Step 1: The Basic Elements of Your First Zeustrak Campaign

Welcome to the QuickStart section. This section contains guides focused on helping new users get started with Zeustrak. By reading these guides you will learn how to set up, test, improve and optimize your campaigns.

In order to bring visitors from the traffic source to the offer, track their behavior and optimize form the data you’ll be receiving, you’ll need to first properly configure Zeustrak.

A basic Zeustrak advertising campaign consists of 7 main elements.

Let’s explore these elements one by one. For newcomers, server and tracking domain setups are the most complicated steps in preparing your Zeustrak environment. So please, be patient and carefully follow the instructions.

Element #1: Server

There are two main tracker types: self-hosted and cloud-based trackers. Every type has its own advantages and disadvantages as discussed here but Zeustrak differs from all of them. It’s the first-ever hybrid tracker in the affiliate marketing business that’s been designed to have all the advantages of each system while eliminating the disadvantages.

With Zeustrak all of your landing pages are stored in the Zeustrak Cloud and are easily distributed across the entire server. This means there’s no longer a need to set up a separate server solution. We achieve this by directly integrating with DigitalOcean (use this link to register a Digital Ocean account to receive a discount) or Amazon server systems via the API key. This allows us to separate our users and eliminate any intersections between them. 

Also thanks to this, we also support native filtering at the campaign level with zero-redirects.

So now it is time to integrate the API key to Zeustrak The server is needed in order to store your ad campaigns data. All server management is integrated directly into Zeustrak. This frees you from having to connect to the server via SSH or FTP, and as such, the tracker helps you carry out all of your daily routine work.


Zeustrak hint:

Make sure to choose a region for the server as close as possible to the region in which you will advertise your offer. This needs to be done to ensure fast landing page load times. Example: if you plan to advertise an offer in Southeast Asia, the most logical choice would be to locate the server in Singapore.


No matter which service you choose here’s how to create a cloud account in Zeustrak via the API key integration function.

Instructions: Creating a cloud account in Zeustrak

Go to Websites > Cloud Accounts and press the New account button.

Then, select the account type and expand the How it works section to see the step by step instructions on how to create an account in Digital Ocean or Amazon Web Services.

Here we’ll show you how to create API keys in these services. Complete step by step instructions on how to create accounts can be found here for Digital Ocean and here for Amazon Web Services.

  1. Sign in to your Digital Ocean account. Go to the Account > API > Token / keys section and click the Generate New Token button. Digital Ocean will generate a unique key (a.k.a. token). Using it you’ll be able to set up new servers with just one click of a button, without leaving the Zeustrak interface, but first, you need to integrate it into the tracker.
  2. Define a name for your token, do not uncheck the Write (optional) checkbox because Zeustrak will need it to create servers, and then click the Generate New Token button.
  3. Copy the generated token by clicking on the Copy link after the token ID.

    Zeustrak alert:

    For security reasons, this token will be shown only once, copy and save it in a safe place.


    Now that you’re finished with generating the access token, let's move on to the next section - integration of the Digital Ocean API key into Zeustrak. For your convenience, Zeustrak has an excellent setup wizard that guides you through the process. All you need to do then is to enter the desired name for your account (make it something that makes sense to you) in the Account Name field and paste your token from Digital Ocean into the API Key field. After doing this, press the Create & Close button.
  1. Sign in to your AWS Console. In the top right corner click on your account name and open the drop-down menu. Choose the My Security Credentials option.
  2. In this pop-up window, tick Don't show me this message again in the checkbox (optional) and press the Continue to Security Credentials button.
  3. Open the Access keys (access key ID and secret access key) section and press the Create New Access Key button.
  4. A new pop-up window will appear notifying you that your access key ID and secret access key has been successfully created. These keys are needed to integrate with Zeustrak. Press the Download Key File button. Save it somewhere safe on your computer. If you lose them, you will need to create your keys again.
  5. The .csv file will be downloaded. Open it and find the key values.
  6. You’ve now finished generating the access token. Let's move on to the next section - integration of the Amazon Web Services API key into Zeustrak. For your convenience, Zeustrak has provided a setup wizard. All you need to do now is set the desired name for your account (something that will make sense to you) in the Account Name field and paste your token from AWS to the API Key field. After doing this press the Create & Close button.

Now you can create a server with a couple of clicks and get rid of tons of advanced server work.
Since you're done with server integration to Zeustrak it’s time to create your first server.

Instructions: Create a server in Zeustrak

In the left-side menu go to Websites > Servers.

Press the New Server button. The server editor will appear.

Select a previously created cloud account. After that, the region selection menu will open.

Select the region in which your server will be created and click the Create server button.


Zeustrak hint:

You need to choose a region for the server as close as possible to the region in which you will advertise your offer. This needs to be done to ensure that the loading of the landers happens as soon as possible. Example: if you plan to advertise an offer in Southeast Asia, it would be logical to locate the server in Singapore.


After the successful creation of the server, it will be initialized in about 5 minutes. To make sure that the server is successfully initialized, click the Refresh button. If you see the OK status, this means that the server is fully operational and ready to use.

See how fast and simple it was to create a server? There are several advantages to this approach: first, you don’t need to be a system administrator to create a server (no SSH, no FTP, no terminal and so on), second, you don’t need any proxy services like Cloudflare because you can create a new server with a new IP address in a matter of seconds.
Let’s proceed to the next element of a Zeustrak campaign.

Element #2: Tracking Domain

The tracking domain is a necessary component for storing data in Zeustrak. You’ll need this data to analyze and then optimize your advertising campaigns. You’ll learn more about what else the tracking domain is used for in the safe page section.

Go ahead and register a new domain name if you haven’t done so already, then come back to this guide to proceed with the domain settings.


Zeustrak hint:

Pick up a domain name that will look attractive to your visitors and will correlate with the advertised offers. Example: if you are promoting an offer about financial instruments it’s better to register a domain name such as financial-advices.info. In affiliate marketing, such semantic pairings directly refer to the vertical and provides clarity.


After you've bought a domain you’ll need to first add the A-record. If you’re not familiar with DNS and A-Records, please read this article to understand how DNS works.

Here are instructions for the most popular domain name registrars.

  1. Go to your domain registrar admin panel and enter the domain settings.
  2. Delete every record automatically predefined by the domain registrar if they already exist.
  3. Press the add new record button.
  4. Select A-record for the record type.
  5. NOTE: This step is very important so please pay close attention!
    • Open Zeustrak in a new tab.
    • Go to the Websites > Servers menu section.
    • Now find the server you’ve created in the previous section and press the Copy IP button.
  6. Back in domain settings of the domain registrar admin panel, paste the copied IP address into the appropriate field.
    • Type @ symbol into the field named Host.
    • Press the save button. You can expect a propagation time up to 24 hours (usually much less) for DNS to update.
  1. Go to the Namecheap admin panel and access the Domain List section. Locate the domain you want to use as a tracking-domain and press the Manage button.
  2. Go to the Advanced DNS section and press the Add New Record button.
  3. NOTE: This step is very important so please pay close attention!
    • Open Zesutrak in the new tab.
    • Go to the Websites > Servers menu section.
    • Find the server you have created in the previous section and press the Copy IP button.
  4. Go back to the domain settings.
    • Choose A Record for the record type.
    • Type the symbol @ in the Host field.
    • Paste the copied IP address of the server from Zeustrak to the IP Address field.
    • Leave TTL as is.
    • Press the Save button.
  5. IMPORTANT: Delete CNAME and URL Redirect Record!
  1. Go to the GoDaddy admin panel, enter the Domains section.
  2. Locate the domain you want to use as a tracking-domain and press the Manage DNS button.
  3. NOTE: This step is very important so please pay close attention!
    • Open Zesutrak in the new tab.
    • Go to the Websites > Servers menu section.
    • Find the server you have created in the previous section and press the Copy IP button.
  4. Go back to the domain settings then press the Edit button.
  5. Paste the copied IP address of the server from Zeustrak in the Points to field then press the Save button.
  6. IMPORTANT: Delete both CNAME records!

Zeustrak hint:

Worried about SSL? No need to worry because all domains, added in Zeustrak will automatically have a free SSL certificate installed.

Next, you’ll need to add this domain as a tracking domain in Zeustrak.

Instructions: Add a tracking domain in Zeustrak

Go to Websites > Domains and press the New domain button.

Choose the server you've added earlier and enter the domain name with the following format: teenagemutantninjaturtles.com (without http:// or https://)

Press the Create button and wait until the page has reloaded - you are now going to set up the next element of the Zeustrak campaign - a safe page.

Element #3: Safe and money pages

The safe page is a web page that will be shown to the bots and other unwanted traffic. You determine what traffic is unwanted by means of the campaign filter settings. Zeustrak offers two options to create the safe page: clone an existing website and have a fully working copy of it or create a new Wordpress site and manually fill it with relevant content.


Zeustrak alert:

Please only clone the websites that only belong to you or ones that you have permission from a website owner to use!


A money page is a URL address located on a safe page that is connected to a tracking domain. You’ll need this URL to place on your traffic source (e.g. Facebook ad). Depending on the traffic you get (bots or real visitors) this page will be a safe page or a money page (your landing page will be the one shown to the real visitor).

Instructions: Add a money page in Zeustrak

To make the safe pages work you’ll need to choose the domain type. Zeustrak offers three domain types. The difference between these types is explained here, for this example well choose Tracking + Clone existing site or webpage. It is the easiest way to have a fully working safe page in just a couple of seconds.

At this point, you’ll need to find a source website to clone. This website will be used to act as a safe page. Copy the web address of this website and paste it in the Source website field.

Next, we’ll need a money page.

If you want to make main (index) source website page act as a money page fill the Money page field with the "/" (slash) character. Otherwise specify the exact path to the money page without the domain like so: /about-us

Press the Update & Close button and you’re now done with the safe page and money page setup!

Element #4: Traffic Source

A traffic source is any platform that generates traffic to your ad campaigns. This includes ad networks, ad exchanges, Facebook or Google and Demand-Side Platforms.

To run a campaign, you’ll first need a steady stream of traffic to target. Zeustrak has created a traffic source template for you called Facebook with all of the necessary settings already configured since this social network is currently the most popular traffic source among affiliate marketers all over the world.

You can start using the basic Facebook traffic source template right away or create your own.

Instructions: Add a new traffic source in Zeustrak

To add a new traffic source go to Menu > Traffic Sources and click on the New Traffic Source button.

Define a Name for your traffic source and set your traffic source postback URL (optional) with tokens (optional). Not all traffic sources provide a postback mechanism. See the detailed explanation of what postback is, how it works and how to set it up in Zeustrak.

Advanced option: configure the variables to your traffic source. In a configured Zeustrak traffic source template, click ID tokens are generally mapped into the External ID field.

Use the “{visit.externalid}” placeholder in the postback URL to pass the Visit ID back to the traffic source. A complete list of tracking parameters can be found here.

Use other fields to define placeholders for the campaign URL you will use to send traffic to.

Configure the Lander parameters. Zeustrak has a feature to set a list of variables to be automatically passed to your lander when the user follows your campaign link from the traffic source. For example, you might use this feature to send visit ID or some custom data to any lander of the campaign. Or you are running a Facebook campaign and need a Facebook Pixel ID to be passed from campaign settings to your lander.
Use the Lander Parameters sub-section of the Traffic Source section to create a list of variables.
Parameter - a name of the variable to be passed to your lander;
Form label - a meaningful name for the variable, displayed in the forms;
Default value - you may use any URL token as a default value.

Press the Create & Close button.

Element #5: Affiliate Network

An affiliate network is a campaign element that helps you to organize promoted offers by their source, apply additional tracking-related options and add tracking parameters to an offer URL.

Zeustrak has a predefined sample of an affiliate network. Go to the Affiliate Networks section of the menu to explore it or to create your own.

Instructions: Add a new affiliate network to Zeustrak

To add a new affiliate network go to Menu > Affiliate Networks and click on the New Affiliate Network button.

Define a Name for the new affiliate network.

Add the Tracking parameters. This is optional but you should understand how it works.

Each affiliate network has a mechanism called a subid. This mechanism is created to pass any information captured by Zeustrak to an offer, and then, to the affiliate network. To do so, you’ll need to use Zeustrak tokens (blue bubbles depicted above) that you’ll pair with the affiliate network's subids in an offer URL.
To make it easier to use, you can define tracking parameters right in the affiliate network settings. When you create the offer you'll be choosing one of your affiliate networks, and these tracking parameters will be appended to the offer URL automatically, so you don't have to type it every time you need it. You will know more about the offer URL set up a little later, but now let's take a look at the example on how to use tracking parameters.
You’ll have the information about a lander id stored in the Zeustrak {lander.id} token.
In the example below, an affiliate network's subid2 is used to pass information stored in that token:
https://offer_url.com?subid1={visit.id}&subid2={lander.id}
Upon clicking the offer URL, the tokens will be replaced with the values stored in the system. The clicked offer URL will look like this:
https://offer_url.com?subid1=c384EFV6JHQODRN70575OK6U&subid2=873
This information will then be passed to the affiliate network and you can then use it to optimize your campaigns.

To receive postbacks from an affiliate network to the tracker, you must pass the {visit.id} to the appropriate subid of a particular affiliate network. Affiliate network postbacks are explained here in detail.

Tick the Attach tale as is? checkbox if you don’t need an ampersand or question mark automatically added to the offer URL.
This is helpful when your tracking parameters look like this:
&subid10={visit.id}&subid11={lander.id} or ?subid1={visit.id}&subid2={lander.id}
If your tracking parameters are looking like this:
subid1={visit.id}&subid2={lander.id}
Zeustrak will automatically add a question mark or ampersand to your offer URL link.

Tick the Allow duplicate postbacks checkbox to receive duplicate postbacks, let's say for the offer upsells as an example. Please, refer to this article to learn more about duplicate postbacks.

Press the Create & Close button.

Element #6: Offer

It is quite straightforward to add an offer to Zeustrak. As usual, Zeustrak has prepared a sample offer for you beforehand so let’s explore these settings further.

Instructions: Add an offer in Zeustrak

Go to Offers section in the main menu, then click on the row and press the Edit button.

This will open the offer editor.

Name - type the name of the offer that will make sense to you later.

Affiliate Network - choose the affiliate network that’s the source of the offer. Remember the previous section with the Affiliate network element.

Countries - select countries where this offer will be promoted. This is an optional setting just used for organizational purposes. You’ll set the actual restriction by country later in the campaign settings.

URL - the main part of the offer settings. It consists of two parts the offer URL itself and a “tail” of the tracked parameters. The first part comes from the description in the affiliate network itself and the second part comes from the affiliate network element template. You can add more parameters to your offer link to pass to the affiliate network, just make sure you follow the syntax requirements of the affiliate network. Let’s say the affiliate network where the offer comes from accepts a language parameter and you want to track it. This parameter is called “lang”. So you’ll need to add a question mark (?) at the end of the first part of the offer URL, then type the parameter name "lang", then type the equal sign (=) and then press + {language} snippet. Now your offer URL will look like this http://zeustrack.com/offer.php?lang={language}. Zeustrak will then pass the language of every visitor’s user agent data to the affiliate network.

Postback URL - this is the link that will be sent by the affiliate network after the conversion has sent data about this conversion back to Zeustrak. After that, you will see this data in your reports. Copy this postback URL to your affiliate network and replace CLICK_ID and PAYOUT_USD placeholders with the tokens provided by your affiliate network.

Payout type - here you define how the data about payout after conversion will come to Zeustrak. Choose Auto if your affiliate network supports sending payout via postback URL or hard-set it manually (less accurate).

Element #7: Landing Page

A Landing page (or lander) is an intermediary web page shown after a visitor clicks on an ad, and which also precedes an offer. Essentially, a landing page is an extension of the ad in the traffic source that displays sales or marketing information intended to "seduce" a visitor to "click through" to the respective offer and to "warm-up" this visitor to actually perform the action.

Decide between External-hosting or the Zeustrak Cloud. The cloud landing option has more advantages and is therefore recommended.

The Zeustrak Cloud lander is a lander that runs and maintains itself on the Zeustrak servers. This makes it much easier to store and manage all your landers and assets in one place, at no additional charge.

An External-hosted lander is a lander that runs and maintains itself, using your own web server.

Here is how you’ll add and set up a new lander.

Go to Menu > Landers list > New lander and define a name for your lander.

Decide between External hosting or the Zeustrak cloud (recommended).

You can use the cloud hosting option integrated into the tracker to store your landers. It is much easier and you can store and manage all of your landers and assets in one place. To store your lander in the Zeustrak Cloud, you’ll need a single HTML file as well as a single folder containing all of your relevant assets.

The easiest way to do this is to tick the Load lander by URL checkbox when you're creating a new lander. Zeustrak will then download all the content from the URL provided and upload it to the Zeustrak Cloud.

This can also be achieved by saving a page from your browser (press Cmd/Ctrl + S). Then you can upload all of the assets to the relevant lander and put the HTML code in the Code text field.

  1. Prepare your lander for upload.
    • Create a new folder on your local machine called /assets. Place all of the lander files (images, styles, scripts) in this folder.
    • Define the path to the files in HTML code. Your lander structure should look like this:
      index.html
      ├── assets/style.css
      ├── assets/image.png
      ├── assets/script.js
    • Update all the tracking links with http://{trackingdomain}/click/?origin={origin}
    • Add placeholders if needed (You can add variables such as {city} and {countryname})
    • You can pass up to 20 variables to a lander and/or offer from the tracking URL: {var1}, {var2}, {var3}
    • Add var1= to the tracking URL for example http:/domain.com/land/?var1=123
    • Add {var1} to any place in your Lander if you want to pass it from the tracking URL, for example <h1>Header {var1}</h1>
    • Add {var1} to the offer URL on offer setup  http://affiliatenetworktrk.com/?a=123&c=456&s1={var1} if you want it to pass to the offer.
  2. Upload your files to Zeustrak from your /assets folder.

     Upload it to the server using the Load assets button at the bottom of the screen below the Code editor.
  3. Copy and Paste your HTML source code to the code editor or you can upload lander code by URL.

    NOTE: you should never upload unnecessary scripts to a local lander folder, especially ones that change the URLs!
  4. Set the Offers count.
    This shows the number of different offers that are promoted on your page at the same time. Read this article to learn how to set up multiple offers on a single landing page.
  5. Press the Create & Close button.
  1. To make the offer links active, you must pass two important parameters from your campaign to the lander. Go to your traffic source settings and check that you have at least two Lander Parameters set, as shown in the screenshot (origin and trackingdomain):
  2. Edit your lander code:

    • Click URLs (links from lander to offer) should look like this:
      http://{trackingdomain}/click/?origin={origin}
    • Add the following script somewhere in the lander code:
      <script>function g(n,d){var v=(RegExp(n+'='+'([^&]+?)(&|$)').exec(location.search)||[,null])[1];if(v){v=decodeURI(v)}return v||d}var zlinks=(function(){function fetch_link(url,data){url=decodeURI(url);var tail=[];for(var p in data){if(!data.hasOwnProperty(p)||typeof data[p]==='undefined'){continue}if(url.indexOf('{'+p+'}')>-1){url=url.replace('{'+p+'}',data[p])}else{tail.push(p+'='+encodeURIComponent(data[p]))}}if(tail.length){url=url+'&'+tail.join('&')}return encodeURI(url)}return{onload:function(data){window.addEventListener('load',function(){zlinks.update(data)})},update:function(data){var links=document.getElementsByTagName('a');var link;for(var i=0;i<links.length;i++){link=links[i];if(link.href.indexOf('origin')>-1){link.href=fetch_link(link.href,data)}}}}})();zlinks.onload({'trackingdomain':g('trackingdomain'),'origin':g('origin')});</script>
    • How does it work?
      When a user is redirected to your external hosted lander, Zeustrak passes two data parameters-- the tracking domain and origin--in the lander URL. The script picks those parameter values from the URL and replaces the appropriate tokens in URLs ({trackingdomain} with the tracking domain URL parameter, etc.).

    • Set the URL of your lander;
      You can use placeholders from the list below the URL field to pass extra data from the tracker to your page.

Now that your initial setup is done. It's time to put everything together into the first Zeustrak campaign.

Go to the next step - Step 2: Creating Your First Zeustrak Campaign.