cookie in affiliate marketing

Cookies are an important part of affiliate marketing. With the help of cookies, your website can recognize any visitor individually. This includes their preferences, shopping wish list, etc. depending on what you choose to see. Not in a creepy way, every website containing cookies shows a disclaimer and their policy which includes the information the website will get access to.

Now if you are here, you must be wondering, “What is a cookie in Affiliate Marketing?”.

Well, to save your precious time, I’m going to give a brief answer to your question. When someone visits a website and clicks on a product link, that website plants a little file on the visitors’ computer called a cookie. If the visitor buys the product within a certain amount of time, the website owner gets credits. 

However, a cookie has other features and works. Keep reading to find out about how beneficial cookies are and how it works and many more. Let’s start with what a cookie is.

What is a Cookie in Affiliate Marketing?

Cookies are little data or files that a website plants in a computer. This happens when a visitor visits websites. To be more specific, each cookie has a unique ID or code. So the cookie inserted on your computer is different from all the other cookies. By inserting the cookies, they can recognize that you have been there before.

These cookies can track your product preferences, shopping cart list, and even IP address in some cases. It depends on what the owner of the website wants to collect and know. But don’t worry, every cookie containing websites has a cookie policy where it is mentioned what they can get access to. And thus, they ask permission as a disclaimer when you visit the websites.

What is a Cookie in Affiliate Marketing

History of Cookies

The cookie was first created in 1994 by Lou Montulli of a company named Netscape. This company also created the browser. Lou was in the middle of creating an online shop but he was overwhelmed by how hard it was getting to identify customers or visitors. The server was going to overload if the contents kept getting stored that much.

So, he got an idea and wanted to instead store the contents on the visitor’s computers until they purchase the products. In this way, he would also be able to save more money. The original idea of “cookies” came from the infamous computing token called the magic cookie.

Magic cookie was used to identify when a user would log in a website. Magic cookie would pass data between computers and servers for identifying visitors. Lou adapted this concept and invented cookies.

What is the Cookie Duration?

Interestingly, each cookie has a lifespan or a certain duration for till which they would work.

When the duration ends, the cookie no longer works. Meaning you no longer get the credit even if someone bought the product going from your website.

There are various types of cookie lifespan. As 24 hours ones, 30 days ones, 90 days ones, or even one-year ones. All of these are the duration of the cookies remaining useful or active. The most standard one is a 30 days cookie.

A 30 days cookie means that if the visitor buys the product going through your website link within 30 days of first visiting your website, you will get credit or money. However, if they buy it after 30 days, say after 33 days of first visiting your website, you will get no credit. For this reason, cookie lifespan is really important in affiliate marketing.

Is affiliate marketing hard

How does a Cookie Work? 

A cookie is mainly used to track your sales, shop cart, etc. With the help of the cookie, you can collect particular information about your website’s visitors individually. And with this, you will get a better idea of their preferences and can advertise similar stuff they like. This may include products, games, services, etc.

Now, keep in mind that each website has its own private cookies. Cookies from your website won’t be applicable to other websites. They will be invalid. As mentioned earlier, cookies basically give credit to the affiliate websites if people buy something within the cookie lifespan.

And for this reason, it is necessary to choose your cookie durations precisely. For example, if the cookie span is shorter, say 30 days, then you want to make sure the product you are targeting to sell is something people would buy right away. Similarly, it is better to go for expensive products if the cookie lifespan is longer like 180 days one.

So the key point in using cookies is its lifespan. That is to use the lifespan or the cookie duration effectively. Otherwise, you may end up making zero credits. Now let’s talk about how important cookies are in affiliate marketing.

Importance of Cookies in Affiliate Marketing

There are some types of cookies. The first party and third party cookies are well known and used. The cookies help the website owner to earn commissions or credits. They also enhance marketing by helping you to advertise in the right place.

For example, say you like bow ties a lot. You go to an online store and order some unique ones. The next day you see various bow ties advertisements of different brands while casually browsing the net or on YouTube. Now, this all happens with the help of cookies, specifically third party cookies.

By using them, both the website and say, YouTube is benefiting. You are also getting advantages as you get to see the advertisements for what you like saving your time.


Hopefully, by reading so far, you got the answer to your question, “What is a cookie in Affiliate Marketing?”. The cookies save time and money for everyone including the visitors.

Although there are some privacy concerns regarding cookies, the cookie policy debunks them greatly. Without cookies, there would not be any efficient affiliate marketing.

Thus, in affiliate marketing, cookies play the most important role. So, make sure to choose any product for promotion by checking it’s cookie duration. More cookie duration means more chances to earn from affiliate marketing.

It’s important to have the right knowledge about all of different affiliate terms. Check my all other blogs to get the best answer for this. For now, Thanks for stopping by.

About the author 


Atik is a father, husband and an internet entrepreneur with more than 7+ years of experience in affiliate marketing. In 2012 Atik caught a dream of becoming an entrepreneur and create a lifestyle for himself and his family they truly deserve.

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