~ first automated affiliate content categorisation tool uses award winning semantic technology ~
To date, the standard approach across networks has been to rely on affiliates self categorising for the verticals they operate in, listing their websites and the networks having the knowledge of where the affiliates’ traffic is coming from. This can work well and is a basic tool for network administration but when the affiliates operate across many sites, when sites evolve or when networks have hundreds of thousands of websites and affiliates it can also be a time consuming process to keep details updated and find the right partners. If information isn’t updated properly or on time, optimal matches are not being made which leads to campaigns falling short of what they could achieve.
Webgains harnessed the patented iSense technology of linguistics professor Dr David Crystal to this end. He received the first global patents covering the semantic analysis of online content. This means computers can understand the subject of a web page in the same way humans do: instead of just looking for keywords, the technology instantly looks at all the words on a page and the relationships between them to determine their meaning and the sense in which they are used.
Publishers such as Trinity Mirror, Bauer and Incisive have joined major brands such as Microsoft, Shell, T-Mobile and HSBC in using the iSense® technology for display advertising (i.e. to target ads at the right pages with an unprecedented degree of accuracy), but Webgains is the first affiliate network to see its potential to design a whole new type of application for affiliate marketing.
The tool has two main components -
1)The first is an internal tool allowing Webgains staff to search for affiliates based on the categories their traffic falls into in order to streamline the recruitment and optimization processes on program.
2) The second is client facing and works as follows:
If you click on an affiliate who is waiting to be approved, or has already joined the program you’ll see a ‘SiteSeeker’ link:
Clicking on this will bring up the following screen:
As you can see the traffic for this campaign is categorized using iSense and we show the % of traffic for each category. The system has over 2500 categories.
This portion of the tool is designed to deal with several situations:
- Streamlining the approval process for programs with manual approval. It’s all too common for an affiliate to get rejected because the site they listed in their application doesn’t seem relevant to the merchant. We already offer the facility to add in additional campaigns to display your different sites or add a written message to clarify promotional methods however we know that in many cases this can be laborious for the affiliates to use, especially if signing up to multiple programs with multiple sites. As such this system allows a merchant to see at a glance the traffic categories that an affiliate works in currently for this campaign and make a more informed decision as to whether to approve them.
- Assisting advertisers engage with their affiliates knowledgably. When trying to get an affiliate active it is also common for affiliate managers to have a lack of information about an affiliate beyond the site listed in their campaign details. This often results in numerous generic emails which waste valuable time for everyone and get a low response rate. Using SiteSeeker the affiliate manager will have a much better picture of what traffic the affiliate has available and as such can make an initial approach that is less generic and instead gets straight down to addressing the most relevant products, promotions and promotional methods for that affiliate. We also feel that this will be a particular boon to agency staff who often manage multiple programs in different sectors. SiteSeeker will allow them to identify affiliates on one program who may be relevant for another they manage that otherwise they might not have known about.
- Increasing affiliate insight to ensure improved program efficiency and effectiveness. An issue that has become prominent recently is where a merchant changes the terms on a program, say to restrict voucher code useage for example, and then proceeds to kick off all affiliates who have code sites listed in their profile. In many cases the affiliate may have other sources of traffic that they could be using that the merchant is thus missing out on. Using SiteSeeker the merchant can quickly get information on potential traffic sources and hopefully avoid losing a potentially valuable partner in the process.
To clarify for affiliates how this system works. In the Webgains system we allow you to set up separate ‘campaigns’ to track the performance of your various sites and promotional methods. SiteSeeker works on a per campaign basis. As such a merchant will only have access to category information for the campaign you apply to their program with. So if you want to start on a program and not be contacted about other opportunities based on your traffic’s category, then all you need do is create a fresh campaign and use it to apply to the program. You are able to see the categorization the system has created for your campaigns in your account by clicking the ‘SiteSeeker’ button under the ‘Sites & keyword campaigns’ area.
We feel that this is a great tool which makes significant progress on several key areas in the affiliate marketing industry and would welcome any feedback that merchants, affiliates and agencies may have on it.