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The Client as Bargain Hunter, The Supplier as Trap Finder

Coupons are still a very powerful tool, especially in affiliate marketing. We have talked about this topic extensively in this blog. Recently a new blog has been launched, entirely about discounts through coupons, and its makers have created an interesting and informative infographic. Apart from facts about their use, such as 41.1 percent of all online shoppers use coupons and that Google search queries for “coupon” have doubled in 2012 compared to 2008, they also show possible ways of using them.

However the opportunities and risks associated with coupons are also interesting. The opportunities are easy to understand; in affiliate marketing their focus is to drive sales, mainly from a generation of new customers and from the re-engagement of existing clients. Coupons can also be used to advertise certain products.

On closer inspection the risks of using coupons are also clear, and it is important to know what you can do to control these risks.

The two most important points are:

  • Windfall effect through clients, who also would have bought the product without a coupon and a subsequent artificial increase of the CPOs
  • Limited possibilities to measure their performance

However any risk is mitigated as soon as you recognize the problem of potential windfall effects and react accordingly. The most important method, which companies like QUISMA use for coupons, is integrating a comprehensive multi-channel tracking system as well as undertaking customer journey analysis.

A shop-wide tracking with respective pixels on landing and shopping cart pages, together with a monitoring of all online advertising channels, allows you to accurately measure your coupons performance. But you need to have a controlled use of the coupons and integrate your partners into the analysis.

Key points for a controlled use of coupons are:

  • Exclusive selection of the partners you use
  • Including your partner’s name into the coupon code; compensation only of those sales with an exclusive coupon code, used on the partner’s webpages, to avoid unintended spreading
  • Accurate tracking of the individual coupon campaigns within the affiliate channel
  • Using the customer journey analysis to be able to assess the influence of the contact with the coupons to each sale
  • Using “basket protection”: This means that clicks performed by the user after he added a product to the shopping cart are not counted as a last click. The effect is that the concluded sale is no longer attributed to a coupon site, and no commission will be paid.
  • During the analysis you can identify those coupon partners, who made a more significant contribution to the order generation, than just generating the last click. In addition, based on CPO-observation you can increase your efficiency, by adapting the corresponding commission rates.

If you dedicate yourself to this way of measuring performance with the appropriate caution and the technical means, then coupons are not only a very powerful but also a highly efficient sales tool, which especially retailers should not miss.

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