Re-targeting to the detriment of Affiliates?

Re-targeting to the detriment of Affiliates?

Before our summer holiday my Wife was speaking about how comfortable Havianna flip flops were and recommended a pair - having scouted around for the best price and visiting a number of retailers including Office - I eventually purchased a pair from Stand Out.

And for those who are vaguely interested they are very comfortable! - Stay with me - now as I was watching Liverpoool get thrashed at home for the first time in two years in the league - I was intrigued by the banner placement on Digg.

Retargeting by Criteon

Re-targeting banners on digg.com

Now it gets serious - This re-targeting of said Havaianas for Office is enabled by a company called Criteo - and its something I’ve been observing for a while now on a number of websites and with a number of merchants.

To the marketeer its a great idea, serve banners to the user with similar products to the last pages viewed on the clients site, even offer a voucher code to those basked abandoner’s.

However what does concern me with the uptake of such technology is whether Affiliates who first introduced the consumer to the product or brand are losing out on valuable commissions.

This naturally depends on the retailers de-duplication policy against other marketing channels and the sophistication of tracking and analysis employed by the merchant.

This is one element of the merchant transparency which ultimately affects conversion is something that the IAB Affiliate Council has been highlighting recently - indeed their recent ethical merchant charter includes the following statement:

“Deduplication

Many merchants will deduplicate between affiliate networks and/or other online sales channels, eg PPC, SEO, display, direct partnerships. Providing information to affiliates on which channels you deduplicate against and the logic that is involved (eg last click wins) is a good idea as it enables affiliates to optimise their campaigns accordingly”

Whilst a good start Id say, it’s more than a good idea - it’s a must.

This all raises more questions about the commission strategy employed by each merchant and the possible allocation of commissions to those who have influenced the sale along the purchasers journey - whilst this could have a negative affect for some channels in Affiliate Marketing who are closer to the end of the sales journey it could boost affiliate revenue who are nearer the start - is that fairer?

If merchants de-dupe affiliates against what is effectively an elaborate CPC method of re-targeting - is that fair on the affiliate or indeed other marketing activity? especially when some research suggests that 90% of re-targeted traffic should be credited to other channels.

I can foresee the arguments that the affiliate failed to convert in the first instance, that last click should always win -  that its not just affiliates who are part of the sales journey - so rewarding just the affiliate would be difficult to justify.

Personally I feel all of this needs discussion as evolution occurs and its a key factor in the future of Affiliate Marketing and finally we should also debate whether affiliates should be able to retarget using affiliate links!

affiliate marketing

One lonely comment

  1. Martin

    As an affiliate myself I am very concerned about this. Say I have introduced a great product to a customer who was unaware of it through a website dedicated to a specialist subject, but their purchase has to be deferred for some reason. In the past they would quite likely have retured to complete the purchase later and a commission.

    In this new age of saturation retargetting then they are then bombarded by retargetting ads from completely unrelated sites in general browsing which may well see my commission lost. So why should I bother promoting products which are retargetted and where my chance of success is reduced?

    There are many genuine reasons for deferring a purchase and the more expensive the product the greater the likelyhood of deferral. e.g. before a holiday costing thousands can be booked many people have to book time off work with their boss. In the meantime they are bombarded with retargtting ads which may ‘steal’ the commission.

    There is also cross retargetting going on. E.g. I looked at certain smartphones on O2, Tmobile and carphone warehouse. I am now being retargetted for these same smartphones by Virgin whose site I did not even visit.

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