Potential cases where link tracking fails

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Who is this article for?

This article will be useful to you if are a vendor on PartnerStack looking to investigate why a referral may not have been tracked.

There may be cases where a partner will contact you about their referrals not tracking. It is important to gather some information about the referral so we can look into the cause. 

How to troubleshoot with your partner

Here are some questions you can ask your partner to gather information:

Question 1: What is the customer's name and email address? What date did they sign up/purchase?

It's important to know their name, email address, and the date of the activity to be able to search for reasons. If your partner has proof of purchase from their referral, you can then search for the above information on your payment processing/order intake system. If you can identify that a purchase/sign-up occurred somewhere in your system, it will then help you (and us) troubleshoot where tracking disconnected.

Question 2: What browser and device did the customer use? Is it the same browser and device they used to sign up with?

This immediately identifies where the cookie should have been placed. If the customer signed up using Safari on their phone and then purchased using Chrome on their desktop, in most cases the purchase won't track (more on that below)

Question 3: Which link did the customer click? (JS Snippet integrations)

Knowing which link they've published or sent out to their potential leads & referrals is the first step in the right direction. You need to know what link was used in the particular circumstance; once you know which link was used, ensure the "Goes To" landing page that their link redirects to is a landing page that has your JS snippet. No snippet = no tracking. When partners create custom links, they have the option to change their "Goes To" landing page which can result in the wrong redirection. 

Cases where link tracking fails

Case 1: If the customer has clicked another partner’s referral link

If a customer/referral first clicked on partner A’s link and did not take any further action, but then clicked on partner B’s link and made a purchase, partner B would be the partner that is associated with the referral and would be rewarded for that transaction.

The most recently clicked referral link is tied to any action that occurs after the link is clicked (sign up, transaction) and the partner associated with the link will be tied to the referral.

Next steps: As the company, you can make the call as to who you would like to reward for the referral, on a case-by-case basis. You can decline a reward from your invoice and manually create a new reward for the partner you choose.

Case 2: Referral has cleared their browsers’ cache & cookies

When a customer/referral initially clicks on a partners’ referral link, it places a cookie on their browsers’ cache. If a customer/referral happens to clear their cache & cookies, it will remove the placed cookie and no longer track activity from the referral.

Next steps: The referral will have to click back into their referrals’ link to be associated with the partner and to continue to get offers associated with their link.

Case 3: The referral blocks cookies

The customer/referral has opted out of and/or blocked cookie placement on their browser. This is especially common within the EU (specifically the GDPR policy), due to privacy laws; but anyone can disable cookies from placing.

Next steps: Your partners’ referrals will have to enable cookies to track when clicking referral links, but there is no way to proactively make this happen. A partner who sees a lot of activity from EU may consider making a note to enable cookies to be placed when using their link. Otherwise, we are unable to track when they opt-out.

Case 4: Broken integrations (JS Snippet)

This happens when your website code has been adjusted or overwritten and as a result the JS snippet breaks.

What is the JS Snippet? The JS Snippet is javascript that enables browser cookies to place after a referral link has been clicked. This collects information from the user who clicks the link and sends their signup information and any resulting activity back to your PartnerStack account.

Next steps: Reach out to your CSM or PartnerStack support if you believe you’ve made changes to your code that may have affected your JS snippet integrations.

How to respond: After a partner has reached out indicating that their referral didn’t track in their dashboard, you can:

  1. Acknowledge that the link may not have tracked due to updates to your website
  2. Ask for the customer's information so you can locate their purchase
  3. Manually create the customer & reward for the Partner by following these steps

How to see if a cookie has been placed:

  1. Click the link in question
  2. Right-click your mouse and select 'Inspect'
  3. Go to 'Applications' and click on 'Cookies'. Use the Filter to search “GrowSumo”. If the results show, the cookie has been placed. 


Why: When you click a referrals link, you will immediately be able to see if a cookie places in your browser. If the cookie isn't showing up, this is an immediate indicator that the integrations may have broken and need to be updated.

Case 5: If partners cookie has expired on referrals’ browser

All referral links place a cookie within the customer/referrals’ browser and it remains active for 90 days.

The exception to this is if the customer clicks another partner's link; that link then places a cookie in their browser and is active for 90 days after being clicked.

You can see cookie expiration by following the same steps in Case 4 and expanding the columns until you see 'Expires..':


Case 6: Customer used a different browser or device than originally used to click the referral link

If a customer/referral initially clicked the partners’ link and signed up in Safari but then used Google Chrome to make their purchase, the activity would not track that referral’s transaction because of the browser change.

Next steps: It is challenging to prevent these situations, but if you can get confirmation that the referral did make a purchase and initially signed up with X partner, you can make the decision to manually reward the partner using the add a customer and record a sale process.

Additionally, you can use the Branch.io integration to help prevent the disconnection between browsers.

Case 7: Overwriting `growsumo.data` in your website code

Code was adjusted within your website which has overwritten GrowSumo data.

Next steps: Restore integrations; reach out to your CSM or PartnerStack support for an action plan.

Case 8: Not adding `public_key` to the snippet code found in our documentation

If this information is not included in the snippet code, it prevents the snippet data to associate any activity to your company and affiliated partners/their links.

Next steps: Add your `public_key` to the snippet code

"A public key is created in public key encryption cryptography that uses asymmetric-key encryption algorithms. Public keys are used to convert a message into an unreadable format. Decryption is carried out using a different, but matching, private key. Public and private keys are paired to enable secure communication."

Case 9: If your customer is using Safari as their browser and you don’t have the snippet on the landing page (their link destination)

Safari will not track and place a cookie unless you ensure you have a snippet added to your landing page/the link destination that your partners are using. If they happen to use a destination that doesn’t have a snippet, the cookie could be blocked and we wouldn't know until it’s reported that tracking isn’t occurring.

Next steps: Ensure your partners are using your landing page as your default destination link, and that your snippet is included on it. You may choose to manually add the customer and create a reward for the partner.

Case 10: The referral typed in the URL manually

The customer/referral has manually typed the URL into their browser, instead of clicking the referral link.

Next steps: Have the referral click the referral link for proper tracking. If the referral has already made a purchase and you’d like to reward the partner, you can manually add a customer & record a sale.

Have more questions? Reach out to us at support@partnerstack.com.

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