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Full Funnel Affiliate Marketing...
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Full Funnel Affiliate Marketing: The new way of generating explosive performance marketing growth.
Affiliate Marketing has a reputation of being a cheap, conversion-focused channel. This bottom-of-funnel view on the channel significantly reduces the growth potential of performance partnerships. Instead we’d encourage working with a diverse portfolio of publishers across the full customer funnel, with affiliates playing a role in the awareness, consideration and conversion of your brand and products.
Top of the funnel affiliate marketing is not a pure awareness play
Partners at the top of the marketing funnel can help your brand awareness increase, whilst simultaneously educating your future customers about your mission, products and services.
Up until quite recently, influencer marketing and media house engagement would sit separate from performance marketing budgets. The collaboration between PR, brand and affiliate teams we’ve seen in recent years is thanks to on the one hand a need to prove positive ROI of influencer campaigns - views and reach is often no longer enough to convince C-suite and investors. And on the other hand the significant changes in revenue streams for media house organisations, with display activity and print dying out.
How can influencer marketing help you drive sales?
Influencer marketing is growing at an incredible speed, and many brands want a slice of the success that brand ambassadors can bring to their bottom line. Historically, influencer marketing was focused on increasing brand awareness with budgets sitting with the brand team and the key success metrics being views and reach.
More recently, brands have picked up on the revenue potential of micro and medium-sized influencers who often have much more engaged audiences, but don’t come with the price tag of someone who has gathered millions of followers. Across affiliate marketing efforts Growth HQ works with influencers active across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, etc. The revenue-focused influencer marketing approach has reduced the CAC by 500% for one of our large US brands.
A two-pronged approach to get featured in the biggest newspapers and glossy magazines
Over the last decade, media houses have needed to find alternative ways of boosting their revenue streams as ad blockers and sales of print have dramatically changed the traditional (display) advertising-focused revenue.
Can your top of funnel efforts increase on-site conversion rates?
Across Growth HQ’s clients we see the top of funnel - listicles, dedicated content and influencers drive 25% of conversions. This number increased further in Q4 for our e-commerce clients and is in general higher for our portfolio of FinTech clients due to the need to educate to gain trust and understanding. A welcome side-effect of investing in the top of the funnel is that your audience will come to your app/site educated about what you offer and with a trust generated by third parties, leading to conversion rates up to 3x higher than other paid media channels.
Affiliates in the middle of the funnel support consideration via long-form content
SEO affiliates, review content and employee benefit providers are some examples of middle-of-the-funnel publishers at Growth HQ. Traditionally the role of this part of the funnel is to help customers with their consideration, this is why you will see long-form content working very well. The majority of conversations across Growth HQ clients are attributed back to these publishers, up to 45%.
How to optimise revenue from closed platform incentive sites?
We work with employee benefit sites across our portfolio of clients. Simply being present on these large, closed-platform sites won’t generate significant volume, especially for newer brands on the block. Their audience doesn’t engage much with the ‘offer section’ on their app or website, however, the open rate of their newsletters is impressive. The trust that these sites provide, can then push up the engagement rate with your campaigns and eventually the number of conversions driven.
How can comparison with your competitors help you increase your revenue?
Review-focused content often ranks an app or product against competitors. Initially, you may be apprehensive about being mentioned in content that also features your competitors. From experience, we would however strongly recommend being open to being included in listicles. Your audience will be able to self-categorise based on what they find important in a brand, product or service.
Bottom of the funnel - driving conversions via offer sites in an elegant way
Back to the bottom of the funnel, the original bread and butter of affiliate marketing. Our recommendation for the bottom of the funnel is to limit the number of partners you work with, and pick the large or industry-specific sites. You’ll only need one or two cashback or coupon sites to cover the market, any more dilutes the value and has the potential to diminish your brand or be seen as a discount brand.
How do you optimise your discount strategy?
The largest cashback and comparison sites across the UK, USA and Europe have huge customer databases. At Growth HQ, we go beyond being simply listed on these sites and ensure that we tap into highly effective outreach strategies via their CRMs, for example by participating in cashback events.
How do you align the CPA expectations with the funnel part your publishers are in?
A key part of executing against a full funnel strategy is how you think about the efficiency targets across the funnel parts. Naturally, with the top of the funnel pushing more for awareness the CPA of publishers categorised as top-of-funnel will be higher -particularly on a last-click affiliate attribution model- than those that push conversations at the bottom. Key is to aim for an efficient bottom-line CPA.
Affiliate Marketing represents a unique marketplace of publisher types that can help push your customers through the full decision making funnel. Don’t limit yourself to traditional affiliates who are mainly active at the bottom of the funnel. Instead, try tapping into the worlds of paid PR, employee benefit sites and influencer marketing as part of your affiliate strategy,