Affiliate Program Success: Ten Examples of Performance-Based Partners
The key to a successful affiliate program is two-fold. First is having a variety of partners in your program (check out our article on Diversifying your Program) and second is to have productive partners in your program.
In affiliate marketing, there are different types of partners to consider: Cashback/Loyalty, Coupon/Deal, Employee Benefit, Content, and Subnetworks. But not all partners are created equal.
To give you a foundational understanding of the types of partners you should be recruiting, here are ten key examples of performance-based partners.
1. Rakuten: Formerly known as “Ebates,” Rakuten is one of the leaders in the cashback/loyalty category. Being such a dominant and popular site, attracting over 50 million users per month (Source), there’s potential to gain a lot of exposure through their site. Using a specific “cashback model”, Rakuten splits its commission with the user. For example, if Rakuten is receiving 10% commission, the consumer will be receiving 5% cashback. While the split varies with different cashback/loyalty partners, Rakuten usually gives half of whatever their commission terms are to its user.
2. Honey: Honey is a top affiliate within the coupon/deal category with over 16 million visits per month (Source). They became extremely popular as a browser extension that prompts you during check out to search for any promo codes to save money on your purchase. Honey doesn’t necessarily capture new customers; however, they are great at targeting customers at the end of the sales funnel.
3. Drop App: Drop is a free mobile app that rewards users for shopping. New and emerging iOS and Android applications are starting to become affiliates to really capture mobile shoppers. By using Drop, the user must link their credit/debit card to the app and for any eligible purchases at their participating stores, they’d receive points in Drop’s rewards program where you can redeem for gift cards. This is a great choice for emerging technology/application partners and if you have a B2C brand.
4. RetailMeNot: RetailMeNot is a prime example of a coupon/deal site. With 28 million visits per month (Source), almost any store you can think of will be featured on this site. It’s a great place to have your coupons/deals featured, especially as they’ll always appear high up on google searches. For a tip when working with coupon/deal sites, always check regularly that all your featured coupon codes and promotional details are up to date. Since this is a user-generated platform, auditing your page will make sure customers know they can count on your page for the latest deals.
5. Business Insider: With over 115 million visits per month (Source), Business Insider is a high-quality content site that features tech, retail, and financial topics. With such a high volume of traffic, Business Insider has also started a coupon site, so you have both content and coupon opportunities with this particular partner. Business Insider is a valuable addition to your affiliate program as they are a trusted source among millions of users for articles, news, recommendations, and guides.
6. BeFrugal: BeFrugal is a cashback/loyalty site that has 2 million visits per month (Source). Since they aren’t as large as Rakuten, there are more placement opportunities for your brand to be featured, making them an ideal cashback partner to have in your program. They also follow the “cashback model” of splitting commissions they earn with their users.
7. Skimlinks: Skimlinks is one of the leading subnetwork partners in the affiliate space connecting 60,000 publishers to 48,500 merchants around the world (Source). As the name suggests, a subnetwork is a network of partners, such as content or brand ambassadors, that promote brands through the subnetwork instead of directly with the brand. Sometimes content partners/bloggers/influencers join subnetworks to streamline how they find different brands to work with, and therefore, ensuring you have a subnetwork in your program is key for brand exposure. This partner is a huge asset to finding top content partners to promote your brand because they help connect your brand with smaller publishers that may not be accessible to work with otherwise.
8. Lifeworks: Lifeworks is an employee benefits site that uses affiliate partnerships to promote to a targeted audience. These types of partners usually require exclusive offers due to having a closed community of users, so be prepared to have that capability if you want to be featured on employee benefit sites like Lifeworks. The reason behind requiring exclusive offers is that employee benefit sites are accessed by employees with the guarantee that by being an employee, they are benefiting from some exclusive offers that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive.
9. UpSellIt: UpSellIt is a unique technology partner that offers a variety of solutions for users browsing your site. One of their most common capabilities to help close the sales funnel is their cart abandonment solution. Using specific back-end technology detecting browser type, computer, and cursor movement, UpSellIt can capture the user before they try to close a webpage. They also have unique lead capture solutions where they utilize their technology to include targeting messaging to users when they enter your website, for example, sign up for our newsletter and receive ‘x’% off your first order. An FYI when working with UpsellIt, although they work on a CPA model, they do require additional integrations during the setup process.
10. Ziff Davis: Ziff Davis is a large global content partner that owns several large brand sites such as pcmag.com (26 million visits per month), mashable.com (14 million visits per month), and ign.com (82 million visits per month). (Source) They primarily focus on producing premium content within the technology, gaming, and shopping categories. Depending on your brand, Ziff Davis has a very targeted and loyal audience due to its reliable content.
While there are more performance-based partners out there that can be profitable to any program, having any of these ten examples will get you on the right track to success. Found a partner that you’re interested in working with or need help finding the right partners for your program? We’re here to help guide you and make the best connection!