Referral Links

Everything you ever wanted to know!

by Sophie Alvsaker


Posted on Thursday 15th November 2018
Updated: Thursday 28th February 2019


How to setup affiliate referral links

You can customize referral links for affiliates in a variety of different ways with ShoutOut.

In this article we'll explain:

Let's get started...

Create a Referral Link that points to a specific page

Whilst we recommend that your referral links point to the home page of your online store, it is possible to have them point to a specific product, blog post, or collection of products.

To do this, simply navigate to the (publicly available) page you'd like to use, and copy the URL in your address bar (use Ctrl-C on Windows/Cmd-C on Mac).

Next, open ShoutOut Admin, and from the main menu under the Affiliates/Influencers heading select View/Edit. Click on the pencil icon to edit an affiliate.

In the Referral Link area, click on the option to edit your link and paste the URL previously copied into the field shown (replacing what is already there). Press OK, then UPDATE to save the changes.

The referral link will now go directly to the page you've chosen.

How to update ALL your affiliate referral links to a specific product page

If you're having a sale or need to update all your affiliate referral links to point to a new product page, having to edit each and every affiliate's referral links would be time consuming.

Thankfully, ShoutOut has the ability to update ALL your affiliate links with just a click of a button.

Here's how to do a bulk update:

From ShoutOut's admin, select View/Edit under the Affiliates/Influencers menu. You'll see a list of affiliates. Select any affiliate by clicking on the pencil (editing) icon.

In the Referral Link area, click on the option to 'edit' the referral link. Enter or paste your landing page URL into the field provided. Click on the 'Also update my entire network of affiliates to this URL for their referral links' checkbox. If you don't see this option then press RESET and start again as shortened links cannot be bulk updated.

How to update ALL your affiliate referral links

Press OK.

Press UPDATE.

ShoutOut will now update every affiliate in your network by creating new, unique, referral links that point to the new page provided.

How to create multiple links for your affiliates

You may have noticed all ShoutOut referral links have the '?p=xxxxxxx' extension added to your online store URL (where xxxxxx is the unique ID of the affiliate). This is how ShoutOut identifies which affiliate referred business to your store.

With this knowledge you can now provide as many referral links to an affiliate as you wish. All you need to do is add the same extension to any publicly available page on your website and then provide the URL to your affiliate.

For example, if you have a collection of sale items at this location:

https://www.mystore.com/collections/sale-items

just add the affiliate's unique ID to the end of the URL:

https://www.mystore.com/collections/sale-items?p=xxxxxxx

If you already have a question mark in the URL you need to 'extend' the url with ShoutOut's tracking ID. Simply change the '?' to '&':

https://www.mystore.com/collections/sale-items?catagory=sale&p=xxxxxxx

Please note, for WooCommerce and Squarespace merchants, we use 'aff=', so in all of the examples above simply replace the 'p' with 'aff'

How to shorten a referral link

Often referral links can be quite long, particularly if you're pointing them to a specific product page. To shorten a referral link to just a few letters, ShoutOut provides a shortener function.

To use this feature open ShoutOut Admin, and from the main menu under the Affiliates/Influencers heading select View/Edit. Click on the pencil icon to edit an affiliate.

In the Referral Link area, click on the option to edit your link and then select the 'Shorten' link function. Your long referral link will be replaced with a unique, shortened version that's just a few characters long. Press OK, then UPDATE to save the changes.

The new shortened link will operate identically to the longer link it replaced, it's just easier to use for your affiliate.

How to fully customize referral links

It is possible to personalize a referral link for your affiliate, for example you could create: www.mystore.com/save-with-john

This is incredibly easy to do if you're on the Shopify platform, simply follow these instructions:

  1. Login into your Shopify Admin and go to Apps, then select ShoutOut.
  2. Under the NETWORK heading in the main menu select View/Edit to see a list of your current affiliates.
  3. Select an affiliate by clicking on the pencil icon.
  4. In the referral section (dark area bottom right) click on the 'Personalize Link' tab.
  5. Enter the extension you would like to add e.g. save-with-john
  6. Press UPDATE.

Now, when someone visits the personalized URL (e.g. www.mystore.com/save-with-john), your affiliate will get credited for the sale.

If you're on the WooCommerce platform checkout a plugin called PrettyLinks which provides the same functionality, and for those on Squarespace simply go to redirects in Advanced Settings.

How long do affiliate's receive credit for after a referral link is used?

We're often asked, how long will an affiliate be credited for a sale after a visitor uses an affiliate link?

The answer is 90 days.

If the potential customer visits your store within the 90 days (even if they don't come via the referral link on subsequent visits), your affiliate will receive the credit for the sale.

If another affiliate refers your store to the same customer within the 90 days, their new affiliate link will overwrite the old affiliate's referral, and the 90 days commences again.

Can I vary the time set for tracking cookies?

Cookie tracking time for referral links is set at 90 days as previously mentioned and is not changable.

We do have a technical reason behind having a set period rather than it being selectable. If we made it changeable, the period set would need to be stored in a database. When a visitor to your store/website interacts with your website, we would need to read that value each time they visited each page. This can slow the visitors experience with your store which is not something we wish to do. Instead, the timeframe is hard coded, and we use non blocking I/O software architecture to ensure ShoutOut has no effect on the speed of your store.

If you're looking for a referral process that does offer a smaller or longer lifetime, ShoutOut also supports COUPON tracking and you can set a specific time the coupon remains valid. For more information on using Coupons and Discount Codes please read our tutorial here.

We hope this information better helps you understand referral links in ShoutOut and how they can be used more effectively to drive traffic to your store. As always, if you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at anytime.

 

About the Author

Sophie Alvsaker ‚Äčis a professional educator, presenter and a leading expert in affiliate marketing and referral programs. Sophie is passionate about sharing engaging and practical insights to allow clients to maximize the effectiveness of ShoutOut's many features and tools.

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