Advanced Affiliate Linking
The first part of this document is intended for affiliate publishers that need to create affiliate tracking to be added to raw links provided by the advance linking tools. This information is primarily for tech savvy partners who need to automate the creation of many links.
The second part of this document, “Using Affiliate Links Inside Apps,” is intended for affiliates that need to create affiliate tracking links that will be implemented inside an app. The aim of this structure is to enhance the user experience on mobile devices. It will enable the user to go directly from an app to the iTunes Store or the App Store without first opening the web browser app. It is not recommended to use this method for website integrations as it limits reporting.
|Note: The easiest and most direct way to create an affiliate tracking link is to use the Link Maker tool found inside your affiliate network’s dashboard for the iTunes and App Store Affiliate Program.|
Table of Contents
- Adding Affiliate Tracking
- Understanding Links
- Using Affiliate Links Inside Apps
- Appendix: Country Codes and Storefront IDs
Properly built affiliate links are essential for proper integration into the affiliate program. Adding affiliate tracking to raw iTunes links is necessary to fully use the advanced linking tools such as the Search API and the EPF, for linking to special pages inside iTunes and the App Store, and for working with links that deal with promotions.
The affiliate program relies on four separate affiliate networks for programs worldwide. Because each program has a proprietary methodology for building links, this document includes a section for each.
To create an affiliate tracking link for PHG all you need to do is use the parameter “at” and your Affiliate ID
Correct tracking examples:
For more information on creating links for PHG view the Basic Affiliate Link Guidelines for the PHG Network
While understanding how to convert a raw link into an affiliate link is important to fully utilize the affiliate program, understanding how iTunes and App Store links are made will give you more flexibility in fully integrating the affiliate program into a site or an app.
There are two common types of deep links to specific items. These two types are “Clean” links, which were introduced in November of 2009, and “Legacy” WebObject links, which have been around since the inception of the store. Both types of links are supported in the store. Legacy links will continue to be supported indefinitely even though certain content is now referenced by the new Clean links.
Clean links are intended to give customers an indication of the content they see once they click a link. They are shorter and more user-friendly than the older style of links. A few examples of a clean link are:
Next, take a look at an example link, shown in its constituent parts. This is for U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky” on The Joshua Tree album:
|Description||Protocol||Host||Country Code||Action||Description||Primary ID||Query String|
|Notes||[ISO-2A]||Human-readable description||No “=” sign||Contains affiliate data and other information|
In some cases, the descriptive portion of the link path is removed altogether, with the id directly following the action portion. For example:
If you are dealing with a link that does not have a country code (for example, most EPF links are not tied to a country), you should insert one that is appropriate for your users. The country code serves as a hint to the store. If the specific content is not available in the user’s storefront, iTunes prompts the user to switch storefronts to view the requested content.
The country code also serves as a hint for the default language of the page requested when the user’s preferred language is unknown. If no country code exists on the link, iTunes defaults to the U.S. storefront.
These links have been around since the inception of the iTunes Store, are still supported, and will be indefinitely. The preferred host for these links is now “
itunes.apple.com,” but “
phobos.apple.com” links are also still supported.
Two examples of a Legacy link are:
The “s,” or “origin-storefront ID,” parameter is the analog to the country code in the Clean Link format, and should be used similarly. “s,” however, must be a storefront ID (such as 143441 for the United States or 143462 for Japan). A complete listing of countries and their storefront IDs is available in the appendix to this document.
The use of the affiliate program inside apps is perfectly acceptable and in fact encouraged behavior for app developers. It is important to note that because an app is not viewed in a browser in the way a website is viewed, the behavior of a regular affiliate link can be somewhat jarring. There are two ways to provide a better user experience–using short links or loading the affiliate link in the background.
A short link is a raw link that includes the affiliate token parameter that is appended to the end of the link. This allows the link to still act as an affiliate link.
All PHG affiliate links are short links.
A second way to keep the use of an affiliate link inside an app from stutter step is by loading it in the background. This is a very technical workaround and requires a high understanding of software engineering. This method is described in the Apple Developer site under the iPhone OS Reference Library – https://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/qa/qa2008/qa1629.html.
|Name||Country Code||Storefront ID|
|Antigua & Barbuda||AG||143540|
|British Virgin Islands||VG||143543|
|Korea, Republic Of||KR||143466|
|Moldova, Republic Of||MD||143523|
|St. Kitts & Nevis||KN||143548|
|St. Vincent & The Grenadines||VC||143550|
|Trinidad & Tobago||TT||143551|
|Turks & Caicos||TC||143552|
|United Arab Emirates||AE||143481|