Awin server-to-server tracking using server Google Tag Manager

Oct 24, 2022
Feb 18, 2022
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Awin is a global leader in affiliate marketing and one of the few platforms that made server-side tracking mandatory for all Advertisers. With the help of S2S integration, they ensure affiliates that all their marketing efforts are correctly attributed and paid. 

To simplify Awin s2s integration, we created the tag for the server Google Tag Manager. In this blog post, I want to discuss why server-to-server communication is necessary and how to set up Awin server-to-server tracking using server GTM

Why should Advertisers use Awin server-to-server integration?Copy link to this section

Awin is committed to delivering the best conversion tracking experience for both advertisers and affiliates. As an industry leader, they always strive towards accurate data so that all parties involved can see success from their campaigns with ease of mind. Awin always wants to ensure that they use the best and most reliable conversion tracking techniques since this is a key to success in affiliate marketing. 

Their goal is to ensure that advertisers see the correct conversion reporting from affiliates. On the other side, they also have the responsibility to affiliates to ensure they receive the proper commission for all their marketing efforts. 

Tracking conversion becomes challenging due to ITPs, adBlockers, and the limited use of third-party cookies. To help deal with all these tracking restrictions that exist in browser tracking, they implemented server-to-server integration and made it mandatory for all Advertisers within their platform.

Advertisers should send conversion data directly to Awin’s server. HTTP requests must contain conversion data and the original click id awc within the cks' parameter. Product-level details can be added for more robust tracking reports.

How does Awin tag for server Google Tag Manager work?Copy link to this section

Awin tag for server Google Tag Manager container can significantly simplify server-to-server integration. There are two types of events that you can choose from: pageview and conversion. 

A pageview event tag stores the awc URL parameter inside the awin_ awc cookie. You can set how long cookies should be stored. The conversion tag sends the HTTP request with the specified conversion data.

In the conversion event tag, you can set:

Merchant ID - Awin advertiser program ID

Order Reference - The unique booking or order reference that identifies the transaction.

Total Order Value - The total booking or order value excluding taxes, delivery, and discounts. For a lead-based campaign or program, the value should be the number of leads; for example, "1". Tag will ignore the value if multiple commission groups are specified in the Commission Group Code field.

Currency Code - The value must be a 3-letter currency code per ISO standard (e.g., "GBP").

Commission Group Code - The code for the commission group you want to base the commission calculation on. The value can be either a single group name (e.g., "CD") or a complete set of groups and the commission value for each group (e.g., "CD:11.10|DVD:14.99").

Discount Code - The code or name of the discount code applied during the check-out.

Last Paid Click Referring Channel - The value utilized to determine how AWIN should process the incoming transaction requests. This is most likely configured to be the "utm_source" value.

In test mode - If checked, a tag will be fired in test mode, and a reported conversion will be ignored.

How to set up Awin server-to-server tracking using server GTM?Copy link to this section

2. Send data to the server GTM container. The two most popular ways of sending data to sGTM are Google Analytic 4 and Data Tag/Data Client.

3. Add Awin tag from the Template Gallery or Download Awin tag from GitHub -> Open templates sections in the server Google Tag Manager container -> Click New.

4. Click three dots in the top right corner -> Click Import -> Select Awin tag template you’ve recently downloaded from GitHub -> Click save.

import awin tag for server google tag manager 

5. Awin tag sends two events to Awin: page_view and purchase. To determine what event to send, the tag will listen to the trigger, parse events in the trigger, and send corresponding events to Awin. So basically, you should set up one tag for both the purchase and page_view event. Make sure to add a trigger that will work for both page_view and purchase events.

On the page_view event tag stores the awc URL parameter inside the awin_awc cookie. On the purchase event tag, send defined conversion data to awin together with _awc cookie value.

6. Test pageview tag by enabling sGTM debug mode and adding awc to the URL. You should see the awc in the awin_ awc cookie. 

test awin pageview event

7. Test Awin conversion tag. You can enable the “In test mode” checkbox, and in this case, a conversion tag will be fired in test mode, and a reported conversion will be ignored. Once done, publish changes in the server container. 

Conclusion:Copy link to this section

Awin required all advertisers to implement server-to-server tracking as a fallback. This way, they assure that conversions are attributed correctly, and affiliates get appropriate compensations for conversions referred by them. 

I hope this article has helped shed some light on Awin server-to-server integration using server GTM. If you need assistance setting-up your Awin integration or any other affiliate network, please contact us, and we would be happy to help. Thanks for reading! 

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