Affiliate Marketing Best Practice Guidelines: Leakage & Voucher Codes

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Part 1: Site Leakage

The term 'leakage' refers to any instance in which a publisher may potentially lose commission due to an untracked action on an advertiser's website. It's one of the most frequently occurring issues with websites that run publisher programmes.

Leakage Types

Telephone Numbers

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Phone numbers are one of the biggest concerns amongst publisher s. If an advertiser's website displays a phone number through which orders can be placed, then this should be removed from their site or made considerably less noticeable for publisher traffic.

The number of sales being converted offline may be exacerbated if the phone number is free and has a prominent position on the home and/or product pages.

In order to address this issue, advertisers may integrate a click append solution which can trigger and instruction to remove the phone number from the website from publisher -referred traffic. A "click append" is added to the end of the destination URL and informs the advertisers website that the customer was referred by a publisher , therefore displaying the advertiser website with the prominent phone number removed.

See click append guide for more details.

Third Party Links

Advertisers should reduce any opportunity for a user to exit their site prior to purchasing. This includes the removal of excessive links, third party banners, and additional forms of advertising linking to other websites. Additionally "In-store only" offers should be removed for publisher traffic where possible.

Additional Site Links

If an advertiser refers customers to another website owned by themselves through which a purchase can be made, these sales should be tracked and commission awarded to the publisher .

For further information on this, please contact technicalservices@awin.com

Best Practice?

What is considered best practice when it comes to leakage? This is a question that is often raised amongst advertisers and should ideally be considered prior to the launch of your publisher programme. Maintaining an honourable and trusted relationship with your publisher s is of supreme importance. We strongly encourage advertisers to carefully review their sites and ensure that they employ publisher -friendly measures as part of ongoing programme optimisation.

Part 2: Voucher Codes

Planning and Implementing Policies

Whilst voucher codes are widely regarded as a method of shifting stock as well as customer acquisition, retention and reactivation, issues surrounding their misuse have often brought their value into question.

In recognition of the need for stricter guidelines for their use, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) devised a code of best practice (taking effect on 1st January 2009) and many sites have responded positively in compliance to this. However, though this inter-network collaboration has proved a strong deterrent to the misuse of codes by publisher s, advertisers to play a key role in optimising how they’re used. This month, we’ve outlined some best practice guidelines that you should take into account when making decisions in this area.


1) Devise a clear strategy/policy

The key to this is clarity – to be clear on whether you will work with all, none or selected voucher code sites and how you do if so, including any restrictions. Questions you might ask yourself at this phase may include:

- Would you like both new and existing users to use voucher codes?

- Ca publisher -referred customers use codes issued through other channels?

- Is there a minimum amount a customer must spend before the saving is activated (e.g. save £5 when you spend £50)? This type of ‘Stretch & Save’ code can help push up your average basket value.

- Do you have specific products you’d like to target, rather than a general code for your whole product range?

If you can create bespoke/exclusive codes for publisher s, use this functionality to negotiate extra exposure in return for such a code. However, always ensure the commission level offered in addition to this lies within your margins.

2) Implement tools to control/monitor voucher code use

If you do not want to promote voucher codes through publisher s but have the functionality on your site, consider using a click append to hide it from publisher traffic. This is key to effective enforcement.

Especially when restrictions apply, you should also have voucher code tracking in place to monitor whether, which and by whom codes have been used to ensure compliance with your policy. Our technical team can help implement this.

3) Communicate your policy through clear Terms and Conditions

Clear terms and conditions should be inserted into your listing details to communicate your policy on the use of voucher codes. Publishers can then be clear on what is permitted and can promote you accordingly.

If this constitutes a change to existing Ts & Cs, it should be accompanied by 30 days prior notice for publisher s.

Ultimately, voucher codes have a significant part to play in the publisher channel. Since this can vary depending on your business, they should be considered on a case-by-case basis with an understanding of how they can help you tap into an increasingly price-conscious and savvy consumer base. Advertisers should always avoid hasty action that could cut-off a potentially strong and viable source of traffic and sales, so whatever decision you make, ensure it’s an informed one!

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