Effective Use of Promotions in Affiliate Campaigns

by Jessica Ramesh

There are a significant amount of choices in terms of the number of affiliate campaigns available. In any given sector, numerous campaigns are vying for an affiliate’s attention. While commission rates and brand names play a part in the decision making process, ultimately affiliates are obviously looking to maximise returns on traffic they send.

Offering promotions provides an effective way of standing out from the crowd. This can be in terms of offers aimed at affiliates themselves or consumer propositions. If consumer focused, promotions can be seen as a way to improve conversion rates and ultimately the earnings per click affiliates can expect to receive.

Alternatively, promotions aimed at affiliates can reward them for delivering pre determined sales volumes or hitting individual targets based on the value of sales.

Irrespective of who the offers are directed at it is essential the timeliness and ultimate goal of the incentive are carefully considered. If there is a calendar of events that tie in with a merchant’s offering, any promotions can be based around this. For example, if a mobile phone network launches a new handset, offers can be featured around the launch. Similarly, for a gambling campaign promotions could be centred on a particular sporting event. The relevancy and timing of any deals will add to the success.

When assessing the value of consumer led promotions, overall objectives need to be considered. Is the aim to generate additional sales volume or is it to increase the average basket values that you are currently experiencing? Are you looking to acquire new customers or secure existing customers from switching to competitors? These factors need to be considered when deciding on a promotional strategy and will vary sector to sector. It is also imperative to consider the type of affiliate sites you are working with and how best to utilise them. For example, content sites can be worked with closely to sell the benefits of a new product offering or voucher code sites can be engaged with to strategically increase basket values by offering “stretch and save” codes. By playing to affiliates’ strengths you can reap the rewards.

When looking at promotions that are aimed at affiliates, it is extremely important to consider the motivations that drive them to push your campaign. If the offer appeals to your affiliate base, an opportunity presents itself for increased exposure across a wide range of sites, giving a competitive advantage.

For a successful affiliate promotion you need to be clear on what you are aiming to achieve and make it as simple and inclusive as possible. If affiliates feel there is a competition they have no chance of winning, they are unlikely to enter. Incentives that offer a prize for the affiliate who makes the most sales are unlikely to motivate longtail affiliates whereas a competition that rewards the greatest uplift in volumes is more likely to be engaged with. Similarly cash prizes are unlikely to be as effective as “money can’t buy” prizes – affiliates are more likely to want something that they might not buy themselves such as a once in a lifetime experience, so they may be inclined to put more effort behind the offer.

Promotions are a very powerful tool for affiliate campaigns when utilised effectively. Done badly advertisers may find their ROI hit for no additional sales but handled strategically with an eye to the nuances of their campaign, they can be an effective tool for enhanced engagement and revenue.

Matt Swan
Client Strategist, Affiliate Window & buy.at