Understanding Publisher Performance by Promotional Type

Written by Sarah on . Posted in Tableau Reports

mouse keyboardPerformance statistics have always been an essential part of an affiliate network’s offering; as an industry premised on payment for sales, understanding conversions, earnings and ROI is imperative.

When affiliates search for programmes to promote, a number of metrics might be considered in order to determine the effort and scope of that promotion. While the commission rate will play a major part, additional factors such as conversion rates or average order values will come into play. Additionally when advertisers are assessing performance across their affiliate base they look at how successful they are at converting their visitors and the basket sizes they are driving.

Typically these figures will be for a whole programme meaning they could be skewed by a particular promotional type. For example, we know that incentivised traffic converts at a greater rate so any cross programme conversion rate figures are likely to be skewed. Combine this with the volume that is likely to be coming from these sites and the programme wide stats are even more likely to correlate with the top performing promotional type. For an affiliate programme comprised of numerous types of affiliate the limitations are obvious; the statistics aren’t wrong, but they can be hugely misleading.

Additionally, the device being used by a consumer is likely to have an impact on these metrics. Are some promotional types more likely to drive mobile conversions than others? Does the converting device have an impact on average order values? If we consider the general perception that smartphone traffic might be premised earlier in the sales funnel, then general conversion statistics do little to illustrate the value mobile clicks deliver.

While the metrics provided in the interface give an indication of a programme’s performance, we have always stressed to advertisers and affiliates that it is important to look at this on a more granular level. For example, should a content site expect to convert at the rate of a cashback site?

We have recently launched a new reports that share with advertisers and publishers performance by publisher type on a particular programme or within a sector. The chart below looks at the performance of the Department Stores sector. The bars at the top represent the share of sales across the sector while the bars at the bottom represent the share of traffic.

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From this data it is evident that cashback sites are driving the greatest volume of sales but this is from a considerably lower volume of traffic. This demonstrates their strength in converting their visitors – no surprise when you consider how their business model is primed to close sales. But the strength of cashback sites as a converter is likely to skew the overall programme performance stats so it is important to break this out further.

The chart below looks at three performance metrics split out by promotional type – average order values, conversion rate and earnings per click, with the promotional type ranked by sales volumes generated. It is possible to see how each promotional type performs across the sector, giving publishers a greater insight into the performance metrics to benchmark themselves.

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There is a lot of variance in performance across each promotional type. Traffic through loyalty schemes does not convert quite as well as cashback sites but when their members do transact, they are typically spending more.

Underlying this data is an important concept that we believe will become increasingly important: understanding the value of interactions of different affiliates. Our data alone cannot provide the full picture. Only when affiliates and advertisers layer our statistics with customer quality data (for affiliates this may be based on the demographics of their users and for advertisers this will likely be post-transaction customer quality), can we truly understand the value of the affiliate channel.

Using our business intelligence tool, Tableau, it has been possible to provide these reports for you to interact and see this data for yourself for the first time. It is possible to look at the numbers across a variety of sectors.

If you are interested in finding out how this data compares to an individual programme or by device, please get in touch.

Please note – in order to view this report you will first need to download a free version of Tableau Reader.

The report can be accessed here.

If you have any questions, please contact the Strategy Team.

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