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Analytics

Part 1: Top 3 KPIs to Drive Financial Affiliate Program Growth

By | Affiliate Program, Analytics, Digital Marketing, Miscellaneous, Program Optimisation | No Comments

Face it; running an affiliate program can be time-intensive. Whether you’re a marketing manager directly overseeing your campaign, are using an outsourced solution or a combination of both—understanding and focusing on the right key performance indicators (KPIs) from the start can mean the difference between a successful versus a not-so-successful affiliate program.

In this article we share our top three KPIs for driving financial affiliate program growth to help you optimize your performance and spend your efforts in the right areas. We’ll also walk you through what each indicator means, why it matters and how to use it to grow your program. Ready? Let’s get started.

#1. CONVERSION RATE

What it is

The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) provides one of the simplest definitions for conversion rate as “the percentage of users who complete a desired action.” Typically reported on monthly, conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of leads by the number of clicks (number of leads ÷ number of clicks = conversion rate).

Why it Matters

By measuring clicks against desired customer action, conversion rate puts clicks into context thereby making it more valuable (and informative) than click rate data alone.

Tracking conversion rate will help you:

Identify your most lucrative partners, showing which affiliate partnerships and campaigns bring in the best traffic so you know where to invest in expanding.
Identify your most lucrative digital channels, because you can compare a standardized rate across channels against affiliate channels.
Identify high potential affiliates, that may only need small adjustments to their program to yield big payoff

How to use it to help grow your program

You can use conversion rate to help you identify breaks in your customer journey and show you areas for improvement. Very low click rates may signal poor ad placement and/or execution or the need for landing page optimization. Making necessary adjustments can prevent losing valuable clicks that could become leads and ultimately convert to sales.

Other ways you can use conversion rate are to:

Compare high versus low conversion rate affiliate promotions, to see which placement types and techniques best drive leads for your business (ex. placement, ad, information presented, traffic demographic)
Identify high traffic, low conversion rate affiliates as high potential and target your efforts to these affiliates to improve their promotional efforts and customer experience
Gauge promotion and landing page impact on prospect interest level at various points in the customer journey.

But, don’t rely solely on conversion rate alone; use it in tandem with the next KPI—approval rate to gain deeper insights into your affiliate program performance.

#2. APPROVAL RATE

What it Is

Approval rate is defined as the percentage of approvals for a particular product such as credit cards that require a screening process. Typically reported on monthly, approval rate is calculated by dividing the number of approvals by the number of leads (number of approvals ÷ number of leads = approval rate).

Why it Matters

While a high volume of leads can be the sign of a healthy program, approval rate comes into play when the desired outcome is qualified prospects that become customers.

Approval rate compliments conversion rate by:

Showing the quality of leads—adding dimension and value to conversion rate numbers. A high conversion rate without a fair approval rate is not necessarily delivering value.
Helping identify the most lucrative partners and digital channels. Much like conversion rate, approval rate shows you where to best invest your energy.
Telling a more complete story, of where to focus your partnership cultivation and program growth efforts.
Giving a greater degree of targeting. A low conversion rate but high approval rate is an even more targeted way to identify and segment high potential affiliates.

How to use it to help grow your program

A low approval rate may signal a mismatch between the product offering and the affiliate audience it’s being offered to. Use this opportunity to correct course; communicate the target customer profile to your affiliate so that they can adjust their messaging and positioning.

Approval rating can also be used to:

Help affiliate managers work with an affiliate, to better understand their audience demographics and give strategic recommendations on more suitable products.
Evaluate affiliate’s ability to drive targeted and quality traffic. Instead of changing the product side, you can work with the affiliate on its traffic acquisition efforts to generate more targeted leads
Guide positioning changes or improve product information on the site for better alignment with the product. This increases the chances that the affiliate is ready to convert when gets redirected from click.
Identify lack of landing page optimization. A high conversion rate but low approval rate can signal where the origin of the low approvals may lie (i.e. too many steps in the buyer journey which is leading to bouncing).

In contrast to conversion rate, approval rate is a more specific quality metric pointing to the fit of the affiliate’s site and its traffic, with the product. Be sure to assess the brand fit on product-level and partnership-level and look at the affiliate’s method of acquiring and screening traffic.

Look closely at cases where approval rating is really low to avoid a poor fit that could potentially hurt your reputation. Make sure to monitor the messaging of the promotion to ensure it is accurate and not misleading. Depending on the situation, it may be worth re-assessing the partnership as a whole for alignment with the affiliate’s brand and yours.

Or, very low approval rate may signal that it’s time to sever the partnership altogether rather than continuing to invest heavily in an unfruitful partnership. Re-allocate your resources and time into more promising relationships. Looking at approval rate together with our next KPI—program growth – can help you make this decision.

Watch this space to read all about the third very important KPI that is key to driving the growth of your financial affiliate program! Part 2 is coming soon.

Want to know more about how to implement these KPIs using the Share Results platform? Get in touch!

Part 2: Smart, Data-Driven Campaigns with ShareResults

By | Affiliate Program, Affiliate Tracking Software, Analytics, Miscellaneous, Promotions | No Comments

Part one of Smart, Data-Driven Campaigns focused on the manual reporting that so many marketers have to rely on.  Today we are going to look at the importance of giving your partners, the affiliates, the right tools in order to run a successful campaign and essentially drive more conversions.

Quick Insights for Financial Marketers and Affiliates

If your financial institution wants to test or focus on performance marketing (a solid goal considering that 40% of financial services companies have 20%–80% of their overall revenue driven through their performance marketing partnerships) your partners, the affiliates, need the right tools to run a successful campaign and get you as many customers as possible. Your internal tracking is great to compare and track your marketing efforts but when working with affiliates who need real-time tracking, pulling the results from your in-house tool every week or once a month isn’t efficient.

The ShareResults software can be made available to both parties and allows a deep view into each campaign and how it’s performing. For example, the software can show how many applications were made and how many of those were approved — something other tracking tools can’t show.

This dynamic software also allows for comparing different affiliates. For instance, the Affiliate Manager can see if the “approval rate” for an ongoing gift card promotion is much higher on one affiliate website compared to another affiliate website. Maybe the first affiliate is also using targeted mailers and the other is running a less-trafficked PPC campaign. Using these data driven insights, the Affiliate Manager can recommend a different strategy for the PPC campaign and affect the overall success.

Plus, Affiliates often spend money on promoting their partners, so why would they spend extra time and money on a campaign that they can’t optimize? It’s an advantage to both the affiliate and the financial institution to access in-depth reporting.

An Affiliate traffic report allows users to see which merchants are performing the best using various KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Each report has customizable sorting and filtering capabilities to better analyze the data.

With real-time tracking, affiliates can log into their accounts and see which campaigns are working best. From number of impressions to click-through rates, from reporting by creative to seeing which is your top performing banner, and so on. Shedding light on those campaigns from beginning to end.

ShareResults offers easy-to-use and customizable software that delivers:
● Real-time data and reporting
● Paperless payment solution
● Easiest and most flexible interface around
● Unlimited users and affiliates

Case Study: Using Data to Make a Difference

Here’s an example of the power of using data strategically. In one month an Affiliate might run two campaigns: an email campaign and an online gift card campaign.

During the month, the Affiliate is able to see some click data on these two campaigns, but won’t be able to see the sales/conversion rates until the end of the month when the financial institution sends over a spreadsheet.

When the spreadsheet is finally sent, the Affiliate Manager discovers the email generated 90 approved sales and the online gift-card had 110 approved sales. This leads the Affiliate to think the online gift-card campaign was more successful than the email one. But was it?

Maybe the email campaign received 100 sales and 90 of these were then approved. And the online gift-card campaign received 300 sales but only 110 of these were actually approved. The conversion rate of the email ended up being a lot higher, making it the more successful of the two.

The Affiliate might have spent more time and money on the online gift-card campaign, but if they had put more resources behind the mailer, they would have sent the financial institution more approved customers. And both the Affiliate and the financial institution would have made more money. Without access to real-time data to expose this information during the campaigns, there’s no way to know until it’s too late.

The time for using big data to make strategic decisions in your marketing programs is here. Do you have the right tools to make a difference? Or are you still using a manually-created spreadsheet?

Shared Results offers turn-key reporting solutions and knowledgeable Affiliate Manager who will partner with you. Reach out for a demo and to learn more.

 

Diving Deeper Into Your Twitalytics

By | Affiliate Program, Analytics, Online Marketing Ideas | One Comment

At first glance, the Twitter Analytics Dashboard offers an intuitive top-level view of your stats – a macro scan of your retweets, follows, favourites and overall audience engagement. We covered all the basics in the first part of this series, here.

More Than A Numbers Game

For a more thorough breakdown of your stats, the platform also features the ability to export your data from the Twitter API as a CSV file. This is where all the number crunching starts to get a little more interesting.

Take things to a more detailed, micro level by re-organizing your engagement metrics or filtering out any data you don’t want to include in your spreadsheet. Don’t think user profile clicks are a good assessment of what you’re looking for? Get them out of there. Likewise, manipulate the data to pinpoint the days of the week – down to the time of day – you see the most interaction from your followers. Not sure what else you can do with all of this? Read on for some Twitspiration:

Keep An Eye On Who’s Keeping An Eye On You

Clicking on the Followers tab in the main dashboard reveals a graphic view of the number of your Twitter followers over time. It also includes a breakdown of your audience by interests, location, gender  and even charts who they follow – an invaluable pool of information right at your fingertips if you know what to do with it.

Start by filtering out the tweets with the highest levels of engagement – as defined by you – in your spreadsheet and further sort by type of content, time of day (to figure out the best time to Tweet and which have worked best in terms of driving engagement). By now, you should start to notice some trends in the data. Do you see a handful of followers that consistently engage with your content? These are your ‘influencers’. Identifying who’s sharing the most and nurturing those relationships is a great first step to growing your online presence and driving traffic to your Twitter feed.

Streamline Your Content to Maximize Its Perceived Value

Now, you need to ask yourself – What’s your end goal? Growing your follower base? Increasing overall engagement? Are you looking to grow towards a definitive number (a static metric)? By a given rate over time (exponentially rising to some ceiling-less target)? Once you’ve worked this out, you can start putting a game plan into place.

Are your followers more likely to favourite rather than retweet your content? Favourites are a good indication that your Tweet resonated positively with your audience – sort of like a virtual high five. Retweets demonstrate perceived value – your followers not only liked what they saw, but wanted to share what was communicated. This is useful in driving up impressions and potential engagements.

Impressions are useful in determining the best times and days to tweet. Dividing your number of follows by total impressions gives you an indication of your Follow Rate. Want to track the impact of paid campaigns? Deduce your cost per follow by dividing your total spend by the number of new followers generated by its efforts.

Once you start to develop a deeper insight into what piques your followers’ interests, you can start analyzing and streamlining your content accordingly.

Key Takeaway

Twitter isn’t solely a traffic-generation tool for your business. Social networking serves as a public platform for your brand voice. It’s about connecting with the right people and engaging them in meaningful conversation – picking up a few brand ambassadors along the way is simply an added plus.

Do you use Twitter Analytics? Lets us know your favourite stats or strategies in the comments below.

Twitter’s Hidden Gem – A Quick Overview of the Analytics Dashboard

By | Affiliate Program, Analytics, Online Marketing Ideas | No Comments

Back in July, Twitter rolled out an intuitive analytics dashboard, essentially enabling its users to gauge the performance of their every tweet. Found natively on Twitter, and previously only available to advertisers, verified users and Twitter card publishers, the social media giant has since opened up the platform to all account types, and more recently even added analytics access in its mobile app.

It offers easily accessible insights on standard Twitter account metrics – clicks, shares, impressions, retweets – by promoted and organic activity, as one would expect. Beyond just the basic measurables for looking at realtime stats, however, and despite the fact that, at least for a while, this new and intuitive Tweet Dashboard seemed to have slipped past most people’s radar, its analytics offering is a powerful tool if you know how to use it.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of what Twitter Analytics has to offer, including a breakdown of the metrics accessible and what they mean in terms of audience or follower engagement. Part II of this blog series will look at analyzing the data in greater depth for a more intuitive insight into its reporting potential.

First, Let’s Get You Set Up

Setting up your Tweet activity dashboard is incredibly easy – simply log into analytics.twitter.com with your account’s credentials and navigate to the top left panel to access metrics by Tweets, Followers or Twitter Cards performance.

Twitter Engagements: The Basics

Once inside the portal, you’ll see a breakdown of Tweet activity by Impressions (number of times your Tweet was viewed), Engagements and the Engagement Rate for each tweet and trend for those over time, to optimize. Engagements are measured by interaction and are tracked by the number of retweets, replies, follows, favourites and clicks anywhere on your Tweet (including hashtags, links, avatar, username and Tweet expansion).

How Are Your Tweets Resonating With Your Audience?

Clicking on ‘View Tweet details’ for a specific Tweet offers a granular view of the scale of engagement for that Tweet. How many times was it shared? What type of content receives the highest level of user interaction? How many actual follows were produced as a result?
Using this insight into engagement type and volume is invaluable when fine tuning your social marketing and content strategy, but it’s just skimming the surface of what the platform has to offer.

Stay tuned for part II of this series to learn more about audience segmentation, analyzing trends in overall engagement and more.

Affiliate Marketers Should Beware Of Automated Tools – Part 2

By | Analytics | No Comments

We are continuing to blog about the subject of automated tools for publishing content, such as social media and blogging. Yesterday, we highlighted the need to keep content original to stay abreast of changes to Google algorithms. Equally important, we warned of the importance of making sure automated tools with URL shorteners actually allow your links to be crawled on the web. Here are a few more issues we think should be considered when using automated tools for social media:

Automated Tools Can Land You In Hot Water

Automated tools for blogs and social media are fantastic, but sometimes they can have an unexpected impact on your online presence. Automated Twitter tools that facilitate immediate following and direct messaging is not the best marketing strategy. Not only can you be considered a spammer for using these third-party automation tools, but Twitter’s policy prohibits people from conducting these types of activities. Twitter considers automatic following or direct messaging too aggressive, while the rest of us just consider it plain old annoying.

So What Do You Do?

Ultimately, there is nothing better than having a human managing your social media accounts and blogging. In today’s job market, there are careers popping up from Blogger/Social Media Copywriter to Social Media Strategist. If you think hiring someone to handle this communication in your company is a joke, look at Mashable’s infographic titled Social Media Jobs Salary Guide.

If hiring a social media copywriter or the like is not in your budget, you are probably going to explore using third-party automated publishing tools. If you absolutely must, use one whereby you have more control over the message that is being published on every single account. Tweak the messages with keywords and use shortened URLs to improve the messages’ uniqueness and web rank ability. Additionally, you should evaluate where your time is best spent, because you certainly don’t want several dormant social media accounts bearing your brand name. This certainly isn’t the best strategy for brand management, so be aware when setting up and running multiple accounts.

We’d like to hear your suggestions for the best automated social media tools. Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.