Will I Get an Affiliate Commission If They Buy on The Second Visit?

I’m asked this question a lot by people who are new to affiliate marketing. “If I refer someone to a product or service and they don’t buy when they first check it out but they go back and buy it later without using my link, will I still get the commission?”

Affiliate Companies use “Cookies”

When someone clicks on your affiliate link and visits the company whose product or service you recommend, a cookie is set linking your affiliate account to that potential customer.

Think of a cookie as a small text file that’s added to the reader’s browser. The cookie stays there until it’s overwritten by a new cookie (from the same company) or it expires through the passage of time.

Most people use the same device (computer or mobile) and the same browser much of the time. When a cookie is set it’s set in the browser they are using on the device they’re using at the time they visit the affiliate company using your affiliate link.

But, if the potential customer uses a different browser or device, then your cookie may not work.

Time Limited Cookies

Some companies (like Amazon) have a limited time frame for their cookies. When that time expires then the cookie stops working.

A time-limited cookie can last a day, 30 days, 60 days, whatever the affiliate company has chosen. You should be able to find the expiry period in their terms and conditions.

Lifetime Cookies

Some affiliate companies use lifetime cookies. They last forever unless:

  • the person clears their cookies; or
  • uses a different computer; or
  • uses a different mobile device; or
  • uses a different browser on the same device or computer; or
  • the cookie is overwritten by a new cookie because the reader clicks another marketer’s affiliate link (usually, but not always, the last cookie wins).

If your reader is using the same browser on the same device that has the cookie and the cookie is still active then the link to your affiliate account remains current. And if they purchase on that second or subsequent visit you will still get the referral credit.

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6 thoughts on “Will I Get an Affiliate Commission If They Buy on The Second Visit?”

  1. You know mate, Will I Get an Affiliate Commission If They Buy on The Second Visit, well, this question would make sense. And I am sure glad that no-one has asked me that as I did not know the answer to it. Until now that is. Thank you for this well written post Marion. You are continuing, as ever, to provide help and value to your readers.

  2. Thanks for explaining about cookies. I never thought about the chance that someone may use another device when clicking on an affiliate link. If they don’t purchase right away and decide to do so later, it may be from a phone instead of the original computer, for example. We, as the affiliate marketer, would lose the sale. 🙁

  3. Hi Marion, thanks for this information on cookies and how they are set up. I didn’t realize they could “self expire” on their own so I learned something new!

    Do you know which companies use lifetime cookies or is there a way to find out? I know you said for existing companies we could check their terms and conditions but I guess we could also just contact them for verification.

    I am an associate with Amazon and I think their cookie only lasts for 24 hours if I’m not mistaken. But I wonder if you could clear something up for me. I have just started using Amazon Onelink and if someone in Canada or UK clicks on my Amazon.com affiliate link, they are re-directed to Amazon in their respective country. Will that still add a cookie to the relevant Amazon country site because the link is on the USA site?


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