Call tracking technology is the single biggest issue in the affiliate marketing space, delegates and speakers at this week’s PerformanceIN Travel conference agreed.
But Bird said there needs to be better metrics by which to measure the performance of affiliates with the ability to track the telephone calls they generate top of the list.
“As an affiliate we drive traffic to a website and if there’s a telephone number on there that’s of no value to us. We want travel retailers to give us telephone numbers that are related specifically to Savoo.
“The issue is how you measure the success of affiliate marketing and, actually do you call it affiliate marketing. It’s more about performance marketing.
“I want to know what the merchant wants to sell more of so he is going to make more money and therefore we are as well. We want to know that – we are not mindreaders.
“What’s important to me is we want to make money, but we want to optimise and maximise and convert the traffic that’s coming through our site.
“How can you motivate affiliates to sell more of the stuff you want? I would like to see the industry move away from viewing affiliates as a conversion channel to a cost per engagement.
“I do not think that’s been tried and tested enough. A lot of this is going to come from the networks and I would like to see departments spring up in these organisations looking at display and tenancy and other brand building metrics.”
Bird conceded not all sales using voucher codes are incremental with savvy shoppers now aware they are likely to be able to find a saving via a voucher once they have decided on a purchase.
But he said adding price comparison to its site should help Savoo become more of a money saving expert and increase the average basket size of purchases for its merchants.
Addressing the conference in a keynote speech Low Cost Travel Group chief executive Paul Evans said affiliates were not realising the most from driving leads on the telephone.
“We have not cracked affiliates and telephone,” he said. “We have 100 homeworkers in our business who are self employed and we drive 1,500 to 2,000 calls a day and convert at 26%.
“If they do not get to at least 20% they are fired. It’s a very effective way of operating. I do not know how you can share in some of that business.
“When people are spending £1,700 to £2,000 plus and it’s a single annual purchase sometimes they just want to speak to someone, that’s life.”
In a later session Mark Andres, head of affiliates at Vouchercloud, said it was valuable for advertiser to target calls from mobile and so call tracking was essential.
“Most networks are pushing call tracking quite a lot this year,” he said. “It should be a quick win for any merchant with a call centre.”
Andres highlighted hotels.com’s mobile site which does not have call tracking as a missed opportunity and Virgin Experience Days’ site as a good example.