De-duplication best practice

De-duplication is the process of attributing a sale to one online marketing channel on predefined conditions, these conditions will decide which tracking tag is shown at the confirmation of the sale page. This may also be referred to as conditional tracking or tracking attribution

Where an advertiser has an affiliate program on two networks, de-duplication is essential to prevent paying commission for the same sale twice.

This can occur when a customer has visited different affiliates who are working across different networks, so both networks would record the click and conversion. 

Using automatic de-duplication or "conditional tracking", the advertiser only displays the conversion tracking code for the network that had the last click in the customer journey. Therefore, only one network receives the notification of the sale, thus removing the need to decline duplicate sales manually at the validations stage. We have some further guidance and examples here of how to implement this automatically, but how this is done will depend on your tracking is implemented.

Which online channels should advertisers de-duplicate against?

De-duplicating sales can reduce publisher conversion rates, and therefore the advertiser's program average statistics may also be lower than others. Advertisers should, therefore, be cautious in implementing de-duplication strategies as it could influence a publisher's decision to promote them.

Do not de-duplicate against organic search/direct traffic: these are typically non paid channels and along with brand paid search will often be the last visit in a user’s journey

We would also recommend that brand paid search should also no be de-duped against. This is one of the most common methods customers use to return to a site after being directed there earlier in the journey.

Publishers are understandably reluctant to promote advertisers who adopt this strategy. Ultimately they will experience far superior conversion rates on advertisers who do not de-dupe against brand PPC so will see greater value in sending their clicks elsewhere.