In my previous post, I wrote about the differences and interconnectedness of affiliation and attribution—how these crediting systems, when combined, create more perfect reporting for marketers. Here, I distinguish Button’s role from mobile measurement partners (MMPs) to ensure this happens.
How Button works in unison with MMPs
Button has spent the past several years building systems that capture near-perfect transactional data across mobile—in-app and mobile web—to accurately enforce the mind-bending commissioning logic of the affiliate world.
Prior to our partnerships with MMPs, this data in mobile was sidelined. Brands were forced to choose between airtight affiliation required from affiliate teams and proper cross-channel reporting for their mobile counterparts.
More often than not, marketers kept these boxers in their corners rather than let them bloody the ring.
To bridge this divide, Button feeds click data into MMPs at the time of tap. It’s a server-to-server connection that signals MMPs be on the lookout for downstream installs or purchase events. MMPs then proceed with their normal attribution path, stitching Button, ergo affiliate publisher traffic, into the fabric of their measurement mix.
Button sends “fingerprinting” attributes such as IPs, browser types, operating systems, campaigns, publisher names, and more to MMPs. Much like satellites pinging beacons around your car to navigate with GPS, MMPs combine this data to triangulate conversions.
*If we receive IDFAs, we’ll send that as well, but we’re increasingly staring down the barrel of an IDFA-less future, so that will be moot in coming months.*
Properly feeding this data into MMPs enables affiliate traffic to work hand-in-hand with MMP reporting and other traffic suppliers that live in disparate parts of the funnel.
The following chart showcases how MMPs and Button collaborate to ensure positive outcomes for brands.
Where Button starts and MMPs stop may be blurriest at the point of linking.
In attribution-based advertising, it’s simple to assign mobile linking rules through your MMP, e.g., if a user has the brand’s app installed, offer deep linking into app; if a user doesn’t have the app, route to mobile web, etc. Conversion data is subsequently reported via postbacks and presented in MMP dashboards. This works seamlessly in view- and click-through attribution because digital advertising is relatively straightforward—there’s an image and call-to-action in the creative unit—and a subsequent event is reported if the targeted user converts.
In commerce-based or affiliate partnerships, however, there is no impression or ad unit. Publishers craft individual narratives around the links themselves. These storylines create vast discrepancies in revenue generated from commissionable links and the paths users take to purchase. Here, static linking rules may reduce affiliate earnings, because they can run counter to where the publisher meant to send that user or where they may best convert.
Here are a few examples of this in the wild:
A blogger may write about new subscription types only available on samsclub.com that cannot be purchased in app. If we forcefully route users into Sam’s Club’s app, they experience an inescapable deep-linking death loop as they refresh a link which continually drives to an irrelevant app page.
A coupon and discounts publisher may receive commission only if they inject the promo code at checkout. A cash back app may keep users inside an embedded browser to ensure cash back is delivered in a timely manner to limit customer inquiries. Mandating routing to apps regardless of publisher type may at best kick users off sites, and at worst, result in revenue loss, missed tracking, and churned customers for both parties. The same is true when we force users to mobile web. These may seem like obscure case studies in an obscure channel but many of the rewards publishers referenced above comprise more than 70% of affiliate revenue (Statista, 2018)
Therefore the nuanced journeys of affiliate-driven revenue require a more sophisticated, dynamic approach to linking. This is why machine learning is crucial for affiliate and has been a major area of focus for Button. Affiliate teams see outsized results when they allow conversion rates - and revenue - to dictate how customers are linked to products, not the other way around.
One major retailer we work with saw an additional 37% lift in purchase rate after we implemented machine learning. This further improved the positive results we built on after optimizing for app sales and installs.
The opportunity to impact every high-intent interaction across brands’ digital footprints has never been more important than in affiliate—where profitable transactions translate into higher customer lifetime value and more meaningful relationships with traffic sources.
Button and MMPs complement each other particularly well in this ecosystem where a dedicated focus on commerce yields big results. Where flexible linking rules that follow the revenue are accounted for by measurement platforms, the growth potential—and trustworthiness—skyrockets.
To learn more about how Button can optimize outcomes for you in affiliate and how we can do so in partnership with your MMP and your affiliate network, reach out to us today.