How to track direct download links for any type of file with CloudFiles?

CloudFiles enables you to track file downloads. This includes any types of files such as .doc, .pdf, .exe, .sh, .kit etc... The app provides 2 features that can enable you to do this deepending on the type of file.


Tracking CloudFile Downloads - This is appllicable to files that you would like the client to see before downloading. E.g. you may want to send a proposal PDF or a case study to a client. Page-by-page time tracking on this file is useful which is inherently provided when you share this file as a CloudFiles link. If the client downloads the file while viewing it, this may signal more interest. 


Tracking Direct Download - Sometimes files are not renderable. E.g. an exe cannot be "viewed" in a browser like a PDF. Time tracking on such files does not make any sense. However, the number of downloads or applying gating such as email verification  are still very useful for such files. With CloudFiles, you can create a link that directly starts the file download when the client clicks it and registers the time of download. Additionally you can ask for email validation or verification to get richer analytics and safer files.


In this article, we talk about direct downloads. You can read another article to learn more about CloudFiles downloads.


How to track direct downloads with CloudFiles


First off, it's important to understand that to track direct downloads, you must have a download link of your file already. I.e. your file must be hosted on a cloud storage such as Amazon S3, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive etc... All of these storages are easy to use and can generate "direct download links" of your files. If you'd like, we can help you setup Amazon S3 which we ourselves use and feel is quiet easy and affordable to use.


Now that you have the direct download link of your file, you can start using CloudFiles to track & secure your direct downloads.


Given below are detailed steps on how to track direct downloads in CloudFiles -


Step 1: Import URL into CloudFiles


You can import links just like any other files into CloudFiles and make them trackable & secure. Open the Upload modal and click on the URL tab. Enter the link and a name for the link as shown below.


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Step 2: Disable Time Tracking

In order to track direct downloads, it is important to tell CloudFiles that these are direct download links. Otherwise the app will try to track time and won't actually download the file. The best way to do this is to check the "Disable Time Tracking" button in the URL tab. This may be the case by default for some URLs. However for your direct download link, you "must ensure" that this checkbox is enabled.



Step 3: Get & Configure CloudFiles Link

Once you have updated the above settings, simply click the upload button. This will import your URL as a file in CloudFiles. Now you can get the CloudFiles link of your direct download as shown below. You can also configure various security and other settings of your link.


Step 4: Download & Track

Access the CloudFiles link in your browser. This should start the download directly. The tracking for this download will show up as a "view" in your analytics download.


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