Experimenting with offers is an advanced step. When you’re ready for it, it can be a way to reward and retain your superstar affiliates, and a way to motivate others to step up their game.
Where to Start with Offers
We recommend rolling with an initial offer of between 10-20% commission. Don’t overthink it. See who is successful with this offer and who isn’t. Unless you came in with a full roster of active affiliates, it can sometimes take up to a couple of months to get enough data to base decisions on.
When to Start Testing
Before you start testing, ask yourself 3 questions:
- Do I have a good number of affiliates and influencers in my network?
- Are they engaged?
- Are they generating sales?
If the answer to any of the above questions is “no,” then you will want to address those problems before focusing your efforts on offers. Good strategy relies upon data. And if you don’t have enough of it, you’ll be shooting from the hip.
What to do if you don’t have enough affiliates: Revisit your registration page promotion.
What to do if your network isn’t engaged: Revisit your communication strategy.
What to do if you don’t have enough conversions: Wait a little longer.
Your First Experiment
Start with a cohort study. What you’re looking for: See if a change in offer causes conversions to increase for a cohort over 30 days.
For your test, you’ll need:
- A new Test Offer. How to create offers.
- A Cohort: A cross section of 20 totally different affiliates to assign to the new Test Offer (not just your top performers; this should consist of affiliates from all different backgrounds and performance records).
To export a list of affiliates, go to Manage > Affiliates, and click Export All at the top of the page. You can pull your 20 from here.
- Keep everything else about your program exactly the same. Keep your products, communication strategy, and product messaging the same. This way you can confidently attribute any change in performance to your new offer.
Slicing Data for Offer Optimization
You can also test new offers based on specific performance metrics that jump out at you.
By primary promotional method
Remember back to when you created an awesome affiliate registration page and asked applicants where they’d be promoting your product(s)? It’s time to see how that turned out!
Primary promotional methods will vary by industry. You might have a healthy snack guru with a robust, multichannel approach, while beauty influencers might focus 90% of their efforts on Instagram. It’s important to identify the promotional methods that carry the most value for your brand.
You can view the referring URL (what site the customer came from) of individual conversions to see what channels are driving the most conversions to your site. For example, if an affiliate listed their blog as their promotion method, you should see that blog URL as a referring URL for their conversions.
We'd also be happy to pull this data into a report upon request if you have our Looker integration enabled.
Note: We can only track the referring URL for link-based conversions, and there are times this data is not available — if customers who shop through affiliates choose not to be tracked across the web.
As a back-up, you can have UTM parameters added to affiliate links to see affiliate-traffic related data in your analytics software. Some good UTMs to start with are:
- utm_campaign=12345678 (the affiliate's ID)
What to do with the data: If you identify a standout promotional channel, try increasing your offers for those affiliates for a set duration.
By overall performance
For this one, you’ll want to run a Performance by Affiliate report from Day 1 of your program until now (or another relevant date range).
📍 Where we are in the app: Reporting > New Report > Affiliate
What to do with the data: Once you identify your top performers, you may want to simply say “thank you, and keep up the good work.” Or, you may want to assign them to a new offer — or create a new offer for them — with a higher commission.
Another strategy would be to promote influencers who started out strong, but then faded, to better offers. If the incentive works, you have a strong signal that the commission is the lever you can pull for similar lags in the future. A good option for this scenario is a tiered commission structure: one that increases incrementally in commission over a set duration.
(And if you have affiliates in your network who signed up but have never sold anything, it may be time to clean house.)
To slice your data this way, pull a Performance by SKU report (from Day 1 to up to Today).
📍 Where we are in the app: Reporting > New Report > SKU
What to do with the data: If certain products are flying off the shelves, you may not need to do anything with them except get more affiliate power behind them. If a product is underperforming, you can create a stronger offer for that program to see if it moves the needle.
How to Optimize by Affiliate
Sometimes you have a specific influencer in mind whose commission should change (up or down). For those times, you can go to Manage > Affiliates and click on their current offer to assign them to a new one.