Sep 08, 2021

Incrementality & Proving Performance

Bethany Cowan

When'it comes to improving campaign performance in the world of affiliate marketing, there's one quality that is critical - and unfortunately, it's also the one that people don't pay nearly enough attention to until it's too late.


Regardless of what your goal happens to be - whether you're partnering with publishers in an effort to drive revenue or launching mobile app tests to incentivize customers - the need to validate incrementality cannot be overstated. This is true for both advertisers and publishers alike.

Your ability to understand concepts like lift and net new customers isn't just the key to managing and scaling affiliate efforts. The insight you derive from these efforts should fuel a lot of the major decisions that you're making moving forward.

Thankfully, getting to this point isn't necessarily difficult - it simply requires you to remember a few best practices along the way.

The Art of Incrementality: Breaking Things Down

Another key concept to understand involves the idea that incrementality will ultimately vary in definition based on the organization in question. No two businesses are created in quite the same way, so the specific meaning of the term will vary depending on what your goals are. Regardless, it's a measure of how well you're making an impact - thus giving you visibility into the true performance of your affiliate efforts.

Some businesses may define incrementality as their ability to acquire net new customers. Others can see it as a gauge of their uplift or increased AOV bracket size. Driving additional tips, incremental sales, it doesn't actually matter - you need to define what it means in your own terms before you can start using it to your advantage.

This underlines the needs for a true measurement plan as early on in the process as possible. You need outlined action plans for measurement of success not just before the campaign, but also during and after so that you can properly track how things continue to grow and evolve.

Essentially, this plan comes down to a few key questions that you need to look internally to answer. What, exactly, do you want to better understand? Is it whether customers are truly incremental, or is it whether customers simply shifted their spend to different shopping methods? At that point, you can identify your campaign goals like driving incremental revenue, acquisition, purchase frequency or other factors.

Then, you put yourself in an excellent position to identify any major considerations or key implications of this plan that you've created for yourself. Finally, you can develop actions and steps to be taken for all team members - thus putting you as close to accomplishing your long-term goals as possible.

Incrementality is also crucial in terms of validating performance across the board. It's a way to align the real-world results that you're seeing with your organizational data, all in a way that allows you to make better and more informed choices all the time. That last point may very well be the biggest advantage of them all.