Online lead generation is a tough, complicated business, especially as an advertiser. Media costs have been steadily rising, compliance has become more complex, and the competition for organic traffic is intense. For advertisers that solve those problems, the next big challenge is scalability: how to find long-tail traffic and convert potential into revenue? Affiliate marketing offers innovation, flexibility and huge available volume – a perfect solution, so long as you have the right network partner. Earlier this month, three advertisers told us what works.
As 2020 approaches, we want to know what factors are making the difference between success and failure in affiliate marketing right now. Last week we sat down with several publishers. This week it is the turn of three very successful advertisers to tell us what they seek in a network partner and how to turn a good offer into a great one.
William Grette manages affiliate relationships for QuoteWizard, a popular insurance comparison marketplace owned by LendingTree. Their business is primarily driven via a multi-step form that gathers customer information and then monetizes via leads, clicks and calls through distribution to carriers and agents. It’s an efficient operation that reflects their experience in the space.
“Most of our business comes from our own traffic, both organic and paid. We also have affiliates like Clickbooth, our primary network partner. The big advantage is that they can scale our offers without us having to manage every individual partner.”
William regards the initial network partner selection process as critical:
“It was actually our parent company LendingTree who recommended Clickbooth to us, and in particular the quality and volume that was possible. We had calls with other networks but everything came together with Clickbooth so it ended up being an easy choice.”
As we found in our conversations with publishers last week, trust is top of mind with all of our advertisers:
“Our rep is Daniel Carter. His biggest strength is complete transparency which is very refreshing. Sometimes relationships in the affiliate industry are cautious and careful, but in this one our interests are aligned so we can be very open with each other. We trust each other. If we need changes made then Dan makes them happen. He is very responsive and lightning quick. Even when there are price changes he is always on top of it and has a grasp of the implications for our business. He’s a big help.”
As an insurance advertiser, compliance is an important consideration for QuoteWizard. Agents and carriers are good at picking up on poor quality leads or those in which expectations do not match the offer. William says:
“Clickbooth’s compliance team is great. We prefer publishers to build their own landing pages, so we do need them to keep an eye on how the offer is being framed and setting customer expectations. It works well.”
“Our affiliate business, and with Clickbooth in particular, is growing and is expected to keep doing so going forward. We are constantly building more products to better serve our advertisers and lead buyers, and we plan on leveraging those products for future growth with Clickbooth. We wanted to build a long-term, sustainable relationship and I think we are doing just that.”
Kevin Girgis is Director of Marketing with NextGenLeads, described as “the Google Ads of buying leads online.” They operate a proprietary self-serve, real-time leads-buying platform for the Health Insurance, Auto Insurance, and Medicare Supplement verticals – they’re basically a tech company rather than a marketing company.
“The vast majority of our leads are self-generated by our organic properties and our media buying team. We work with a small number of networks who we select carefully. Trust is very important to us in this regard because our platform is real-time. If there are any poor quality leads it would reflect directly upon us in a bad way. Over time Clickbooth has grown to be one of our largest affiliate network partners.”
In what has become a common theme of our conversations with both publishers and advertisers, having a great relationship with his advertiser rep is regarded as extremely important:
“Clickbooth stands out from other networks in a couple of ways. First, Kate Hagan, our rep, is very responsive which makes a big difference. And then their platform is well developed. They have technology that enables good control over a campaign so they can give us whatever we need. They’re much better than other networks in this regard.”
Michael Orefice is a Senior Vice President with SmartFinancial, a marketplace for insurance leads, clicks and calls, as well as a consumer division that actually writes insurance policies. Founded by a former Allstate Insurance agent in 2012, SmartFinancial has deep experience in the insurance industry across auto, home, health, life and even commercial insurance. As a result, they have direct relationships with many carriers and their own hugely successful comparison site for consumers. As is common in this vertical, SmartFinancial augments their internal traffic by working with a key network partner:
“Clickbooth expands the range of our traffic sources, providing anything up to 1,000 leads a day. We do work with other networks but Clickbooth is the best: really good traffic partners, a different level of service in which they are always available, and fantastic staff.”
Maintaining the consistent theme that runs like a thread through these conversations, Michael has nothing but good things to say about his advertiser rep:
“Our ad rep, Laura Miller, is one of the best parts of working with Clickbooth. She’s always responsive, she’s got a lot of experience and always comes through with new ideas when we need them. Other networks seem to churn their staff every few months but we have worked with Laura for a long time and couldn’t be happier with her.”
“The accessibility reaches up to the leadership team – they’re very accessible. Overall we have had a really good experience with Clickbooth. Their service is terrific and the way in which they customize our offers and payments is excellent. They’re far and away the best of the networks that I’ve seen out there.”
As we close out the conversation with our advertisers, we leave the final word to Michael as he manages to capture the key point upon which each of these success stories hinges:
“Clickbooth takes quality very seriously and that fits with our values. We aim to provide the highest quality, best-converting traffic, with integrity. Clickbooth fits in with that vision.”