- consumers already looking for the brand (e.g., company name vs. generic product search);
- consumers already on the shopping cart page who pop out to look for a discount code;
- consumers who have just been on the website and are returning; and
- consumers trying to go to the site directly before being intercepted.
Examples of these types of affiliates include loyalty toolbar sites, coupon sites, cookie stuffers, domain typos, retargeting sites and others that usually do nothing to introduce new customers to a brand. Since these affiliates are swooping in at the last click and taking full credit for the sale, their payout is often undeserved and outsized.
Counting on these kinds of affiliates for the majority of a program's affiliate sales has two major downfalls:
- these affiliates are overwriting the cookies of affiliates earlier in the funnel who actually introduce new customers to a brand; and
- these affiliates are being paid a new customer premium for targeting existing customers.
The impact of No. 1 is what often ultimately encourages quality affiliates to leave the program due to poor performance, and No. 2 can dramatically impact program costs and lead to high channel overlap.
These aren't the only issues, however. There's also the problem of companies applying last-in rules across multiple marketing channels, which includes deduping affiliates without full disclosure.
For example, let's say a customer first learns about a company's product via an affiliate who has a popular blog, visits the retailer but doesn't buy, and then goes back again later through branded pay per click or an email campaign. Some companies don't pay affiliates for this sale despite the important role the affiliate played in creating a new customer. The affiliate creating the demand is paid nothing, yet another channel is credited for the revenue and conversion while doing far less work. The activity that should be valued the most — bringing new customers to the brand — is being discouraged under this model. This is how we know that the last in logic no longer makes sense.