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Chapter 6: Week 4: Finalize Payment Mode... > Wednesday: Study Cookie Retention Da... - Pg. 95

Wednesday: Study Cookie Retention Data and Make Conclusions Cookies constitute an integral tracking element both for online marketing and analyt- ics in general and for affiliate marketing in particular. In fact, at the time of this writ- ing the majority of affiliate marketing platforms rely on cookies for tracking. As explained in the previous chapters, affiliate cookie life is the time span that starts with a consumer clicking an affiliate link and that ends on the day beyond which you, as a merchant, do not want to remunerate the affiliate for the visitor they sent to you. It is the time period within which you will pay the referring affiliate their commis- sion on the orders placed by the referred customer. At this stage, you need to decide on the length of cookie life. However, before I make any recommendations on it and you decide what makes sense in your own con- text, I'll briefly show two research studies on the subject: a study of cookie retention rates and a return days analysis. Cookie Retention Rates A study conducted by Paul Strupp and published on his Web Analytics Analyzed blog in mid-2009 revealed some very interesting data. Strupp gathered data on how long cookies are on users' computers before they get deleted and discovered the following numbers (Figure 6.7): One day: 85 percent Two days: 75 percent Three days: 70 percent Four days: 63 percent Five days: 55 percent Past day 5, the drop becomes less sharp, and by day 45, we see that some 50 percent of users have their cookies deleted; 360 days past the initial visit, the rate levels out at around 20 percent. This data shows that the majority of Internet users who delete cookies do so within the first 30 days since the moment that cookie is set. Starting from day 60, the rate of decay acquires a more gradual character, dropping 45 percent to 40 percent between days 60 and 120, then from 40 percent to 30 percent from day 120 to 210, and from 30 percent to about 20 percent between days 210 and 360. This study has immediate implications for the context of affiliate marketing. It helps merchants make a more educated decision on the fair affiliate cookie life to set, and it equally makes affiliates better equipped for determining which merchants to partner with based on the cookie life they offer through their affiliate programs. 95 W E D N E S DAY: S T U DY C O O K I E R E T E N T I O N DATA A N D M A K E C O N C L U S I O N S