Finder helps people make better decisions.
We recently sat down with Fred Schebesta, Co-Founder and CEO of Finder, to talk about the trends he is seeing in affiliate marketing and how his company is helping to push the industry forward.
CJ: Tell us a little bit about your company/business model and what makes Finder unique.
FS: Finder.com is a personal finance comparison site that allows consumers to compare virtually everything from online shopping coupon codes and credit cards, to cryptocurrency exchanges. We help people make better informed decisions everyday by comparing the best rates, products, and services.
Some financial comparison sites will compare products and feed customers the ultimate decision. We have a lot more faith in people to make the right choice. That’s why at Finder we don’t choose on behalf of our customers, we empower them. We give them the tools and information they need to make the best decision for themselves. That’s what sets us apart.
From a business model standpoint, we are a lead generation company with a small portion of revenue coming from display advertising. Finder is a purely online business, with over 200 employees and five offices across the world. We started with creditcardfinder.com.au comparing credit cards in Australia in 2006, and gradually expanded to now compare thousands of products across over 50 categories. We expanded globally by launching in the USA in 2015, and now operate in 10 countries with 10 more planned in 2018.
CJ: That’s great news, especially given the ever-expanding global nature of ecommerce and affiliate marketing.
FS: Exactly! Finder has grown significantly over the past 10 years, and especially so in just the past few years. A big part of this growth is our global expansion. We now operate in US, UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong among others. We have local teams in some of these countries, but we also have a strong headquarters in Sydney, Australia. Our Foundations team in Sydney works collaboratively with local teams abroad to gain local insight and tailor our resources and product offering to local preferences. It’s really important for us to find the right mix of local and global talent when we’re expanding overseas so that we’re reaching our customers and helping them in the best way we can.
CJ: How is Finder helping advertisers grow their reach?
FS: Advertisers are drawn to Finder for our incredible customer reach and the trust our customers have in us to deliver accurate and reliable information. We’re continuously trying to grow our customer base, without sacrificing our customer’s trust. The biggest way we do this is by producing quality, unique content that people love to engage with. We publish guides and resources/tools every day for people to read and learn about different available products. We lay out the pros and cons and answer people’s questions honestly and accurately. There are also Finder tools and calculators available to help people work out which product will best suit their needs. This convenience helps to attract even more viewers.
Our international expansion is also key to helping grow global reach. In the Australian market we use a combination of sponsored links as well as above the line advertising on more traditional platforms such as TV, radio, and sports partnerships.
Another way we’re expanding our customer reach is by diversifying our product offering. A great example of this is with our recent expansion into the high net worth cryptocurrency market with our OTC trading desk HiveEx.com.
CJ: What are some best practices that you can share?
FS: My number one piece of advice for other publishers is to be straight up. It’s one of our guiding principles at Finder. We take this to heart and we incorporate it into everything we do, write, and say. When you’re honest with your readers, they’ll trust you and your words. And if your customers have trust in what you do, you can’t really go wrong. For example, we conduct a number of reviews on different products and sometimes we have to reveal something less than flattering about a particular one. This has happened with partners of ours and while we could keep them happy and hide the negative stuff, that wouldn’t be a true representation of the product and be a disservice to our customers. Our customers always come first and our commitment to them and the integrity of our content pays off in the long run.
CJ: What helps to ensure a successful partnership with Finder?
FS: At Finder we are extremely passionate about what we do and showing our partners our results, however naturally in business you can meet a level of resistance with new potential partners. Some of the largest and most successful partnerships we’ve built have required huge amounts of perseverance until we reached the level of engagement needed to structure mutual success. One of the cool things that we do with our partners is work together collaboratively to structure a unique and exclusive offer tailored to the Finder audience that will assist in achieving the goals that the partner has their sights on.
CJ: What are some new and innovative ways that you are approaching your affiliate business?
FS: Many users arrive at Finder quite far into their purchase journey. This means that they’ve often done a fair bit of research beforehand and are close to ready to make their final decision. We have a huge amount of information available to our customers online and are working to have our users arrive at Finder earlier, so that we can help them even more. We want our users to be completely informed when they make their final decision, so it’s important they’ve had the time to access all relevant resources before they click ‘purchase’.
CJ: Where do you see the future of affiliate marketing headed?
FS: The future of the channel is customization. Developments in AI, virtual reality, and even blockchain technology could mean that search and affiliate marketing channels become optimized for each and every customer. It’s not enough for businesses to simply acquire a customer anymore. Products will need to become perfectly tailored to every customer. Businesses could know exactly what people want and need and might use this information to help them with the best service available. At Finder, we’re really interested in how these developments in customer optimization will progress, with the ultimate goal of helping our customers find even better.