Trackers - Episode III

Source

I've written two hubs on referrals and tracking. They're still worth reading, and you're probably better off reading them before you read this hub.

This hub is less formal. I've often dished out advice on the forum, and via email, to people wanting to know more how tracking and referrals work. Questions that weren't directly dealt with in the first two hubs.

This hub will cover the bits that sort of slip between the cracks. If you read my two other hubs and didn't understand, then read them again. And follow the instructions outlined.

You might not get it the first time. That's alright. That doesn't mean neither I nor you are stupid. I didn't fail in explaining and you're not that dumb that you don't understand. What HubPages has created is a real mind blowing system. You won't get it in the first pass. I didn't when it was explained to me by someone else a long time ago. And to understand it better myself I started taking notes. Which after a bit of polishing became the Introduction to Referrals.

One reason why grasping the HubPages Referral/Tracking thing is so elusive is that trackers do two things at once. Which is very clever.

You can get 10% of the traffic you send to someone else as your own ad views. This is a nice little reward for sending people to hubs that are not your own.

The same tracking token directed at the new user sign up page also allows people to sign up and you get credited. For the life of that persons account you get 10% of the pageviews for your affiliate IDs on their hubs (taken from the HubPages share of the impressions).

So that means, if you send someone to someone elses hub and this visitor ends up signing up to hubpages, you get the credit for it! Or you can directly send people to sign up at HubPages from your own profile, hubs or anywhere else on the internet (ie: your own blog or website).

So HubPages have two ways of rewarding you, the person who is bringing fresh traffic to the site (for sending traffic or referrals), and it being the same tracking system.

Talk about a win/win/win situation (you/me/hubpages).

What HubPages HQ says about Referral Trackers

Use Referral Trackers to generate impressions and monitor referrals.

HubPages is all about interacting with the Internet community, and there's no better way to spread the HubLove than through links to HubPages. Every time you place a link to someone's HubPage in an email, forum post, or website, you'll receive a share of the impressions the Hub generates.

To keep tabs on these referrals, you'll need to attach a Referral Tracker to your links. The default tracker is all that's required, but you can create up to twenty independent trackers — each with a unique name and descriptions — to help you determine the best linking strategies.

Two easy ways to link using a Referral Tracker:

1. Just click the "link to this page" on the footer of the page you want to link to.

2. To create a unique Referral Tracker, you'll insert an underscore and a unique referral tracker into the HubPage URL. For example, let's say your unique tracker is "signups" and you want to create a link to a hub with the URL "http//hubpages.com/hub/Seattle_Coffee_Shops". You would insert an underscore, followed by your unique tracker "signups" into the URL. The new link will read http://hubpages.com/_signups/hub/Seattle_Coffee_Shops

Source

Tracker ID Placement

The format is that the tracker is always after the hubpages.com/

So if you're directing a person to hubpages.com it is hubpages.com/_YOURTRACKERHERE/

If it's to the forum it is hubpages.com/_YOURTRACKERHERE/forum (Yep, you can send tracked traffic to the forum).

Your profile would be hubpages.com/_YOURTRACKERHERE/profile/sunforged (if you are infact Mr Sunforged)

A hub: hubpages.com/_YOURTRACKERHERE/hub/capsules

Provided a person has an underscore and their tracker name straight after hubpages.com/ it should work without problem.

Alternately you can always use the SHARE option on any hub page. Click on SHARE then choose "Link to this page". Step 1 allows you to select your HubPages Referral Tracker. Step 3 has the URL with the Tracker inserted.

It's an easy way to create a tracker, but it's not set up for other pages (New User Sign Up, Forums, Profiles, etc).

Are my referrals being counted?

People are often concerns about whether or not their tracker is working right.

Provided you've followed the advice above, then there shouldn't be a problem.

There have been in the last 3 years, perhaps twice, when the referrer stats have 'frozen'. (once for a couple of days, the other time maybe three days). But when the stats came up online and refreshed it appeared to have still kept tracking the referrals even when it wasn't updating. So they still kept doing the right thing.

This was confirmed to me even more so when I had signed up a new account under a friends referral tracker in between the first and second day of the frozen stats (I check them every morning, so I didn't realize until the next day after I had signed up the new account that the stats were frozen). I was of course concerned that it may not have credited the referral, but once the stats had updated my friend had confirmed that the new profile was indeed credited to him.

So don't worry about whether those stats are working properly. Provided you are doing the right thing, HubPages Inc are always going to keep up their end of the bargain.

I've kept track of my referral stats since December 2007. Occasionally at first but then I just got into the swing of it by having the referral page as one of my Firefox homepage tabs.

I'll share a sample of my stats for January 2008, January 2009, January 2010 and January 2011.

NB: If you ever see the hubs, referrers or traffic numbers go down (rather than remain steady or rise) it will be because one of your referrals had hubs unpublished or their account deleted. Which is something that will happen to people scamming or disobeying the rules.

January 2008

date
traffic views
signups
hubs
traffic to hubs
04/01/08
27202
197
507
205374
11/01/08
30886
198
512
219148
14/01/08
32593
201
518
226514
15/01/08
33175
201
519
228068
16/01/08
34236
202
525
231716
18/01/08
35452
207
539
236451
27/01/08
39583
216
555
259398

January 2009

date
traffic views
signups
hubs
traffic to hubs
01/01/09
171199
779
1425
1247913
02/01/09
171393
785
1426
1250804
03/01/09
171623
792
1428
1253611
04/01/09
171930
792
1429
1256358
05/01/09
172213
794
1431
1259366
06/01/09
172342
797
1434
1262548
07/01/09
172515
801
1442
1265523
08/01/09
172708
802
1443
1268885
09/01/09
172844
807
1444
1271113
10/01/09
173037
814
1444
1274084
11/01/09
173138
817
1446
1277308
12/01/09
173382
820
1450
1279988
13/01/09
173594
822
1451
1282600
14/01/09
173845
823
1452
1285220
15/01/09
174018
823
1454
1288084
16/01/09
174293
827
1460
1291071
17/01/09
174449
828
1461
1293504
18/01/09
174600
829
1466
1296675
19/01/09
174920
831
1468
1300203
20/01/09
175177
831
1471
1303233
21/01/09
175402
833
1469
1305898
22/01/09
175579
834
1477
1308710
23/01/09
175875
838
1479
1311320
24/01/09
176365
840
1484
1314175
25/01/09
176592
843
1486
1316894
26/01/09
177123
846
1488
1320030
27/01/09
177419
847
1488
1321964
28/01/09
177700
850
1491
1324716
29/01/09
178025
853
1502
1327463

January 2010

date
traffic views
signups
hubs
traffic to hubs
01/01/10
365433
2480
4273
3051361
02/01/10
366124
2484
4287
3057002
03/01/10
366907
2487
4297
3063474
04/01/10
367659
2491
4312
3070664
05/01/10
368385
2496
4326
3077691
06/01/10
368967
2503
4339
3085178
07/01/10
369371
2508
4352
3092228
08/01/10
369740
2514
4361
3099335
09/01/10
370113
2519
4370
3106380
10/01/10
370622
2524
4375
3113297
11/01/10
370940
2531
4385
3119683
12/01/10
371536
2535
4414
3126802
13/01/10
372098
2540
4412
3133434
14/01/10
372569
2546
4423
3140046
15/01/10
373163
2552
4434
3146410
16/01/10
373603
2559
4454
3152389
17/01/10
374161
2560
4468
3160494
18/01/10
374643
2562
4485
3168818
19/01/10
374910
2567
4505
3177892
20/01/10
375229
2572
4514
3185669
21/01/10
375546
2580
4523
3194324
22/01/10
375886
2587
4533
3201831
23/01/10
376359
2602
4542
3215104
24/01/10
376681
2608
4556
3222563
25/01/10
377000
2615
4565
3230375
26/01/10
377823
2626
4573
3239555
27/01/10
378462
2635
4591
3247513
28/01/10
379056
2642
4610
3256771
29/01/10
379407
2646
4620
3262571
30/01/10
379407
2646
4620
3262571
31/01/10
380264
2661
4657
3281418

January 2011

date
traffic views
signups
hubs
traffic to hubs
01/01/2011
619818
4171
8333
8179021
02/01/2011
620375
4172
8334
8196568
03/01/2011
620973
4174
8343
8214350
04/01/2011
621782
4175
8356
8238117
05/01/2011
622671
4180
8374
8261454
06/01/2011
623402
4184
8393
8283593
07/01/2011
624068
4185
8407
8303539
08/01/2011
624875
4189
8414
8325804
09/01/2011
625715
4196
8423
8346115
10/01/2011
626184
4198
8437
8364396
11/01/2011
626990
4202
8447
8387004
12/01/2011
627854
4204
8461
8410395
13/01/2011
629266
4206
8472
8430908
14/01/2011
630220
4211
8474
8452307
15/01/2011
630776
4212
8483
8474857
16/01/2011
631346
4216
8495
8493884
17/01/2011
631885
4219
8507
8512460
18/01/2011
632662
4223
8521
8535041
19/01/2011
633621
4226
8535
8558664
20/01/2011
634237
4232
8552
8579472
21/01/2011
634806
4234
8568
8598920
22/02/2011
635372
4238
8583
8620559
23/01/2011
635752
4242
8596
8640820
24/01/2011
636404
4243
8609
8660432
25/01/2011
636926
4251
8633
8681607
26/01/2011
637651
4254
8656
8703095
27/01/2011
638402
4257
8668
8724170
28/01/2011
639248
4262
8677
8747511
29/01/2011
639826
4266
8683
8767911
30/01/2011
640510
4266
8701
8789221
31/01/2011
641016
4268
8720
8808648
As a rough estimate I'm guessing around 30th of March I should hit 10,000,000 hub traffic. I of course only get 1/10th of that traffic for my affiliate ad impressions.

Tracking Traffic Views and your Pageview count

Traffic views that you see in your URL Trackers Stats Page aren't actually counted in your own page view count that you see in your account page.

I came to this conclusion on my own using a sophisticated method involving my brain.

120 Minutes

There are two 120 minute windows involving the tracking system.

Here's scenario #1:

A visitor stumbles onto HubPages via a referral tracker you have somewhere out in the world wild web, and its not even to one of your hubs, its to one that you thought was very interesting. Lets assume they have absolutely no intention whatsoever to sign up to HubPages, but they are going to stumble aimlessly around the site because they've got 4 hours to kill and they have a thirst for knowledge.

1 in 10 ads are going to carry your Adsense Publisher ID. So if they happen to click on such an ad, you get the revenue. This only lasts for 2 hours... 120 minutes.

After that time, even if they stick around for another couple of hours and open up and read another 20 hubs, your ads will no longer be showing.

Scenario #2:

A person comes to HubPages (much like in scenario #1) and they're clicking around and at some point they decide to sign up to HubPages. That initial 120 minute window of opportunity is yours and yours alone. It wouldn't matter if they clicked on one of my trackers sending them straight to the sign up page at 1 hour and 45 minutes, they'll still be all yours.

(How HubPages tracks all this is through a 'cookie'. A little bit of information that is cached in your browser temp folder on your computer. Though if people have cookies turned off by default then you're all outta luck.)

Of course the cookie lasts for 30 days, but for that initial 120 minutes, they are all yours.

Now if some time after that initial 120 minute window they click on one of my tracking links, then I get a 120 minute of opportunity. But once that time is up, it will revert back to your 30 day cookie.

If they eventually sign up (within that 30 days) and provided they haven't clicked on a tracker within the last 120 minutes, you'll get the sign up.

Where to send your traffic?

If you're sending people to a specific hub, then that's easy. Just send them to the hub. Whether it be yours or someone else's.

Interlinking related hubs is a good way to get referrals without forcing it on the visitor. It helps if you do have related topics. That might be why I've done so well, having large collections of hubs dealing with specific subjects, ie: Roman Emperors, Greek Philosophers, Australian Animals, Weight Training Exercises.

But if you want to send them straight to the sign up page you need to send them here: http://hubpages.com/_YOURTRACKERHERE/user/new/

(Please note: if you are signed in and visit that page it will say "You are currently signed into HubPages as user 'YOUR NAME'". If you are signed out, as a new visitor will be, you get the sign up page)

Alternatively you can also send people to a 'landing page':

http://hubpages.com/_YOURTRACKERHERE/help/landing_paidtoblog
http://hubpages.com/_YOURTRACKERHERE/help/landing_e1
http://hubpages.com/_YOURTRACKERHERE/help/landing_e2
http://hubpages.com/_YOURTRACKERHERE/help/landing_e3

That will give a little bit more information if the people are unaware of what HubPages is about or what they have to offer.

There is also a Tour of HubPages which might be a good start to the uninitiated:

http://hubpages.com/_YOURTRACKERHERE/tour/hubpages/

Naming your Trackers

You don't have to use the default tracker, you can have your own custom name.

Doing so is a useful way to keep track of where the traffic is coming from. As well as allowing the tracker blend in.

For instance, all my How To Hub hubs use the _learn tracker. It looks appropriate.

For links to forum threads I use _punbb, because that's the software that powers the forum. So _punbb/forum doesn't look out of place.

For official FAQ and help pages I use _about

For sending people to the sign up page I use _join

For my internal traffic I use _click

When linking to the excellent hubs of my fellow hubmasters I use _featured

It also allows me to check my stats and see how well they're performing.

Here's a few other trackers I use:
_facebooked/
_tagfooted/
_gather/


This way I am able to see just how well the traffic I send from Facebook (and other sites) perform. Whether it's me sending it to my own hubs or the hubs of other people who have written something I enjoyed and want to share with my friends, I use the same link.

You can follow my example or come up with your own system. But the ability to name trackers is a very powerful tool and can be used in your online traffic campaigns to measure just how effective you are.

How many Trackers can I have?

Fifty.

You might not find an official mention of that on the site. They had previous limits of 20, then 30. When I hit 30 I asked nicely if I could have some more, so they upped everyones limit to 50.

Tracking Link Limits?

Someone recently asked in the forum: "Is it limited to two outgoing links like other affiliate codes?"

They are internal links, not outbound. So there is no limit to hubpages.com links with or without the tracker.

"Obviously if there is no good reason not to do this, I should be taking that 10% back from hubpages on all internal traffic going from one of my hubs to another... as well as the possibility of the odd referral..."

Ryan Kett

HubPages has the best referral system on the WWW

HubPages has, without a doubt, the best referral system for any online publishing site (The only way they could make it better is if there was a second tier, getting even just 1% of a referrals referrals ad impressions, from HP's share of course).

Factoidz.com had a similar system to HubPages, though the only referral was one direct to the sign up page, they didn't have tracking for individual pages. But then they changed all that. They made it that if your referral publishes 20 articles you get $10. They've probably changed it a few times since then too, Mike Quoc is renowned for moving the goalposts and changing the rules as he sees fit. But that's a discussion for another hub.

Squidoo gives $5 when a referral hits $15 in earnings (Adsense, Ebay and Amazon). In my first three years of using HubPages (and referring 2666 people) I had been at Squidoo for 4 years and referred about 300 people. And in that time I saw just 5 of those pay out.

HubPages has a system that rewards in the short term in a small way, but in the long term, it... never... stops.

There are other sites that have other referral systems, but not as powerful, flexible or rewarding as HubPages. If there is any that compare, feel free to show me, and if everything checks out, I'll gladly sign under you.

What's the deal with HubKarma?

HubPages introduced a Link Suggestion Tool. You'll see it when you view your own hubs when not in Edit Mode.

It encourages you to link to other hubbers hubs. By doing so you increase your "HubKarma".

I have a problem with that. Giving away my hard earned traffic for free. So my HubKarma hasn't never got over 50. And it doesn't concern me.

And I'm seeing people link keywords in their hubs to other hubs (or topic pages) that have little relevance.

If you want to fill your hubs with links to other hubs, go for it. If you want to link to mine, even better. But I'll only ever link to other hubs for a good reason, and if I find it beneficial to my audience. And it will always have one of my trackers in it.

More Information Soon!

I'll be answering these questions:

  • Do Trackers count as Backlinks?
  • Where does the 10% come from?
  • Where shouldn't I use referrals?
  • Can I see how much my referrals have made me?
  • How can I get more referrals?

Also feel free to ask any Tracker/Referral related questions in the Comments Box below and I'll try my best to point you in the right direction.

Comments 27 comments

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

excellent. This is very thorough and clarifies the way referrals work and where we can use them. I hope this end up in the Learning Center! We can direct people to a forum discussion, but we can't leave a tracker in a forum posting to someone's hub, correct? Sometimes I refer other people's hubs in the forum, but I don't leave a tracker.

Thanks again for an informative 'how to' hub! :]


darkside profile image

darkside 5 years ago from Australia Author

Yes, that is correct. No trackers are allowed in links posted in the forum.


kiwi91 profile image

kiwi91 5 years ago from USA

Thanks for sharing your stats on the referral system, that's very impressive! I had forgotten about the trackers a while back and haven't been using them to create links to my hubs. Based on your stats, that's what I'll be doing in the future. Last I checked I have 30 signups.

Here's a question: do you nofollow your referral links outside of Hubpages since its an affiliate code of sorts?

Thanks for this info!


darkside profile image

darkside 5 years ago from Australia Author

No, I don't nofollow the referral links.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Wow, that is a lorry load of information and I think I have to get through it to digest it. My brain is in a spin now. When I want somebody to sign up on hub what do I have to put there and where?


darkside profile image

darkside 5 years ago from Australia Author

Hello hello, check out my other two hubs on Tracking and Referrals.


Mariefra Coppola 5 years ago

DS, this is a most comprehensive and extremely well-written hub. Thanks for sharing it.


Uzdawi profile image

Uzdawi 5 years ago

Wow, Thank you for the useful info!


Jule Romans profile image

Jule Romans 5 years ago from United States

Hi DS- I have two questions. I am sorry if they are answered somewhere and I missed it

1. Can I place a traffic referral tracker on the links to my own hubs?

2. Would I even want to do that?


darkside profile image

darkside 5 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Jules.

1) Yes. You can.

2) Only if you want to have the chance of someone, for whatever reason, sign up to HubPages (whether now, or within the next 30 days on whatever computer it was that they originally clicked through on the referral tracker) and you make revenue from the ad impressions that you'll get on their hubs 10% of the time.


Jule Romans profile image

Jule Romans 5 years ago from United States

Oh, I wouldn't want THAT :)


simeonvisser profile image

simeonvisser 5 years ago

That's pretty amazing, I think I should give URL trackers more thought. So far I only have 1 signup and that user has published only 1 hub.


ns1209 profile image

ns1209 5 years ago from UK - England

Those referral numbers are incredible! I was going to ask how do you get so many referrals but if you are going to update this with that information then that is great.

Is it a mixture of internal traffic and external sites like Facebook e.t.c?


darkside profile image

darkside 5 years ago from Australia Author

The referrals can only really come from outside, as it's not an easy task to get someone to sign up for an account when they've already got an account :D


snakebaby profile image

snakebaby 5 years ago from Boston, MA, USA

I think we should officially crown you as the "referral master"!


rorymullen profile image

rorymullen 5 years ago from Maine

Great Hub. I will be tracking more often once i truly understand how to do so.


Ronnie_Dey profile image

Ronnie_Dey 5 years ago from West Bengal, India

It will take time for me to understand the referral tracking system.. I understood only one thing after reading your hub, and that is---You hub is awesome!!!! thanks


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 5 years ago from Northam Western Australia

I had completely forgot about trackers until yesterday when another hubber reminded me on another site. Now Reading this wonderful comprehensive article I need to rethink this.

Thanks for great hub


Sylvia's Thoughts profile image

Sylvia's Thoughts 5 years ago from Southern California

Thanks! I think I get it now.


Charity Squid profile image

Charity Squid 4 years ago

Great Hub. Then again all of your hubs are great! I have one question though, what if I have hubbers that follow me on Twitter or Facebook and they click on one of my hubs or another persons hub with the tracking ID. Does it still count? Or does it count for non-members only?


darkside profile image

darkside 4 years ago from Australia Author

If a fellow hubber clicks through it should show ads under your ID, but as a hubber they will most likely be inclined to not click on ads.

Though if they buy something on Amazon, and it's with your ID, you will get the commission.

In the grand scheme of things though, there are far more people who aren't hubbers then those that are.


wynnestudios profile image

wynnestudios 4 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

Very informative hub. I appreciate all the hard work you put into writing this. Thank you.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

Wow. These numbers are incredible! Thanks for putting this all together.


jezebellamina profile image

jezebellamina 3 years ago from Dallas, TX

Great hub with tons of important info that I somehow ignored until now!

A couple of questions: (1.) is the adshare for 10% of the traffic ONLY for referred new accounts? To clarify: If people read my hubs and other people's hubs through clicking my referral links but don't sign up or already have an account, do i still get rewarded for encouraging those views? I understand other hubbers don't click but we still are compensated for their impressions...right?

(2.) Do you have a suggestion for how to shorten the link for tweeting, etc.?

Thanks in advance! Your hubs are always so helpful!


darkside profile image

darkside 3 years ago from Australia Author

jezebellamina,

1) you get approx 10% of the ad views of people you have referred (who have signed up). Referred traffic... if a person comes and visits via your referral link, and if they don't sign up, you still get a 1 in 10 chance that they'll see an ad that is attributed to you as they surf the site.

2) Each hub has it's only shortened link, you'll see it under the Sharing button when you click on it.

2)


Ceres Schwarz profile image

Ceres Schwarz 3 years ago

What a comprehensive and very useful hub on trackers. There's so much helpful information here that really allows one to understand all there is to know about trackers and referrals. I didn't even know about the scenarios you mentioned and the 120 minutes thing. I understand things much better now.


jeffreymaskel profile image

jeffreymaskel 2 years ago from Boulder, CO

Very well written. Actually all three of your hubs on referral codes are very helpful. I will use your hubs as inspiration. Your killing it in referrals!

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