Affiliate marketing manager at iProspect, George Gray,  discusses how publishers such as the Mail Online, are using affiliate channels to monetise their user bases. He also highlights how affiliate channels within social media are increasingly becoming part of a brand’s digital strategy and how they are used in email retargeting….


So often, people’s perception of the affiliate channel is that it’s nothing but deal led sites such as voucher codes and cashback. Whilst these sites are an important part of many brands overall media spend, not just affiliate, it has become more and more apparent over the last 12 months that the term ‘affiliate’ incorporates so much more.

This fact has recently been highlighted by the Mail Online’s decision to monetise its ever-growing user base itself to become an affiliate. Already signed up to a number of programmes, Mail Online is utilising its on-site content with strategically placed affiliate links to allow its users to purchase the dress of their favourite celebrity or book a holiday to the same place as their favourite singer.

Mail Online is just the most recent publisher type to harness pure performance marketing with display networks, social platforms and mobile DSPs already understanding the value of winning new business through working simply to a CPA model. Examples of this include:


Referrals within social media are becoming an important part of many brand’s digital strategy and it’s something already being heavily utilised within the affiliate channel. The user journey is based on a customer purchasing through a brand’s site and then subsequently to a social distribution scheme. Upon signing up the customer is informed of an incentivisation if they share the products with friends. The person then takes a link from the brand site and posts this anywhere on a number of social media platforms (for example on a friend’s wall on Facebook). Their friend (the referred person) sees this link and eventually clicks through to purchase. Once purchased both the referrer and referee receives their incentivisation.


As well as your traditional display retargeting networks, of which there are now many running purely on a CPA, there are now a number of companies which offer a basket abandonment solution for clients via email retargeting. With a simple piece of JavaScript placed on the registration page and shopping basket page capturing the user’s email address, publishers can identify users who don’t complete their purchase and retarget them with an email allowing them to re-engage with the brand and hopefully encourage them to purchase.

With more and more brands unwilling to test new formats whilst incurring financial risk, it’s to be expected that other media channels, traditionally bought on a CPC or CPM, will be available on a CPA and subsequently fall under the affiliate channel. In many sectors, especially travel where margins are becoming tighter each year, brands are looking for opportunities to help diversify their online media and the affiliate channel is now giving brands exactly that.


Do you agree with George? Comment below and let us know your thoughts…