Incentive sites – Fact and Fiction

Simon Sandford

With consumers becoming more and more digitally savvy, well-known brands that would have previously scoffed at the idea of offering incentives through the affiliate channels are having to review their strategies when it comes to discounting and offering additional rewards. Previously, established brands automatically batted away suggestions of discounting for fear of what the implications will be on their brand image. However, the stark reality is that if they don’t take part, their competitors will.

Reports into channel value consistently put forward a very strong case for incentive affiliates actually being somewhat misunderstood as sites who solely target bottom of the funnel users, when in reality when used in the correct strategy, they can be highly incremental, highly targeted and highly efficient partners. Here we aim to bust some myths around incentive sites and why you should be considering them as part of your integrated media strategy.

Loyal customers

Users of incentive affiliate sites, such as Quidco and TopCashback, are proven to be incredibly loyal to the cash back concept. Many consumers are no longer loyal to a specific brand, they’re just looking to get the most for their money. They use these sites as a starting point for their shopping and in many cases won’t venture outside of the ‘walled garden’ they offer.

Increasing average order value (AOV)

By offering the customer additional cash back or a voucher, we see customers willing to spend more, may it be increasing their basket value, or buying a higher speed broadband package. Cash back, for example, consistently delivers the highest value customer of any online channel and the data also shows they have the lowest level of churn as well, making these customers extremely valuable.

Driving incremental volume

The reach of cash back and voucher sites is huge, with many brands in their own right with millions of people accessing these site daily. Tapping into these unique audiences gives advertisers a great way to drive large volumes very quickly and we often see user journeys involving just one click.


The ways in which incentive sites can target potential customers has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Cash back sites have the ability to track sales both on and offline, re-engage with those who clicked through to the advertiser site but did not buy, use regression modelling techniques to target look-a-likes, or even target those who have recently purchased from a competitor.


There is a wealth of evidence to suggest brands should be including incentive affiliates as part of an overall digital strategy to deliver new, high-value customers and retain existing ones. As customers become more aware of these channels and in turn become savvier shoppers, activity in this area is expected to grow.