Voucher Vertical PPC: are you doing it right?

Karl Wood, UK Publisher Director

Introduction to Voucher Brand Bidding

The success of voucher affiliates relies on some key elements, and it is a fine balancing act between acquiring the right users, the best possible content and partnering with some of the industries leading brands in innovative and creative ways.

However, even with all of this in mind, it is the search engines that tend to hold the lion share of power in the growth and decline of this affiliate model. Of course, SEO is an ever-present strategy but how can voucher partners ensure relevance in the long-term? By introducing Brand + Voucher (TM Bidding) campaigns.

Voucher publishers have for some time now incorporated brand bidding rights into their tenancy package negotiations, giving brands a perceived win-win approach to the partnership.

The additional exposure can be secured at a significantly discounted cost to the advertiser, by lending their brand name to the publisher for an agreed amount of time. However, is it a fair and equal trade?

The Common Misconceptions

‘Where is the incremental value? Were these users going to purchase anyway?’ – I do not doubt that you have either heard or, in fact, asked one of these questions yourself in the past few years. These are common themes amongst digital marketers, and even with the steady introduction of attribution based case studies, these age-old theories continue to surface.

I believe that advertisers need to take a moment to consider the position of the top voucher sites and perhaps re-evaluate the trade-off in such agreements. I think it is fair to say, that gone are the days that the top voucher sites are relying entirely on PPC to hit the characteristically high revenue figures. They are now developed businesses with thousands of merchant partnerships and millions of registered users. They also share thousands of unique offers and snippets of content every day!

These sites are well-oiled SEO machines and have established themselves as market leaders with years of hard work on metadata positioning, brand relationship developing and securing “best around” discount content.

Advertisers need to discover that the voucher sites are an excellent breeding ground for obtaining new customers and targeting competitor’s consumers. They are also great for rewarding and encouraging repeat purchases from your existing customer base.

In the age of Amazon, can brands afford to weigh up new versus loyal customers?

To answer the question of incrementally and put these misconceptions to the sword, I first think we need to consider the consumer angle.

From the consumers perspective

How do consumers see the PPC campaigns, and are they beneficial to the overall experience and transactional journey?

Modern day, online-savvy consumers are becoming more and more aware of the channels available to them to enhance their shopping experience, from discovering new product ranges on social media, to compare prices on comparison sites while shopping.

Checking across multiple discount sites to ensure they’re receiving the very best discount or deal is now as a common step in the journey as the browsing habits mentioned above. Brands who take advantage of this consumer behaviour can easily take the upper hand over the competition. They can ensure exposure in prime positions at any given part of the journey, and have better control of the content that is viewed. Understand the research phase of the consumer journey, act on it, and you can expect to see strong results.

The Voucher PPC Consumer Journey

What are the practical advantages of working with a top-tier voucher publisher on a Brand + Voucher PPC campaign?

Firstly, review the current experience of consumers with your brand. We know from experience that a significant number of potential customers or future first-time buyers are interested in a discount code. What are they likely to find when searching for one online? This step is crucial on the journey to conversion.

It is very likely that upon searching for a term such as “[My Brand] voucher” you have probably come across one of three scenarios:

  1. The SEO has allowed a website the advertiser has no partnership with to rank number one, and show the future consumer an offer that may be incorrect, expired, etc. etc. This will only frustrate the consumer, which is likely going to lead to an abandoned journey.
  2. The advertiser website is appearing at the top of the search listings. Although this has its benefits, it’s worth acknowledging that a proportion of customers who expect to shop via a third party may still abandon this particular journey to source code from a voucher site.
  3. The advertiser is being bidden on by a competitor.

Benefits of having a select Voucher partner take control

There are certainly a lot of benefits to having a select voucher partner running a Brand + Discount search campaigns, but the key advantages include:

Taking back control: Advertisers can ensure that the consumer journey is fully optimised. Consumers are landing on a well-maintained website with the correct and functioning content. Working with a partner to secure this search space gives the advertisers control on the content that is found first, enhancing conversion considerably.

Reduced costs: This is twofold, as it saves advertisers paying for the traffic, but will also allow them to negotiate strong tenancy packages for considerably less.

Strengthened position: Partners who incorporate search into their campaigns with voucher sites often secure stronger exposure on the site itself, with even greater opportunities for SMBs.

Reduced leakage: It is a common tactic for voucher sites to ensure consumers who come to their site via a search, and to land on a conversion optimised page. This removes any sign of competitors or other brands and reduces leakage.

In-house expertise: Voucher sites work with many different brands on the search front, the advertisers are getting best in-house expertise; including most effective ad-copy and competitor insights.

What’s next

How can you, as an advertiser, use the above information to optimise your campaign?

  1. Review your current situation – what voucher partners are you working with? How are you working with them, and what sort of exposure or share of voice are you receiving from them?
  2. Review the search space – run searches for terms such as “[Your Brand] + Voucher” or “[Your Brand + Discount]”. What is the current state of play? How do you think your target customers would perceive those results?
  3. Ask for solutions – get in touch with your affiliate network to kickstart the conversations with key voucher partners. Find out what packages would work best with the search. You will notice that the amount of exposure and activity available to you is greatly increased and often for a lot less upfront spend.

Webgains works with top-tier voucher sites to deliver the best opportunities to advertisers within our network. Reach out to your Account Manager today to find out what we can do to elevate your affiliate campaign.