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  1. #1
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    What do you think of Attribution?
    I hear from Merchants all the time about the lack of analytics solutions for the Affiliate Channel. And yes Google Analytics is the biggest offender.

    AvantLink has had a product called AvantMetrics that demystifies tracking across channels and takes it a step further with Attribution. We have seen a trend in what classification of affiliate gets commission and have had very positive feedback.

    • What have you heard?
    • What is your experience?
    • Any suggestions for how to do it better?
    • Make it more transparent?
    • Are you Pro-Attribution or not?
    • What other analytic solutions do you use to track the affiliate channel - what are the pros and cons?


    Let us know what you think and if you have any questions we'll get them answered!

  2. #2
    Newbie Sarah - AvantLink's Avatar
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    I am very pro-attribution I work with a merchant who essentially has a new view on the affiliate channel after seeing the insight AvantMetrics gave them. Their total program costs have gone down, without having to go through and slash commissions and kick out groups of affiliates.

    I do know there are plenty of views on attribution out there though, and I know almost all categories of affiliates are going to see it differently - especially those offering cash back. So I'd love to hear some other insight out there!

  3. #3
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    Have you been able to use the advanced analytics to optimize the program?

  4. #4
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    As an affiliate, we want sales for traffic we send. We don't want to 'hear' that the sale was attributed to another of the merchant's marketing channels because someone clicked on a merchant's PPC ad before or after the click on the affiliate link - or even if the click to the merchant was from any other non-affiliate channel.


    Or, am I missing something here?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  5. #5
    Newbie Sarah - AvantLink's Avatar
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    Yep, that's been the main reason they have a new view on the channel. When you are able to see the entire path to purchase for each sale, it completely takes the guess work out of who should be receiving what commissions, and really shows you the true value of the individual affiliates. If you take these analytics and add them to new customer tracking, you have a wealth of information that most people just aren't using yet. I know every program is different, but for this one in particular we wanted to make sure content sites were getting their fair share. We were able to not only credit these affiliates a partial commission more often, but we also found out that they weren't being trumped quite as often as we were assuming before we had the analytics. <-- again, taking the guess work right now of the equation

  6. #6
    Newbie Sarah - AvantLink's Avatar
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    Not all attribution goes across channels. Some merchants are using it on the affiliate channel only, which in almost all cases, ends up helping affiliates. People are receiving commissions that would have otherwise been trumped, but the merchant also isn't cutting out the 'trumper' completely, as I think we have all seen plenty of programs do. But even in cross channel attribution, it can give affiliates a slice of a commission they may have never seen. When it comes to de-duping across channels, a lot of merchants will cut the affiliate channel. If a merchant is using a shared attribution model (such as AvantMetrics) affiliates are now receiving at least a partial commission in those sales, that they may have originally never seen.

  7. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Yes attribution comes in two flavors:
    Cross affiliate attribution
    Cross channel attribution

    Having worked with the second that only effected multiple affiliates in the food chain I feel the model is almost there (AvantMetrics). The model I have used is an A,B, C model where commissions are split between the three points. In my case we gave 40% to A&B and 20% to C. C was meant for coupon/deal sites to not rob the previous affiliates based on last click. We wanted to reward content & review sites for introducing, SEO & PPC for bringing back then coupon & Deal for closing. If there was an A without a B I wanted to reward that affiliate with 80% of the commission but the logic is not there yet.

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  9. #8
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Don't feel an active affiliate cookie should be trumped by another, non-affiliate, marketing channel.

    If it's a coupon issue, then the merchant needs to have specific attribution rules in place for when a coupon only site enters the click stream...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  10. #9
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence
    Don't feel an active affiliate cookie should be trumped by another, non-affiliate, marketing channel.
    Agreed!
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  11. #10
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    To Sarah's point this actually splits the commission as opposed to the old practice of de-duplication which would trump the affiliate cookie completely because of the "last click wins" rule (when another channel was the last click).

    All channels are paid out (including the affiliate) this way instead of just the last click. There is also much more transparency in affiliate reporting that allows you to see your sale was shared so you can evaluate the program with the correct information. Does that make sense?

  12. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK View Post
    To Sarah's point this actually splits the commission as opposed to the old practice of de-duplication which would trump the affiliate cookie completely because of the "last click wins" rule (when another channel was the last click).
    NOTHING should trump an affiliate cookie, except another affiliate cookie. This is affiliate marketing.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK View Post
    All channels are paid out (including the affiliate) this way instead of just the last click. There is also much more transparency in affiliate reporting that allows you to see your sale was shared so you can evaluate the program with the correct information.
    See my point above.

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinK View Post
    Does that make sense?
    Did you explain how networks continue to be merchant lop-sided? Yes...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  13. #12
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    Great point and I of course agree nothing SHOULD trump the affiliate cookie! However, merchants set their own terms and conditions otherwise I suspect they wouldn't have affiliate marketing programs. My (intended ) point was, with attribution it's more transparent and you can evaluate the impact on your own program instead of just deciding not to participate with that merchant.

  14. #13
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    No, a merchant shouldn't have an affiliate program if they're not going to pay what is rightfully due the affiliate. Networks allow merchants to make up their own rules at the expense of the affiliate.

    Who can go back to any other marketing channel: PPC, Media Buys (online and off), etc and say "hey, we didn't make money on that click or that exposure - we're not paying". NONE.

    Give a merchant an inch and they'll take a mile - just so they don't have to pay a commission on a sale.

    As for affiliates not choosing to work with a merchant, not one puts in their terms "Hey, we will screw you every chance we get".

    Seriously - It's just lipstick on a pig...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  15. #14
    Newbie Sarah - AvantLink's Avatar
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    I also agree that the affiliate channel should never be trumped, obviously. However, attribution or not - merchants use de-duplication across their marketing channels. That's not something that comes along with attribution, it was here long before. Attribution is meant to be a type of solution to this issue. If you allow merchants to split the credit across multiple channels, they have no reason to de-duplicate any of their sales and cut anyone out. In the near future, I think we are all going to start seeing that people are no longer viewing their marketing channels as separate things, they can all play apart in 1 single sale, so why not look at the entire click stream and share the credit accordingly?

  16. #15
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    That was rhetorical, right?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  18. #16
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    While generally I really like the innovative and helpful tools that the people at Avantlink come up with, and while generally most of what they do can be put into a general category of "affiliate friendly" stuff, this looks like a whole lot of verbiage and rhetoric and yada yada yada that all boils down to a method to screw affiliates out of their commissions.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  20. #17
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound View Post
    ...looks like a whole lot of verbiage and rhetoric and yada yada yada that all boils down to a method to screw affiliates out of their commissions.
    Amen. While it might be OK to distribute affiliate commission among more than one referring affiliate, it is NOT all right to reduce commission because of another channel. To repeat: nothing should trump an affiliate cookie!
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  22. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound View Post
    While generally I really like the innovative and helpful tools that the people at Avantlink come up with, and while generally most of what they do can be put into a general category of "affiliate friendly" stuff, this looks like a whole lot of verbiage and rhetoric and yada yada yada that all boils down to a method to screw affiliates out of their commissions.
    Hey Phil - AvantLink doesn't get paid a commission unless an affiliate gets paid a commission. If an affiliate doesn't get paid we don't get paid. It's really that simple.

    Multi-channel attribution is not common place nor is multi-channel de-deduplication. De-Duplication though has been happening for years and AvantLink, as well as every other network, does not have any control over this. We do have measurements/limitations in place to protect affiliates/us from being abused, but nothing is 100%.

    Using an attribution model everyone knows where they stand, gets a portion of the commission (as opposed to the current multi-channel de-duplicaiton reality which is nobody in the affiliate channel gets paid - anything) and can make their own decision to continue to participate in a program or not.

    I apologize if this has come across as rhetoric but this is a complicated topic and we believe in transparency and this type of discussion is the best path to get there, IMHO.

  23. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Amen. While it might be OK to distribute affiliate commission among more than one referring affiliate, it is NOT all right to reduce commission because of another channel. To repeat: nothing should trump an affiliate cookie!
    Hey Bill - Completely off topic this is a fantastic photo http://uspictures.com/featured/space...swartwout.html

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  25. #20
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    This is a timely thread, considering a puzzling situation I just encountered. I don't fully understand the Avantmetrics / attribution features. It's not clear to me whether this is a situation these technologies could have prevented, or if it's a situation that they created (or contributed to). I'm confident they've been implemented with the best possible intentions on Avantlink staff's part, but I don't know enough yet to be convinced that they're working as intended in every situation.

    Backstory:

    I'm a writer, and monetizing my websites as a content affiliate. I don't own any coupon or deal sites. I'm also not currently doing any PPC for my sites.

    On behalf of one of my new content sites, my husband applied to an Avantlink program that accepted us a little more than a week ago. Then yesterday I received a termination notice from them -- no explanation as to why, just a termination notice. I hadn't placed their links on the site yet, because I'm still researching and building the articles and supporting pages where I would have promoted that merchant.

    I sent the merchant a quick email expressing surprise, and asking why we were terminated.

    The response:

    "Sorry, its nothing against you. We have to rework our program as it currently exists. We are setup on AvantLink for X payouts to affiliates, and we are oftentimes paying last-click affiliates that much or more, as well. So, we're currently double-paying where we can’t afford to.

    We’d be happy to invite you at a lower rate - perhaps Y per sale."
    I'll be honest; I didn't understand this response. I'm surely missing something important; please help me fill in the gaps here. I've been puzzled about this all day, and even discovering this thread and learning about the AvantMetrics and attribution features hasn't helped to clear things up.

    Also, I bleeped out actual numbers to avoid identifying the merchant and niche, but the updated offer of Y is less than half of the original offer of X -- and a low offer compared to what the competition is paying.

    The outcome: I'll be promoting a competing merchant on another network who pays out X per sale. I'm reasonably sure this was not the result Avantlink staff would have hoped for. I'm not sure where AvantMetrics / attribution fits into this scenario, if at all. Looking forward to further insights.

  26. #21
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    Hi Amy - I sent you a private message requesting some additional information. Once we get this figured out I should be able to provide you with more insight. Thanks!

  27. #22
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Amy your situation has nothing to do with attribution. I think in this case you just need to move on.

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