Basics of Tracking with TUNE

When you work with TUNE, you’re connecting to a user’s journey—from their first experience in your advertising funnel to their last. Below, you’ll explore the basics of that connection while building on offers, attribution, and other concepts introduced in our Intro to Performance Marketing.

This article is part of our Background & Setup series.

Setting the Stage

Let’s set the stage with a story: An online retailer called Outletforce decides to buy traffic for their holiday ad campaign. They put together an offer their network contacts can forward to partners.

Outletforce’s offer includes a brief description, some pre-approved banner images, and the payment structure. The payment structure defines conversions as holiday decor sales, and pays out a commission on each conversion.

One of Outletforce’s network contacts takes interest in the offer and decides on a price they’re willing to pay partners per conversion. The network looks for partners to promote the offer, and partners interested in that network’s offer choose to post the ads. User traffic starts flowing, and some users who entered the advertising funnel convert on the offer.

At the same time, Outletforce and the network use TUNE to measure partner traffic and to link that traffic with conversions. This process of attribution gives an objective account of offer performance to advertisers, networks, and partners alike.

Introducing Sessions

In the story above and in practice, data comes to TUNE from both the partner and the advertiser. When a user clicks on a partner’s ad or converts on an advertiser’s offer, TUNE stores data from those interactions in a session—the collection of a user’s measured actions and information.

TUNE uses sessions to connect a user’s clicks with their conversions. Sessions contain identifiers for aspects of a user’s journey and for the session itself. Each session is unique and associates users and their conversions with specific offers, partners, and networks.

Basics of Tracking - User Pathway

Tracking Links & Conversion Links

TUNE automatically manages user session information for you—a process we call session tracking. You just need to prepare your partners (and advertisers if you’re a network) to pass information to TUNE. To do that, you generate and distribute both tracking links and conversion links.

Tracking links are used by partners to send you information about a user. When a partner promotes one of your offers, they embed your tracking link in the accompanying ad. Then when a user clicks on that ad, your tracking link:

  • Creates a session and starts session tracking in TUNE
  • Optionally requests and stores additional information from the partner
  • Redirects that user to the offer’s landing page

Conversion links are used by advertisers to send networks or partners information about a conversion. When networks run an advertiser’s offer, the advertiser reports conversions by using the network’s conversion link for that offer. Then when a user converts on that offer, the conversion link:

  • Identifies the user’s session in TUNE
  • Optionally requests and stores additional information from the advertiser
  • Records a conversion for that user in the session

As you work with TUNE, you’ll generate, customize, and provide these links to your partners and advertisers.

A Little More Detail on Sessions

We mentioned that sessions keep track of various identifiers necessary for attribution. In TUNE, you can also request and store other pieces of information from partners and advertisers, like a user’s geographic region, mobile device type, or web browser.

Such information can be extremely valuable to your business, especially when you’re looking to better match offers with ad space. Using session information in TUNE, you can also:

  • Selectively modify and deliver offers
  • Adjust offer payments and revenue
  • Filter session data and create reports

For more details regarding the data of our clients and end users, please review our privacy notices.

Going Forward

By taking the time to understand session tracking and tracking links, you’re familiarizing yourself with how TUNE works.

To round out the topic of tracking, continue on to our summary of Attribution Methods in TUNE. That and other suggested articles make up our Background & Setup series.

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