A while back, we worked with one of our higher profile customers to build out an awesome affiliate and advanced tracking system.

But, we realize we never did a good job of explaining the feature – or how it works (we hope to get better at that!).

Recently, we had a fantastic question about if this feature even exists inside of our Facebook group “Contest Marketing”.

We highly suggest you join the 100% FREE Contest Marketing group, our community is flat out awesome!

This feature really consists of 3 parts, 2 are required and 1 is optional.

Note: This is going to read a little geeky, but just follow along with the images and instructions, and you’ll be a power user in no time!

Part 1: Preparing For Data

There are two steps to your preparation to collect and handle affiliate or advanced tracking data.

We start by adding a hidden custom field, that is enabled but not required.

By doing it this way, if there is data to collect (which we will pass in during part 2) then the system is ready to collect it.

Contest Affiliate and Advanced Tracking Custom Field Setting
(Click to view a larger version in a new tab)

You’ll notice a special section called “Affiliate Settings”, this allows you to attribute any data collected from a front end entry and apply it to any referrals that enter through links of an original entry.

In plain English… if an affiliate sends you 1,000 contest leads, and those contestants refer another 300 leads – your affiliate would be credited for all 1,300 leads instead of just the original 1,000 entries.

Additionally, this is useful for advanced ad tracking if you want to know which ads brought in the most leads in total, vs just the most front end leads.

The option to “Force the token so it can not be replaced” exists mainly for the marketing community. This means that someone who understands our token down-line system can’t try to inject their own affiliate ID to override the top level affiliate. This would be a rare edge case, but since we were building this feature anyway we figured we’d take it all the way.

After you’ve enabled the new custom field, you want to make sure your email marketing integration knows where to save that data.

Head to the “Custom Field Maps” section of the contest editor.

Many of our most popular email platforms have been upgraded to call-in the available custom fields where data can be saved.

AffID Custom Field Map
(Click to view a larger version in a new tab)

If you don’t do this, your contest won’t know where to save the Affiliate ID or custom ad tracking identifier. If you don’t have a place yet to save this data, you’ll want to go into your email marketing system and add a new custom field so you can properly save the data.

This is going to be huge, because it allows you to not only customize the Redirect CTA, but it also allows you to merge in the tracking ID’s when you email to the post contest offer.

Imagine adding in your ad tracking identifier into a UTM variable to know which ads actually generated the most sales…

…or having your affiliates know that you’re re-cooking their leads on launch day so even if they use a different device, they get credit for the sale.

There are a TON of use cases where having the ad tracking, or affiliate id saved in a contact record custom field can pay huge dividends.

Part 2: URL Parameters

Ok, so now your contest and email marketing system are setup to receive your tracking or affiliate ID.

But how the heck do you actually tell the system what to collect in a custom field that’s hidden?

From just about Day 1, we’ve supported URL parameters which were originally built to pre-populate an entry form when you mail from your own list.

Here’s an example of what your URL might look like.

http://contest.io/c/token?cf1=TrackingID

Note: If you’re wanting to pre-populate Name, Email, or additional custom fields – here’s a reference for how we structure this feature.

(Contest URL)?name=

(Contest URL)?email=

(Contest URL)?cf1=

(Contest URL)?cf2=

… all the way up to cf10 since we support up to 10 custom fields beyond name and email.

If you want to string multiple of these together, you would format it like this:

(Contest URL)?email=support@contestdomination.com&cf1=AffiliateID

Notice, only the first variable sits behind a ? symbol, while the additional fields are added using an & symbol.

Also, the order of these doesn’t matter since the (name)= tells ContestDominationā„¢ what data to put where.

How slick is that?

Part 3: (Optional) Redirect CTA

Here’s where you can get more detailed and interesting if you so choose.

We believe this is more useful when using a tracking ID to link ads with sales conversions of a front-end offer, but you may find other interesting ways to utilize this.

Customized Redirect CTA
(Click to view a larger version in a new tab)

As you can see from the image above, you can personalize what the button text says based on any information you’ve collected.

Additionally, you can pass any variable you’ve collected as part of the Redirect URL, which would allow you to drop in either an Affiliate link format, UTM URL etc and then pass in the data collected from the hidden custom field (or that was rolled down-line to that contestant from an original entry source).

Notice that we give an example for the Redirect URL feature, and that we have to break out the ampersand into raw HTML formatting for it to work in this case.

So instead of just “&” you have to type “&” in-between values.

Advanced Tracking Conclusion

While we realize this tutorial went may more technical than most of our posts, we wanted to express some of the cooler power user features that are hidden under the skin of ContestDomination.

You don’t need to use this feature to enjoy our platform, but if you choose to take the time to implement it you may find it even more compelling for tracking your ads or working with affiliates.

If you enjoyed this and want more in-depth breakdowns of other less known power-user features, just drop into our Contest Marketing group on Facebook and let us know.


Travis Ketchum
Travis Ketchum

Travis Ketchum is the Founder & CEO of Campaign Refinery and Contest Domination - helping 10's of thousands of businesses build bigger email lists filled with qualified leads since 2012.