From Discovery to Purchase: Unlocking the Affiliate Customer Journey

Oct 7, 2021
Written by CJ

After an enlightening and informative session at CJU21 discussing how to leverage our on-demand Affiliate Customer Journey data, the enthusiasm for strategic insight is obvious.

From Discovery to Purchase: Unlocking the Affiliate Customer Journey” dives into how complex customer interactions with publishers are captured in CJ’s newest on-demand Insights dashboard, and how to use it to develop sophisticated marketing plans. Advertisers and publishers both benefit from understanding how the affiliate customer purchase journey—from discovery, through evaluation, to decision—can be harnessed for growth.

Watch the session below and read on to learn more from the questions we received during the session.

In this video: Jeff DeBo, VP, Corporate Development, CJ and Eric Schafer, Client Development Director, CJ


Your Affiliate Customer Journey Questions, Answered

Here were some of the key questions and themes that came up during the CJU21 session:

Q: What are the most common customer journey trends in the affiliate channel?

A: As we addressed in our whitepaper, A Study of Affiliate Customer Journeys, most customer journeys within affiliate involve a single publisher. For those that involve multiple publishers, the results show higher average order values across publisher models.

What does this mean?

  • Publishers typically do not compete for a conversion.
  • Publishers attract loyal and diverse audiences through a variety of customer-need driven models which inform and provide consumers with confidence regarding their purchasing decisions.
  • Ongoing recruitment and diversification across publisher types and sizes allow advertisers to reach new and unique audiences through publishers who meet consumer needs. This leads to sustainable growth.


Q: How can advertisers scale journeys with high average order values?

A: AOV is an incredibly valuable metric when examining each phase of the customer journey—through the data, it’s easy to identify partners in pre-decision phases of the journey with AOVs that exceed your program’s average. For example, if a publisher’s contribution drives the highest overall AOVs when influencing a customer early on in their journey, it’s an indicator there’s room to scale exposure with their audience. Consider testing increased visibility through homepage placements.


Q: How can advertisers use this data to better understand how publishers are impacting sales?

A: There’s a mantra that we stand behind: let the data be your guide. Without transparency into customer behavior across the purchase journey and across publishers, it’s risky to succumb to assumptions, myths, or biases that may be untrue. For example, at a network level, 82% of journeys involve a single publisher dispelling the common misconception that some models only come in at the decision phase of the journey. All publishers interact with consumers throughout their journey—from discovery to decision.

It’s also critical to look at publisher contributions beyond the decision phase. Consider exploring publishers that drive high discovery or evaluation engagement in customer journeys to deepen partnerships, consider placement opportunities to capture audience attention when they start their journey and keep adding new partners to your mix to stay competitive.

If you use paid placements, purchase sponsored content, or tap into media-buy opportunities, make sure to leverage Affiliate Customer Journey reporting to understand the total contribution across the customer journey phases during the campaign—did the publisher running the placement also drive high discovery engagement? Were they involved in the evaluation phase for purchases? These data points can help create compelling and holistic placement strategies.


Q: As a publisher, how can I use this data to understand where I have untapped opportunity to be more effective for the shoppers that interact with my site?

A: Providing insight into publisher contribution across the customer’s path to purchase unlocks opportunities to drive better outcomes for all parties involved—publishers, brands, and consumers—ultimately achieving more productive partnerships.​

When publishers understand where there’s opportunity to optimize their own efforts (i.e., search strategy, content curation, offers/deals, placements, additional promotional models, etc.) there's increased potential to drive optimal and mutually beneficial outcomes.

On the heels of this years’ recent advertiser platform release of Affiliate Customer Journey, we launched a publisher version of the dashboard to all network publishers in September—no integration required! Check it out in Insights today.


Q: What’s coming next for Affiliate Customer Journey?

A: We’re dedicated to continued innovation and the addition of further functionality and insights to all of our data solutions, including Affiliate Customer Journey. We’ll be adding new metrics, additional filtering capabilities, and a drill down into journeys by Promotional Property.


Stay tuned for more exciting releases for both advertisers and publishers.


Insights provides actionable data on demand in an intuitive, streamlined and easy-to-use platform to help you identify where to take action for your program.

Affiliate Customer Journey

Affiliate Customer Journey analysis provides visibility into customer shopping behavior and unlocks the full value of the affiliate channel and affiliate partnerships.

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