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Conversion tracking methods: API, S2S or Pixel?

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Methods of conversion tracking in RedTrack

RedTrack offers you the following methods of conversion tracking:

Each method is unique and has its pros and cons, scroll down this article to learn more about them and make an informed decision on the best conversion tracking solution for you.

For your information:

A postback with an offer source in RedTrack is the URL (or a pixel) with some dynamic parameters (normally, it should contain the click id and payout macros) your affiliate network (advertiser, your own “Thank you” page) calls on their side to send the conversion data back to RedTrack. It allows you to receive the conversion based on RedTrack unique clickid and analyze it inside the tracker or send it to your Traffic source.

Conversion tracking by API

What’s API conversion tracking?

API conversion tracking method is based on the integration of the RedTrack API with the affiliate network. This is the most reliable conversion tracking method because it happens on the backend of both platforms. When a conversion occurs, the affiliate network infrastructure pings RedTrack with all the necessary information. However, since this method requires a lot more development work on both sides, it is not very common in affiliate marketing.

Expand to learn about pros and cons of API
Advantages of API Disadvantages of API
it’s the most reliable method of passing the conversion, reliable and safe. It does not need cookies to work. might be pretty challenging to implement, but with such a tracker as RedTrack impossible is nothing!
it’s a “set it and forget it” method. Once you complete the integration, you won’t need to configure anything. Conversions will be shared along with additional information such as payout.
Expand to see how conversion tracking by API works in RedTrack

Conversion tracking by API works in different ways depending on integration settings. For more details check out the following end-to-end RT↔Offer sources integration guides:

S2S postback

What’s S2S postback?

Server-to-server (S2S) postback is the most accurate method of receiving and sending conversion data. S2S tracking is saving the information about the user ID directly to the server of an advertiser (offer provider), RedTrack, and Affiliate Network. When a user clicks on an ad, this click is recorded and gets a newly generated unique ID for this session. If a user buys or orders something on the offer provider’s side, RedTrack receives a message from the offer provider (affiliate network, advertiser) about the conversion that happened. This is a standard option available for everyone. No additional settings are required.

Expand to learn about pros and cons of using S2S postback
Advantages of S2S postback Disadvantages of S2S postback
it’s a safer, more reliable method of counting conversions  Postback tracking must be supported by your affiliate network
it provides accurate tracking and accurate statistics. This tracking method does not rely on cookies. Therefore, it works even if the visitor has blocked the collection of cookie data in their web browser. That is why it is considered one of the most reliable tracking methods.
it’s a great alternative for cases where Pixel is not an option

Make sure to check out our video review on Server-to-server (S2S) postback to see why this method of tracking prevails over any other so far:

Expand to see how S2S postback works in RedTrack

How you set the correct S2S postback in RedTrack depends on the type of the network you are using:

  • if it’s an affiliate network already having a preset template, proceed with step 1 below;
  • if it’s a custom Offer source, proceed with step 2 below.

1. In the case of affiliate network preset templates act as follows:

1.1 add the needed Offer source template to RedTrack and Save it:

1.2 copy the Postback URL from your Offer source settings:

1.3 paste the copied Postback URL to your offer source (affiliate network, advertiser) account under the global postback.

2. In the case of custom Offer sources act as follows:

2.1 add the Offer source from scratch:

2.2 give your custom Offer source a name, clarify the correct CLICKID and SUM macros essential for tracking. Once you’ve added them, press Save:

2.3 copy the generated Postback URL:

2.4 paste it to your offer source (affiliate network, advertiser) account under the global postback.


With S2S postback you can use conversion types. They are set in your RedTrack account: Tools -> Conversion tracking -> Conversion  types. After you set the names, simply add &type=conversion event name to your postback URL.

Pixel/script postback

What’s Pixel/script postback?

Conversion tracking using Pixel is the simplest and less accurate method. You place a piece of code (or script) to your “Thank you” page and each time the visitor opens this page, the conversion is fired. That means the same visitor can refresh the page and pixel will then be fired once again so you may receive a duplicate.

Expand to learn about pros and cons of pixel/script postback
Advantages of Pixel Disadvantages of Pixel
you can use it if the S2S option is not available sometimes pixels may not work. One reason for this could be the user clearing the cache between clicking a link on the landing page and the actual conversion. In this case, the conversion will simply not be tracked
it’s compatible with GTM Apple has implemented Smart Tracking Protection 2.0 in Safari, preventing websites from tracking user activity without permission. Right now, the website can request tracking permission, but the user must specifically register. Even if the user consents to be tracked by Safari on their own, after 30 days all data and cookies will be permanently deleted. In general, pixel tracking is a fairly complex process when working with Safari
it’s the ultimate solution when you don’t have many technical resources and have a “thank you page” (i.e. you’re not purchasing media on behalf of any third party) Google has announced that its Chrome web browser will no longer support third-party cookies from 2022, which will of course cause pixel tracking issues.
Pixel is simple and fast to implement and use, so there is no need to be a technical expert. You simply copy the pixel from the tracker and paste it into the code of the last page that the user sees after the conversion has occurred.
Expand to see how to set up Pixel/script postback in RedTrack

1. On the main RedTrack menu navigate to Tools-> Conversion Tracking->stay on the tab Conversion Tracking:

2. RedTrack generates a unique pixel with your dedicated tracking domain but you can change it to a custom tracking domain. To change the domain press on the Domain field in the Conversion postback domain section and choose the needed domain from the dropdown list of the added ones:


It does not matter what domain you will be using in your postback as the visitor will not see it and it is required only for the server-side tracking.  So you can leave the dedicated tracking domain there.

3. Activate the toggle Show pixel for statuses (Pending, Approved, Declined, Other) to use statuses to track changes in the conversion status in COD and similar scenarios:


You can use the pixel for conversion types and conversion statuses to track different types of conversions simultaneously (ViewContent/AddToCart/InitiateCheckout/Purchase/Upsell etc).

4. Copy any of the available options: Pixel postback code for conversion (in the Conversion tracking pixel section) or Postback script (preferred option in the Postback script section):


The “type” parameter is to be added manually. Type should equal the one you have set in your conversion type settings. For example:

<img src=”//domain.rdtk.io/postback?format=img&sum={replace}&type=Purchase” width=”1″ height=”1″ />

5. Paste the copied ready-to-use pixel to your “Thank You” page to track visitors’ activity.

How do I see the tracked conversions in the Reports?

The statistics on your conversions can be found:

  • in the Reports by all of your Campaign. To do that on the main RedTrack menu navigate to Campaigns and manage the columns which you want to see in the report:

  • in the more detailed Reports by each Campaign individually. For more information go to the article Reports.
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