Making the longtail wag - Owen Hewitson
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  • This talk is about how to engage and optimise the Long Tail of your affiliate programme.I’ve split the presentation into four parts. The ‘Long Tail’ is perhaps a term that is unfamiliar to some so I’m going to start by explaining what it is and how as a concept it is relevant to affiliate marketing.Then in the second part we’re going to look at the experience of some advertisers who have, in various ways, attempted Long Tail engagement. We’re going to look at network-wide stats from Affiliate Window and at some issues that present themselves with Long Tail engagement.In the third part I’m going to look practically at how Long Tail engagement and optimisation can be achieved. In my preparation for this talk I spoke to a number of Digital Window’s clients who run established, mature programmes to get their feedback on, frankly, what works – what can make the Long Tail ‘wag’ – and so throughout the presentation you’re going to hear the ‘voice of the advertiser’ talking about specific techniques they tried which worked for them. Hopefully this will give you ideas for running your own programmes.And finally we’re going to conclude by looking more widely at affiliate marketing – does Affiliate Marketing itself work for the Long Tail? Do the kinds of sites that we are referring to when we speak about the Long Tail find that other ways in which they can monetise their traffic work better for them? And if so, what needs to change about the way we ‘do’ affiliate marketing to reach and optimise the Long Tail?
  • The term ‘Long Tail’ has its origins in statistical sciences – statisticians such as Benoît Mandelbrot were, as early as 1946, referring to ‘Long-tailed distributions’.But the term was popularised in 2006 with the publication of Chris Anderson’s book of the same name.Anderson credits Jeff Bezos of Amazon for being one of the first to apply the concept to online retail.I’ve included a quote here from Anderson’s book to sum-up his thesis.Essentially, for offline bricks and mortar stores it is not feasible to stock low-selling items because of shelf space. They stock the big-sellers, and that’s what people buy. But this is a self-fulfilling prophecy: people buy what’s available. When Amazon, which doesn’t have the problem of shelf space, sells everything, the demand is never exhausted. The further down the Long Tail you go there is still demand: what Anderson found was that even the 500,000th best selling product still sells in the thousands. The Long Tail never reaches zero. Thus there is a market for pretty much everything.So how does this apply to affiliate marketing?The ‘Long Tail’ of your affiliate programme is the sites that share the same distribution curve that Anderson noted with Amazon. Except here of course we’re not talking about products but about affiliates: it’s the affiliates themselves that form the Long Tail: the multitude of sites outside the top performers that sell in small volumes.Every affiliate programme has a Long Tail if you define it just as those outside the top 10 or 20, but what is key about the concept is the idea that the endless choice available online creates the unlimited demand that your affiliates can help you to cater for. And this kind of natural affinity, targeting relevant affiliates, is what affiliate networks like the one I work for should be all about.
  • So to take a simple example from our network: Cinderellashoes.net – one of our advertisers – sells shoes for women with size 8-12 feet.One of their key affiliates is Tallwomen.org – run by this guy, Joerg.
  • In the affiliate world, the Long Tail will be able to cater to all types of audiences. Just as a retailer captures more of the market by selling more products, so an affiliate programme can capture more of an audience/potential customers with more affiliates.SEM: Search is the dominant way that people discover content and products on the net. Advertisers probably aren't covering Long Tail keywords that are as niche as their Long Tail of affiliates, as advertisers simply won’t be able to bid on as many products as they sell. Their affiliates will be able to bid on, or rank for, naturally these terms. You are effectively using the Long Tail of your affiliate programme expand your search budgets.
  • This is what the Long Tail is capable of becoming – my colleague Matt Swan showed me this graph. It shows sales on the programme of one of our telecoms clients. Over the course of the last 4 years the Long Tail has grown to generate collectively as many sales as the top 10…. But this takes years to effect. So Long Tail optimisation is a long-term strategy. It is an investment of time, money and resource.
  • So the Long Tail sounds great, but this is all theory. What we find is that advertisers are constantly asking questions about their affiliate programmes which indicate, to me at least, that in practice engaging this Long Tail is more problematic.
  • So these are some of the questions our advertisers start to ask, and I take these as symptomatic of problems in engaging the Long Tail.What have we seen on the network as a whole?
  • This graph shows the commissions earned by the top 200 versus the Long Tail over the past 5 years. What we first notice is that the lines for the top 200 and the total are very close in terms of both shape and volume. They were closer in 2007, but they now seem to be coming back into closer alignment again.At the same time however commissions from those outside the top 200 have been far below, and in 2011 to date they are decreasing rather than following the same growth trajectory as the network as a whole.So outside the top 200 the Long Tail is actually surprisingly flat. The vast majority of commissions on a network that numbers 75,000 affiliates are paid to the top 200. So is there an affiliate divide?
  • Let’s look at these stats in greater detail amongst the top 20 programmes on Affiliate Window.The average programme has 2716 affiliates An average of 16% of affiliates have driven at least one sale in 2011An average of 47% of affiliates have driven at least one click in 2011The top 10 revenue-driving affiliates generate an average of 76% of total sales
  • We can map this by sector – looking at the top 3 advertisers in 6 different sectors. Here we see the difference between the proportion of a programme’s total affiliates that have generated a sale YTD and the proportion generating a click YTD.The significant gap between sales generators and click generators suggests that the problem is one of conversion not engagement. The sites are engaging enough to get click-throughs, but they do not convert.So, as we will see later, there is some value there for advertisers – indicated by the click – but perhaps the issue is one of context over content: people are not in the right frame of mind to be buying when they are browsing these Long Tail sites.
  • And here we’re looking at the same split by sector, but at the sales generated by the top 10 affiliates in 2011 YTD.Remember this is just the top 10 affiliates (not even top 20) and they are still producing majority of sales, so it would seem to indicate that there are a lot of top-heavy affiliate programmes.This is more pronounced in some sectors than in others – e.g., of 3 top finance advertisers are each reliant on their top 10 affiliates for 94 or 95% of their sales.
  • Now at this stage we might want to actually make a distinction that will help us later. Where exactly is the Long Tail?You can make the distinction not just between the Top 10 and Everyone Else, but between the Long Tail and the potentially larger number of inactive affiliates.Because the Long Tail are still driving sales or click-throughs – it’s just they are in smaller numbers. What is important is to what extent there is a divide between the top 10 and everyone else. And distinguishing between the Long Tail and the inactive affiliates helps you address this problem more effectively. The aim then would be to raise the game not just of the Long Tail but to raise the inactive affiliates into the Long Tail.
  • But advertisers who are attempting to engage their Long Tail are at the same time faced with some questions that they have to answer for themselves when they come to look at their Long Tail.These problems are characteristic of affiliate marketing per se, not necessarily specific to the Long Tail. But they are asked with greater frequency of affiliates outside the top 10 when advertisers are seeking to justify why they should commit time, money and resource to optimising the Long Tail.The first is around advocacy versus compliance. Many Long Tail affiliates, branding is chiefly about content rather than banners. But who should control this content? One of the hardest things for brands to get right is tone of voice. The trust and the authority that affiliates have built up with their members or visitors is based on getting this right. This is precisely what makes them so valuable to advertisers. But there can sometimes be compliance aspects to this. In the finance sector for example. This is more front-of-mind now thanks to the UK’s extension of the Advertising Standards Authority’s digital remit. Some also see the coming enforcement of the e-Privacy Directive as posing a similar threat that make running a large programme with thousands of affiliates very problematic.MoneySavingExpert.com are a perfect example of this. They insist that they write the copy that is displayed on the site. The site is editorially-driven and they select deals on their strength, rather than charging for it.
  • The second debate we have to address as an industry is on plurality vs control. There is almost a tacit assumption on the part of many affiliate managers, more especially on the advertiser side, that a large programme weakens the advertiser’s control. The more affiliates you have, the more hassle it is trying to control them.Some advertisers have reacted to this by ‘culling’ affiliates from their programme. Others by hiding their programmes and accepting affiliates on an invite-only basis. Many are now asking for a great deal of resource to perform affiliate audits.
  • So the question that advertisers are asking themselves is:is it time well-spent trying to engage a long tail or inactive affiliates, or is simply not worth it? Could that time and resource could be better spent in other ways?
  • So the question that advertisers are asking themselves is:is it time well-spent trying to engage a long tail or inactive affiliates, or is simply not worth it? Could that time and resource could be better spent in other ways?
  • The Long Tail is based on assumptions – the first assumption would be that it’s not working, by which we mean not working in terms of the volume being driven. But this isn’t the only metric that advertisers can look at. You can’t hold Long Tail to the same volume standards as the top performers – you have to look at other value metrics in the sales or traffic they drive.
  • My first point would be that Long Tail engagement is a lot like SEO. This graph is illustrative of the sort of performance you should see from the Long Tail and the top 10 over the long term. What is characteristic about the Long Tail is its lack of short-term influence. Long Tail affiliates are slower burners and that’s why they require long-term commitment. The top performers will be full of peaks and troughs as their emails go out, or as they run their own campaigns for you. But the Long Tail will not show as pronounced a trend.So strategy needs to be phased, staged.
  • So firstly, what kind of Long Tail do you want?And the big debate here is on what is sometimes referred to as ‘culling’ – removing inactive affiliates or those that rarely produce sales. I don’t want to say too much on this except to point out that, in my opinion, it’s very difficult to argue that you should never remove some affiliates on your programme on the grounds that they do not produce any sales. Often said that some advertisers kick affiliates off their programmes in order to improve the publically-visible programme stats. Not true – no affiliate worth their salt is naïve enough to believe these amalgamated figures are representative of how their own performance is going to play out. That said, a carrot is better than a stick. An incentivised reactivation promotion is preferable to a summary cull of the inactive members of your programme. We’ll look later at some specific ideas that other advertisers have tried.
  • Before culling, you have to look at the reasons why there might be some inactive affiliates on your programme.This data is from the Econsultancy Census a couple of years ago looking at why affiliates don’t promote programmes they’re signed up to.So advertisers can use this as a kind of checklist not just prior to launch but prior to any blanket removals they might be tempted to do.
  • Equally it might be the case that you actually need to recruit a Long Tail, in the sense that the affiliates that are joined to your programme at present are not a good fit for your brand. You want to diminish any over-reliance on top performers and find new revenue streams within the affiliate channel, for example.
  • Here are some ways that some of the advertisers I spoke to said that they went about recruiting to the Long Tail.If you’re recruiting, the Long Tail of an affiliate programme is the Long Tail of Google. The amount of traffic and sales an affiliate site generates will be susceptible to the ranking it achieves on Google. It’s important therefore to look at what kind of sites are ranking on your product terms.This is another quite literal sense to my earlier remark that managing the Long Tail is like SEO.
  • The second question that advertisers have to ask is: what constitutes the Long Tail? What a number of advertisers I spoke to agreed on was that it is vital, as a first step, to divide up your approach. We saw earlier how it’s important to separate the Long Tail from top performers on one hand and inactive affiliates on the other, but here we’re talking about another kind of separation: re-categorising or segmenting the Long Tail, which can be done through bespoke tagging solutions like those that Affiliate Window and buy.at provide.
  • One advertiser breaks the Long Tail into mid- and lower-tier affiliates
  • Another advertiser looks at how well or badly the affiliate site represents their brand.You may want to take this one step further and look at the bounce rates from affiliates’ sites.
  • Other advertisers get more granular in the way they segment their programmes.More new customers than programme average.Lower churn than programme averageHigher AOV than programme averageMore responsive to seasonal offers – at competitive times of year who responds.Addressing anomolies: One way of re-categorising the Long Tail is according to the products they are currently selling for you. But do the products the Long Tail sell match their content? What affiliates sell is usually indicative of their content but frequently not optimal. E.g., use of generic banners on product-specific pages.So it’s important to look beyond the sale to indicators of quality amongst the Long Tail.
  • The third step would be to look at what makes the Long Tail the Long Tail.We in the Strategy team have spent plenty of time – I myself here this time last year – looking at data that disproves the idea that cookie overwriting is rife – it is not: the vast majority of sales have only one referrer within the affiliate channel. Where there is overwriting taking place, it is most likely to be by affiliates with the same promotional method: voucher code sites overwrite other voucher code sites, content sites overwrite other content sites. It is hardly ever the case that incentivised traffic overwrites content sites’ cookies.However, these myths persist, and some Long Tail affiliates will want some assurances that advertisers are safeguarding their traffic from being overwritten by voucher code and cashback retailers. Check out a technological solution such as that of Red Letter Days.
  • But advertisers should research their customers’ paths to purchase through the affiliate channel and look at the impact of affiliates on each other – e.g., daisy chain data for cannibalisation or incrementality signs. And do the same outside of the affiliate channel.Where we see the customer’s journey becoming more and more complex there can be something of a disconnect with the thought processes of the affiliate marketer.Because we in affiliate marketing ask: does it convert? And of course if the customer’s journey is more and more complex it means that there are necessarily many more points that they don’t convert on. Not every site in that journey can get a conversion.But this does not mean that the sites along that journey are worthless.It just means that we need to find a way of recognising – or attributing them – within the performance channel (i.e., on a CPA).This is something that we will explore in the conclusion.
  • The fourth question is how to you measure the success of your Long Tail relative to the rest of the programme?I think here it’s important to have realistic aspirations. For example, this advertiser’s aspiration was for the longtail to reach an average of half of the programme’s total conversions.
  • The fourth question is how to you measure the success of your Long Tail relative to the rest of the programme?I think here it’s important to have realistic aspirations. For example, this advertiser’s aspiration was for the longtail to reach an average of half of the programme’s total conversions.
  • Another advertiser looked at the top 20 and bringing reliance on these down; whilst at the same time look at proportion of active affiliates and want to bring these up.
  • Another advertiser: look not as much at sales from the Long Tail but click-throughs and positioning of ads/prominence of content related to them on their sites, and how well you are represented against your competitors. Illustrated by this nice piece of contextual advertising by McDonalds.
  • A fourth advertiser: Rather than looking at theproportion of total sales the Long Tail accounted for, this advertiser measured growth in the Long Tail month-on-month. Rather than looking at what proportion of the pie they’re getting, they looked at making the pie bigger.Time is a more neutral benchmark than the proportion of sales: top performers are more responsive to campaigns and produce more pronounced peaks which skews what you see of the performance of the Long Tail if looked at from perspective of proportion of total sales they contribute.
  • So you’ve probably picked up by now that an absolutely key factor in success in Long Tail engagement is to treat the Long Tail differently.What does the Long Tail respond best to? Here’s some quick wins.Perhaps the first quick win would be in terms of bespoke copy and/or creative – this is a particular need of Long Tail sites. Flexibility on this is key – some affiliates will know what they want and others not. Giving affiliates content from the start ensures it’s compliant.We know that the problem is not with click-throughs but with getting that traffic to convert. We know that co-branded creative improves conversions and this is still something that’s relatively under-utilised. We do it for larger affiliates but it’s pretty easy to put together so why not do it habitually for the Long Tail?
  • Secondly, give them products to review and they will write content about it.And it is of course good for relations with key Long Tail partners if you don’t ask for them back.
  • Prizes: these need not cost too much. Indeed, gift vouchers for your own products means that the affiliate has a stake in your product, they have a personal connection to your brand.One advertiser runs a ‘Publisher of the Month’ award that is aimed at the Long Tail. They offer a £50 branded card and say, ‘Show us how you promote us and we’ll enter you to win’. They told me they get 5 or 6 replies straight away when this goes out.
  • Cash incentives – Incentives is too big an area to do justice in the time we have, but taking the example from one advertiser, again, it can be very effective. This advertiser offered a £10 cash reward on their first sale. They wrote the email offering this as if it was an invitation and were careful with their choice of words: not ‘first’ sale but ‘next’ sale. The fact that is was signed off by the affiliate manager at the retailer itself showed there was a direct relationship with the brand rather than just an Account Manager at the network.
  • A customer-focused incentive. Red Letter Days provide a good example of how to go about these – their solution appends a deal ID to each URL which means that the code is only visible to someone clicking through from that affiliate site. This is a good way to combat the fear of cookie overwriting that some affiliates have.Also I would mention commission increases – these tend to work best for those in the Long Tail that are more experienced and capable of bringing in more sales. But if you’re not bringing in volume at present and you’re not capable of doing so, a commission increase isn’t going to help. As we saw, it’s not the fact that the traffic isn’t there: it’s that the conversions aren’t there. Commission increases don’t address this: a commission increase is post-hoc – you get a reward after you’ve driven the sale, but it doesn’t help these sites drive sales in the first place.
  • Finally, if you haven’t already add an affiliate recruitment page on site. This explains the programme and directs through to the network where they can sign up.Why not even use a re-targeting provider to catch people who have looked at your affiliate recruitment page, offering a reward when you join the programme and make your first sale.
  • Is the above enough? Is it enough to optimise a programme in order to engage/mobilise the Long Tail? Is there something more fundamentally wrong with the way that affiliate marketing works at present?
  • This is essentially going to be my argument in the last part of this presentation: do we need to look at leveraging CPA-based display opportunities with Long Tail affiliates on a post-view cookie?This would work in the same way that the industry is now working with re-targeting companies that buy up display networks’ inventory, with the same proper checks in place via a cookie hierarchy to protect click-based cookies.Engagement amongst users is evident and some sites generate relatively good click-throughs but can’t convert. What we’re talking about is giving these affiliates another way to achieve a conversion that is more representative of the service they provide to users.And because you continue to only pay when you get a sale you’re not diluting the CPA model: the distinctive feature of affiliate/performance marketing remains.
  • If we think about the fashion sector – it is full of excellent Long Tail affiliates.From their users….
  • From affiliate marketing as it stands at present….
  • So the problem seems to be one of conversions. The mistake that many make is in believing that because there are no conversions the sites are useless. This is why many still accuse Long Tail affiliates of not knowing how to monetise their sites.But this is too narrow a view of performance marketing. These sites still have relevance. Should we really dismiss them on the grounds that they do not convert, or should we not look for other ways in which they might convert and be recognised for the job they’re doing for advertisers?We saw earlier that the click-through rate amongst the Long Tail were relatively high – it’s just that there aren’t enough of them. In relation to the top performers they are miniscule, even if they are not generally being overwritten by these players. But the fact of low clicks and low conversions doesn’t mean that there’s no engagement. These sites access a high quality, self-selecting audience rather than one that you have had to spend budget getting access to yourself.My hypothesis would be that the reason that they are not converting is because of the increasingly complicated path to purchase through the multi-channel environment. Not every site gives a user the same impetus to convert. Not every site catches the user at the right moment (as affiliates in the mobile market are discovering and taking advantage of). Not every site encourages a click-through because not every site would want to carry the strong, ‘salesy’ call to action that would produce a conversion.Where there are click-throughs from Long Tail sites we need to view these differently: not as a prelude to conversion but as an indication of good quality content. Display-based opportunities would support this because a post-view cookie essentially simulates a click-through without the user having to click-through.This is essentially a question of attribution: of who is responsible for the sale. The lesson of attribution is that attribution is not one thing – you can’t pour it out as if from a jug and then it’s gone. It is shared.But this is somewhat in conflict with the Last Click Wins model. What is the problem here? It’s not the Last. It’s not the Wins. It’s the Click. The assumption is that the Click is the only viable way to make an conversion. That if users don’t click it’s because the content is poor or they do not want to buy. But this isn’t true.As one advertiser I spoke to put it: “Content influences but it doesn’t always influence conversions”.So display opportunities provide an alternative way of recognising sites that are good quality but which do not convert on the click.
  • The potential display ‘inventory’ of affiliates is very attractive and they know it.If you look at where affiliates themselves are looking for additional revenue the answer for many is in display.Why does it make sense for advertisers to leverage display deals with affiliates?Because the commercials for this additional activity are very appealing if we compare what branding exposure advertisers would get from old media versus affiliates.These figures are what one of our advertisers was quoted for the Guardian newspaper in the UK, a major broadsheet.
  • …. And this is what you would get from some of the UK’s top affiliates.Site-wide banner with one of the largest UK cashback sites: £1000/weekFeatured in email newsletter of one of the UK’s largest voucher code sites as part of a package which starts at £1,500. Incidentally, these are pre-Christmas rates and likely to be lower at other times of year. Also likely to be negotiable.The Long Tail of course is more targeted – by nature, more niche – but it’s about context rather than content. Relevance rather than how far your net can spread.
  • Another factor that makes post-view CPA display deals an attractive option for the Long Tail is because whilst many brand affiliates pursuing fixed-fee tenancies, the market is going in the opposite direction, moving rapidly away from fixed-fee deals and towards deals such as CPA, as this graph showing from the IAB’s Online Ad Spend study H1 2011 demonstrates.
  • So, to conclude with the advantages of looking to run display activity with the Long Tail on a CPA basis using a post-view cookie.Recognises affiliates as a brand force as well as a sales force – allowing you to separate good quality affiliate sites from poor ones that are off-target or off-brandRetains commitment to the CPA model – which defines performance marketing
  • Fewer concerns around ‘incrementality’ compared to re-targeting – that someone might have come back anywaySupports content – the idea would be only to do these deals with affiliates for whom click-based remuneration didn’t work, but where you want to recognise them all the same and you wanted to achieve some coverage on particular parts of their sites.

Making the longtail wag - Owen Hewitson Making the longtail wag - Owen Hewitson Presentation Transcript

  • Making the Long Tail WagOwen HewitsonClient StrategistAffiliate Window & buy.at
  • I. Definitions and Context
  • What is the „Long Tail‟? “Using the efficient economics of online retail to aggregate a large inventory of relatively low sellers” – Chris Anderson, The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand, 2004
  • What is the „Long Tail‟?
  • Why would you want to cultivate an affiliate Long Tail? Find an audience for all types of products No cost to maintaining as long a tail as you like Extend your reach over the wider web … And of the search space Free advertising
  • What can the Long Tail do for you? 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 2007 2008 2009 2010 Sales from Top 10 Sales from Long Tail
  • II. Advertisers‟ Experiences
  • Why am I soWhy aren‟t there reliant on a few more affiliates top players?referring sales? Why shouldn‟t IWhy can‟t I just cull just bring my non-performers? top affiliates in-house?
  • Affiliate Window‟s Top 200 vs Long Tail Total Commission Top 200 Commission Longtail Commission 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
  • Amongst the top 20 programmes on Affiliate Window...2716 Average affiliates on a programme16% Average affiliates which have driven at least one sale in 201147% Average of affiliates which have driven at least one click in 201176% Average of total sales driven by top 10 affiliates
  • 80% 71%70% 64% 59% 58% 60% 59%60% 53% 51%50% 49% 48% 44% 43% 44% Affiliates generating40% 37% 37% sales YTD 33% 32%30% 28% 27% Affiliates 25% 26% generating 21% 22% 21% 20% clicks YTD20% 18% 17% 17% 18% 16% 14% 11% 9%10% 7% 6% 4%0%
  • 100% 94% 95% 95% 91% 88%90% 84%80% 76% 76% 70% 70% 71% 68% 69% 68%70% 67% 61% 59%60% 55%50% Sales40% generated by top 1030% affiliates YTD20%10% 0%
  • Where is your Long Tail? TOP 10 Autonomous; mature; strong relationships; respond quickly LONG TAIL Small sales volumes; moderate click- throughs and good traffic/content INACTIVE No sales; small or no click-throughs; not started or started but stopped
  • Problems advertisers face with the Long TailAdvocacy VS Compliance
  • Problems advertisers face with the Long TailPlurality VS Control
  • A Problem of Scalability?
  • A Problem of Scalability?
  • Part III – Managing the Long Tail Successfully
  • Long Tail optimisation is like SEO Long Tail Sales Volume Top 10 Sales Volume
  • 1. What kind of Long Tail do you want? Is it necessary to cull existinginactive affiliates to focus on the Long Tail?
  • 1. What kind of Long Tail do you want?
  • 1. What kind of Long Tail do you want? Is it necessary to recruit a LongTail or are they already members of your programme?
  • Recruitment is not an We target and recruit issue but relevance new affiliates is.... We use our PR according to team to feed us new seasonality.... We don‟t affiliates expect them all to be active all the time We ask potential resellers to start as affiliates.... Many find us through the affiliate page on our site The Long Tail of our affiliate programme is the Long Tail of Google
  • 2. What constitutes the Long Tail?The importance of a twin-track approach First step is to segment the Long Tail by re-categorising it
  • 3. What constitutes the Long Tail? Mid-tier Lower-tier
  • 3. What constitutes the Long Tail? On-brand Off-brand
  • 3. What constitutes the Long Tail?
  • 3. Understanding what makes the Long Tail the Long TailAffiliate Marketing is not a zero-sum game where the Long Tail drops as top performers rise The Long Tail is not a product of mass cookie-overwriting or other affiliates „stealing‟ sales
  • 3. Understanding what makes the Long Tail the Long Tail Nevertheless, important to understand the customer‟s path to purchase within the affiliate channel
  • 4. Benchmarking the Long Tail We want our Long Tail to convert at half the rate of the programme as a whole
  • 4. Benchmarking the Long Tail We want our Long Tail to convert at half the rate of the programme as a whole
  • 4. Benchmarking the Long Tail We want to decrease our reliance on the top 20 and increase the proportion of revenue-generating affiliates
  • 4. Benchmarking the Long Tail We look at the relevance of placement we receive on affiliates‟ sites and the click-through rate they produce
  • 4. Benchmarking the Long Tail We look at month-on- month growth of the Long Tail rather than the proportion of sales LONG TAIL THEN LONG TAIL NOW LONG TAIL TOP 10
  • 5. Treating the Long Tail Differently – Quick WinsFlexibility on copy and creative
  • 5. Treating the Long Tail Differently – Quick WinsProducts to review
  • 5. Treating the Long Tail Differently – Quick Wins We run a „Publisher of the Month‟ award – show us how you promote and you Prizes and Rewards could win a £50 gift card
  • 5. Treating the Long Tail Differently – Quick Wins We email our Long Tail with an personalised Cash incentives invitation: £10 for your „next‟ sale
  • 5. Treating the Long Tail Differently – Quick Wins When traffic doesn‟t convert we offer an Exclusive customer exclusive 10% code on one of our incentives products directing to a co-branded page
  • 5. Treating the Long Tail Differently – Quick Wins On-siterecruitment page
  • Part IV: Is this Enough?
  • Do we need to look at leveraging CPA-based display opportunities with Long Tail affiliates on a post-view cookie?
  • To their users…AuthorityEngagementTrustPassion
  • To affiliate marketing…RevenueRecognitionExclusivesAttention
  • Last Wins
  • Exposure:950,000Cost:£10,500
  • Exposure: Cost:800k £1000/perimpressions/ weekweek2.5 million In packagesaddresses starting from £1500
  • As top affiliates pursue fixed-fee tenancies...
  • AdvantagesScalable – advertisers hand-pick the sites rather thanbuying blind from a display networkRecognises affiliates as a brand force as well as a salesforceRetains the commitment to the CPA modelMore control in targeting products and messaging todifferent audiences
  • AdvantagesFewer concerns around „incrementality‟ compared to re-targetingSupports content and more effective at encouraging clicksthan banner adsPossibility to access display networks‟ inventories on a CPAthrough the affiliate channel
  • Making the Long Tail WagOwen HewitsonClient StrategistAffiliate Window & buy.at