At Acceleration Partners, we are often approached by brands to boost innovation and create a better affiliate marketing programme.
Any well-run affiliate programme will have targets and objectives for growth and efficiency that are used as measurements for growth paths and optimisation strategies. Whatever variables you are looking at, focusing on the story behind your data can help to elevate your programme, spot gaps and ultimately realise a higher ROI from the channel.
In this article, I share three ways you can elevate your programme analysis and take your programme to the next level.
Think about the tools you already have that can help you understand your programme performance in more detail – this starts with the analytics programme that your company is using for digital marketing e.g. Google Analytics. Start by setting up reports so that you can quickly check data on a daily and weekly basis.
You can also use reports in Google Analytics to help you dig deeper and understand the why behind your data. For example, both the shopping behaviour analysis in the enhanced eCommerce feature and the behaviour flow report are great ways to analyse the purchasing funnel and see where customers are dropping off or converting more frequently. Understanding where and why you are losing customers is a great way to spot areas for improvement and optimise your site. Check whether you need to improve your site content, the site loading speed and your product images.
Once you have explored your in-house options, look at the reporting offered by your network or SaaS platform. It’s also worth considering getting an outside perspective from an impartial partner. Acceleration Partners offers a consultancy service where we can dig deeper, analyse your programme and look at ways to take performance to the next level.
Telling a story
The alignment of company goals and affiliate programme KPI’s is generally not a problem. What often represents a problem, though is the analysis and interpretation of the reports that follow. Topline metrics don’t deliver detailed insight into the performance of your affiliate marketing programme or your business overall. Think about how you can put your data in context.
Consider the following questions to build your data story. How does the affiliate channel compare to other marketing channels in acquiring new customers? What is the lifetime value of a new customer? Are affiliates often the first touchpoint, the last or somewhere in the middle? Are customers purchasing more or fewer items when using affiliates sites? Are they converting faster than they are through other marketing channels?
Compare your findings from the affiliate channel to that of your other marketing channels to better understand the value your affiliate programme is bringing to your marketing mix and your overall business.
Partners and customers
Off-the-shelf treatment often leads to off-the-shelf performance. Looking at your customers and partners in more detail is a great way to spot opportunities.
Customers, as well as partners, vary. However, they show certain commonalities which you can treat as clusters or segments to spot trends and make the analysis more efficient. For example, look at all partners with the same business model or look at customers who all show the same or similar behaviours on site. Grouping customers in segments allows you to spot common trends and optimise accordingly. For example, do converting customers all start their journey on the same device? Is the best converting segment coming through the same landing page?
Once you understand the context of how customers are converting, apply this knowledge to other partners. Think about what resources you can provide to lower performing partners to help conversions? And are there partners you aren’t working with that you should be? Share your findings with partners, if you are noticing success in one area let them know, they will appreciate the transparency and it will future-proof their success.
To elevate your affiliate programme analysis take advantage of the technology you have, create clear KPIs that link to broader company goals and look at how your customers are behaving. Identify those partners that are efficiently using their customer knowledge to drive profit and those that need optimising.
For additional reading on programme analysis, our Global Analyst Christina Polizzi, shares her thoughts on variables to look at on our US Blog.