First off… yes a blog post!! The last one was in 2011 and a lot has happened since then with Loquax, affiliate marketing and anything else I used to comment on. OLD did go into a bit of retirement but it still got traffic so in 2014 I updated the theme and toyed with the idea of blogging again.

That didn’t happen but today a press release popped up in the email that is I felt was quite interesting. As a company we’ve pretty much given up being a “retailer affiliate” which means work with the likes of Affiliate Window, Webgains, Paid On Results and CJ.com has become insignificant. A shame in many ways, but we just found it impossible to generate sales.

Perhaps though this new addition to Awin’s set up may make a difference to publishers who are or have been in a similar boat to ourselves?

Here’s the statement in full…

To enhance the commission flexibility available on Affiliate Window, the network now has commission-per-assist available for all advertisers and publishers.

Running in tandem with our market-leading assist reporting, advertisers are able to offer ‘top-up’ commission to publishers that are early contributors to the sales funnel while retaining the fundamental cost-per-acquisition principle.

Some of our largest advertisers are already running assist campaigns, helping them to engage content, blogs and social publishers that feature prominently in the early stages of the user journey. A recent trial campaign saw some incredible numbers, including an 85% increase in traffic and a 25% increase in sales across the publishers involved.

Advertisers will be able to identify individual publishers and cap payments for assists that lead to transactions. There are additional criteria available, with variable payments, daily caps and first assist options. The payments can be limited to single publishers or a wider group should the advertiser want to run a general ‘assist’ campaign.

If you aren’t familiar with our assist reporting, here is a rundown of what it all means:

Assist – the publisher contributed to the click chain but did not win the sale
Assist (1st) – the publisher generated the first click in the chain
Assist other channel – the publisher contributed a click but the sale was assigned to a different channel

The great news for publishers is that we generate transactions daily for assist campaigns. This means publishers get paid quicker and be immediately rewarded for the value they deliver, as well as the sales.

Global Client Strategy Director, Kevin Edwards, said: “Having analysed affiliate journeys over the past few years we know that certain publishers have greater influence earlier in the sales’ funnel and last click CPA doesn’t allow us to recognise this. We also know there is a huge industry desire to engage with longtail bloggers and broader content sites and this enables us to reward their activity more appropriately.

This is the first stage in a series of new product releases that we hope will show Affiliate Window’s ongoing commitment to developing the broader affiliate base.”

So How Excited Should You Be?

This is an exciting step from Affiliate Window but as an affiliate how excited should you be?

Presumably if you’ve been working with advertisers who trialled the assists option then happy days. If not then you may be wondering what the fuss is about. The key question for me is how far will this roll out? Which merchants will take it on? Which affiliates will bank the readies? Somehow I just can’t imagine all advertisers being willing to reward assists for all their affiliates.

Personally I suspect that this is a nice way to get payments to bloggers/content writers who have become disillusioned in writing copy for little or no reward – especially when their sales are ending up in the hands of cashback/voucher sites. The carrot of earning 10% commission on a direct sale has simply been joined by earning a smaller amount if your copy in some way facilitates a sale – perhaps after a shopper has used cashback or vouchers.

In many senses it feels a bit like Baldrick in Blackadder II after he’s been sacked. You’ve got the same job but you have to work twice as hard for less money. The blog may be back, but I’ve lost very little of my cynicism!

Overall it doesn’t make me want to go back to writing copy for merchants or look at developing anything retail affiliate wise either – maybe in the future that may change. However, the PR did make me sit up and think about retail affiliate marketing so that’s a start.

I seriously doubt any current retail network is too fussed about losing the sales from this disengaged affiliate, but I suspect there may be quite a few more affiliates of a similar ilk (left to their own devices and ultimately forgotten about by networks and merchants not keen on looking up the back of the long tail) out there who would love to be back on the sales path with AWin et al. This move by Affiliate Window seems a sensible step but is it too little to late?

It’ll be interesting to see how they go about enthusing long tail and disenfranchised affiliates to believing this is good for them. On paper it sounds an ideal way to getting some reward to affiliates who previously have had none – it’s just a case of whether the sum of the some is worth the effort.