Performance marketing is one of many channels of digital marketing. If you are an advertiser that is familiar with this approach to advertising, you may appreciate that participating in affiliate networks connects you to a vast pool of expert marketers and publishers that focus on very niche content areas.
What makes this so interesting is that niche marketers become experts in their subject matter, and are seen as trusted sources of information for their audience. They are also active marketers that leverage various tactics like search-engine optimization to ensure their site is as visible as possible to their target audience. According to an article by Entrepreneur, it is affiliate marketing’s targeted and timely content that allows brands to stay relevant and engage target customers.
If you are unsure whether performance marketing is right for your business, here are five more reasons to consider:
1. Performance marketing is cost-efficient
a. Since affiliate marketing operates on a cost-per-action performance based basis, the advertiser only pays for qualifying actions, such as per sale. It’s a low cost marketing channel with minimal initial capital.
b. We recommend a commission structure that aligns with your business objectives. For example, maximize the number of sales by increasing the amount of incentives once a target number is reached. We don’t advise paying out a large incentive to get started and then lowering it after.
2. Affiliates offer niche, grassroots marketing
a. Affiliate marketing targets a specific audience. Share Results have affiliates segmented in the Canadian and US markets as their key demographics. Customers visiting affiliates’ sites are also highly engaged because they have their interests aligned. For example, customers going to a credit card comparison site or searching for an interest rate calculator tool are also looking their next credit card. These are your target audience with needs in financial products and services.
b. Key Stats: Share Results 2018 Q1 conversion rate for all financial products reached 27%.
3. Easily track results
Advertisers can benefit from traffic monitoring and reporting. You can track any variables from website visitors, impressions, click-through-ratios, clicks, registrations, conversions, transaction status, approval ratios, commission amount, etc. These are valuable information that give you details of the customer journey, whether they are in the top, middle or bottom of the marketing funnel. They also give insights on how well each campaign is doing and whether a strategy or tactic is performing.
4. Easy to maintain
Since sales are generated by affiliates, you don’t have to invest time and resources into building additional campaigns. Affiliate networks are fast ways to scale your marketing efforts. Affiliates’ website, its user experience, and campaign appeal are all important factors to engage customers and affiliates have to be skilled in those areas as well as having the target audience and market fit. The success factors are finding this fit and developing and nurturing these partnerships. You can either manage it yourself or through an agency with all-in-one affiliate management services.
5. Generate additional conversions from cross selling
Many affiliates have tools and information regarding a range of financial products and services. This builds a customer journey that maximizes lifetime value. Having a vast affiliate network also allows for complementary affiliates to cross sell your products and services. For example, placing travel credit cards on travel or airline booking affiliate sites can increase the chances of selling to existing customers, who are much easier to attract than new prospects.
Face it; running an affiliate program can be time-intensive. Whether you’re a marketing manager directly overseeing your campaign, are using an outsourced solution or a combination of both—understanding and focusing on the right key performance indicators (KPIs) from the start can mean the difference between a successful versus a not-so-successful affiliate program.
In this article we share our top three KPIs for driving financial affiliate program growth to help you optimize your performance and spend your efforts in the right areas. We’ll also walk you through what each indicator means, why it matters and how to use it to grow your program. Ready? Let’s get started.
#1. CONVERSION RATE
What it is
The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) provides one of the simplest definitions for conversion rate as “the percentage of users who complete a desired action.” Typically reported on monthly, conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of leads by the number of clicks (number of leads ÷ number of clicks = conversion rate).
Why it Matters
By measuring clicks against desired customer action, conversion rate puts clicks into context thereby making it more valuable (and informative) than click rate data alone.
Tracking conversion rate will help you:
• Identify your most lucrative partners, showing which affiliate partnerships and campaigns bring in the best traffic so you know where to invest in expanding.
• Identify your most lucrative digital channels, because you can compare a standardized rate across channels against affiliate channels.
• Identify high potential affiliates, that may only need small adjustments to their program to yield big payoff
How to use it to help grow your program
You can use conversion rate to help you identify breaks in your customer journey and show you areas for improvement. Very low click rates may signal poor ad placement and/or execution or the need for landing page optimization. Making necessary adjustments can prevent losing valuable clicks that could become leads and ultimately convert to sales.
Other ways you can use conversion rate are to:
• Compare high versus low conversion rate affiliate promotions, to see which placement types and techniques best drive leads for your business (ex. placement, ad, information presented, traffic demographic)
• Identify high traffic, low conversion rate affiliates as high potential and target your efforts to these affiliates to improve their promotional efforts and customer experience
• Gauge promotion and landing page impact on prospect interest level at various points in the customer journey.
But, don’t rely solely on conversion rate alone; use it in tandem with the next KPI—approval rate to gain deeper insights into your affiliate program performance.
#2. APPROVAL RATE
What it Is
Approval rate is defined as the percentage of approvals for a particular product such as credit cards that require a screening process. Typically reported on monthly, approval rate is calculated by dividing the number of approvals by the number of leads (number of approvals ÷ number of leads = approval rate).
Why it Matters
While a high volume of leads can be the sign of a healthy program, approval rate comes into play when the desired outcome is qualified prospects that become customers.
Approval rate compliments conversion rate by:
• Showing the quality of leads—adding dimension and value to conversion rate numbers. A high conversion rate without a fair approval rate is not necessarily delivering value.
• Helping identify the most lucrative partners and digital channels. Much like conversion rate, approval rate shows you where to best invest your energy.
• Telling a more complete story, of where to focus your partnership cultivation and program growth efforts.
• Giving a greater degree of targeting. A low conversion rate but high approval rate is an even more targeted way to identify and segment high potential affiliates.
How to use it to help grow your program
A low approval rate may signal a mismatch between the product offering and the affiliate audience it’s being offered to. Use this opportunity to correct course; communicate the target customer profile to your affiliate so that they can adjust their messaging and positioning.
Approval rating can also be used to:
• Help affiliate managers work with an affiliate, to better understand their audience demographics and give strategic recommendations on more suitable products.
• Evaluate affiliate’s ability to drive targeted and quality traffic. Instead of changing the product side, you can work with the affiliate on its traffic acquisition efforts to generate more targeted leads
• Guide positioning changes or improve product information on the site for better alignment with the product. This increases the chances that the affiliate is ready to convert when gets redirected from click.
• Identify lack of landing page optimization. A high conversion rate but low approval rate can signal where the origin of the low approvals may lie (i.e. too many steps in the buyer journey which is leading to bouncing).
In contrast to conversion rate, approval rate is a more specific quality metric pointing to the fit of the affiliate’s site and its traffic, with the product. Be sure to assess the brand fit on product-level and partnership-level and look at the affiliate’s method of acquiring and screening traffic.
Look closely at cases where approval rating is really low to avoid a poor fit that could potentially hurt your reputation. Make sure to monitor the messaging of the promotion to ensure it is accurate and not misleading. Depending on the situation, it may be worth re-assessing the partnership as a whole for alignment with the affiliate’s brand and yours.
Or, very low approval rate may signal that it’s time to sever the partnership altogether rather than continuing to invest heavily in an unfruitful partnership. Re-allocate your resources and time into more promising relationships. Looking at approval rate together with our next KPI—program growth – can help you make this decision.
Watch this space to read all about the third very important KPI that is key to driving the growth of your financial affiliate program! Part 2 is coming soon.
Want to know more about how to implement these KPIs using the Share Results platform? Get in touch!
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Part one of Smart, Data-Driven Campaigns focused on the manual reporting that so many marketers have to rely on. Today we are going to look at the importance of giving your partners, the affiliates, the right tools in order to run a successful campaign and essentially drive more conversions.
Quick Insights for Financial Marketers and Affiliates
If your financial institution wants to test or focus on performance marketing (a solid goal considering that 40% of financial services companies have 20%–80% of their overall revenue driven through their performance marketing partnerships) your partners, the affiliates, need the right tools to run a successful campaign and get you as many customers as possible. Your internal tracking is great to compare and track your marketing efforts but when working with affiliates who need real-time tracking, pulling the results from your in-house tool every week or once a month isn’t efficient.
The ShareResults software can be made available to both parties and allows a deep view into each campaign and how it’s performing. For example, the software can show how many applications were made and how many of those were approved — something other tracking tools can’t show.
This dynamic software also allows for comparing different affiliates. For instance, the Affiliate Manager can see if the “approval rate” for an ongoing gift card promotion is much higher on one affiliate website compared to another affiliate website. Maybe the first affiliate is also using targeted mailers and the other is running a less-trafficked PPC campaign. Using these data driven insights, the Affiliate Manager can recommend a different strategy for the PPC campaign and affect the overall success.
Plus, Affiliates often spend money on promoting their partners, so why would they spend extra time and money on a campaign that they can’t optimize? It’s an advantage to both the affiliate and the financial institution to access in-depth reporting.
An Affiliate traffic report allows users to see which merchants are performing the best using various KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Each report has customizable sorting and filtering capabilities to better analyze the data.
With real-time tracking, affiliates can log into their accounts and see which campaigns are working best. From number of impressions to click-through rates, from reporting by creative to seeing which is your top performing banner, and so on. Shedding light on those campaigns from beginning to end.
ShareResults offers easy-to-use and customizable software that delivers:
● Real-time data and reporting
● Paperless payment solution
● Easiest and most flexible interface around
● Unlimited users and affiliates
Case Study: Using Data to Make a Difference
Here’s an example of the power of using data strategically. In one month an Affiliate might run two campaigns: an email campaign and an online gift card campaign.
During the month, the Affiliate is able to see some click data on these two campaigns, but won’t be able to see the sales/conversion rates until the end of the month when the financial institution sends over a spreadsheet.
When the spreadsheet is finally sent, the Affiliate Manager discovers the email generated 90 approved sales and the online gift-card had 110 approved sales. This leads the Affiliate to think the online gift-card campaign was more successful than the email one. But was it?
Maybe the email campaign received 100 sales and 90 of these were then approved. And the online gift-card campaign received 300 sales but only 110 of these were actually approved. The conversion rate of the email ended up being a lot higher, making it the more successful of the two.
The Affiliate might have spent more time and money on the online gift-card campaign, but if they had put more resources behind the mailer, they would have sent the financial institution more approved customers. And both the Affiliate and the financial institution would have made more money. Without access to real-time data to expose this information during the campaigns, there’s no way to know until it’s too late.
The time for using big data to make strategic decisions in your marketing programs is here. Do you have the right tools to make a difference? Or are you still using a manually-created spreadsheet?
Have you considered affiliate marketing for your finance offers? Affiliate marketing has proven to be one of the most valuable and cost-effective channels for banks and financial institutes attempting to target and convert customers online. By leveraging affiliate partnerships and paying only for approved transactions or conversions, financial brands have more control over their online marketing spend.
If you’re thinking about testing the affiliate marketing channel for your financial services products here are some types of affiliate sites you should consider recruiting into your affiliate program.
Rate Comparison Sites
Finance comparison sites like RateSupermarket and Ratehub attract like-minded, targeted shoppers search for the best rates available for a range of finance products including mortgage rates, insurance, credit cards and personal banking. The combination of high traffic and loyal following is a recipe for high performance.
Coupon & Deal Affiliates
Coupon sites get an estimated 48 million monthly users and are adored by price-savvy consumers who are looking for a deal. Many coupon sites, like RedFlagDeals.com, promote not only retail discounts but personal finance and credit card offers as well.
Affiliates offering cashback, points, or other types of rewards have a loyal member base and offer exposure to a large audience of consumers. These sites, like GreatCanadianRebates.ca, use campaign commissions to pay their devoted customer base for using their recommended products. Characterized by a strong community and a healthy, active email database, loyalty sites are a great addition to you affiliate mix.
Consumers are becoming more and more “ad-blind,” especially to traditional PPC advertising images. About 200 million internet users have installed ad blockers (source). As a result, content marketing has grown in popularity because it’s less intrusive. Personal finance blogs like HowToSaveMoney.ca and other niche sites offer articles and ideas that appeal to their audience while including a bit of information about your financial product. Social media and newsletters are also avenues widely used by personal finance bloggers.
At Share Results, we have also seen vast success when finance brands offers a customer rewards tied with a financial service offer. Based on previous campaigns, we know that a customer rewards in the form of a physical or digital reward significantly increases the overall exposure and number of conversions for the respective provider by over +400%. This type of strategy works best when introduced during certain times or the year and helps boost brand presence and increases activity.
Share Results offers turn-key marketing solutions for your financial institution with a knowledgeable Affiliate Manager who will partner with you with right affiliates to suit your suite of finance offers. Reach out for a demo and to learn more.
Financial industry marketers have long known that data-driven strategy can have a huge impact on their campaign’s success. But some companies lack the tools to analyze the high-volume of information available, such as real-time user activity and trends, and to make strategic refinements on the fly. How well are you using data?
Death by Manual Spreadsheets
Some financial businesses rely on manual reporting — spreadsheets that are passed around to gather data from various, ongoing campaigns. Once compiled, they are reviewed by the team and leadership. This method is slow and doesn’t allow for in-the-moment changes that could lead to increased success. Plus, the man-hours used to create such a document could be better spent.
When a financial institution is running an affiliate program, the process is even more time-consuming. Often, the affiliate has to wait for the company to send a monthly spreadsheet detailing acquisition results (often with very basic information and manually created), before they can analyze campaign performance. Basically, the campaign runs in the dark.
To sum up, manually-created tracking spreadsheets are:
Lacking access to real-time insights
Premier Reporting Tools For High-Performing Campaigns
Ready for a real data solution? A best-in-class reporting tool cuts out the time to manually compile this information and delivers a full-view of all running campaigns in the moment. And that’s exactly what the ShareResults software offers.
Earnings Report: In the robust ShareResults software, a merchant or financial industry marketer can easily drill down to specific metrics, including click-through, approved transactions and commission information.
Easy to use and customizable, this robust software reports real-time data and can compile a myriad of reports which you can email with one click — making those paper spreadsheets a thing of the past.
The customizable dashboard keeps things organized and easy to use. It also allows users to manage multiple affiliate campaigns, with important data at-a-glance. It can be set up with an unlimited number of custom commission plans, multiple products and creative images. It also includes a paperless payment system for affiliates with monthly invoicing, balance statements and more.
Let’s face it, most consumers know when they’re being advertised to and they generally don’t like it. There’s a weariness when a customer clicks a display ad or paid search result and is taken to a website, knowing they are being sold something. Affiliate Marketing programs strive to replace this uncertainty with brand trust.
Traditional Website Marketing
Generally, a traditional Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign is quick to setup and easy to track. And, depending on your overall marketing goals, it’s uncomplicated. But many advertisers find it time-consuming to monitor performance reports and performance is dependent on trial and error. Moreover, according to a recent Lumen report, only 35% of those ads get seen at all, the rest languish on low-trafficked pages.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing), which includes SEO (Search Engine Optimization), offers desirable conversion rates but often the price tags on high-trafficked keywords can rise as they become hot with competitors. And similar to PPC, data reports need to be monitored and new keyword strategies tested to stay ahead of the competition.
Advantages of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing offers elements of traditional advertising programs, but with some additional desirable advantages. First, affiliate networks are targeted communities with established leaders or brand influencers who can endorse your brand, create content and reviews about your products. That personal, word-of-mouth introduction is powerful in brand recognition and building of initial trust. According to a Nielsen report, people are 4 times more likely to buy a product when referred by a friend.
Also, an affiliate program is usually set up on a “pay for performance” model or CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), offering a commission to an affiliate only when a desired result is generated, rather than just a click on a website. Regardless of traffic, the added brand exposure in these communities is just another advantage of these programs. (Read more about Commission Models in our post).
Lastly, affiliate marketers can offer a wealth of knowledge in this type of online marketing, providing deeper engagement with ideal networks and partnering with your team and strategy.
Traditional online advertising will always have its place in a marketing plan, with its combination of display ads and SEO buys, but a shrewd marketer will look for new avenues of quality leads that can come from an affiliate program.
New to Affiliate Marketing? The performance-based commission structure may seem a bit daunting, as well as desirable. What are the different models available, what are the most popular and how do they get tracked?
The Shared Results management team will work with you to decide which commission model works best for your goals and industry.
Let’s quickly go over some of the common affiliate marketing commission terms.
First, there’s Cost Per Action (CPA) which pays commission for a defined action, such as email signup, website registration or an opt-in to a specific program. This is similar to Pay Per Sale (PPS) which is the most common affiliate commission structure and Revenue Sharing, a percentage of the total amount of sales.
There’s also Cost Per Lead (CPL) which differs slightly from CPA as it is a commission earned for the referral of contact information of an interested, prospective customer.
Commission rates can be either tiered, flat or percentage rates calculated from the number of sales or revenue generated. In addition, special rewards or bonus incentives can be created for affiliates who perform well.
CPC or Cost Per Click was once common, but with the increased sophistication of tracking tools that can follow a user from an Affiliate Network onto your website and through your conversion funnel, this model is best left for paid search and display ads.
Here’s a simple example: Ace Bank wants to attract more clients to their Savings Account (acquisitions), and works with Shared Results to support this marketing effort. They choose the most common model, a flat Cost Per Action (CPA) commission structure, with the “action” defined as a “new client account”.
The Shared Results team partners Ace Bank with its financial industry affiliate network and helps put together the campaigns and tracking. The software is then able to track a lead through the network, to the Ace Bank website and their New Savings Account sign-up funnel. Once a new account has been approved, Ace Bank pays the affiliate the agreed upon CPA commission.
Ace Bank is able to see all data on their Shared Result’s dashboard, can control commission amounts, and time periods offered. Special bonus incentives and exclusive CPA amounts can also be created for affiliates who perform well.
In this very simple example, you can see how Ace Bank is only paying a commission for real results — new accounts. This performance-based commission structure is what gives Affiliate Marketing its unique edge and clear return on investment.
It’s been a great year for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card and, most importantly, for the Canadians who use this lucrative card for their personal finances. Gaining well-deserved recognition for the value it brings to customers, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card won three product excellence awards this year:
In November, Tangerine was awarded the IVIE Silver Award for Canadian Payments Benefitting Issuers for the Tangerine MasterCard Credit Card.
The Money-Back credit card wins consumers over by simply being a smart way to spend money. Customers receive 2% money-back rewards in selected purchase categories, and 1% back on all other purchases. By selecting categories that they use most frequently for their 2% rewards, Tangerine customers can make the most of these monthly rewards (and skip the annual fee, to boot!).
For a limited time, Tangerine is offering new Money-Back Card users 4% on their selected purchase categories for the first three months.
New program offers affiliate bonuses, lucrative commissions
Share Results is excited to announce that Tangerine, the leading direct bank in Canada, has launched an affiliate program for their online banking products and the Money-Back credit card! By cutting out the cost of operating a network of traditional bank branches, Tangerine is able to offer a number of great products that have helped nearly two million Canadians more effectively build their savings.
So, why exactly to Canadians choose Tangerine? Whether a customer wants to save, build credit, or just keep day-to-day finances flowing, there is a Tangerine product ready to make that process easy (with a great bonus, to boot).
New Chequing Account Offer – New customers who open a Tangerine chequing account from June 1st to August 31st, 2016 will earn a $25 bonus if they use the Orange Key “chequing25”. On top of that, if customers switch their payroll direct deposit to their new account before August 31st, 2016, they will earn an additional $75 bonus.
Tangerine Savings Account – By becoming a Tangerine client, new customers can earn triple interest of 2.40% for the first 6 months after opening their first savings account, and can earn up to $50 in bonuses in the process.
Money-Back Credit Card – Customers looking for a credit card with real rewards will be happy to find the Tangerine Money-Back credit card. Customers will earn 2% money-back rewards in two categories of their choice, and 1% on all other purchases. For a limited time, customers can earn 4% rewards in their two chosen categories for the first 3 months.
With these innovative, customer-oriented takes on personal finance staples, it’s no wonder that Tangerine is known as the home of forward banking.
Affiliate Program Details
The Tangerine affiliate program offers accepted affiliates a $35 CPA on every referred Chequing or Savings account and a $50 CPA for approved credit card applications, making it a lucrative opportunity for affiliates to make the most of these products’ popularity.
To celebrate the launch of this new program, Tangerine is offering affiliates a new tier-based bonus structure from June 1st to July 31st, 2016 for online banking applications. The volume bonus ranges from $20 for 5 new referrals to $1,000 for 100 new referrals – the more customers you refer, the more money you earn!
Want more information on how the Tangerine affiliate program can work for you? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments below.