Preventing Sales Leakage within the Affiliate Channel – Telephone Tracking

Posted on 04. Nov, 2011 by in Digital Marketing

There has been concern for a number of years regarding leakage to call centres within the affiliate channel. This has been a popular topic recently with more affiliate networks offering call tracking to their clients.

Cause for concern…

When a brand launches their affiliate program, we request that they mask all telephone numbers on their website so that when a potential customer lands on an affiliate site, the customer isn’t tempted to call the call centre to purchase. If there is no telephone number, the customer is encouraged to click through the affiliate’s links to buy.

In our experience, if telephone numbers are not masked on the brand’s site then the leakage rate is usually quite high, especially for products such as life insurance, loans and mortgages.  

What is Telephone Tracking?

Telephone tracking is extremely easy to set up; there are no real requirements as the call centre handles calls as they usually would. There are various ways of initialising call tracking, some networks require one telephone number and can then re-route all affiliate calls via the one number. Affiliates are provided with unique telephone numbers that route through the one designated telephone number. Other networks require that brands set up batches of unique numbers and distribute a different telephone number to each affiliate, this can be very time consuming if a brand would like multiple affiliates promoting them via call tracking.

Telephone numbers have to be unique to each affiliate so that the affiliate network can report on their performance.  Although some providers work with one telephone number and provide individual affiliates with unique reference numbers. When the customer calls the call centre they are asked to quote the unique reference.

What sectors does this affect?

We think that the finance sector has always been the most impacted but in our experience, this has affected more sectors recently, such as travel and telecoms. We would recommend that if a brand sells high ticketed items then call tracking is the perfect solution for them, sometimes customers just need reassurance when they are purchasing expensive items over the Internet.

Telephone tracking can be implemented for very little cost and is another method of capturing additional sales. This is essential for any travel, finance or telecoms affiliate program and will ensure brands are maximising real estate on their affiliate’s websites. We have helped our clients select the best suited call tracking provider for their needs. We also ensure we manage their call tracking activity along with their affiliate marketing activity in one place to ensure the two work in synergy.