I rarely take note of the return days (number of days you can earn commission on a referral after somebody clicks your link and takes the commissionable action) when I sign on to promote an affiliate program. I just test the program and determine if all of the variables come together for a worthwhile ROI.
But for all of the folks that focus on return days for cookies, I asked more than four-hundred and fifty affiliates their opinion on the subject for the 2009 Affiliate Summit AffStat Report.
And it seems there are a wide range of opinions on the issue, though more than 40% are content with 15-30 days.
I was glad to see that so few people think return days should span up to a year. I see affiliate programs tout a year, multi-year and lifetime cookies. Come on… really? I am on so many different computers in a given week, and the cookies are all wiped clean regularly.
Also, when I am looking to buy something, I buy it then and there – even “considered purchases” like a computer. Maybe I’m an anomaly, but affiliates are getting their commission on me in the session I am referred.
This data point and more are in the 2009 edition of the Affiliate Summit AffStat Report – get your free copy at http://affstat.com/.