Welcome to our Affiliate Marketing interview series, where we speak with partners and clients about all things commission, cashback, and codes. Our first interview is with TopCashback’s Partnerships Manager, Michaela Carr, and Account Director, Jake Hodgkiss.
Michaela and Jake recently spoke with Summit’s Steffen Hagavei, Affiliate Strategist, about TopCashback’s role in helping businesses and consumers in the current economic climate, as well as the site’s plans for the future.
TopCashback.co.uk, the company with the mission of being “most generous cashback company in the world”. Cashback sites operate a great and simple win-win model – merchants give cashback platforms the affiliate link, which is shared to the site members. When members purchase via the link, the platform is awarded a percentage of the sale, a portion of which is then shared with the members as cash.
Tell us about your business? How long have you been around for? What type of customers do you have etc?
TopCashback was founded in the UK in 2005 and has since established a strong international presence. We now have sites across eight different countries, including UK, US, China, Germany, France and Australia, as well as most recently taking full ownership of Refunder, a market leading cashback site in Sweden & Poland.
Overall, we have accumulated 21+ million members globally, with the majority falling between 25–44 years old. We really do believe we’re the more generous cashback site, always passing back at least 100% of commission we’re paid to most of our members.
We currently have over 5,500 advertisers live on our UK site across a range of verticals, including Fashion, Healthy & Beauty, Electricals, Travel, Insurance, Utilities.
In your eyes, what has changed so far through this cost-of-living crisis for brands advertising on your site?
The current climate has created a higher level of interest in making savings when buying online, leading to increased clicks and sales across a large portion of our key categories. Additionally, rising costs have led to noticeable increases in average order value (AOV) across a significant number of our retailers.
Overall, this had led to higher levels of competition across the site, with lots of brands being more aggressive with their cashback rates to stand out from the rest. We’re seeing lots more advertisers run ‘flash rates’ with us, whereby they increase the cashback amount to a record level for a short 24- or 48-hour period.
From your perspective, which verticals have seen the biggest impact?
Travel has been performing strongly, returning to pre-pandemic levels and beyond in certain subcategories. This shows that despite the current economic climate, holiday bookings remain high on the priority list for our members.
Health & Beauty is another category that goes from strength to strength, with buying habits permanently changed during the pandemic and showing no signs of slowing down.
Do you have any recommendations for the brands that advertise on your site during these difficult times?
We’d recommend for brands to book their plans on a quarterly basis where possible.
This allows us to distribute their budget across key campaigns more effectively, as well as tying in their exposure to our own themed calendar. This is a reflection of where we expect specific categories to peak across the month, based on previous years seasonality.
Booking campaign plans on a quarterly basis also creates more room for transparency within the partnership, allowing us at TopCashback to make a bespoke plan around the brands main objectives and campaigns further in advance.
We would also advise brands to keep a close eye on the rates their competitors are offering, to maintain a healthy level of market share.
What’s your advice to brands in 2023? Where should they focus their time and budgets?
The first step is to just sit down and have a chat with one of our Account Management team. We can use this as an opportunity to understand the brand’s objectives and discuss how we can help support these. It’s important to take the time to understand our full range of promotional opportunities, as we’ve developed our offering so that there are placements for a range of budgets and objectives.
We would also advise advertisers to try and think strategically about the way they commission and how that translates to a cashback saving. Is there a certain product or category that they have more margin on and can therefore offer higher rates for? Can we look to commission based on order value to reward the most engaged customers?
Finally, as mentioned previously, flash rate campaigns are also resonating really well with our audience at the moment, especially when we align them with a brand’s own promo calendar, or points in the month where they usually see a peak in interest (e.g. end of month/pay day).
Anything new coming up? What’s exciting for brands and consumers?
For 2023, we have several key focuses across our site for brands and our members.
One area we’re looking to develop over the next 12 months is the level of promotional opportunities available on our app. Our app is growing in popularity amongst members, so we want to ensure there are options for brands to consider here that tap into that demand.
We’re also looking to increase the number of collaborative co-branded campaigns that are available for our members. Currently a hot topic within the affiliate industry, these bespoke initiatives provide members the opportunity to receive an extra incentive for completing multiple purchases across site with different advertisers.
Finally, we’re looking to continue to work closely internally to offer members market leading, record rates, through the likes of our Global Bonus Days, Mega Rates and our brand partnerships, providing customers the opportunity to save as much money as possible during these difficult times.
For more information about TopCashback, visit their website and start earning while you shop. To find out how Summit can work with you and your Affiliate Marketing channel, take a look at our services page or drop us an email. And stay tuned for our next the next installment of our Affiliate Marketing interview series.