Contributed by Rosanne Hortensius, Commercial Manager, Saleduck Asia
Affiliate marketing is still quite unknown in South East Asia, but it is getting more and more popular here. Within affiliate marketing there are different earning models, in this article we will focus on a specific type of affiliate marketing; namely coupon websites.
How does affiliate marketing work? Basically there are three parties involved; a publisher, an advertiser and an affiliate network. The publisher displays the advertiser on its website. When a visitor goes to the website of the publisher and clicks on an advertiser’s ad, the visitor gets directed to the advertiser’s website. A cookie will be placed and this is how the affiliate network can track conversions. When the visitor converts on the advertiser’s website, i.e. buys something or subscribes to the newsletter, the publisher will receive a small commission.
In the case of a coupon website, the publisher offers discounts and discount codes of advertisers on its website. When visitors open a deal or discount code, they will be directed to the website of the advertiser where they can use the discount code or deal. When the visitor makes a purchase, the publisher receives a certain percentage of the sale or a fixed amount of commission.
Even though the basic principles of the coupon industry are the same everywhere in the world, dissimilarities in different regions occur. For example, the following differences exist between the ASEAN and European coupon industry:
(1) More focus on mobile
It is no secret that mobile presence is very important. In the entire world, but definitely in Asia. The mobile penetration rate here is way higher than the desktop penetration rate. Because of this, a lot of South East Asian companies have a strong focus on promoting their apps. Also, a lot more merchants here have an app than in Europe. In order to make people download their app, webshops give out really high discount codes for first in-app orders of customers.
(2) Credit card promotions
Unlike in Europe, a lot of webshops offer discounts when you pay with a certain credit card. You can find discount codes that you can use at discount code websites like Saleduck. Lazada, for example, has ‘MasterCard Mondays’ which means that online shoppers that pay with MasterCard on Mondays receive a discount up to 10% on selected products.
(3) More direct partnerships
While in Europe almost all collaborations with advertisers go through an affiliate network, in South East Asia it is not uncommon for publishers to have direct collaborations with advertisers. If this is the case the technical department could either build its own affiliate tracking software or they can use performance marketing programmes such as cake to track the sales.
(4) Less free shipping
The European customer more or less expects free delivery. They are not only accustomed to free delivery, a lot of webshops offer free returns too. And even if webshops don’t offer free shipping, they are likely to offer discount codes for free shipping once in a while. A lot of South East Asian merchants only offer free shipping when a certain amount of money is spent.
(5) Less account management
While affiliate networks in Europe work really closely together with publishers, in South East Asia this is not the norm. However, some affiliate networks, like Shopstylers, have really good account managers.
(6) Different commission models
A lot of advertisers here propose a different commission model for old and for new customers. At times this happens in Europe too, but in South East Asia this happens more often.
(7) Easier acceptance for programmes
Big players like Zalando in Europe are very selective as to whom they accept for their affiliate programme. For some countries they only work with the top three publishers. In South East Asia the selection criteria for publisher acceptation seem a little less strict.
Overall, when active in the e-commerce field in South East Asia rather than Europe, one should keep in mind that a different approach is needed. Most important of all, know that mobile comes first and act accordingly. To promote your app you can give out special discounts, like free shipping, that are only valid when a booking/payment is made in app. It is also key to make people trust you. Show them reviews, make your contact-details visible, offer payment on delivery and be transparent. If you can’t offer payment on delivery, you can encourage people to pay online by collaborating with credit card companies and give out special credit card promotions.
As a discount website, keep in mind that you might get accepted by programmes faster than in Europe, but it is also harder to get a close collaboration with some affiliate networks. Finally, it can be limiting that affiliate marketing is not very known in South East Asia yet, but on the other hand it actually opens all doors.
The author is a 3rd party contributor to AdAsia and this article represents her views.