A HOPLINK™ referral tracking URL (or HopLink for short) is a referral URL that links potential customers to a vendor's landing page and it informs ClickBank which affiliate directed that traffic for commission purposes. If the user buys the product within 60 days of clicking on the HopLink, the affiliate who created it receives credit and commission for the sale.
You can create HopLinks for vendors' products using one of two formats. The formats are:
- An encrypted HopLink created through either the ClickBank Marketplace or the HopLink Shield tool. In this format, the vendor and affiliate names are not visible in the URL.
- A readable HopLink that includes the vendor and affiliate names. In this format, the vendor and affiliate account names are visible in the URL string. Creating a HopLink this way does not require any tools.
You can also add tracking IDs or additional parameters to the HopLink, to track traffic sources or to pass information to the vendor's page.
This article contains the following sub-articles:
- Creating an Encrypted HopLink Through a Product Listing
- Creating an Encrypted HopLink Using the HopLink Shield
- Manually Creating and Unencrypted HopLink
- Using Tracking IDs with HopLinks
- Tracking ID Example
- Using Parameters
- How to Test a HopLink
- Invalid HopLink Use
- HopLink Troubleshooting
- Additional Resources & Related Articles
Creating an Encrypted HopLink Through a Product Listing
Follow these instructions to create a HopLink for a product you wish to promote through a product listing in the ClickBank Affiliate MarketplaceClick the Promote button in the product's listing.
Step 1: Log in to your account.
Step 2: Click Marketplace.
Step 3: Select a product you want to promote and click the Promote button.
Step 4: Add a tracking ID in the Tracking ID field. This step is optional but encouraged for analytics purposes.
Step 5: Click Generate HopLinks. Note: This produces an encrypted HopLink in which neither the vendor or affiliate name is shown.
Step 6: Copy and save this HopLink.
Step 7: Add parameters to the HopLink to pass to the vendor's page. (Optional). Check out this article for more informational on adding parameters to URLs.
Step 9: Use this HopLink in your promotional materials including blogs, forums, and social media. Note: You can use the HopLink Decoder the verify the affiliate nickname and the vendor nickname in a HopLink.
Creating an Encrypted HopLink Using the HopLink Shield
You can also create HopLinks using the HopLink Shield tool.
Step 2: Enter in your affiliate nickname and the nickname of the vendor you want to promote.
Step 3: Click Encode.
Step 4: Copy and save the HopLink.
Step 5: Add parameters to the HopLink to pass to the vendor's page. (Optional). Check out this article for more informational on adding parameters to URLs.
Step 7: Use this HopLink in your promotional materials including blogs, forums, and social media. Note: You can use the HopLink Decoder the verify the affiliate nickname and the vendor nickname in a HopLink.
Manually Creating and Unencrypted HopLink
You can manually create a readable HopLink using a vendor nickname and your affiliate nickname. The HopLink must exist in this format:
To manually create a HopLink in this format, replace "AFFILIATE" with your account nickname and "VENDOR" with the account nickname of the vendor you wish to promote. You can find a ClickBank Vendor's account nickname on their website or on their affiliate tools page.
Once you have created the HopLink, you can add Tracking IDs to track your traffic sources and parameters to pass to the vendor's page. Then, test the HopLink to make sure it works before proceeding with promotion.
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.
Your tracking IDs are visible only to you as the affiliate, so the vendor you send customers to won't be able to view your Tracking IDs. The format for a Tracking ID is:
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 methods.
Tracking ID Example
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.
Initial HopLink: https://hop.clickbank.net/?affiliate=AFFILIATE&vendor=VENDOR&tid=EXAMPLE_TID
TIDS for Promotion Mediums
Tracking ID: blog_feb_2022
Tracking ID: forum_feb_2022
Tracking ID: twitter_feb_2022
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.
If you want to pass additional parameters through your HopLink that will arrive at the HopLink Target URL, you can do so. We will pass up to 128 bytes of QUERY_STRING data through to the HopLink Target URL. Note: Using parameters may require the assistance of a developer. For more information on using parameters, check out this article.
How to Test a HopLink
Once you've created a HopLink in any format, you should test it to make sure you'll receive commissions for sales you promote.
Step 1: Follow the HopLink you created by clicking on it or entering it into your browser.
Step 2: Click the Buy Now button (or the equivalent on the vendor's pitch page).
Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the ClickBank Order Form, below the Terms of Sale.
Step 4: Look for your account nickname in the affiliate line.
- If you see [affiliate=yournickname], the HopLink is working.
- If you see [affiliate=none], the HopLink is not reporting you as the affiliate. See the Troubleshooting section for more information.
- When the commission settings for a product is set to "none," the order form for the product will display affiliate=none. In this scenario, the only way to test if a HopLink is working is to do a test purchase from the vendor.
- If an [affiliate=] line is not displayed, the vendor may have disabled the display of that line on their order form.
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 (for example, you get to the vendor's order form and your affiliate nickname doesn't appear), check the following things:
- Did you spell everything correctly? Make sure that both your nickname and the vendor's nickname are spelled correctly in your HopLink. If you used the Marketplace to create your HopLink, ClickBank automatically enters the vendor'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 HopShield Decoder.
- Is the format correct? Make sure you are using a properly formatted HopLink which should include https at the beginning. 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 vendor's website down? If clicking through the HopLink results in a 404 error page, it means that either the vendor's website is down or the vendor doesn't have a HopLink Target URL listed in their account. Please inform us if this happens by submitting a ticket.
- Submit a ticket if you've checked all of the above and are still having problems.
Q: What happens if multiple affiliates promote the same product to a customer?
A: In most cases, the most recent affiliate to promote the product 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.
The only exception is if the vendor has given an affiliate a lifetime commission for the specific customer. If an affiliate has a lifetime commission, they receive the commission whenever a specified customer purchases a product from the vendor, regardless of how the customer arrived at the pitch page.
Q: Can vendors tell which affiliate has sent traffic to their site?
A: Yes. We pass the affiliate's nickname to the vendor using the "hop" parameter.
Q: Can I use link shorteners such as tinyurl or bit.ly to compress a HopLink?
A: We don't generally recommend it, since we can't guarantee that they will be tracked correctly. If you want to use such a service, you should check your HopLinks regularly to make sure that they're working correctly.
Q: Can I use a forwarding domain?
A: Yes. However, if your HopLinks are masked, affiliate attribution will not work reliably. 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: No. You can only receive affiliate credit by using a correctly formatted HopLink.
Q: If a vendor has more than one product, can I direct customers to a specific product's pitch page (deep linking)?
A: Yes, if the vendor has set up a redirection system. See the Redirecting Customers From a Vendor's HopLink Target article for more information.
Q: Do HopLinks expire?
A: No. As long as you and the vendor are still active on ClickBank, your HopLinks will continue to work. The only exceptions to this are if you or the vendor have your account suspended, or if the vendor creates a list of allowed affiliates that does not include your account.
Q: If a vendor 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 vendor and do not change the HopLink whatsoever.
Q: How can I track the hops I'm receiving?
A: You can use Analytics Reporting to track hops.
Additional Resources & Related Articles
- BLOG POST: ClickBank Affiliate Link Strategy: 7 Best Ways to Promote HopLinks
- VIDEO: ClickBank HopLink Explained
- KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE: How do I use HopLinks?
- KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE: How do I create a HopLink?
- KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE: How do I add additional target URLs (aka landing pages) to my account?