The value of cashback sites is often called into question, often hearing clients ask “Can I reduce the amount of commission we pay to cashback affiliates?” with many people starting to look deeper into the attribution argument that is currently dividing opinion in the affiliate industry.
Generally, the consensus seems to be that voucher code and cashback affiliates hold less value than that of content affiliates. While we can obviously see why many have this opinion, it is also a very general one and the value of an affiliate should be judged on a case by case basis, measured against their KPI’s.
Now, while finance may not seem the most “Rock ’n’ Roll” sector to everyone, it is the area I would like to focus on in this post. By the end of this post you will hopefully have a better understanding of the value cashback sites can have and also how to use them to their full capacity.
It’s all about the commission…
Ultimately, how attractive you look to a customer on a cashback site comes down to the commission you offer the affiliate. This is because this rate directly translates into money in the customers’ pocket. It is important to sit down and take a good look at your margins, what can you offer that will make you more attractive than your competitors, yet still allow you to make a profit. It is also worth leaving yourself with some added breathing space to run tactical commission increases at key times to maximise your exposure levels.
To give you an example of a way this was done exceptionally well and had phenomenal results, I’d like to share an example from one of Silverbean’s own clients in the financial sphere.
For the client’s ISA product, we implemented a tiered commission structure based on the monthly premium the customer decides. This structure also includes different commission amounts if the customer decides to deposit a lump sum. Because of this, the customer has numerous different options all with different cashback rates. Obviously the cashback rate increases as the premiums do. What this does is encourage customers to take out higher premiums as opposed to if they offered a flat cashback rate that was the same no matter how much was deposited.
The smallest monthly premium that offers cashback is £30-£49.99; this was the second worst performer of all the premiums driving only 14% of total premiums taken out via cashback sites. A breakdown of the performance can be seen below:
The graph clearly shows that by incentivising the higher premiums, they were way more popular, with 65% of people who signed up for an ISA via cashback taking out a premium of £100 per month or more.
“What about those sneaky people trying to just get some cashback and then cancel their policy?” I hear you ask!
Panic not! For a merchant of this nature there should always be at least a 90 day validations period, with 3 premiums of the same amount received, which should be clearly stated in the T’s & C’s.
This means the provider will only approve cashback payment when they have received 3 premiums of the same amount. By doing this, it will help reduce the amount of fraudulent claims. In some cases, this validations period can even be extended to 6 months. It should be noted though that the longer a customer has to wait for their cashback the less appealing the offer becomes.
Not all cut and dry…
So it would appear that the general opinion of the value cashback sites have is not so simple. As mentioned in the beginning, every program is a little different and we can see from the stats that in the case of this particular client, the ability to increase the size of the premium obviously has great value to them as a business.
The debate on attribution will continue but I am not sure there will ever be a “one size fits all” solution. Merchants, agencies and account managers must be diligent and make sure they are basing their attribution models on what is best for them, measured against their KPI’s.