One of ShareASale’s unique features is the ability to segment the Affiliate base in a program. Doing this allows for more customization and enables a Merchant to truly create a unique Affiliate Program. ShareASale has gone through a few “versions” of segmentations and has developed upon these.
“Grouping” Affiliates had been available for quite a few years going back on ShareASale, but in 2012, at ShareASale’s ThinkTank, we openly released the new version of “Groups” called “Tags”. “Tags” allows Merchants to segment their Affiliate base with much more ease of use and encourages organization and motivation.
Below, is a quick comparison of each:
The new “tagging” feature allows Merchants to create new tags for an affiliate in only three clicks. Likewise, if they decide an Affiliate no longer belongs to a particular tag, it takes one click to remove the label. Each Tag can be color coordinated for a visual affect when Merchants browse their affiliate list or report. Along with the release of “tags”, we also launched our advanced commission rules (this is a definite “MUST READ”). When combined, tags and advanced commissions rules can help Merchants focus on things that are more important; like Affiliate recruitment. Merchants can set tags for affiliates from a number of places, though; the most common is probably in the Affiliate list. Once an Affiliate is associated with the particular tag, it is ONLY visible to the Merchant. With Groups, both the Merchant and Affiliate saw the name.
Organization is crucial to any marketing mix. Within an Affiliate program, it is important for Merchants to see exactly what is happening at any given time. In addition to ShareASale’s Real-Time reporting, our segmenting abilities allow Merchants to fine-tune their reports so that they are seeing EXACTLY what they are looking for. In almost every report, Merchants can filter the results based on a particular segment – group or tag. Sometimes, though, an Affiliate will fit into multiple labels (for example, a Content Affiliate who was at Affiliate Summit East). “Tags” allow Merchants to do this. It can be a daunting task to find all of the Affiliates in a program and assign a label to them, though. Within the Affiliate List, Merchants can select the “Mass Actions” tab to assign a tag or group to the Affiliates shown in a given search. Another method that could tie into the above section (Ease of Use) is the ability to automatically tag Affiliates if they apply to the Merchant’s program through a particular source. For example, if an Affiliate signs up through a conference, automatically set a tag for this Affiliate (more can be read on that here: Organize and Motivate Signups). Aside from auto-tagging, it is also possible to have different creatives for the particular segment. This can actually be completed via Groups and Tags. When uploading a creative, select it to be private. Then more options will appear asking for whom it should be private.
Last, but not least, is motivation. Groups and tags are both great tools to use when looking for creative ways to motivate Affiliates. The differences between the two are vast, though, both features have great benefits.
One of the main benefits (in terms of motivating Affiliates) of groups is the efficiency of setting up bonus campaigns. Here, a Merchant can set bonus campaigns based on performance metrics. When the bonus is issued, a separate transaction is created in the Transaction Detail report. From there, a Merchant is able to sort the transactions and easily find all bonus transactions. Additionally, Merchants are able to set Group-Level commission rates that will supersede the default commission rate.
Tags, on the other hand, offer more depth and may at times require assistance from our Client Services team. In a ShareASale post from last month, Building Blocks to Motivate Affiliates, Merchants can learn the different ways that Tags can be used to motivate Affiliates. One of the features mentioned there are the Advanced Commission rules. Unlike “Groups”, tags can be implemented in all of the various commission rule options. A merchant can set a rule that, for example, doubles a commission when a tagged Affiliate sends a customer to the site to purchase X item in the month of December. Currently, 21 conditions can be combined, tweaked, and implemented with the assigned Tag for an Affiliate. Advanced Commission rules are the highest level of authority in a program’s commission structure.