Everything you need to know about basket tracking


This article explains a tracking method called basket tracking. Furthermore, it explains the consequences when applied for rating and validation. The article is particularly relevant for retailers, marketplaces and technology suppliers.

What is basket tracking?

Basket tracking is a tracking method which has two objectives:

  1. Transmitting more order related data to the platform.

  2. Enabling more sophisticated commission models.

When regular tracking is applied, the only order related data you receive are the order value and the order number. Commission will directly refer to the order value. When you apply basket tracking, you will receive all the data available in the shopping basket of the customer, including the name, ID, brand, shopping category, the number and the price of the products ordered. Having this data gives you much more possibilities to analyze your marketing performance.

But there is more. When you apply basket tracking, your advertiser’s products can be allocated to so called tracking categories. Tracking categories should not be confused with shopping categories used on the advertiser’s website. Instead, tracking categories are used to order products by their margins. Correspondingly, you can attach different levels of commission to the tracking categories. This means you can adjust the commission amount you give to your product margins.

Consider the following example. Say one of your advertisers is selling electronics. Of course, laptops will have a very different sales funnel than network cables – and a far smaller margin. If basket tracking is applied, you can allocate both products to different tracking categories, for example ‘computing’ for the laptop and ‘accessories’ for the cable and transmit these categories whenever the products are bought. In the commission model you apply, you can then give 5% commission for the tracking category ‘computing’ and 10% for ‘accessories’.

How does basket tracking work?

When you apply basket tracking, you will still receive conversions. However, every conversion will contain one or more so called basket positions. A basket position represents a product ordered. Please note: a customer can order multiple exemplars of the same product. Therefore, every basket position has a quantity representing the number of exemplars of the product.Now let’s get a bit technical. The data for every basket position is transmitted via an additional tracking parameter, which is added to the conversion tag on the confirmation page of your advertiser. As was mentioned above, the basket position contains data related to the product, such as the price, the brand, the shopping category, but also a tracking category. Please note the conversion also has a tracking category. In case basket tracking is applied, the tracking category of the conversion is always ‘basket’.


Rating conversions with basket positions

Applying basket tracking means commission will primarily be assigned on basket position level. The total commission for a conversion is merely the sum of the commission of all the basket positions related to the conversion. However, it is possible to put additional commission on top.Let’s try to develop this using another example. Say, a customer goes to an online fashion shop and places an order: he buys the same t-shirt twice, a pair of trousers and three pairs of yellow socks and one pair of black socks. On the platform, this order will be represented as one conversion, containing four basket positions. The value of the basket position is the price of the product multiplied by the quantity:

  1. t-shirt (quantity: 2, price: 20 EUR, position value: 40 EUR)

  2. trousers (quantity: 1, price 45 EUR, position value 45 EUR)

  3. yellow socks (quantity: 3, price: 5 EUR, position value 15 EUR)

  4. black socks (quantity: 1, price: 6 EUR, position value 6 EUR)

Obviously, the net total order value is the sum of all the values of the basket positions, i.e. 106 EUR.

Now let’s say the t-shirts and trousers are allocated to the tracking category ‘high-end brands’ and the socks to the tracking category ‘accessories non-brand’ and you give 5% commission on the first and 10% commission on the second tracking category. This would mean the partner will receive the following amounts of commission:

  1. t-shirt (5% commission on 40 EUR: 2,00 EUR)

  2. trousers (5% commission on 45 EUR: 2,25 EUR)

  3. yellow socks (10% commission on 15 EUR: 1,50 EUR)

  4. black socks (10% commission on 6 EUR: 0,60 EUR)

As mentioned earlier, you can give additional commission on top. To do this, you need to go to your commission model and assign commission for the ‘basket’ tracking category. In most cases, giving a fixed commission on top is recommendable.

Basket tracking and validation

Applying basket tracking has consequences for the way you validate conversions. Instead of validating conversions, you need to validate your basket positions. Basket positions can be validated using two data elements:

  • The status of the basket position.

  • The quantity of the basket position.

The status should be used when the ordered product or products in the basket position were cancelled completely. The quantity should be used only when ordered products in the basket are partially cancelled, for example when a customer ordered two t-shirts and returns only one.

Detailed instructions can be found in this article.