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Getting Started With CAKE Terminology and Key Concepts

This article will cover:

CAKE Terminology

A lot of digital marketers are familiar with these terms, but there might be slight nuances to the way they are used in CAKE. To set a foundation of success, let’s review some important CAKE terminology:

  • Entity: An element in the CAKE system that has an associated ID. There are 6 entities in CAKE: Advertiser, Affiliate, Offer, Campaign, Vertical, and Creative.

  • Vertical: An Industry used to categorize Offers (e.g. Mortgage or Retail)

  • Advertiser: The owner or broker of an Offer(s)

  • Offer: The product or service that is being advertised to consumers

  • Affiliate: A partner that helps advertise Offers through various channels and mediums, commonly referred to as a publisher

  • Campaign: The relationship between an Affiliate or SubAffiliate and the Offer they are advertising

  • Creative: The advertising assets Affiliates use to generate traffic to an Offer

  • SubAffiliate: The Affiliate of a Network in relation to the Advertiser 

  • Network: The relationship manager between advertisers and affiliates who helps facilitate supply and demand for campaign traffic. Networks broker deals between the two parties and charges a percentage margin to advertisers as their fee. 

  • Buyer: The purchaser of lead data in a lead generation campaign

These entities follow a hierarchy as to how they interact in CAKE. This can be illustrated as a pyramid, where the settings for entities that are higher in the pyramid can override the settings for entities that are below them. 

Tracking Types

CAKE provides three types of tracking for consumer interactions on your Offers: 

  • Impression Tracking: Allows you to measure how many consumers view ads or open emails generated by your Affiliates’ campaigns by embedding a pixel in the creative. Conversions can be attributed to impressions by enabling View Thru Conversions.

  • Click Tracking: Allows you to measure how many consumers clicked through your Affiliates’ campaigns to the Advertiser’s landing page. Clicks can be tracked via:

    • Tracking links: Embedding tracking URLs in the campaign creatives

    • Direct Linking: Appending tracking parameters to the landing page URL

  • Conversion/Event Tracking: Allows you to measure how many consumers converted on the Advertiser’s desired action(s) for the Offer, e.g. purchase, form submission, install, and/or signup. 

  • Lead Posting (CAKE Lead Distribution Software only): Allows you to post lead fields into CAKE for the purpose of validating, enriching, and selling lead data to third party buyers.

Conversion/Event Tracking Methods

In order to accurately track conversions and measure campaign performance, CAKE provides the following methods that can be used:

  • Server-to-Server Tracking: Also referred to as cookieless or postback tracking, this method utilizes a unique ID assigned to a consumer’s interaction with a campaign that can be stored server-side, or in the advertiser’s first-party cookie, until the point of conversion. 

  • First-Party Cookie Tracking with JavaScript SDK: This approach is a hybrid of cookie-based and cookieless tracking. It utilizes the unique ID mentioned in the server-to-server tracking option and a JavaScript SDK (an HTML conversion pixel) instead of a Postback URL.

  • Third-Party Cookie Tracking: This method uses what is known as a tracking cookie, or a cookie set by a third-party tracking platform, on an advertiser’s website. With the recent changes in privacy protection and government regulations, most browsers are now blocking these types of cookies for tracking and measurement purposes. 

  • Fingerprint Tracking: Referred to as Session Regeneration within CAKE, fingerprinting attributes conversions to a traffic source by matching click attributes like IP address, device, browser, etc. to the conversion attributes.

  • Voucher Code Tracking: Also known as clickless tracking, voucher codes, also referred to as promo or referral codes, allow you to assign a unique code to an affiliate or campaign in order to track conversions when click tracking is not available.

Attribution Models

The attribution model determines which Affiliate receives a payout for the conversion in the scenario that a consumer had interacted with multiple Campaigns before converting.  

The following attribution models can be used to pay Affiliates:

  • First Touch: First touch attribution will award payment for a conversion to the Affiliate that generated the first click from a consumer on the Offer.

  • Last Touch: Last touch attribution will award payment for a conversion to the Affiliate that generated the last touchpoint before the consumer converted on the Offer. 

Price Formats

Advertisers pay affiliate partners for the desired consumer action. This action can be a click to their website, a view of their ad, or a conversion such as a purchase, signup, request for information, etc. Price formats, also known as a payment model, allow you to define how you want to reward your Affiliates for driving traffic to an Offer. 

  • Cost per Acquisition (CPA): A CPA price format will pay the Affiliate a flat fee for every conversion attributed to the Campaign. This is the most common performance-based payment model. 

  • Cost per Click (CPC): A CPC price format will pay the Affiliate a flat fee for every click attributed to the Campaign.

  • Cost per Mille (CPM): A CPM price format will pay the Affiliate for every 1,000 impressions tracked toward the Campaign.

  • Fixed: A fixed price format will pay the Affiliate a set price for the billing period, no matter how many actions are tracked for the Campaign.  

  • RevShare: A RevShare, short for Revenue Share, will pay the Affiliate a percentage of the revenue generated for the Advertiser by the conversion.

How It Works Together

Now that you’re familiar with CAKE terminology and concepts, let’s look at how they all work together in performance marketing campaigns.

To run a successful promotion, networks work closely with advertisers and affiliates to share the information required for attribution. The network must have details about the advertiser’s offer, including tracking method, price formats, and creatives, to share with affiliates. The network must also be able to track any conversions on the advertiser’s offer, in order to pay out the affiliate who drove the conversion. The CAKE platform helps to do all of this and more.

When a consumer interacts with an offer, whether the interaction is an impression, a click, or a conversion, CAKE automatically collects data about that interaction. Affiliates and advertisers pass this data to CAKE through the tracking links and conversion pixels the network has provided. Using this data, CAKE is able to stitch together the consumer’s entire journey from impression to click to conversion. 

In the end, the advertiser gets a sale, the affiliate earns a commission, and the network benefits from another successful partnership — in other words, performance marketing at its best!

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