Media Insights

Incrementality of Affiliate Publishers

A key component of Enterprise Marketing Return is measuring the incremental value of your media. Incrementality looks beyond attribution and measures causal impact to understand if an individual touchpoint could make or break the purchase as a consumer works their way through the buying process. For retailers, determining incrementality can be especially challenging when trying to understand the value of investments being made in affiliate marketing.

Retail brands are often frustrated by their limited ability to test the incrementality of affiliate publisher partners such as coupon websites. Ideally, affiliate publishers drive incremental additions to a customer’s basket size, offer discounts that increase conversion and expose loyal audiences to products they may not have otherwise purchased. However, the biggest challenge retailers face when investing in affiliate partnerships is how to avoid adding discounts to purchases customers would have made without the discount in the first place.

This is a critical question we always push to answer with our clients. To accomplish this, brands must identify, measure and manage affiliate media based on the quality of a publisher’s interaction with its customer audience.

We’ve answered this question for several clients by building an affiliate incrementality model that helps our clients do just that. It helps retailers understand the true value of their investments in affiliate marketing. This model assigns a level of “causality” to all affiliate touchpoints occurring in a customer’s path to purchase. By quantifying the incremental value of consumer behavior, it allows marketers to optimize to a publisher’s unique effectiveness.

Let’s bring this to life through an example. If an affiliate publisher is the only touchpoint a customer engages with prior to purchase, we would expect that publisher was a large driver in getting the customer to purchase. Therefore, affiliate marketing would be deemed incremental. Conversely, if a publisher is taking credit from other media right before a purchase, we expect the other media is driving the customer to purchase. In this case, affiliate marketing would be less incremental.

To help you understand what our affiliate incrementality model can do for you, we’ve broken it down into what we believe are the most relevant components.

  1. Customer behavior we investigate pathing data to understand the different types of interactions we see across publishers, as well as other media channels.
  2. Purchase triggers – we identify meaningful interaction patterns expressed in the path to purchase based on publisher behavior. For example, in what percentage of paths did we see the publisher as the only touchpoint before a purchase? Are there alternative channel paths besides affiliate that should receive a larger share of the credit?
  3. Incremental value – once we understand the share of a publisher’s responsibility in the path to purchase that are incremental / not incremental, we weigh those interactions for each publisher to inform a final incremental value. 

The result: an incremental ROI by publisher with insights ready for implementation. If you’re interested in learning more about how our affiliate incrementality model can help your business, please contact us.

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more!

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

Lillian is a Senior Analyst on the Paid Social team at Ovative.

Dale Nitschke

Dale Nitschke

CEO & Founder

About the Author

Dale is the Founder and CEO of Ovative. After years of operating a large omni-channel business and leading a customer data initiative, Dale knew there was an opportunity to create a marketing firm that helped clients become more customer centric and drove better performance outcomes. A gap existed between business consultancies and advertising agencies that modern marketing approaches demand. He also believed that a strong, healthy culture could attract and develop smart, talented team members. In 2009, he formed Ovative to bring media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to enable an enterprise approach that drives more revenue and grows clients’ customer base.

Prior to founding Ovative in 2009, Dale spent 23 years at Target Corporation where he served as President of and grew the ecommerce business from start-up stage to a $1 billion+ business and established the foundation of Target’s Guest database capabilities. Previously he served as SVP Merchandising at the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson. Dale has advised retailers and brands globally on business, growth, marketing, and measurement transformation strategies.

Outside of Ovative, Dale is a leader on topics including business strategy, change management, and team leadership. He serves on the board of Allergy Amulet and on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison.  He enjoys spending time with his family, up north in northern Wisconsin, playing golf, and cheering on Wisconsin sport teams.

Seth Brand

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Seth is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Amanda McCann

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Amanda is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative, specializing in Retail Media Networks.

Jenny Reinke

Senior Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Jenny is a Senior Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Annie Zipfel

Executive Vice President, Media

About the Author

Annie is the Executive Vice President of Media at Ovative. She oversees delivery and growth across paid and owned media (digital, traditional, and retail media) and creative services.

Annie has more than 30 years of experience in media, brand management, insights/analytics, marketing, and product. She has also developed large, high-performing teams and built new measurement capabilities. Annie led the marketing team at Andersen Windows & Doors, leading the digital, social, content, customer insights, and creative functions. Prior to that, Annie served in multiple marketing leadership roles at Starbucks, REI, Target, and General Mills, with a keen focus on brand, media, insights, analytics, and measurement.

Annie is an industry leader in brand management, customer insights, e-commerce, social media, and analytics. She enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, fishing, and spending time with her sweet dog and two sons.

Bonnie Gross

Executive Vice President, Talent Services

About the Author

Bonnie is the Executive Vice President of Talent Services at Ovative. She is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent and creating a culture in which our team thrives personally and professionally. Under Bonnie’s leadership, Ovative has defined an industry leading leadership and development program and transformed our approach to talent recruitment with a focus on diversity, equality and inclusion. Prior to her current role, Bonnie led Ovative’s Client and Business Development team overseeing client satisfaction and new growth opportunities.

Before joining Ovative in 2014, Bonnie spent 13 years at Target Corporate as the VP of digital and Digital Marketing where she led the launch of Cartwheel, an industry-leading social shopping application. Bonnie was the VP of Marketing for Fingerhut for 15 years prior to joining Target.

Leander Cohen

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Leander Cohen is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Will Silva

Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Will is an Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Sarah Chang is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

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