As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the network for all affiliates, in December 2015 we made the decision to no longer allow voucher code only sites to promote some of the brands on the MoreNiche network. This is largely because we feel that voucher code specific sites do not add as much value to these brands as content rich sites. This decision was heavily influenced by feedback from affiliates regarding such websites.

A few months ago we received some feedback from affiliates regarding voucher code only sites. At the time, we were running a discount code for one of the brands managed by our brand management team. A voucher only affiliate made a large amount of sales due to the discount code we were running, even though their website contained no content. We were contacted by a number of affiliates who felt that they had lost out on sales to the voucher code site, despite having worked hard to produce in depth and valuable content for their sites.

After receiving this feedback, I decided to find out how the general public feels about voucher sites by asking a number of questions. One of the questions I asked people was:

“ If you wanted to buy a slimming pill online, what kind of site would you be most likely to purchase it from?”

a) A site which presents detailed information about the product and offers reviews and testimonials so you can see other people’s points of view about the product?

b) A voucher site which shows you the product you want to buy, with a code that will get you the product at a discounted price?

75% of people said they would choose to purchase from a site which offers detailed information about the product.

Some of the reasons why were: “It offers more information regarding the product I would like to buy. It’s more trustworthy.” And “You can find out more about what you’re wanting to buy and see if it does work from people’s reviews.

One of the answers I received back was very interesting:

“I would go onto the website which has the detailed information about the product to find out more about it and to see what other people think. I would then look for a voucher code site to get the product discounted.”

So in this situation, an affiliate who has worked hard in making a quality, content rich site would not receive commission for the information and reviews they have given. Instead, the affiliate who set up the  voucher code only site would.

Voucher Code Site Cons

Back in 2008 when the economy crisis happened, voucher code sites started to become popular as people started going discount crazy as a way to save money. Discounting works in the short term, but in the long term it can cause damage to the brand. Consumers are thrilled when they first receive coupons and offers on the products they wanted to buy. Who isn’t happy to get a bargain?

But discounts can teach customers to think that regular prices are too high. They might always expect to receive a bargain and may wait for the next coupon offer before they purchase again. This can even result in a customer refusing to make any purchase on sites without a coupon.

Voucher code only sites can often be vague. There isn’t usually a lot of content on these sites, meaning there isn’t much there to add any real value to the customer experience. Many affiliates have been taking advantage of the availability of coupons and vouchers for certain brands by creating sites filled with voucher codes rather than sites filled with content.

Many of our content affiliates send very good traffic to the merchant’s website. But it’s  not uncommon for customers to search for a voucher code once they reach the checkout (as many of us do). However, the vouchers customers may find on another affiliate site are more often than not already available on the merchant’s site; buy 4 get 2 free for example. But because the customer clicked on the new site to find that discount, the MoreNiche ‘last click wins’ tracking method means the voucher code site wins the commission, effectively ‘stealing’ the original affiliate’s commission.

Voucher code sites in these situations add no extra value to the brand, because they are targeting customers that have already decided to purchase. It’s the content affiliates who have done the groundwork that led to the customer deciding to make the purchase in the first place. They have introduced the customer to the brand earlier on in the buying cycle, and this is why many brands offer such high commissions.

This is one of the reasons we decided to stop voucher code only sites for some brands.

  • Can encourage consumers to purchase only when a discount is offered
  • Lack of content means consumers miss out on in depth product information
  • Voucher code sites add no value to a brand
  • Content affiliates may lose out to voucher codes at the last stage of the buying process  

Voucher Code Site Pros

For some brands, voucher codes can be very successful. Voucher codes are a great way of hitting your target audience fast and can be a useful way to persuade your customers to purchase products. Everyone does love a bargain, so voucher code sites can really drive sales.

They can also be good for seasonality – affiliates can create promotions for key periods to maximise sales at these times, such as Christmas and Easter. When voucher codes are used at these particular times they can have a brilliant effect. The recent Easter campaign we ran saw record sales due to a very strong, well promoted offer. However, if a strong offer like this was promoted every weekend of even once a month it would soon lose its effectiveness as people became reliant on that offer. This is why voucher codes can work particularly well for seasonality.

  • Quick and easy to implement and track
  • Useful for persuading the consumer to purchase
  • Can increase customer loyalty
  • Great for introducing your brand to the masses (Groupon, for example)

What Has Happened Since MoreNiche Limited the Use of Voucher Code Only Sites?

Since we made the decision to no longer allow voucher code only sites for certain brands to promote products on the network, affiliates who were previously using such sites have now added quality, rich content. Since making these changes, affiliates have seen an improvement in traffic conversion, sales and their overall conversion rate. One affiliate’s sales has increased by 100% and their conversion rate has improved by 79%, which just goes to prove that having rich, quality content on sites has an overall better outcome.

Overall, voucher codes can be beneficial but can also have a negative impact, depending on the brand and the stage at which it is at. Many Affiliate networks have a blanket yes or no policy (mainly yes) with voucher code affiliates. But we felt it was important to give merchants the choice. So, as an affiliate you will now find that some merchants will allow you to promote on a pure voucher site and others will not, so please check in your affiliate area before you start promoting to avoid disappointment.