SaaSquatch Help Center

"Attribution" means creating a referral link between two people; the person that was referred and the person doing the referring. It is one of the 5 core terms you should know for your referral program. When you run a referral program you often want to separate the linking of referrals from the process of giving people rewards. For example you want to attribute a referral as soon as some one signs in to your website, but you only want to give a referral reward when the referred person converts and pays their first bill.

Definition

Attribution is the process of tracking a referral link between two people.

One of the most popular ways to let people share with their friends is using share links like http://ssqt.co/hR6O. Share links are unique links generated for each user that can be used for making referrals. Share links rely on Tracking Cookies to track when someone has been referred, redirecting referred friends to a website or landing page to get started as a new customers. Share links are often used along with Squatch.js Javascript Library or deeplinking like Branch Metrics integration to track when someone has made a successful referral.

Benefits of Share Links:

  • Work across email, facebook, twitter and other social channels
  • Easy to set up
  • Can have a white-labeled domain

Disadvantages of Share Links:

  • Relies on Cookies or Deeplinking
    • Can be blocked by some browsers or cleared regularly
    • Requires a Deeplinking tool like Branch to work well in Mobile apps
  • Does not support real world face-to-face referrals
Example share link

Referral Codes

Referral codes are a more modern way of sharing that rely on a human-readable code like BOBTESTERSON. Referral codes are unique codes that people can use when they sign up for a product or check out at a store. Since there is a unique referral code for everyone who shares, referral codes can be used as the sole way of doing attribution.

Benefits of Referral Codes:

  • Can be used with on-the-phone and in-person sign up processes link Banks, Call Centers and Retail Stores
  • Works well with printed materials
  • Supports mobile-first referrals for native mobile apps

Disadvantages of Referral Codes:

  • Some companies have policies against allowing any sort of promo codes
  • Can be listed on coupon sites
Example share link

It is possible to get the best of both worlds by using both human-readable codes and share links. This is the recommended approach for attribution because it provides all of the benefits of both of the methods of share links and codes. In most cases, if it's possible to refer friends using a referral code, then it is preferable to go for a hybrid approach and take advantage of the additional analytics provided by links.

Benefits of Share Links:

  • All of the benefits listed above
  • Best in class success rates

Disadvantages of Share Links:

  • Some companies have policies against allowing any sort of promo codes
Example share link

Choosing an attribution method

Referral SaaSquatch has flexible attribution methods for controlling how referrals can be made and tracked. Each attribution method has certain strengths and limitations. Unique share links, for example, are a simple way to power your referral program but they don't work well offline, with cookie blockers or on mobile. Referral codes work well on mobile, but aren't as convenient for online sharing.

Desktop Mobile Offline
Share Links
Referral Codes
Hybrid (Recommended)
Attribution can use share links, referral codes or both (hybrid)

Tech Guide

For details on implementing attribution, see our developer center guide on attribution