If you have been around the affiliate industry for a while, the topic of attribution has become more and more common in everyday conversations. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of attribution, the idea is that tracking all clickstream data around a visitor to a merchant’s website can reveal how marketing channels are being used to persuade that visitor to visit the site, decide on a product, and convert into a buying customer.
More data is always nice, but what exactly does that mean for the affiliate channel and affiliates specifically?
When using attribution to track how marketing channels impact a customer’s decision journey, full insight is given into how many affiliate referrals were involved. Multiple affiliate referrals, you say? That must mean the traditional ‘last click wins’ model won’t keep all affiliates rewarded for their part in helping convert a customer.
With this new insight into the number of affiliate referrals involved in each sales cycle, merchants can now keep all of those affiliates rewarded with actionable rules that split commissions according to how many referrals were made and the value of each referral. Furthermore, using real data to determine the value of an affiliate’s referral helps merchants from arbitrarily excluding certain types of affiliates from being involved in the program or applying a very low commission rate to those affiliates.
Just how important is having actionable attribution and dynamic commission splitting in place for affiliates? We posed this question to a handful of affiliates to get their opinions.
Josh West, Trimax Media
“As an affiliate we absolutely love the attribution model. Multiple affiliates can play a part in the customer’s journey but not all affiliates contribute equally to the customer’s purchase decision. The merchant should have the ability to determine the value of each affiliate involved in the purchase process and then assign the appropriate value to each step. Since the attribution model shows the purchase path, it gives affiliates the opportunity to prove their value.”
Mark Marovich, FlipGive
“This is a huge step for publishers in general as ‘all work and no pay’ doesn’t make anyone’s day. For FlipGive specifically, if we can guarantee our fundraisers’ their percentage of our commission while offsetting the customer service issues when supporters’ (shoppers) transactions aren’t credited to a campaign, we’d love to work with our merchant partners via attribution and commission splitting.”
Will the paradigm shift of a more data-driven and dynamic affiliate industry continue to grow in demand in the future? Almost assuredly. The opportunity for merchants to optimize their programs to react and reward in different ways for each referral in each sales cycle is and will continue to be a huge competitive advantage. And as full-scale attribution and commission splitting become more mainstream, affiliates will continue to look to work with programs that provide that functionality.
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