How to Get More out of Affiliates? Use Your SubIDs!

Getting basic information about affiliate links is easy. Most networks provide sales, commissions, along with some click and order information. A lot of networks will even provide transaction and product information. Occasionally you might even get the referral source in a link. But does that really tell you everything you need to know? What if you need to know something super specific? That’s what subIDs are for.

What is a subID?

Glad you asked! Surely you may have run across the term, however, a lot of explanations make your eyes glaze over and then you forgot what you asked in the first place. To be fair, though, subIDs sound very technical but the concept is actually quite simple:

The subID is the part of an affiliate link which contains specific information you want to include.

Great! But what kind of information? For the most part you can include anything. Even your grandmother’s favorite cat, Fluffy… if that makes sense. However, you probably want the types of information that will help elevate your affiliate reporting to levels that will earn the respect of super data-nerds, err, we mean scientists. Data scientists.


These types of information are commonly used in subIDs:

  • User/editor: If you are working on a team and you want to track who made which link, just add a name!
  • Date: What date did you post this link?
  • Article: Which article or page did you post this on?
  • Content type: Was this link for a gift guide or a review?
  • Channel: Will you use this link in Facebook or in a newsletter?
  • Google Ads: Running a Google Adword account with your affiliates? See how to connect them here.
  • Link type: Was this link used in a call-to-action button? Was it in regular text?
  • Initiative: Is this link part of a larger campaign?
  • Category: Kind of like content type, but like articles and posts are tagged with categories, so can affiliate links.
  • Vertical: Say you write affiliate content for different verticals. You can document these in your subIDs with tags like, “lifestyle,” “beauty,” “automotive,” “tech,” etc.
  • Website: If you’re running multiple websites through a single affiliate account, you can tag your different websites in your subID field.


What do subIDs look like?

The subIDs themselves can look pretty standard, however, in each network link, the setup is slightly different.








Are all subIDs created equal?

Did you notice in the links above that not all subIDs (highlighted in yellow) are actually called subIDs (highlighted in green)? That’s because networks haven’t standardized words for many things in the affiliate marketing industry. Different networks have different names for essentially the same thing. For example, some networks call “commissions” something different like, “revenue” even though they both refer to the money that goes into your bank account after you have generated a sale.

SubIDs are the same. Some networks call subIDs, afftrack, or U1 or SID. Just to do your head in, there isn’t a particular rhyme or reason for this nomenclature. That’s why affiliate network aggregation services like Trackonomics make lives easier, or at least make it easier to understand affiliate data. We normalize the data by giving each piece of information the same name regardless of which network it comes from.

It is worth noting that at Trackonomics, we have a Chrome Extension that allows you to create links for multiple networks in one place. The great thing about this is that you can use one tool to standardize your subIDs across networks. That way, all your information is in one place, and you can easily analyze your affiliates using your subIDs.

Automate subIDs to make them even easier

There’s just one problem with subIDs. You can’t get too carried away packing information in your subIDs. Some networks, like Skimlinks, only allow 34 characters in their subIDs. So be strategic and focused on what you want to learn from your affiliate efforts. But if you’ve grown out of basic subID reporting, you can look into Funnel Relay. This technology pulls information straight from your page and pieces it together with your links for even more advanced reporting. And the icing on the cake is that you don’t have to make subIDs at all because everything is automatic. That’s pretty cool, right? Schedule a demo, if you’re interested in hearing more

What can you do with subIDs?

Alright, now you have subIDs in your links brimming with information. Now what? There are a few things you can do.

  • A/B Split Testing: You can test between author/editor, location on the page, article type, source, you name it. This way you can identify exactly where your most lucrative links are.
  • Advanced Data Granularity: Not only can you see how your links perform against each other, you can take a deeper dive into affiliate performance by splitting data up in a myriad of ways. This way you can get precise information like - who writes content that converts the most? What kinds of posts perform the best? And with this information, you can grow your revenue faster and more strategically.
  • Impress the ladies or gents with your knowledge of affiliate marketing: Ha. Just checking if you were awake.

But seriously, use subIDs to test the links so you can see exactly how content performs. This information will drive affiliate success forward like nothing else. It will uncover what works best and what resonates with your audience specifically. Because ultimately, the relationship with your audience is the most important factor in how well you perform.

So there you have it! SubIDs ftw!

If you’re interested in hearing more about our affiliate data aggregation services, link generator or our new Funnel Relay product where you can get page-level data, schedule a demo now.