Whitepaper: Assessing The True Value of Voucher Codes

by Jessica Ramesh

Matt Swan, Head of Business Intelligence at Affiliate Window, introduces the agency’s recent voucher code whitepaper

The affiliate channel has seen exceptional growth over the past five years – typically growing by an average of 15 per cent year on year. With advertisers increasing spend in the channel it is inevitable for it to increasingly be under the spotlight.

One of the promotional types that comes under the greatest scrutiny is voucher coding. Being an incentivised traffic source, voucher code sites are primed to convert consumers – with strong offers enticing them to purchase. There is a commonly held belief that sites built around deals, offers and discounts add little value in the early stages of the path to conversion and are merely there to convert. Coupled with this is the misconception that voucher code sites offer little ‘incremental’ value and merely overwrite cookies from other affiliates that were involved at an earlier stage of the publisher journey.

Over the past few years we have been keen to share our data in order to analyse the performance of voucher code sites. With the affiliate channel based on a ‘last click wins’ business model, it is no surprise to see publisher types emerge that are primed to convert visitors. But are these customers visitors that had previously clicked through another affiliate site before searching for a voucher code prior to completing their purchase?

The chart below considers the sales that have been generated by the top voucher code sites on the network. It shows the share of sales where the affiliate driving the conversion is the only affiliate involved (converted solo) where there was another affiliate involved before the voucher code site ‘won’ the sale (converted awin) and where the voucher code site was overwritten by another affiliate (assisted awin).


In 65 per cent of transactions where a voucher code affiliate converted a sale, they were the only affiliate involved. It could be argued that these sales may not have occurred had it not been for voucher code affiliate. Just 14 per cent of sales saw another affiliate cookie overwritten while 21 per cent had their cookie overwritten by another affiliate.

Where there has been cookie overwriting present, this is typically within the same promotional type. For example, a consumer comparing offerings across more than one voucher code site in order to get the best deal. The chart below considers the promotional types overwritten by voucher code sites on a typical retail programme.


While some overwriting is prevalent when looking at voucher code sales, the vast majority of these are overwriting another incentivised traffic source—be that another voucher code site, cashback, or loyalty site. The savvy online consumer knows there is a deal to be had and is prepared to look around for the best value.

Some of the largest voucher code sites are bigger than the majority of the advertisers they promote. With over two thirds of sales through voucher code sites having only having a single interaction, it certainly highlights their ability to target consumers who may not have otherwise purchased.

It is important for advertisers to understand how to work effectively with voucher code sites to be able to drive value as well as volume through these partners.

This article has been taken from a section of Affiliate Window’s recent voucher code whitepaper. If you would like to receive a full copy of our whitepaper which analyses how to work with voucher code sites to drive both volume and value, please get in touch to receive a copy.