All about affiliate program cookie window - how long should you set the cookie period?

Aleksandra Velkova on April 05, 2024

The cookie window in the affiliate program is one of the most important things you’ll want to strategize when setting up your affiliate program rules. 

This is essentially the time period during which someone who clicks the affiliate link has to make a purchase before that purchase is no longer contributed to the affiliate. 

There are a few interesting guidelines to consider when it comes to setting up the affiliate cookie period and this article will go through them. 

The cookie day period 

So what is a cookie day period? It's simply a period of time (usually a number of days) you set as a metric in your program during which the customer who clicks an affiliate link needs to buy for the affiliate to count that purchase towards their sales. 

You would most commonly see a 30 days cookie day period, meaning that the customer who clicks the link has 30 days to buy before that purchase is no longer counted towards the affiliate’s sales. 

Why is the cookie period length important?

Think about the cookie day period as the time during which the affiliate has to convert the potential new customer. This will largely depend on the product you’re selling and the frequency of buying. 

You would also think about whether you only want the first purchase by a new customer clicking the affiliate link to count towards the affiliate’s sales, or all purchases during the cookie day period. These are important details you’d want to take into account when setting up the cookie day period length.

Typically, the cookie day period is between 30 to 90 days and only the first purchase of the new customer counts towards the affiliate’s sales. 

How to choose the cookie day period length?

Usually brands will always be looking to set a shorter cookie day period for a few reasons: they can control the amount of commissions paid and can also motivate affiliates to sell in a shorter time frame generating more revenue for the brand. 

However, this may not work well with the affiliates, as they see shorter cookie day periods as a way to not pay them commissions. Also, some affiliates will not even bother to become part of your program if your cookie day period is below 30 days. They may also feel unsupported in this mission with such a constraining condition and may not bother to be successful. 

Longer cookie day periods of 45-90 days tend to produce better program results since affiliates are more relaxed to work and there’s no pressure to drive the sale. 

Wrapping up

Cookie day period is an important metric to think about when considering launching an affiliate program for your brand. You’d want to take into consideration the type of product you’re selling, the frequency of buying the product, the type of customer you’re selling to, any incentives or promotions offered and the preferences of the affiliates you’d be working with.

Aleksandra Velkova

Aleksandra Velkova

Aleksandra is the Customer Success Manager at Lootly

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