December 02, 2014

3 Tricks to Working with Coupon Affiliates

coupon affiliates

Coupon and deal sites have exploded in popularity over the past few years, as online shoppers have adopted a habit of looking for coupon codes for their favorite online stores. For a merchant with an affiliate program, this causes some contention as a coupon site will often receive affiliate credit in a last-cookie wins scenario. Merchants feel this is unfair, as they often feel that the coupon site did not drive the sale. Other merchants are concerned that if they don’t have coupons, they risk losing the sale to a competitor who has a coupon. It’s possible for a coupon code from a competitor to sway the consumer to hit the “purchase now” button to convert the sale on their site instead. There is an argument to be made for both stances but if you decide that using coupons works with your business model, here are a few tricks to employ to ensure a mutually-beneficial relationship with your coupon affiliates:

1. Clearly state your coupon policy within your affiliate program terms within the network and on any affiliate information page hosted on your site.

2. Actively police codes on all of your coupon publishers’ sites. Other affiliate partners get upset when they see another affiliate promoting a coupon that is against the program terms.

3. When providing codes, be clear about how they are allowed to be used such as start date, an end date, and any other restrictions.

Another strategy is to give specific coupons to certain affiliates, such as for specific items or product categories. Generic codes are great, but an exclusive code that is meant for one publisher offers that publisher a competitive advantage above everyone else.

Pro tip: You can often use an exclusive code as a bargaining chip for extra exposure like a site placement or a newsletter inclusion.

If you’re interested in learning more about the role of coupons in affiliate, download our free introductory slide deck.