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What Is Cookie Duration, and Why Is It Important to Influencers?

Most influencers and creators are not affiliate marketing experts – it’s a complex, constantly evolving industry, and that’s why MagicLinks exists. We take care of all of the affiliate relationships, commission negotiations, and promotions for you, so you just have to link up to products you love and share ‘em with your subscribers! Still, it’s important to know the basics of affiliate marketing, which is why we’re starting Affiliate Marketing 101, a tips series for the average creator.

Today: Cookie Durations, aka Cookie Windows. (Not related to Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, but wouldn’t it be kind of cool if it did?)


  • Cookies track where a link came from (you) and tell stores where to send commission, and are embedded in a user’s browser when they click
  • Cookie duration is how long a cookie will last from the click, typically between 1-30 days
  • Avoid linking to retailers who will allocate sales to a coupon or cashback site instead of the initial MagicLink click (Cashback & Coupon Commission Loss)

When a subscriber clicks on one of your MagicLinks, they’re sending data to the retailer, the affiliate company, and MagicLinks that informs us where the click came from (geographic location), and where the link came from (who to allocate commission to). But what if that subscriber doesn’t buy right away? What if they come back a couple of days or weeks later to buy? Here’s where cookies come in handy.

The cookie is an affiliate + influencer ID code that embeds itself in a customer’s browser, and is good across all pages in that retailer’s site. So, if you make a link to a lipstick at Sephora, but a subscriber buys a mascara, instead, you’ll still get credit for the sale.

Cookie windows, aka cookie durations, are how long a cookie is coded to last in a customer’s browser from the initial click. Some stores only offer 1-day windows, but some cookie durations last up to 30 days – or longer! This means you have a longer, better chance of getting a commission on a sale that you influenced, and it also means you should aim to link to stores with longer cookie durations, to maximize your potential earnings.

It’s important to also check the retailer’s MagicLinks Retailer Rating to look at the Cashback & Commission Loss rating: Some brands will allocate sales to coupon & cashback sites if a user clicks on a coupon/cashback site link AFTER clicking on a MagicLink, which we think is just plain no bueno. Your link was the first clicked, the one to influence the sale so it should be the link that gets the commission, right? Right.

Below, you’ll see a screenshot of the Retailer Rating for Missguided, one of our partner brands. They have a 15% gross commission rate and a fabulously long 30-day cookie duration, plus they score high on their lack of Cashback & Commission Loss rating. If you ever have questions about a retailer’s rating, contact your account manager. We’re happy to help you find retailers to work with that will get you the best commissions and cookie windows!




  1. […] the commission, provided the end sale occurs within the merchant’s stipulated cookie window. (See our article on cookie duration for more […]

  2. […] away. When he enters the website, a cookie is stored on his browser, and if he buys within the cookie duration window, you’ll get the […]

  3. Hi:) What happens when the cookie experies? What are the steps to take after that? Besides keeping the dates straight are there other ways to know if the link is expired? Do we simply re-add the old link?

    1. The expiration is based on time between click and purchase, so as long as someone is completing a purchase after clicking your magiclink and not using any coupon sites in between within the cookie duration window, the tracking and attribution should be all set!

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