Photo Credit: The Flickr Commons
As you’re going about the affiliation of your iTunes and App Store links, you may have noticed some parameters at the end of each, similar to the following:
Ever wondered what those are for? Many people do (or don’t) and inadvertently strip off the important ones which can lead to an unfortunate user experience (like trying to buy a game in the iTunes app and getting an error). For those using the GeoRiot global linking and affiliation service this is never a concern as it’s handled by us, but for those taking on the battle alone, or who are just curious, we put together this little cheat sheet for you.
- I – Identifier: The “I” parameter includes the ID of a specific item in a collection. For example a track in an album or the episode in season of a TV show.
- MT – Media Type: The MT parameter indicates which type of media the hyperlink is pointing to. The types and codes you could see are listed below (however, besides 8, 11, and 12 these parameters are often not included, or necessary).
- 1 – Music
- 2 – Podcasts
- 3 – Audiobooks
- 4 – TV Shows
- 5 – Music Videos
- 6 – Movies
- 7 – iPod Games
- 8 – Mobile Software Applications / loads in the App Store on iOS
- 9 – Ringtones
- 10 – iTunes U
- 11 – E-Books / loads in the iBookstore on iOS
- 12 – Desktop Apps / loads in the Mac App Store in OS X
Note: The MT parameter is crucial when creating your links for items not in the iTunes Store. In iOS and OS X this parameter tells the operating system which specific store to open to handle the link, and if it’s not built correctly, the customer may see an error instead of the correct item. For example, you can’t open a Mac App link in the iTunes Store and if the link points to the incorrect store (or is not there), there’s an interrupted user experience and a potentially lost conversion.
- LS – Load Store: This parameter, with the value of “1” (which means “true” in the coding world), tells the Preview Page to also load the item in the iTunes Store (inside the iTunes desktop application). If you don’t use either an affiliate parameter or the LS parameter, the link will only take the user to the Preview Page in their browser. This isn’t ideal because it forces the user to then go through another click to actually purchase the product, which potentially lowers your conversation rate since it’s more work for them. We recommend always using either the LS parameter or affiliate the link to alleviate this. Because Preview Pages are desktop specific (you don’t see them in iOS) this parameter doesn’t appear to be useful for links that only exist in the mobile ecosystem.
- UO – Unique Origin: This parameter identifies the tool or sources used to generated the link itself (e.g. RSS Feed Generator, Search API, Enterprise Partner Feed, etc.). This helps identify where the link came from for your benefit, but doesn’t actually affect the end user experience. This can be removed if necessary to tidy up the link.
Affiliate Specific Parameters
- AT – Affiliate Token: PHG’s affiliate token. Using GeoRiot, you don’t have to worry about adding this token as it’s done automagically for you when your link is clicked from a country supported by PHG. This token is unique for each account.
- CT – Campaign Token: Also for PHG. This is a value to help you determine (or set) the “campaign” of the link (similar to the “Enhanced Publisher Interface” from Tradedoubler or the “Signature Tracking” from LinkShare). With GeoRiot, this parameter is set with the TRACK parameter and is synonymous with “Tracking Tag”.
- TDUID – TradeDoubler Unique Identifier: This is used for affiliate links that skip the TradeDoubler redirect. For those links, this value is consistent per account but needs to be set up with Tradedoubler in advance.
- partnerId: Previously used to identify each of the original affiliate networks, but currently only used for TradeDoubler, which has an ID of 2003. Note that the capitalization of this parameter is important.
- affId – Affiliate ID: After a Tradedoubler link is processed via their redirect the final link will include the affid parameter. The value included will be the same as the “a” value in the original Tradedoubler affiliate link that was resolved.
Again, be careful when tweaking with or removing parameters in order to keep them functioning as they should.
Further, when tinkering with affiliate parameters it essential to remember that a link’s query string must always start with a question mark and each “Key value pair” must be separated with ampersands. This means you can’t have an ampersand before you have a question mark and you can never have two question marks in a link.
So there you have it – a cheat sheet for all of your iTunes and App Store specific URLs. Feel free to drop us a line if you have any specific questions about the above or have something to add.