It’s no secret that affiliate marketing is a stable channel for commerce. A tried-and-true medium for generating a steady revenue stream, affiliate rewards marketers, publishers, and its users alike. This is perhaps why it has been so successful - it’s a solid channel that has shown good results.In uncertain times especially, affiliate is a strong cash-timing play in comparison with traditional ads. With online ads, the process typically goes something like this: an advertiser pays a publisher upfront, the publisher pushes content to its users, and you hope your product moves off the shelves. Contrast that with affiliate, where instead: you set up an offer, a publisher pushes content to users, and when your product moves, you pay publishers. It’s a guaranteed performance play against an upfront investment.
But it’s also perhaps why the system hasn’t embraced dynamism the way other channels like search and social media have - the status quo is pretty good and there hasn’t been a burning need to create a better way for brands, publishers, and their users to benefit.
At Button, we believe in that better way. We believe in a vision of dynamism that delivers profound value to all sides of the marketplace. In almost all loyalty programs today, every user sees the same thing. Whether you're a young urban professional looking for new tech gadgets, or a suburban parent looking to save on everyday essentials - you are seeing the same offers in the same order and chances are, they are utterly irrelevant to you.
While the status quo is pretty good and better than most channels, there is a world of opportunity to make it better. Better for users, to see more of the stuff they're interested in, for marketers to outperform their objectives, and for publishers to earn more. And we’ve taken that first step towards the evolution of this industry towards a dynamic future.
When we started working with Zap Surveys, the leading survey app, we partnered with them to build out their commerce program. Zap Surveys is an app that rewards its users with daily cash for taking surveys about travel preferences, products, or advertising opinions. The results help companies develop new products or adapt to the needs of consumers.
With Button, Zap Surveys was looking to create a new revenue stream on their platform, and commerce is a natural extension of their model. They have an engaged audience with a habit of daily usage, and rewarding their users for that habit by giving them cash back on offers fits well into their vision and mission. This is where personalization had the most potential for impact. Show users offers that are relevant, and you drive value for everyone involved.
Our product, engineering, and design teams set out to build the “Shop” tab with the Zap Surveys team. Button powered their offer wall through our Personalization API and delivered personalized content to users in a banner at the top of the page. At the same time, our data science team built and cycled through a number of different models and modeling techniques. We launched challenger models to our first modeling attempts, we retrained live models with new data and features based on what we were learning, and generally walked the fine line between giving ourselves enough time to learn from the data, but moving quickly enough to impact Zap Surveys’ users.
Our final models were heavily weighted towards users’ purchase history, counter-interaction signals (what a user sees and does not purchase) and signals across the purchase funnel, with more weight given to those lower down the funnel (orders and purchases). This is what makes Button’s position as a marketplace unique, and importantly, is a key difference between us and traditional ads: our technology can deliver insights to our partners about many more aspects of the user funnel, including purchasing behavior. And those signals are a much stronger indication of preference than search or social media, which stop at a tap.
We ran our statistical models between February and March this year, and the results speak volumes about our hypothesis on the value of dynamism.
Button was able to achieve a 46% increase in tap-through rate for users exposed to the personalized offers compared to a hold-out group who saw the baseline offers. For Zap Surveys, this translated into a high double-digit increase in gross revenue per impression on the treatment group over the hold-out group. And for their users, this meant better content - more tailored, more relevant, more actionable.
“We believe in empowering people to share their opinions in-app and make money while doing so,” said Jason Schubert, CEO of Zap Surveys. “We're thrilled to be an early adopter of Personalization to be part of a movement towards dynamism in the affiliate industry. By working with Button to build a commerce program to dynamically offer personalized content to our users, we’re driving greater app utility and engagement with our users by giving them seamless, relevant shopping experiences.”
It’s an exciting time at Button, we’ve taken the first step in validating the value of dynamism, and while it has always been clear in our minds, we now have the chops to prove it. For our partners, we’re excited to be able to deliver value in a way that we have not been able to before. For the affiliate industry, it’s nothing short of game changing.
For more information, reach out to us at usebutton.com/contact.