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Rewarding Affiliate Influence with the Payment on Assist Model

Advertisers have always been keen to have a long tail of content publishers on their programmes, however, their payment models have not always been conducive to this. Since the inception of the affiliate channel, the remuneration model has always been on a last click basis. While this model is not inherently broken, does it really reward editorial content sites for their efforts in promoting an advertiser’s brand?

Early funnel influence is something that has typically gone unrewarded within the channel. Sure, there are some advertisers who have looked at alternate payment models such as CPC or tenancy deals, but do the smaller editorial sites without the significant volumes of traffic have the gravitas to negotiate these types of payment?

Our payment on assist model was born from a recognition that the affiliates that we are so keen to engage with are neglected by the current payment models. While it is clear they have some influence upon a transaction, they often struggle to convert that customer, losing out on a commission on the final click. Despite the fact they haven’t converted the customer, their influence should not be ignored and it certainly shouldn’t go unrewarded.

The affiliate channel has always shown a strong return on investment – with advertisers only paying when a transaction has taken place. This payment metric has always undervalued the additional value the channel presents. For example hundreds of thousands of impressions and clicks are generated, providing advertisers with exceptional coverage for their brand as well as a significant amount of traffic. It has been important to challenge the convention when looking at payment models and understand how to reward the additional value that early funnel influencers are providing.

Looking across advertisers on the network who have already ran a payment on assist promotion, the numbers are impressive. For a minimal spend, advertisers are able to benefit from a considerable amount of increased exposure and are only paying for this once the exposure influences a purchase.

Taking a particular example, affiliate x was identified by advertiser y as a highly relevant content site which fitted in well with the brand values and appealed to a demographic the advertiser wished to target. They offered them an additional payment for the sales they influenced in exchange for increased exposure. The agreed exposure included additional banner placements as well as editorial around certain products.

When comparing affiliate x’s activity pre the assist payment to their performance when also being rewarded for their earlier funnel activity the numbers were impressive. The increased exposure lead to a 4x increase in their traffic volumes. They were also able to increase the number of sales they had influenced, playing a key role in the purchasing decision prior to conversion.

As well as influencing a number of additional transactions, the extra exposure given to the advertiser also saw more conversions. Rather than merely researching their purchase on the content sites the additional editorial has encouraged conversion. The affiliate in question more than quadrupled the number of sales they converted on a last click basis.

Being able to convert a customer rather than merely assisting them is mutually beneficial. The affiliate earns more commission for converting a sale and the advertiser only pays a CPA rather than an assist payment in addition to the CPA they would have paid to the converting affiliate. We have also typically seen that average order values increase when the content site converts the customer.

With the volume of affiliate traffic that goes unrewarded, the payment on assist model is a way to recognise the early funnel value that content sites provide. Advertises should be looking to run an assist programme alongside their standard CPA model if they really are keen to acquire a longtail of editorial content sites.

AWIN Strategy Team
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