29 . 10 . 15

The evolution of Affiliate attribution

In today’s increasingly competitive digital world, it’s continually difficult to stand out. With the number of affiliates operating reaching peaks unrecognisable from the early digital days, the evolution of the web has led to affiliate marketing becoming an invaluable source of income for clients of all shapes and sizes.

With the above in mind, a smarter approach to managing an affiliate campaign is now required. As the traditional incentive affiliates such as cashback and voucher codes continue to thrive and expand, the focus upon the typically smaller ‘mid to long-tail’ affiliates is becoming more prevalent, due to their incremental value and often lower cost. The challenge comes in rewarding these affiliates more regularly for a sale they have influenced as part of the customers’ purchase journey.

The ever-increasing savvy nature of the web-based customer leads them to instinctively hunt for the cheapest deal on the web; The downside for the smaller affiliate sites is that the traditional last click/last cookie wins attribution model generally leaves them empty handed and commission free, with the customer more often than not sourcing a voucher code, or cashback site as their last touch point as a means to cheapen their purchase. Although it is undeniable that clients do need to be in this incentivised space due to the sheer volumes of traffic available, the overriding goal for a large proportion of affiliate campaigns is to lessen the reliance upon this type of affiliate, and widen the overall mix of affiliate traffic. In order to successfully achieve this goal, ultimately, one must find a balance to ensure the mid-long tail affiliates are being rewarded for their work, as the potential of losing this traffic could adversely affect the overall affiliate campaign.

Affiliate networks across the board are now offering affiliate ‘Assist attribution tracking’ ensuring that moving forward clients will have an option to both track and reward non-incentivising affiliates for being part of a sale, despite not being the last touch point of the consumer. Although currently a technology which is in its infancy, its industry prominence is likely to increase significantly as clients continue to become more attribution focused.


The Importance is growing for a client to understand each of the individual touch points involved within a customer’s path to conversion and how they interact. This becomes even more crucial when ensuring budgets are invested effectively to generate an increased ROI. A more sophisticated attribution model allows advertisers to gain insights in to cross-channel user journeys and presents opportunities for them to invest in key areas in smarter ways.

A fully optimised attribution model allows cross-channel analysis and ultimately presents opportunities for further investment and accelerated growth!

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