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March 3, 2021

Affiliate Marketing: Moving Beyond the Last Click Model

Tom Rathbone

Accelerated by the COVID-19 global pandemic, eCommerce shattered every growth prediction in 2020. With more consumers shopping online than ever before, affiliate marketing remains a very viable and scalable engine for growth for your business. But that doesn’t mean the same old tactics will produce meaningful ROI as we move into a post-pandemic world. 

Consider this: Direct traffic was responsible for almost 50% of total website traffic last year. That means building brand awareness and retention is more important than ever–and believe it or not, affiliate marketing can help you do both. But first, you have to be willing to move beyond affiliate marketing’s last click attribution model. 

Should Last Click Still Win?

For far too long, affiliate marketing has been best known for driving one thing: sales. To be fair, the entire affiliate marketing channel was built around last click, causing publishers to naturally optimize towards that metric.  Of course, no one is going to argue that sales are a bad thing. The problem is, this persistent last-click-wins mentality severely limits the larger potential of what can be an extremely cost-effective marketing tool.  

To make matters worse, the “last” click isn’t always, in reality, the last click, and a lack of data alignment is to blame. Oftentimes there are discrepancies between what the affiliate networks and platforms are reporting versus what the brands are seeing in their own analytics. 

Throw in the potential for ad fraud and complicated compliance regulations and it’s easy to understand why many CMOs have mixed feelings about the channel as a whole. Unfortunately, it’s often their indifference and general mistrust that guides decisions and, ultimately, prevents them from seeing the bigger opportunity that affiliate can offer. 

Can You Afford to Not Rethink Your Affiliate Marketing?

Love or hate it, affiliate marketing isn’t going anywhere. Currently, 81% of brands participate in affiliate marketing and, last year alone, spent upwards of $6.8 billion in the process. Surprisingly, however, 78% of CMOs admit having a lot to learn when it comes to this potentially high ROI, low risk digital marketing tool. 

The truth is, affiliate marketing is the present and future of online selling. Period. And if you’re not leveraging it beyond generating sales, you’re seriously holding your business back.

We Don’t Believe in Status Quo

Here’s the thing: Just because affiliate marketing can get a bad rap doesn’t mean it has to be that way. 

At PartnerCentric, we believe that affiliate marketing is much more than a race to the bottom of the funnel. There are tremendous opportunities to increase brand awareness and engagement and build trust. To that end, we’ve taken a long, hard look at the very real issues, like ad fraud and compliance headaches, that have plagued the industry in the past and found real, quantifiable solutions. 

We don’t believe in doing things simply because it’s the way things have always been done. The truth is, we’re changing the channel from the inside out with our award-winning account management and purpose-built, often proprietary software tools we call Control Suite.

What exactly is Control Suite?

Control Suite is our technology toolset that offers our clients full control of their digital marketing investments within the affiliate channel, while achieving competitive advantages, protecting brand integrity, and combating fraud. 

  • Block and Filter–We deploy this fraud detection and redirection technology to help tackle the $23 billion lost annually by advertisers globally due to ad fraud.  🎯 In just one four-month period, Block and Filter prevented 578 fraudulent conversions for one of our clients, which saved them approximately 27% in monthly commission payments.
  • Content Monitoring–A competitive force in messaging management, content monitoring provides invaluable  insight into competitor advertising offers and promotional tactics and, simultaneously, ensures brand compliance within the affiliate channel. We track all of your affiliates across the entire landscape to ensure they aren’t violating terms and conditions.🎯 For one client, our content violation tool discovered that 23% of violations were by partners not posting our client’s latest offer. For another, we identified 105 regulatory violations, potentially saving our client hundreds of thousands in potential FTC fines.
  • Top Rank–This placement and position technology monitors brand and competitive ranking activity across a set of publishers. 🎯 Fact: 90% of traffic on ranking sites comes from advertisers in the top three positions. Top Rank gathers the necessary intel for our clients to earn those coveted spots.
  • Fuse–This proprietary and patented PartnerCentric technology aligns affiliate network tracking data with your source of truth, typically Google Analytics, but integration with other technologies is available. 

In addition, our account managers have the highest experience level in the industry. Over fourteen years, on average. That’s a big deal, especially right now. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility is everything in this space. Our team has the experience and relationships they need to find the right partner opportunities for you and, if necessary, to quickly make strategic changes. 

And we’ve got the results to prove it: 98% of our current clients have experienced significant program growth since working with us.  For every dollar our clients spend in fees, they see a sevenfold return on ad spend.

Affiliate marketing may be complex, but the solution is simple. Schedule a call with me today and find out what PartnerCentric can do for you.