Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting and selling another company’s products or service. Becoming a successful affiliate marketer means understanding cookies. But this has nothing to do with the favorite sweet treat! It’s how your affiliate marketing business ensures you get paid for any sales you generate.What is A Cookie?An HTTP “cookie” is a type of message that is given to a web browser by a web server. This is used to identify users and web surfers, customize online experiences and track information. Cookie technology works for numerous things. For instance, it works when your computer “remembers” your password when you log in to one of your online accounts.How Do Cookies Work for Affiliate Marketers?Cookies are an affiliate marketer’s best friend. When you promote a product as an affiliate, the product owner will allocate you a unique affiliate URL or affiliate link.When someone clicks on your affiliate link, a cookie is placed in their browser. This means that their computer stores the information that says you are the person that directed the visitor to that website. If that person makes a purchase, the affiliate company can track that sale back to you and pay you your commission.Not All Cookies Are Created EqualFrom the first time someone clicks on one of your affiliate links, you can earn commissions for the designated cookie length.Different affiliate programs have different lifespans for their cookies.For example, if you promote products as an Amazon affiliate, your cookie will only be valid for 24 hours. That means that the website visitor needs to buy within 24 hours if that sale is to be credited to you.This is why you should choose your affiliate companies very carefully. Some affiliate marketing models allow for 30, 60, 90 day or even 1 year cookie duration. Some offer lifetime cookies!Marketing Affiliate ProgramsWhen somebody buys something from a website that you, as an affiliate, have directed them to, the cookie shares your affiliate ID. The product owner then knows that you are the affiliate and that any commission from that sale should be paid to you. Obviously, it’s extremely important that you use the correct affiliate ID on all your links to ensure you get your commissions.The one issue to be mindful about with cookies is that if a potential customer uses a different computer to search again to buy the product, your affiliate ID will not be saved on that machine. It’s not a major problem though as most people use the same computer, laptop or tablet to buy products and services online.