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Segmenting Your Affiliates – Different Affiliates have Different Needs

Segmenting Your Affiliates – Different Affiliates have Different Needs


As the affiliate channel continues to become more sophisticated, it is becoming increasingly important for advertisers to segment their affiliate base.

In order to make the most of the various promotional types that are available, advertisers need to understand the triggers that enable them to target their audience effectively. Categorising affiliates in the first instance can help advertisers to segment their publisher base. This categorisation could be based on the affiliate’s primary promotional type. For example, voucher code affiliates could be classified as one type while price comparison sites can be classified as another. Both of these affiliate types will need different tools in order to be utilised effectively.

The nature of vouchercode sites mean that their visitors are looking for deals and will be price sensitive. By providing them with codes that will appeal to their target audience, it places them in a better position to convert their visitors into customers. This does not need to be a large discount – in fact, something as simple as offering free delivery can have a massive impact on conversions.

Research from ComScore last year indicated that average order values of those that came with free delivery were on average 30% higher. A high proportion of potential customers leave the purchasing process when they are faced with a delivery charge so this is ideal to encourage conversion.

Consider Different Approaches, including Categorisation

When working with differing affiliate types, a different approach will be required. Content affiliates for example may ask for unique content or product descriptions in order to get visitors to their sites. It could also be an idea to select influential bloggers to receive a product as a trial so that they are able to write a product review to gain increased coverage.

While affiliates have traditionally been classified by their promotional type, an extension to this is required to really understand affiliates on their individual merits. Categorisation is based on the assumption that all affiliates within the same category will attract the same audience. This view is rather outdated as two affiliates that appear to be the same on the surface, can have a completely different audience and quality of customer. There is now a great deal of crossover between affiliates’ promotional methods and how they are generating traffic to their sites will vary. This will have ramifications on their target audience and the type of customers they are able to deliver to an advertiser.

Again, it is important that affiliates are segmented effectively and their needs are catered for. By understanding affiliates on an individual basis, advertisers will have the knowledge of who is best positioned to deliver on certain product types. For example, a telecoms company may offer TV packages and broadband – if their goal is to increase broadband sales, by successfully segmenting their publisher base they will know which affiliates are likely to generate broadband sales rather than shift additional TV packages.

If it is an advertiser working within the travel sector this segmentation could be on destination. Advertisers will be able to understand which offers and locations are suited to the correct segment of affiliates.

Segmenting by Revenue

An additional way to segment affiliates is on the amount of revenue they drive to the business.

A typical programme will have around 80% of revenue delivered by key partners with the additional revenue coming from the long tail of affiliates. Both of these segments will require a different approach to managing them so it is important for advertisers to adapt their communication to the relevant segments. In order to stimulate and grow the long tail advertisers can consider incentives and promotions. For the top tier of affiliates more personalised and strategic management will be required to make the most from the partnerships.

While it had previously been possible to launch a campaign and standardise an approach to all affiliates, the channel has now advanced considerably. To ensure that a campaign fulfils its potential, it is imperative that advertisers segment their affiliate base and cater for their individual needs.

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Matt Swan

Matt Swan

As a Client Strategist at Digital Window Matt works with advertisers across both Affiliate Window and platforms. The role involves working closely with the account management and business development teams on delivering and optimising affiliate campaigns.

Matt also works on research projects both for individual clients and overall market trends. He has recently undertaken research into the mobile network sector and also investigating the growth of m-commerce within the affiliate channel.

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