Acquiring the connected consumer: how to use Affiliate Marketing to drive Sales & ROI

connected consumer

The connected consumer: he’s the one that all Vodafone, Airtel & other mobile providers target when they advertise on TV for their mobile packs! He’s the fan who logs in on YouTube to catch up with the Koffee with Karan episode he just missed;

The tourist who checks-in to Facebook even before he checks-in on his flight; the ‘Aam Aadmi’ on Twitter who has a view and he doesn’t hesitate to share; the foodie who zaps a photo on Instagram even before he eats his favourite dessert…

The list is endless but the common thread is that all these people are more connected today than ever before by technology and social media.

The IAMAI and Assocham reports are predicting burgeoning eCommerce growth in India with the market size reaching USD 15 Bn by 2017 and 1400% increase in number of online shoppers within 10 years. Everyday new eCommerce sites are coming up who actually have a decent value proposition.

They all need to prove traction to get or retain investors, so what options do brands have to acquire customers in a cost effective manner and linking it to performance?

Amidst these pressures on cost of customer acquisition one explores how and why Affiliate Marketing can help brands. It’s a concept that started 20 years ago in US and has served some of the world’s largest brands very well e.g. Amazon, eBay, Marks & Spencer, Expedia, Virgin Atlantic, Vodafone, Debenhams, Groupon, Gap & 1000s more.

In simple terms, Affiliate Marketing involves the retailer as a Publisher, to earn commission for every Sale or transaction you drive to a certain website by promoting its product, offers etc. It’s also called Performance Marketing because pay-outs and rewards are based on how many sales the business drives and what kind of products it sells.

Affiliate Marketing could be seen in action at many places–every time one goes to a price comparison site like, search and go to other sites like Snapdeal from there, Junglee gets paid a commission which they keep. If someone is on a travel blogger’s site and clicks on the Yatra banner very relevantly displayed there, the blogger gets commission which they keep. Coupon sites do just the same. However, Cashback sites share the commission they get with retailer, the consumer, due to whom the commission is being generated in the first place.

Cashback sites like are becoming really popular as the savvy Indian shoppers realise that if you go via a Cashback site, you can get Extra Cashback on your purchase, on top of Coupons and discounts that are out there already.

According to researches, US Affiliate Marketing in 2014 is pegged to grow to a massive USD 4.5 Bn. Retailmenot, a large Cashback & Coupons aggregator in the US recently did an IPO for USD 1.2 Bn setting a great example for this sector. Similarly many such sites in the UK, France, Germany & more are earning over USD 100 Mn revenues.

Image: Metisfile

(About the Author: Swati Bhargava is an Entrepreneur, CEO & Co-Founder of, India’s leading Cashback & Coupons site. Swati worked at Goldman Sachs in London for 5 years before starting Pouring Pounds (UK Cashback business) with her husband Rohan & then expanded the business to India. Prior to that Swati studied at the London School of Economics. Given her work with Cashkaro, Swati has great insight into Indian e-commerce, online shopping trends & is an avid online shopper herself)

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