Apple recognizes this and has provided a snippet of code known as QA 1629 to help reverse this user experience. (At GeoRiot, we’ve even developed a slightly modified version of QA 1629 to better compliment your GeoRiot links.) However, implementing this workaround can cause a few hiccups in your affiliate links if not done properly. Swallowing The Cookie To convert the affiliate tracking parameters into the affiliate cookie, a 301 redirect outside of the app is required. A common misconception is that the code that handles redirects behind the scenes should “release” the link once its completely done resolving. However, doing this sets the affiliate cookie in the local app, and not in the “shared cookie jar” which the iTunes Store / App Store pulls from when attributing a sale(s) to a specific referrer. Without this redirect, the cookie can’t be referenced by the store on subsequent purchases, and your affiliate link essentially becomes a raw iTunes link. In other words, this guy has just “swallowed the cookie”. Affiliate Link Resolution Here’s an example of the behind-the-scenes redirects that take place as a georiot.co affiliate link resolves: 1.) GeoRiot Link eg. http://georiot.co/z5V –> 2.) Affiliate Network Link eg. http://click.linksynergy.