How Big Data Trends are Changing Affiliate Marketing

Posted by Suzanne Kammer on March 22, 2016
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We hear a lot about Big Data lately. It’s the newest trend shaping marketing practices for 2016. But when we think about it, this kind of mass data collection has been happening for years; when we swipe our credit cards at the mall, when we fill out a survey for that free giveaway and when we order pizza to our home address. While many people are skeptical and even fearful of Big Data, we’re looking at ways you can use it to your advantage when it comes to affiliate marketing.

The affiliate marketing landscape is constantly being impacted by new technologies, emerging trends and the availability of information. Big Data is yet another trend that is paving a new path for affiliate marketers and managers.   How does affiliate marketing change in the presence of Big Data? What opportunities does Big Data bring to affiliate marketing? And how can this data be leveraged to build more profitable affiliate programs?

Pre-Big Data, it was difficult to:

  1. Determine individual affiliate performance
  2. Compensate partners based on actual contribution to sales
  3. Pinpoint factors aside from the point of contact that are contributing to sales
  4. Know what channels to leverage for sales


Big Data helps alleviate the above challenges, while presenting additional benefits for both individual affiliate marketers and affiliate programs as a whole. Big Data makes the following opportunities possible when it comes to affiliate marketing:

  1. Insights into What Works and What Doesn’t

Big Data brings performance to the forefront, enabling marketers to reassess their programs for added growth and profitability. Marketers who make data the center of sales and marketing decisions can increase the return on investment for their affiliate programs by up to 20%. Affiliate marketers can use Big Data to credit every conversion and get a better idea of the entire consumer journey (Source: MarketingProfs). Big Data provides affiliates with more real-time information that allows them to make better marketing decisions. Affiliate marketers can leverage Big Data to find their largest traffic sources, prime audiences and what practices deliver the best results. Access to more information takes the guesswork out of affiliate marketing. Big Data allows for marketers to leverage data to capitalize on what works, while eliminating wasted efforts on what doesn’t.

  1. Discovery of Previously Ignored Markets

More likely than not, Big Data will uncover new opportunities for your affiliate program. Let’s say, for example, you notice a large amount of sales coming from social media. You may want to look into industry-focused blogs for your affiliate link. Or perhaps you can seek out social media accounts with large followings that would serve as a profitable outlet to promote your business. If you notice increased consumer activity in a specific country, it may be worthwhile to advise your affiliates to focus their marketing efforts in these locations.

  1. Accurate Evaluation of the Value of a Partnership

With Big Data, it’s easier than ever before to truly evaluate the value of your partners. You can now track relevant data about a partner’s impact on a sale and gain insight into affiliates that provide the most value. More importantly, it enables marketers to track all user interactions coming to their site, rather than just the last point of contact. Once you know who your top affiliate performers are, you can take it a step further and set up custom incentive plans for these partners. Now that you can track all interactions on your site, you can reward efforts that contributed to the sale rather than just paying out on the last point of contact before a sale was made. The result? Happier affiliates, incentive to perform and a more profitable affiliate program overall.

  1. More Attractive Affiliate Program= Easier Affiliate Recruitment

When you offer competitive compensation plans for successful affiliates, your program becomes more attractive to other successful affiliates. Affiliate recruitment will be much easier with a program that properly compensates their partners who deliver optimal performance metrics.

So let’s not let Big Data intimidate us. Let’s embrace it, own it, and use it to our advantage. When it comes to your Affiliate Program, Big Data lets you know what’s working so that your affiliates can build better campaigns. It uncovers untapped, profitable markets for your business. Big Data lets you properly evaluate your partners’ performance and makes way for more competitive compensation plans that reward results. Finally, your affiliate program will be more attractive to other affiliates, ultimately leading to the growth and success of your affiliate program overall.

Are you leveraging Big Data for your Affiliate Program? Let us know in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to check out the WhatRunsWhere Affiliate Program.


Topics: Big Data, Digital Advertising, Affiliate Marketing, digital marketing, Advertising, Data Driven Marketing, Affiliate Program


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