A new entrant into the affiliate marketing industry, Apple Vacations searched for a network partner to build and grow their first affiliate program. In addition to advising on program structure, their ideal network partner could provide tools to optimize affiliate success and help with generating bottom line revenue growth.
Apple Vacations chose to work with buy.at and launched exclusively on the network in March 2009. Beyond meeting the company’s key criteria, executives appreciated buy.at’s willingness to invest in the program’s success by providing strategic guidance and detailed best practices.
After reviewing travel industry trends and competitive rates, buy.at account managers worked with Apple Vacations to establish a commission payout and cookie length that would attract affiliates from day one. An industry-leading duration for the travel sector, the 120 day cookie length was a strong sell to interested partners.
Coinciding with the establishment of a solid program structure, members of the buy.at team advised Apple Vacations to supply a wide variety of regularly updated creative to support their affiliate base. This included ongoing uploads of fresh creative in the most popular sizes – and custom creatives as requested – with each banner setup to deep link to the highest converting landing page. For affiliates that do not make regular updates, the team recommended generic banners linked to the home page. Beyond banners, buy.at worked with Apple Vacations to create, and continually add new, destination-specific text links to positively impact conversion rates. The program was also designed to work with buy.at’s ContentEngine Contextual tool, which automatically converts Apple Vacations brand terms in site copy to affiliate links.
Emphasising the importance of open communication and accessibility, buy.at launched an affiliate sub-forum for the programme to answer questions and feature promotions. In addition, buy.at worked with Apple Vacations to send regular newsletters that include relevant updates and helpful information. To support both of these channels, full buy.at account manager contact details are available via email and online.
The programme demonstrated strong results and exceeded the client’s expectations. Above and beyond initial performance as affiliates began promoting Apple Vacations, sales continued to grow at an exponential rate. Comparing full months in the first and second years of the program, the number of sales increased 109%.
Aside from sales volume, the affiliate channel drove a solid increase in new customers to the Apple Vacations website – doubling the volume of new site visitors.
“The performance of our affiliate programme is beyond our wildest expectations! In addition to bringing in new business, this channel has helped us to increase brand exposure and significantly expand our reach. We found that buy.at’s excellent account management and customer service alleviated any need to allocate more internal resources to support the programme – saving us both time and money.” - Larry Touhill, Apple Vacations