Detailed overview of why and how to place tracking tests for advertisers.
What is a test transaction?
A test transaction is a transaction conducted to mimic the sale process within the customer journey. The difference being it is conducted by the merchant, using the Commission Factory test transaction link, so that it can be tracked in the dashboard as a test transaction rather than a regular customer conversion.
Why might a test transaction need to be performed?
Test transactions need to be performed within the merchant program. Reasons a test transaction may be required include;
- An advertiser program is in the integration phase and a series of test transactions are required to ensure the conversion tracking is working correctly prior to program launch.
- An advertiser is updating the variables sent in the conversion tracking to track more, like product level tracking for example.
- An advertiser has changed or updated their website and shopping cart. This may require tracking re-integration and test transactions will need to be performed afterward to test that tracking is working correctly.
- No signal or conversions have been recorded for an advertiser for a while. This is something that is highlighted internally by the Commission Factory integration team and advertisers may be contacted to verify tracking by placing some test transactions.
How can I perform a test transaction?
When placing a test transaction it is best practice to follow the instructions as per the Tracking Integration Debugging Guide. Using this throughout testing will help diagnose any issues should there be any. Screenshot the outputs and save these in case you need us to help diagnose an issue.
You can perform a test transaction by logging into your Commission Factory account. Once here, you will need to go into Campaign - Tracking and scroll to the bottom of the page. You will then need to click on the blue “Test Transaction” button which will take you to your specified homepage, via the Commission Factory tracking link. Once here, you will simply need to make a purchase in the same way a customer would. This purchase will then be tracked via the dashboard the same way a regular conversion would, but instead recorded as a test transaction.
There are a number of scenarios that testing needs to cover:
Please ensure you test all payment gateways including PayPal, Afterpay, credit card, invoice, pay by phone, plus test your mobile site tracking and app if applicable.
If you are tracking items in the basket, please ensure that in your testing there are at least three items in the cart, and two of those items should be the same. For example:
1x Product 1 @ $50 each = $50
2x Product 2 @ $50 each = $100
Cart total = $150
This will ensure that reporting of cart items, prices, and quantities are all correct and is essential if you are paying commissions on different products or product categories.
In session means that you click through the tracking link and make a purchase immediately
Out of session means that you click through the link, but do not make a purchase immediately. You close the browser then open a new one and make a purchase directly from the site.
Coupon code: please test using a coupon code if you have the functionality
Customer type: new or return customer – essential if you are paying commission differently for new or return customer, both need to be tested.
Mobile site should be tested as well as desktop
In-App test order if you have done that integration.
If you do all your development work and testing on a development site, please ensure once confirmed that this is all then repeated on live. We require live tests for programs to be put live.
How do I know if the test transaction has worked?
You will be able to see if your test transaction has been successful as it will instantly be tracked in the dashboard if it has worked. To check this, go into the “Transactions” section of the dashboard. You will see the test transaction appear here if it has worked correctly and will be entitled “Commission Factory Test Affiliate”. If the transaction appears, it means the tracking for your program is working. Check that all the variables are correct as per your test. For example, if you are tracking new or return customers, ensure this variable is correct, check the sale value is as expected minus any non-commissionable elements such as GST, Shipping or discount. Once all confirmed as correct this transaction can be voided.
What do I need to do if the test transaction has not come through?
If the test transaction has not come through, it may mean there is an issue with your tracking, or you are using a blocked IP address. First, ensure you are not conducting this using an IP address that you have blocked. IP addresses are able to be blocked on the dashboard to prevent certain transactions from appearing if they are made via these blocked IP addresses. You can check what, if any, IP addresses are blocked on your program by going into Campaign - Tracking - Rules. Any blocked IP addresses will be listed here.
If you are not using a blocked IP address, please ensure you review the output from the debugging guide to see what the issue is during the test. A few common errors include:
- Container tag not implemented across site
- Conversion tag not implemented and firing
- Order ID variable not being passed or passed as NA
- Order value incorrectly populated
- Variables missing
If any of the above, re-start the integration process again and test again.
If you are still experiencing any issues or difficulty or have any further questions about test transactions, feel free to reach out to your dedicated account manager for further assistance. Please ensure you provide them with screenshots of the output of your tests which can be escalated to the integration department for review if needed.