Apparently, this “click stream intelligence” functionality has been available to AvantLink clients for a while, but only directly within the network, and this has just changed.
Being extremely excited about
what I believe to be the big news for affiliate marketing analytics, I sat down with the company’s CEO and co-founder, Scott Kalbach (SK below) and asked him a few questions about the tool. But before I bring you the interview, here’s an appropriate video to start with:
And here’s the interview itself:
GP: First of all, congratulations on rolling out AvantMetrics, a well overdue tool which I’m sure you’re proud of! In the video about it you’ve introduced it as a “robust affiliate platform that revolutionizes affiliate marketing.” “Revolutionize” is a powerful word meant to be used when talking about a radical change. Seeing press releases devalue the word day in and day out, how exactly would you back up the claim in your case?
SK: Up to this point, Affiliate Marketing has relied on a simplistic “Last Click Wins” standard attribution model. In large part this was due to a lack of technology to determine all of the marketing channel touch points that a customer crosses leading up to a sale. AvantMetrics gives you insight into the entire customer click stream leading up to a sale and allows you to determine if “Last Click Wins” is the right model for your program. If it isn’t, AvantMetrics provides the technology to implement an alternate shared commission attribution model for your affiliate program. For example you could split the commission among multiple affiliates that referred the customer before the conversion took place. So, in fact, AvantMetrics does allow for a radical change from the “Last Click Wins” attribution standard.
GP: The idea of a “digital container” that groups “all third party pixels” to track “the entire stream of all affiliate referral traffic” (to give “insight into your program from beginning to end”) is an excellent one. But when multiple affiliate networks are involved, would the solution be even allowed (read: comply with the major affiliate networks’ terms of service) by the networks that compete with AvantLink (some networks are quite strict on tracking-related issues)?
SK: First, let me be clear that the data AvantMetrics is capturing is on the end client’s website only. We’re not capturing customer data as they browse around an affiliates website. The data that AvantMetrics collects is not unlike what any good web analytics service collects.
The pixel container has advanced business rules based logic to output other tracking pixels depending on the client’s needs (for example: de-duplicating sales/commission across multiple affiliate networks). It’s up to the client to make sure that the rules they put in place align with the terms of their agreements with other marketing channel providers.
I’ve seen a lot of poorly implemented de-duplication code on merchants websites over the years, so I think that networks will come to appreciate the reliability and accuracy of the functionality we’ve built into our pixel container. Not to mention that once our pixel container is on a client’s website, it allows the client to add or remove pixels basically on demand which will help all networks integrate more quickly with an advertiser.
GP: I love how you segment affiliates into “referral groups”: Introducer (1st affiliate referral), Influencer (2nd referral), and Closer (3rd referral). But how exactly does the solution determine/differentiate one from another? From the video it is apparent that you’re tying it to various affiliates’ “entry points into the customer’s path to purchase”. Can you give a bit more details on this (especially for situations when many more than 3 affiliates are involved)?
SK: An Introducer is an affiliate who refers the customer as the very first step in the customers path to a conversion. An Influencer doesn’t refer the customer as the first step in the path to purchase, but they bring the customer back before the customer enters the checkout funnel. A Closer brings the customer back after the customer has already entered the checkout funnel.
Our system has the ability to tag a URL as the checkout funnel entry point and that’s how we determine the difference between an Influencer and Closer referral.
Once a client is on our AvantMetrics system, we can do an analysis that breaks down all of the client’s affiliate referrals into those three groups and show you the percentages that each group makes up of your overall affiliate traffic. We usually recommend at least a months worth of data collection before doing this analysis. At that point our client’s have accurate and detailed information to determine if they should continue with the standard “Last Click Wins” attribution model or if they need to consider a shared commission attribution model.
GP: When I got my very first glimpse at the functionality, we’ve exchanged these tweets:
— AvantLink.com (@AvantLink) March 30, 2012
In that response you mentioned that AvantMetrics will be “available to anyone even if not using” AvantLink. So if a merchant runs two affiliate programs on other affiliate networks — one of which is on Commission Junction, and another one on LinkShare — they can still use all AvantMetrics’ capabilities?
SK: Absolutely. AvantMetrics was created by the team at AvantLink but it’s also a completely independent brand and service from AvantLink. AvantMetrics services help solve common problems like online marketing channel de-duplication, attribution analysis and implementation, pixel container functionality as well as complete insight into the marketing channel touch points. An advertiser doesn’t need to be on the AvantLink network to take full advantage of the services available on AvantMetrics.com.
GP: And finally… your prices. I couldn’t find any information on them at AvantMetrics.com while the video mentioned that plans start from $25 per month. Can you give us some more details on the pricing and/or available packages?
SK: Here’s a summary list of the services that are available via AvantMetrics right now.
1. Pixel Container Functionality
2. De-Duplication of Multi-Network Sales
3. De-Duplication of Internal Marketing Channels
4. Referral Group Analysis and Shared Commission Attribution Model Functionality
Our current pricing is a tiered flat fee model based on the customers traffic volume. AvantLink client pricing starts at a discounted rate of $50 per service level. Here is the general pricing list for AvantMetrics.com:
◊ 0 – 100k total visits per month: $50 a month per service level
◊ 100k – 1 million total visits per month: $100 a month per service level
◊ 1 million – 2 million total visits per month: $200/month per service level
◊ Over 2 million total visits per month: Custom Pricing
GP: Thank you for shedding the light on these important areas. I appreciate your time, and wish you luck, Scott.