For almost 20 years, Affiliates have steadily helped Retailers increase traffic, acquire new customers and boost sales. However, e-commerce continues to evolve at an alarmingly fast rate and Merchants must continue to develop their Affiliate strategy in response to these changes.
Part 1 of 3 of Maintaining a Modern Affiliate Program is understanding customer behavior and utilizing the Clickstream.
How to Use the Clickstream:
We now know that upwards of 80% of customers do a fair amount of clicking around and research before making a purchase online. One Affiliate’s product review may have introduced a customer to the product and brought them into a Merchant’s sales funnel, but a second Affiliate’s coupon could be what pushed them into becoming an actual paying customer. Merchants need to understand this behavior shift and diversify their commissioning to account for multiple influencers of a sale if they want to keep those Affiliates plugging their products.
The Clickstream, available in your transaction detail report, shows the customer’s path to purchase which may include multiple Affiliate clicks leading up to a single sale. This opens the door for you to better understand customer behavior and acknowledge multiple contributors to the conversion event – which in this case was the sale.
Solution 1: If a Merchant is looking to simply disregard last minute clicks and avoid paying a full commission to a late-entry Affiliate, who entered the clickstream minutes before the purchase, then they can utilize ShareASale’s Clickstream Attribution tools on the Personalized Commission Rules Page.
But, what if you didn’t want to completely disregard the late-entry Affiliate? Perhaps you want to give them a slight hat tip for the assist – albeit a lesser hat tip compared to the content Affiliate who initiated the sale – because you’re not sure if the customer would have purchased without that coupon? Or, what if you don’t want to disregard a commission based on an arbitrary time frame, such as 1 or 2 minutes before checkout as outlined above? If you could start discounting commissions after a customer took an action, like “Add to Cart” for example, that would be much more reliable – right? All of these “what ifs” can be solved through Solution 2:Conversion Lines. Conversion lines are an advanced feature that will expand the flexibility of your Affiliate program and help determine which clicks in the Clickstream are eligible for commission.
Monitoring the trends and evolution of ecommerce and implementing changes does not have to be difficult – in fact, it should be exciting! Many clients have taken their programs to a higher level after working with us to implement new tools as conditions change in the Affiliate Marketing. Our goal is to help make these steps as easy as possible so you can see the positive impact on your program.