A HopLink™ referral tracking URL is a referral URL that links potential customers to a seller’s landing page and it informs ClickBank which affiliate directed that traffic for commission purposes. If the customer buys the product within 60 days of clicking on the HopLink, the affiliate who referred the customer receives credit and commission for the sale.
Related: How do I earn commission as a ClickBank Affiliate?
Affiliates can create a HopLink in a couple of ways. Additionally, affiliates sometimes receive HopLinks from sellers that are unencrypted. We encourage affiliates to encrypt these using the Encode feature in the HopLink Tools suite.
Affiliates can also add tracking IDs (TIDs) or additional parameters to the HopLink. These can help affiliates track traffic sources or pass information to sellers’ pages.
This article contains the following sections:
- What’s in a HopLink?
- Why are HopLinks encrypted by default?
- Getting a HopLink Through a Marketplace Listing
- Using the HopLink Tools to Create, Encode, and Decode a HopLink
- Testing a HopLink
- How often should I create new HopLinks?
- Using Tracking IDs with HopLinks
- Invalid HopLink Use
- HopLink Troubleshooting
- Additional Resources & Related Articles
What’s in a HopLink?
HopLinks contain both the account nickname (affiliate ID) of the affiliate who is referring the customer and of the seller who is being promoted. Optionally, an affiliate may also include a tracking ID (TID).
HopLinks may be in a format where the affiliate and seller account nicknames are shown or they can be encrypted to hide the affiliate and seller account nicknames. Whether encrypted or readable, HopLinks correctly track the affiliate that referred the sale and ensure commission credit. However, encrypted HopLinks provide protection from bad actors who may want to plagiarize ad content.
A HopLink, in its unencrypted, readable format looks like this:
https://hop.clickbank.net/?affiliate=[affiliate account nickname]&vendor=[seller account nickname]
Once encrypted, it looks like this:
By default, the HopLinks ClickBank provides through our tools are encrypted to not show the affiliate nickname (affiliate ID).
Why are HopLinks encrypted by default?
At ClickBank, we value the privacy, security, and intellectual property of our affiliates. In an effort to protect affiliate privacy and combat spy tools that specifically target affiliate IDs, we offer affiliate ID encryption and a suite of tools to encode and decode HopLinks.
Getting a HopLink Through a Marketplace Listing
The ClickBank Marketplace is home to thousands of offers on ClickBank that affiliates can promote. To access the ClickBank Marketplace, log in to your account and follow these instructions to get a HopLink through the ClickBank Marketplace.
Step 1: Log in to your ClickBank account.
Step 2: Access the ClickBank Marketplace through your primary account or nickname account.
Related: What is the ClickBank Marketplace?
Step 3: Find an offer you want to promote and click the Promote button.
NOTE: If the seller requires affiliates to be approved before they start promoting, you won’t be able to get a HopLink from the listing. Instead, you can reach out to the seller for approval.
Step 4: Enter in your affiliate account nickname and a tracking ID (TID), which is optional but encouraged for analytics. Then, select HopLink from the Link Type box. Click Create HopLink.
Relate: Direct Tracking for Affiliates
NOTE: Do NOT use a dash (-) in your TID. Dashes break the TID and it will not be tracked.
Step 6: Click Copy to copy the encrypted HopLink.
Step 8: Test your HopLink to ensure that it works by using the Decoder in the HopLink Tools suite.
Related: How do I test a HopLink?
Step 9: Use this HopLink in your promotional materials including blogs, forums, and social media.
Using the Affiliate Link Tools to Create, Encode, and Decode a HopLink
The Affiliate Link tools section (FKA HopLink Tools) is located in the ClickBank primary (aka master) account interface. This is where you can create a HopLink using the affiliate account nickname and seller account nickname, as well as encode a readable HopLink, and decode an encrypted HopLink or “affiliate=” value from the order form to check that your HopLink is working.
Related: How do ClickBank accounts work?
Use the Create tab to create encrypted HopLinks that do not show or pass any affiliate ID information.
Step 1: Click the Create tab and select your affiliate account nickname.
NOTE: If you are creating a HopLink for a specific affiliate in the Create feature, you can manually type in an affiliate’s account nickname. Make sure that you spell it right otherwise the HopLink will not function properly.
Step 2: Enter in the seller account nickname and click Next.
Step 3: Select the landing page you want your HopLink to direct to. NOTE: Often sellers only provide one landing page. If they have an additional HopLink landing pages, it will be displayed here.
Step 4: Add a tracking ID. This step is optional.
Step 5: Click Create HopLink.
Step 6: Once you have the HopLink, you can copy it by clicking Copy and use it anywhere you would typically use a Hoplink.
Use the Encode tab to encode a HopLink that is not encrypted. For example, some sellers will provide HopLinks to affiliates that are not encrypted. The Encode section is where you can encrypt those HopLinks to protect your affiliate nickname from appearing in your ad creatives.
Step 1: Click the Encode tab and paste the HopLink you wish to encode in the field. Then, click Encode HopLink.
Step 2: Your HopLink will be encrypted and your affiliate ID information will be obscured. You can copy and use this HopLink anywhere you would typically use HopLinks.
The Decode section is where you can take an encrypted HopLinks of affiliate ID value from the bottom of an order form and “decode” it to ensure that your HopLinks are working properly.
Step 1: Click the Decode tab and paste the encrypted HopLink or “affiliate=” value into the field. Then, click Decode.
After you click Decode, you should see the affiliate account nickname and the seller account nickname associated with the encrypted HopLink. This is how you can check that your HopLinks are accurate and functioning.
NOTE: Users will only be able to use the decode tool if they own the affiliate or seller account contained in the encrypted HopLink or affiliate = value from the bottom of an order form.
How to Test a HopLink
To confirm that your HopLink is properly formatted and correctly tracking your affiliate information, we encourage affiliates to test them.
Related: What happens when a HopLink is formatted incorrectly?
Step 1: Follow the encrypted HopLink by clicking on it or entering it into your browser.
Step 2: Click the Buy Now button (or the equivalent on the seller's pitch page).
Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the ClickBank Order Form and find the “affiliate=” value. The value show is an encrypted value that obscures the affiliate ID for security purposes.
Step 4: Copy this value and access the HopLink Tools section in your primary account.
NOTE: DO NOT include the "affiliate=" portion of the value or any tracking ID (TID). If you include these elements of the value, it will not be decoded.
Step 5: Click Decode. Once the encrypted value is decoded, the affiliate nickname and seller nickname related to the HopLink should be visible.
NOTE: ONLY the seller and affiliate related to the HopLink will be able to decode the HopLink to see the values. This prevents bad actors from identifying affiliate information that is not pertinent to them.
How often should I create new HopLinks?
Each time you create a new HopLink on ClickBank, it provides a new encrypted value (even when the affiliate and seller information is the same).
Affiliates are not required to create a new HopLink when setting up a new campaign for the same seller, however, they may wish to do so depending on their promotional method. Though your affiliate nickname is encrypted in your HopLink, tools like ad spy software may index the encrypted value as the affiliate ID associated with your ad. By using different encrypted HopLinks for different promotions, you can keep tools from associating the same affiliate ID with multiple ads.
Using Tracking IDs with HopLinks
A tracking ID (TID) is an alphanumeric string of up to 100 characters, including numbers, lowercase letters, and underscores, that you can add to the end of a HopLink.
NOTE: Adding a dash (-) a TID breaks the TID and it will not be tracked.
Your tracking IDs are visible only to you as the affiliate, so the seller you send customers to won't be able to view your Tracking IDs. The format for a Tracking ID is:
https://hop.clickbank.net/?affiliate=[affiliate account nickname]&vendor=[seller account nickname]&tid=[example TID here]
https://dcb8e1n7uk1rel69sjvbi6sx1s.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=[example TID here]
When a customer follows a HopLink with a tracking ID, and when they purchase a product, the tracking ID is linked with those events. You can use tracking IDs to differentiate between different sources of traffic and compare your promotional method.
For example, if you're promoting the same product on a blog, in a forum post, and on Twitter, you can differentiate your HopLinks with TIDs to track clicks and conversions that happen on each medium. Then, when a sale is made using one of your HopLinks, the Tracking ID is passed into ClickBank's reporting, so you'll be able to see which of your promotional efforts led to the sale.
Example Encrypted HopLink with TIDs Based on Promotion Medium
Tracking ID: blog_2023
Encrypted Hoplink: https://74f0f0m61obtox9-dq7sz9mz46.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=blog_2023
Tracking ID: facebook_2023
Encrypted Hoplink: https://3fe909s3qh5vcl40epyj1if6um.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=facebook_2023
Tracking ID: twitter_2023
Encrypted HopLink: https://f72a31q4orfuisb3enxqtnmy02.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=twitter_2023
NOTE: When decoding encrypted HopLinks using the Decode tool, you cannot include the TID.
Invalid HopLink Use
To ensure proper tracking of your HopLink referrals, your HopLink must open into the top level of a new or existing window. Do not attempt to hide your HopLinks by having them open into other types of sub-window objects, such as frames, iframes, layers, applets, or images. These types of HopLinks are considered invalid, and could result in lost affiliate referral credit, incorrect display of your website, or, in the case of abuse of the HopLink system, could result in account termination without notice. HopLinks that open into pop-up, pop-under, or "exit" windows are valid and can be used.
If you've tested your HopLink and it doesn't seem to be working properly, check the following things:
- Is everything spelled correctly? If you are creating HopLinks using the Create feature in the HopLink Tools set, make sure that both your account nickname and the seller’s account nickname are spelled correctly.
If you used the Marketplace to create your HopLink, ClickBank automatically enters the seller's nickname, so you'll only need to check your nickname to make sure it's spelled correctly. If you have an encrypted HopLink, you can check to make sure both parties' nicknames are spelled correctly using the Decode feature within the HopLink Tools suite.
- Is the format correct? Make sure you are using a properly formatted HopLink which should ibegin with https and include hop.clickbank.net. Any retired HopLink formats will not work properly.
- Our HopLink tracking system includes cookies. Make sure that you have cookies enabled in your browser, and that you're not using any anti-spyware or ad-blocker software that could be blocking cookies.
- Is the seller’s website down? If clicking through the HopLink results in a 404 error page, it means that either the seller's website is down or the seller doesn't have a HopLink Target URL listed in their account. Please inform us if this happens by submitting a ticket.
- Still having issues? Submit a support ticket and we will help you figure it out.
Q: Will this enhancement break my current HopLinks?
A: No. All HopLinks in any form will continue to work properly.
Q: Should I always use encrypted HopLinks?
A: We encourage all affiliates to use encrypted HopLinks over manually created HopLinks. If a seller provides you with a manually created HopLink that shows your affiliate account nickname, you can encrypt it using the Encode feature in the HopLink Tools Suite.
Q: How do I test my HopLinks?
A: Use the Decoder tool in the HopLink Tool Suite to test that your HopLinks are working accurately.
Related: How do I test my HopLinks?
Q: Should I change all of my current HopLinks?
A: You can change your HopLinks to an encrypted version as you create them, or you can update your current HopLinks. Your current HopLinks, even if they are not encrypted, will continue to function properly.
Q: Will this enhancement stop all bots from copying my ad materials?
A: This enhancement will add a significant amount of friction to the work that bots do in order to identify and copy successful ads, giving affiliates more time to scale their campaigns.
Q: How does this enhancement impact ClickBank sellers?
A: Sellers miss out on sales when top affiliates are penalized by platforms, so deterring spyware is a benefit to them as well.
Q: Isn’t plagiarism illegal?
A: Currently copyright infringement is illegal in the United States. However, the process to prosecute those who steal ad creatives is lengthy, expensive, and oftentimes requires a civil trial, rather than a criminal one. These cases can go on for a long time and cost a lot of money. ClickBank values the privacy, security, and intellectual property of our affiliates and we want to make sure that all affiliates on our platform have a fair chance of reaching their full potential so we want to deter bad actors before they can do their damage.
Q: Why don’t I see my affiliate account nickname at the bottom of the order form anymore?
A: As of March 28, 2023, when an affiliate has been attributed with a referral on the order form, the affiliate information that is shown in the order form footer is now encrypted for your privacy and protection.
In other words, instead of displaying the actual account nickname, there is an encoded value, or unique set of characters, rather than the nickname itself.
This value can be decoded through the Decode tool found in the HopLink Tools in the left navigation bar of your primary (master) account.
NOTE: Users will only be able to use the decode tool if they own the affiliate or seller account contained in the encrypted HopLink or “affiliate =” value from the bottom of an order form.
Q: Why don’t I see my affiliate nickname in the seller’s landing page URL anymore?
A: As of March 28, 2023, the affiliate nickname is no longer passed automatically in a parameter when a HopLink redirects to a seller’s landing page. This change was made to protect the privacy of our affiliates and reduce visibility to the affiliate ID.
ClickBank’s HopLink functionality and tracking of affiliate referrals does not use or rely on this parameter in any way. These changes do not impact HopLink function, attribution, or associated analytics.
To confirm your affiliate information is being correctly tracked through you HopLinks you can test your HopLink using the Decoder tool in the HopLink Tools suite.
Q: Why did you make this change?
A: At ClickBank, we value the privacy, security, and intellectual property of our affiliates.
In an effort to better protect affiliate privacy and combat spy tools that specifically target ClickBank affiliate nicknames, we expanded our encryption of the affiliate ID and added a new suite of tools to encode and decode HopLinks.
Q: Does this change the way HopLinks work?
A: Nope. These changes do not impact HopLink function, attribution, or associated analytics.
Q: What exactly do I gain from these changes?
A: Although ClickBank has been providing encrypted HopLinks with encoded affiliate IDs (nicknames) for over a decade, the benefits have been somewhat limited since the affiliate nickname has been visible in other places, particularly on the order form and HopLink redirect URL.
This visibility has allowed crawlers like those built for ad spy tools to specifically target ClickBank affiliate nicknames and index this information. By expanding the affiliate ID encryption affiliates are better able to hide their activity as an individual and reduce ad spy tools from seeing that multiple campaigns are associated with the same affiliate.
Q: Should I create new HopLinks often?
A: Each time you create a new HopLink on ClickBank, it provides a new encrypted value (even when the affiliate and seller information is the same).
Affiliates are not required to create a new HopLink when setting up a new campaign for the same seller. However, they may wish to do so depending on their promotional method.
Although your affiliate nickname is encrypted in your HopLink, tools like ad spy software may index the encrypted value as the affiliate ID associated with your ad. By using different encrypted HopLinks for different promotions, you can keep tools from associating the same affiliate ID with multiple ads.
Q: Why can I only decode HopLinks or IDs if I am the affiliate or seller?
A: ClickBank values affiliate privacy and works to protect affiliates from being targeted as individuals for copyright infringement of their advertising material. Therefore, we only allow the affiliate who created the HopLink or the seller that they are promoting to view the affiliate nickname in any promotion containing an encrypted HopLink.
Q: What happens if multiple affiliates promote the same offer to a customer?
A: The most recent affiliate to promote the offer using a HopLink receives credit for the sale. For example, if a customer clicks Affiliate A's HopLink on Monday but does not make a purchase, and then clicks Affiliate B's HopLink on Tuesday and makes a purchase, Affiliate B receives the commission.
Q: Can sellers tell which affiliate has sent traffic to their site?
A: Yes. Sellers are able to see in their reporting the affiliates that have sent traffic to their site.
Q: Can I use tools to shorten or cloak a HopLink?
A: Yes. However, for HopLinks to track affiliate referrals the customer’s internet browser must redirect through a correctly formatted HopLink. If you choose to use services to shorten or cloak your HopLinks, be sure that the URL is set to resolve to a correctly formatted HopLink. We recommend testing the shortened/cloaked link to make sure they are working correctly.
Q: Can I use a forwarding domain?
A: Yes. However, in order for affiliate attribution to work correctly the HopLink cannot be masked. Make sure that any masking functionality is removed from your forwarding domain before using it to forward HopLinks.
Q: Can I use a modified payment link to send customers directly to the order form? How about linking to the pitch page with an affiliate parameter added?
A: In order for affiliate referrals to be accurately recorded and tracked, the customer must go through a correctly formatted HopLink.
Q: Do HopLinks expire?
A: No. As long as you and the seller are still active on ClickBank, your HopLinks will continue to work. The only exceptions to this are if you or the seller are no longer active, or if the seller creates a list of allowed affiliates that does not include your account.
Q: If a seller changes my commission type from rev-share to CPA, do I have to change all of my HopLinks?
A: No. Revshare and CPA are commission settings that are controlled by the seller and do not change the HopLink whatsoever.
Q: How can I track the hops (clicks) I'm receiving?
A: You can use the Sales Analytics Report to track Hops.
Additional Resources & Related Articles
- KNOWLEDGE BASE: How do I create a HopLink?
- KNOWLEDGE BASE: How do I use HopLinks?
- KNOWLEDGE BASE: How do I test a HopLink?
- KNOWLEDGE BASE: Direct Offer Tracking for Affiliates
- CLICKBANK BLOG: ClickBank Top Offers
- CLICKBANK BLOG: 7 Best Ways to Promote HopLinks
- KNOWLEDGE BASE: What happens when a HopLink is formatted incorrectly?