Why demographic targeting is critical in affiliate marketing
With digital spend on the increase and the need for conversions ever more prevalent, ecommerce marketers are extending their research to identify and target their ideal demographic.
By contrast, this is often considered less important in the affiliate marketing channel, principally because spend is only accrued on successful transactions. The argument here is that there is less of a need to analyse traffic from this segment as it’s purely performance-based spend.
But that shouldn’t be the case.
Whilst with the majority of publishers there is only spend associated with transactions being generated, understanding your publishers’ audiences can significantly assist how well they perform for your affiliate program.
There are a number of high traffic, low conversion publishers in the market, who simply drive traffic without understanding your brand, and what prompts people to buy, leading to a mass of traffic statistics with very little conversion data to show for it.
In other cases, when partnering with a new publisher and working with them on a campaign that turns out to under-perform, the tendency is to suggest that the proposition wasn’t strong enough. However in the majority of cases, it all falls back to targeting the wrong demographics.
This is even the case with the same promotional methods. Take voucher/coupon publishers as an example; most would assume that because they’re all doing virtually the same thing – advertising voucher codes – that their audiences would be largely the same. Wrong. These publishers, whilst in the same method bracket, often have very different audiences. Some of these sites vary significantly from the gender of their audience (although more often it’s a swing to female visitors) as well as the age of their users, through to the average salary they earn.
Just those three demographic elements suggest how successful your brand will perform on those sites. In addition, social grade and audience interest go some way to assessing the conversion potential of your publishers’ visitors, as well as the engagement they will have with your brand.
What’s often overlooked are these metrics. Publishers in any promotional method will always look to work with nearly any brand but it’s up to the brand to ensure that the audience meets the criteria, otherwise there’s a potential to attract unwanted, inappropriate visitors to the site, which may lead to negative effects on the site itself, for example a higher bounce rate and shorter visitor duration.
Other factors such as the publishers’ own visitor acquisition can skew results. In some cases publishers rely heavily on paid search to deliver site visits, which can often dilute their true audience, leading to less impact on the bottom line, ultimately due to a mismatch between paid search visitor demographic and the brands presented to these visitors.
Working with your publishers to understand who they target, and what works well with their audience, can mean your campaigns work smarter for the program, and better results for the channel. Learn more about effective affiliate program management >