What do you see as the key differentiators between the leading CPS networks?
In one word, attribution. There is a strong dividing line between older legacy networks that don’t offer this key differentiator and newer, innovative networks that do. Retailers want more and more granular looks at the consumer’s path to the buy button, and to be able to both track that path accurately and pay for the traffic in a commensurate way. It’s not a simple proposition with today’s buying habits. Imagine a typical customer who jumps from a blog to a coupon site while browsing her phone at lunch. Then she hits another review site and an additional coupon site on her tablet during the train ride home. Finally, she opens her laptop and goes direct to the retailer’s site where an affiliate toolbar pops up with a code and the purchase was then completed. Was the customer journey tracked on all devices? Who gets credit for influencing the consumer to buy? More importantly, how much is a fair commission to the influencer (or influencers) for that customer’s purchase? The jury is still out on exactly how to answer that question and there is no “one size fits all,” but without cross channel/cross device tracking attribution statistics, you can’t even start the conversation. It’s not good enough anymore to simply “believe” that coupons are not driving valuable traffic, or that blogs don’t play a part in the purchase stream. Without good attribution stats, there’s no way to understand the customer’s journey or which referrer played a role in the purchase process or even which marketing channel to credit. Networks that can facilitate this kind of advanced, cross-platform tracking are leading the pack right now – even as they continue to refine the technical process and decode a strategy for how to use all of the data they now have access to. (A really good affiliate manager or outsourced program manager (OPM) can really help you figure out what’s best for your company. )