Introduction to server to server (S2S) tracking

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Please reach out to your integration specialist or support to see if your instance can work with S2S tracking

A Server-to-server tracking pattern generates and stores a unique ID when a visitor clicks a partner's link. Later, if that visitor converts to a user (or completes another trackable conversion event) the unique ID is matched back to the user by posting that same unique ID back to the PartnerStack tracking server.

The Flow of Server-to-Server Tracking

Leading up to the conversion:

  1. Customer clicks on an affiliate link.
  2. Click goes to a PartnerStack server. The PartnerStack server records the click, then generates and records the ID for that session.
  3. PartnerStack immediately redirects the customer to the advertiser’s page, including the Click ID for that session in the URL.
  4. User sees the offer page on the advertiser’s site, and the advertiser’s site handles the recording of that Click ID.

When the customer converts on that link:

  1. The advertiser’s server sends a signal to PartnerStack that includes the Click ID PartnerStack initially supplied. The user is not directed back to PartnerStack in any way.
  2. PartnerStack records the conversion for that session.
  3. PartnerStack attributes a conversion to the partner.
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Benefits

Server-to-Server integrations offer some key advantages over snippet & cookie-based tracking.

Given that the advertiser is controlling the tracking, Server-to-server tracking is safe from common interferences posed to frontend snippet based trackers including:

  • AdBlock extensions blocking tracking snippet requests
  • Users who block all cookies on their browser, or destroy cookies when a session ends
  • Snippet loading issues for users with poor connectivity
  • SubID support, which allows partners to track sign-ups by source in their dashboard

Downsides

The benefits of server-to-server are contrasted with a few drawbacks that should be considered alongside your use-case. Without the tracking snippet implemented, PartnerStack cannot perform browser fingerprinting which is an important datapoint for our anti-fraud system.

From a publisher (partner) perspective, links can only be directed to certain landing pages configured to enable S2S attribution. While S2S can be implemented on a variety of pages, achieving attribution across all landing pages is simplified by using the PartnerStackJS snippet instead.

Integration Pattern Diagram

The flow chart below shows how PartnerStack S2S tracking works at a high level.

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There are three simple steps to get integrated with PartnerStacks Server-to-Server tracking, we will walk through each in detail and provide examples along the way.

  1. Capture the Click ID
  2. Create a Token to authorize S2S requests
  3. Send Conversions to the S2S endpoint with an authorized token