If your affiliate marketing partners don't respect your privacy, do they respect you and your consumers?

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The world has changed.

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Since last year’s Blue Book survey, technology has become even more firmly embedded in society. As technology works its way in to more areas of our lives, we are increasingly aware of how it affects and shapes our online environment both openly and covertly. Countless high-profile data breaches have resulted in more aware, privacy-conscious consumers - with 85% of US consumers saying they will not do business with a company they do not trust - as well as the rise of legislation to ensure business are accountable for consumer data. In the US, this includes the onset of the CCPA, New York SHEILD Security Act and Nevada Consumer Privacy Bill, with GDPR active in Europe for almost two years now.

This trend is not going to stop anytime soon. And believe it or not, this is something we should be celebrating. As attacks on businesses show no sign of slowing down and our personal data becomes more and more commoditized, we, as consumers, should be protective and mindful of how data is being used both for us and against us.

Apple’s introduction of Intelligent Tracking Preventing (ITP) in 2017 was the first major signpost for this consumer-privacy first shift in focus - essentially preventing third-party tracking, potentially causing major disruptions to online services and advertising. Since its first release, there has been a handful of ITP iterations, each time tightening the restrictions for digital marketing across all channels. After Apple opened the flood gates, other browsers including Chrome and Firefox started making changes and introducing their own interpretations of how best to protect user security and privacy.

The response from tech companies was a reactive one, attempting to squeeze their existing solutions in to the splintering demands of the browsers. Awin took the same approach. Given the timeline between announcement and implementation of these tracking-restriction solutions, there was not much else anyone could do. With more updates and changes from the browsers, the industry jumped through various hoops, stressing the importance of various tracking technologies from first-party tracking to server-to-server.

With what seemed like a new update or twist from the browsers every few months, Awin realized that this approach was untenable. The industry seemed to be constantly chasing its tail, going round and round in circles as it tried to adapt existing tracking solutions to fit these new frameworks. What’s more, this had to be done without upsetting existing traffic for retailers and their partners, which is no small task.

In light of these continued obstacles, Awin decided to turn its approach to tracking on its head. After all, a new world needs a new way of doing things.

We created a tracking solution that, at its core, is fundamentally different from any other affiliate network or partner platform. Privacy is not an afterthought and our new approach to tracking is not a dated technology, bastardized to be ‘ITP proof.’ Our new tracking solution is built around respect, around privacy, and with the consumer’s intentions – and our clients’ businesses – at its core.

Aptly called the Tracking Optimization Plugin, this is a tracking tool for retailers’ affiliate partners and sits within Awin’s Publisher MasterTag. The Tracking Optimization Plugin automates the tracking method used for each affiliate click on a website, assessing and executing how to track a sale based on a variety of factors including the type of browser being used and the user’s privacy settings. This ensures the consumer’s data privacy preferences are being respected while still providing our clients with the highly-accurate tracking they expect and deserve.

Even more exciting about the Tracking Optimization Plugin is Awin’s soon-to-be released Bounceless Tracking feature. What makes Bounceless Tracking so unique is that it removes the ad network from the redirect entirely, sending the user direct from the affiliate partner’s site direct to the advertiser site, while still ensuring no disruption of tracking. Tracking is performed entirely by Awin’s Advertiser and Publisher MasterTags without any impact on user journey while also improving page load times, ultimately providing clients with highly accurate, highly reliable tracking and reporting.

Bounceless Tracking is only available for affiliate partners through the Awin Tracking Optimization Plugin. It is just one of the many methods this Plugin can employ to ensure our tracking is both accurate and respectful of privacy and consumers. The Tracking Optimization Plugin and Bounceless Tracking will be live in early November, ensuring the most accurate and robust tracking throughout your key season.

Your vote for Best CPS Network

When you are casting your vote for Best CPS Network, please consider the expectations you should have of your affiliate network partner around critical questions, including:

  • Does your affiliate tracking take a modern, user and privacy-focused approach?
  • Has your network moved away from antiquated technology that has been forced to fit legislative and browser requirements?
  • Does your network partner respect consumers and their privacy choices while still delivering highly accurate sales data?
  • Is your network fit for purpose in a privacy-centric world?

As an affiliate network, Awin can confidently answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions. We are proud to be breaking the mold of traditional affiliate tracking by respecting and working with consumer privacy – viewing it as a positive change and not merely a hinderance we’re simply ‘dealing with.’  In this uniquely different stance, we continue to evolve and innovate for the benefit of our clients and partners, while also respecting the wants of their consumers. As such, we would be honored to receive your continued support by nominating and voting for us as ‘Best CPS Network.’

Please vote for Awin here.

This article was originally published in partnership with mThink as part of our ongoing sponsorship with mThink's Blue Book Best CPS Network 2020 campaign.

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