Lifting the Lid off Affiliate Customer Journey Lengths

July 2, 2019

Hot on the heels of R.O.EYE’s investigation into whether affiliates drive incrementality, the latest release of R.O.EYE’s Attribution Platform, SingleView, enables its customers to view each individual customer journey path from the top of the funnel, moving down through to conversion.

Before we lift the lid on what we’ve learnt about customer journeys involving Affiliate, it’s worth acknowledging that consumers inevitably take on multi-touch point journeys in an age where we’re ‘always on’ with mass consumerism at our fingertips. In fact, in R.O.EYE’s Incrementality White Paper when studying journeys that involves Affiliate, one-touch journeys accounted for 25% of conversions. The mode was in fact two touchpoints, representing 48% of conversions. The data sample used included just under 2.6 million touchpoints, clearly a robust dataset, which shows how Affiliates contribute to a multi-touch point journey. Paid Search is alongside, acting as a comparison.

Full breakdown is shown in greater detail in Fig.1.

Fig 1. Customer Journey Analysis

Understanding Affiliate Customer Journeys are Important

The Affiliate Industry gets unfairly criticised for being a channel that has a high propensity to generate last click traffic; no doubt due to the high amount of incentive-led sales that exist. However, the Affiliate channel as a whole has been pigeonholed with this association, and the reason that it is cognitively connected in such a way is because up until recently, the channel hasn’t been measured any further than last click. Solutions such as SingleView can identify specific media campaigns which generates initial interest or becomes a factor in the consumer’s moment of decision in the middle of their purchase journey.

Understanding journey length also helps understand the true cost of customer journeys. It’s a marketeer’s dream to identify multiple or duplicated spend, and what can be done. To influence shorter journeys to control costs – for example multiple brand & generic keywords involved in converting one customer. Benchmarking journey lengths and using it as a measurement over time as a softer KPI is important, but vitally how to improve can drastically impact the bottom-line. Notably, increasing relevancy (advert and site) and the way audiences are targeted (e.g. impression windows, look-a-like audiences etc) can help increase revenues and reduce wasted spend.

Knowledge is Power

In the screenshot featuring the SingleView platform, shown below in Fig 2, this shows each customer journey, including the date of conversion, the length, and the number of unique touches. Intentionally, the data represented are toggled to display high-level campaigns (affiliate genre, rather than affiliate name) and is sorted to show the longer customer journey lengths within this timeframe.

Looking at the fourth row generic Paid Search ads were touched 5 times, Brand keywords once, with Affiliate (Voucher) ending the conversion. On the face of it, this is an expensive journey type and allows media trading teams to see, at a glance, the cost of bringing in the converted sale. It also offers transparency for where specific campaigns – for example, Affiliate Content on row 6 – are involved away from a last click, and possibly where a bonus can be credited for playing an active role in converting the sale.

Fig 2. Customer Journey Paths

Companies that can see the sequence of their Affiliate customer journeys are in a well-placed position of power, enabling them to spot trends or anomalies. Moreover, those that use a Data-Driven algorithm to measure and scale marketing campaigns will see the influence that upstream activity has on the bottom-line and can make intelligent media decisions to stay ahead of the competition.


Chris Blower