The Independent is a British newspaper with an average of 173 million page views per month from around the world, and as part of their revenue model, the company utilizes affiliate marketing where appropriate. Specifically, one section of the newspaper’s website is called “IndyBest” and is dedicated to product reviews which help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions. This section accounts for roughly 95% of their affiliate commissions, with the other 5% being scattered through the rest of their site.
These reviews range across numerous categories from the latest tech to the best camping gear, to great gifts for teenage girls. Each review may also have a link to a trusted e-commerce site to easily send each user to the item they’re reviewing, which offers consumers a quick way to order the product if they choose. With these links, the paper utilizes the affiliate programs provided by many of these e-commerce stores to earn “referral fees” from any purchase a consumer makes after visiting their site. From the various e-commerce stores and affiliate programs they utilized, they found that Amazon showed great promise with regards to conversion, earnings and breadth of products available.
Although The Independent is a newspaper in the UK, their publication has a worldwide readership, and many of those international readers want to purchase products through IndyBest’s Amazon links. However, since Amazon is actually made up of multiple country and region-specific storefronts, anyone who clicks these links from outside of the UK received a poor user experience since they were sent to Amazon’s UK storefront (amazon.co.uk) instead of their own. Because users are unlikely to purchase from foreign storefronts due to language, currency, and shipping cost issues, this led to poor conversion rates and less affiliate commissions for the newspaper.
Compounding the issue is that the IndyBest reviews are created by a number of different journalists, and not all have access to the appropriate Amazon Associates accounts in order to create “affiliated” links. This meant that some articles didn’t include The Independent’s correct Associate ID, and resulted in a lost monetization opportunity, even if items were purchased through an IndyBest review.
Realizing they needed a way to manage their international audience, and better support their authors, they sought out a time-efficient way to make sure every one of their commerce links to Amazon were properly affiliated, and catered to their international audience.
This resulted in not only an increase in revenue, earnings per click, and conversion rates for their international Amazon affiliate programs, but also their base country of the UK. When all was said and done, the GeoRiot Snippet was responsible for about 20% of the Independent’s affiliate commissions. The snippet made sure every Amazon click ended up in the storefront the consumers were most likely to purchase from, which meant that every click became more valuable, and caused conversions to go up across the board.
Sam Stansfield, Digital Partnerships Executive at ESI Media (owners of The Independent Newspaper) had this to say about the implementation:
“Working with GeoRiot has been a great experience. They are extremely helpful, provide a great service and have helped save a lot of time geo-targeting our links.”
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|Page Views Per Month:||173 million|
|Uniques Per Month:||74 Million|
|Audience Breakdown:||45% UK
|Avg. Commissions Earned|
|UK – May to November, 2014:||108% increase|
| International Commissions (Started at $0):
|11% month over month increase|
|Earnings Per Click|
|UK EPC % Increase, May to Nov.||5.3% increase|
| International EPC, May to Nov
|Amazon Links Monetized|
|Click % Increase, May to Nov.||96.7% increase|
|Conversion Rate||Before (May)||After (Nov)|
|UK Conversion % Increase:||36.9% increase|