Publishers are always looking for ways to cement loyalty within their user base and securing exclusives is one very good way to do this. For that reason an exclusive is often one of the most powerful tools at an advertiser’s disposal to try and ensure decent exposure and incremental orders. 

However, it is not always immediately obvious what the exclusive should be or which publisher it should be run with. Even if you do know what it should be and which publisher to run it with, merely issuing an exclusive to a publisher does not guarantee that you will see the results you expect. 

This article aims to bring some considerations to your attention and help you to formulate the correct strategy for distributing voucher exclusives to your affiliate base.

1. Publisher rotation

I know, I know, this is nothing revolutionary, but we may as well get the most cliché strategy out of the way first. It is a tactic which has been employed by advertisers for many years and it remains one of the most effective ways of consistently getting the greatest yield out of your exclusive offering.

On the whole an exclusive is something for a publisher to brag about but with hundreds of advertisers all vying for pole position on publisher sites your exclusive is not going to be thrust into the face of the consumer by the same publisher for months on end.

It is advisable to rotate exclusive vouchers in short bursts between a handful of publishers to get maximum exposure for the time that you have the exclusive signed off to run.

2. Front load to hit sales targets

Assuming your exclusive is linked to some pretty meaty sales targets it would be advisable to minimise risk by getting as many orders in the bag as early as possible. That way you can make some educated decisions as to what to do with it next.

Use one of your larger publishers to run the code with initially. You already know your products/services have traction with their audience so it is an ideal way to get a real sense of the incrementality of the offer. If it is not performing as hoped it might be time to change the offer. If it is bringing in the volumes you expected then you have some leeway to test the exclusive with smaller volume drivers next. 

3. Do not take a punt

Sometimes an exclusive voucher is used as a way to engage with new or smaller volume drivers as opposed to drive significant order volumes and it is a perfectly viable solution to do so. However, an exclusive can be hard for an advertiser to secure and often squeezes profit margins so don’t be tempted to give them away too easily.

Before testing an exclusive offer with a publisher, first assess the traction of your non-exclusive offers with that publisher’s audience. If they promote your non-exclusive offers and there’s no natural demand it is less likely that your exclusive will fly.

4. Understand the product mix

If your exclusive relates to a particular product or product category then make sure you run it with an affiliate that already drives a significant proportion of that product/category. There’s no point giving an exclusive on apples if their users are only interested in pears. 

5. Ask publishers what they want

Publishers will invariably know what kind of offers their user base responds best to. If you are able to be flexible with your exclusives (because there is no point asking if you only have the ability to generate one kind of exclusive) there is really no harm in asking your publishers what kinds of exclusives they would like to see.

A range of different exclusives to satisfy the demands of different audiences across different publishers is difficult to achieve but an excellent strategy in theory.  

6. Create some buzz

It is important to pave the way for your exclusive in order to gain maximum traction when it goes live. Ideally regular users of the publisher site in question will know your exclusive is coming before it arrives and be salivating with anticipation. It will not be possible to do this with all publishers, but if you can, try and get the publisher to implement a count-down to your exclusive on site. That way you are essentially extending the exposure period of the offer and doing all you can to ensure a successful first couple of days. 

In order to create further awareness before the offer goes live why not get some advertorial live on the publisher’s site or social media pages about some of the products/services involved in the upcoming exclusive? This way they are fresh in the mind of the user when the exclusive goes live.

7. Outline exposure 

If you do not ask, you do not get. Make sure you take a good look at a publisher’s site and construct an ideal ‘wish list’ of exposure before going to them with an exclusive. A lot of publishers have set exposure packages and rate cards but you would be surprised what you can get if you come prepared!

8. Devise realistic targets

You may not normally give your publishers sales targets, but when you run an exclusive it is a great way to try and ensure you get the amount of orders you want out of it while also making your expectations clear to the publisher from the outset, allowing them to manage your expectations.

If budgets allow it and you are still looking like you will hit your target CPA, tie your sales target in with a bonus to further incentivise the publisher to push your exclusive as hard as they can.

9. Making a non-exclusive, exclusive

Not all advertisers have the luxury of being able to whip up an exclusive voucher at the drop of a hat. In that instance you can turn a non-exclusive, affiliate-wide code into an exclusive by simply releasing it a few days early to one lucky publisher. 

Hopefully the points in this article highlight the need to think about what is going to happen before, during and after you run an exclusive in order to get the most out of it. As with many things the key is preparation and the ability to gain a real understanding of what you want out of the exclusive before deciding who to run it with.