How can I test referrals?

Testing your referral setup not only helps you better understand how it works, it's also a good way to make sure your setup is good to go. 

With that said, we do every now and then receive inquiries from Prefinery customers like "my referrals aren't working" which in most cases is a result of their testing (faking a referral activity)

As the Prefinery account owner yourself running a test - signing up on your own campaign, clicking your own referral link, and then signing up yourself again to simulate a different user - will most likely not result in a recorded share or referral. Why? It's because of our fraud protection system as that behavior is exactly what you'll not want your users to be able to do. 

We'd like to assure you that this is not something you'll experience with real users unless those users were trying to game the referral system. 

Properly Testing Referrals

So, how do you test then? Here's what you'll just need to do: 


Add your own IP address to the safelist.


You need to look as much like a real user as possible. Here are some ways to simulate different real users under the same IP address: 

  • Sign up from one computer (or phone) and click on your referral link from another computer (or phone). This simulates users on different devices. 
  • Sign up using your default browser, copy the referral link (don't click open it yet), then open up your browser's private/incognito window and paste in the link there to open it and signup again through that referral. This simulates users on different browsers. 
  • Sign up using your default browser (e.g. Chrome), copy the referral link (don't click open it yet), then open up a different browser (e.g. Firefox, Edge or Safari) and paste in the link there to open it and signup again through that referral. Like the above, this simulates users on different browsers too. 

Referral Not Getting Counted?

Eventually your attempts will still get flagged as fraudulent, but you'll probably be able to test a couple referrals. 

If having closely followed the above suggestions you were still not able to test out a referral, here are other factors you could look into: 


Did the user signup through the referral link, or directly and not through any referral?

Perhaps the copied & shared link did not include the referral code parameter (e.g. ?r=AbCde if the referral link is in which case no referral is tracked. 


Was the Prefinery Javascript Snippet properly installed on the website, especially on the referral link page? 

The JavaScript snippet is responsible for recording shares and referrals. It needs to be installed on your site, even if you're using the API, preferably before the closing </head> tag. 

This is especially important if your referral URL is set to a page (e.g. different from where your signup form is at (e.g. since you'll want to get the user tracked the first time they arrive on any page in your website. 

Prefinery's JavaScript Snippet automatically records the referrer's code in a cookie, which your domain can access. As soon as the user navigates to a different page, the change in the URL will not carry over the referral code parameter, but since the referrer's code was already recorded anytime the user eventually signs up on your website the referral gets attributed to the referrer.


Did the referred user use plus-addressing for the same email address the referrer used?

You cannot use plus-addressing for referred users (e.g. with the referrer using the same email address (e.g. to test out referrals as Prefinery doesn't count referrals using this method to prevent potential abuse. Instead, use a different email address that you own or have access to.


Did you have double opt-in enabled?

A referral is only counted if the referred user's status becomes Applied.

With double opt-in enabled, a new user goes through the Unconfirmed status first, then once they confirm via email opt-in it changes to Applied

Prefinery recommends enabling Double Opt-in for your project as it improves your email deliverability, increases engagement with your users, and leads to better overall email marketing. 


Referral is recorded in the project, but integration or webhooks isn't returning the referrer's email address?

Following the previous point regarding double opt-in, the referral is only established once the referred user is in the  Applied status at which point we will fire the tester_referred event once. This event includes the information on both the referring and referred users. 

If using integrations or webhooks, make sure to use the user/tester_applied (completed opt-in confirmation) event as your trigger if you're looking to capture the referrer's information. 

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