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Get High Returns with Card-Linked Offer Affiliates

Card-linked offer (CLO) affiliates have made their way onto the affiliate marketing scene. Brands that are willing to venture outside of the box with Acceleration Partners have seen high returns and increased revenue with these affiliates.
We view CLO affiliates as their own category separate from loyalty partners because the technologies they’re leveraging and the data they’re analyzing is unique to this type of partnership, making them a high-value contributor to many brands’ affiliate programs.

Let’s take a deeper dive into what these CLO affiliates do and the value they can offer brands that partner with them.


What are card-linked offer (CLO) affiliates?

A card-linked offer is a process of providing customers with targeted offers based on their purchasing behavior. Once the cardholder uses their enrolled card to make a qualifying purchase, they receive a certain amount of bonus points, cashback or statement credits.

When card-linked offers first began, banking institutions primarily partnered with restaurants and local businesses, however, e-commerce is now considered to be the number three CLO merchant category.


How are CLO partners benefiting brands in ways other affiliates are not?

It wasn’t until more recently that we’ve started considering CLO as a category of their own within affiliate partner types, due to their targeting and attribution model.

Many traditional affiliates use affiliate network tracking links and pixels to obtain marketing touchpoints and attribution data. For CLO partners, they leverage card transaction data. This data is their source of truth for a sale and the key to how they target. In a way, it’s similar to how we look at our own bank statements.

Whenever Google or Apple roll out a new update, it changes and morphs the way advertisers can target their best customers. These updates don’t affect the CLO channel as much because they use historical card transactions for their targeting strategy.

For example:

Let’s say you’re a women’s apparel brand, and you want to target new customers or increase your market share/share of voice and acquire your competitor’s customers. CLO affiliates can help you do exactly that because they have years of consumer purchasing history.

For brands and consumers concerned about the safety and privacy of their information, rest assured CLO affiliates have plenty of precautions in place, including:

  • Working with well-known and credible financial institutions and large travel companies
  • Placing compliance as a top priority
  • Implementing lengthy contract deals with banking institutions
  • Adding layers of bank-level security


What types of brands would find CLO affiliates to be a good fit for their programs?

Almost any category of brand can find value in working with CLO affiliates. However, we’ve found that brands that are out-of-the-box thinkers will see the highest success rates because they are more willing to try newer concepts and strategies.

Worried about whether these partners are truly incremental?

CLO affiliates can provide data-driven proof through detailed incrementality reports that give clarity on exactly how they formed their strategy for a brand.

While there are a few CLO affiliates that require brands to meet certain sales thresholds before partnering, there are also some who have the tools to create a compelling campaign for up-and-coming brands. Regardless of your size or vertical, CLO affiliate can fit your needs.


How are brands partnering with CLO affiliates?

Every brand has different goals, individual KPIs and needs. CLO affiliates provide a portfolio of solutions and an ample amount of flexibility to help accomplish any brand’s goals.

For example:

Let’s say you’re a brand that cares more about average order value or cart size (regardless of whether they’re a new or returning customer). The CLO partner can create offers for “spend $250 or more and get $50 back” in statement credits. They can even make an offer for “spend $500 and get 1,000 points,” and if you’re a points and miles person (like myself) that enjoys travel hacking, this can be an incredibly enticing offer. Not only is the consumer winning, but so is the brand.

CLO affiliates can customize their offers to help brands accomplish exactly what they want.


What are the benefits of CLO affiliates?

Besides everything mentioned so far, additional benefits of CLO affiliates include:

  • Providing a massive reach
  • Driving in-store sales (in addition to online)
  • Bringing in revenue almost immediately

The ramp-up period for CLO affiliates is so fast because of the high volume—we’ve seen a return on ad spend for a client partnered with one of our CLO affiliates reach as high as 30:1.

If brands have any hesitations, they should bring their questions and concerns to the table and have a conversation with the partner. Are you afraid of overlap? Are you afraid of margins? CLO affiliates can address all of these challenges – and more.


Trust your affiliate needs to a leading partnership marketing agency

As one of the first in affiliate marketing to truly embrace CLO affiliates, Acceleration Partners has been a pioneer of this partnership evolution.

We are treating CLO as their own category, and we have spent extensive time learning how each partner operates within their eco-system while combining our partnership marketing expertise to help our brands and partners scale.

Because we have embraced this channel, Acceleration Partners’ brands are able to reap the rewards by leaning on the relationships our team has developed. We can help you make the right connections to the partners who can fit your needs.


Connect with our publisher development team to tap into impressive affiliate returns today!


By: Cheryl Yee