Setting up a subscription campaign on ReferDigital
The subscription campaign type on ReferDigital is a powerful affiliate campaign type which can be used to set up recurring commission campaigns. These campaigns compensate affiliates for any customers they send your way on a monthly basis – as long as those customers are still subscribed to your product or service. Compensation is set as a fraction of your choosing of your subscription amount, and can be adjusted at any time in the event your customers change or cancel their subscription.
As it says on the ReferDigital website under the for merchants section:
ReferDigital’s powerful subscription campaign type allows you to set up campaigns which pay out monthly as long as the customer is still an active subscriber on your website, for example, if you’re a SaaS company, paid newsletter, subscription box, or other company offering monthly payment plans.
There are several benefits to these campaigns but some important ones stand out:
- For merchants, it removes the need to accurately estimate customer lifetime value, which is needed if you’re going to be offering commission at signup only. If your average customer is actually worth $10,000 to you, but you underestimate that and believe they’re only worth $2,000, for example, you might think offering 10% of this at signup as a one-time commission, or $200, would be sufficient compensation to motivate affiliates and properly reimburse them for their marketing efforts. You’d be mistaken though, and that mistake could be avoided if you simply offered 10% of your monthly subscription revenue and let the chips fall where they may.
- For your affiliate partners, getting a recurring commission stream monthly as long as the customer is signed up to your product or service is a powerful motivator which makes your program appear fairer (see the above) and which gives them a steady income stream they can count on as being generally more reliable than the ups and downs of one-time commissions. In some cases, your affiliates might also know the customers they refer to your program personally, and they might be able to periodically follow up with them in those cases to make sure they remain committed to their subscription. Making your program more attractive to your partners is of course beneficial to your business.
So now that we know why we’d want to set up such a campaign, let’s proceed to set one up. On ReferDigital it’s pretty straightforward:
The first step is to login to your merchant account and click on the “Post New Campaign” link. You can find this in your account menu in the “Affiliate Marketing” section.
On the next screen, choose the “Subscription Campaign” type and click Submit.
You’ll be brought to the Post/Edit Campaign screen, which should look like the below:
- The Name box is simply for giving your campaign a name, such as “<Your Business> Subscription Campaign”. Your affiliates will see this so choose something that makes sense.
- The Website URL is where customers will be taken after clicking your affiliate links. This should be your website / landing page.
- The Percent of Sale Commission is the fraction of your monthly subscription that you’re willing to pay out in commission to affiliates. As it states on the campaign creation page, “You will be billed this amount for a conversion, plus a 30% ReferDigital fee. Min. 1%, Max. 100%”. You can also see here for more information on how fees for merchants work on ReferDigital.
- Choose a cookie lifetime, typically 30 days. Conversions are credited if they occur in this timeframe after the tracking link is clicked.
Update: 4/30/21 – there is now an additional field available which allows for entering an initial lead commission. Use this if you’d like to compensate affiliates an additional one-time commission when a subscription is initiated. This is useful with free plans (where the monthly percent of sale commission would be zero) if you’d like affiliates to be rewarded for driving them.
Hit Submit and you’re done with setting up as far as ReferDigital is concerned. Go to “List/Edit Campaigns” in your merchant account under your merchant account and you’ll be able to see the campaign you’ve created in your campaign list. Note that you can edit campaign properties like the cookie lifetime and commission percentage at any time after your campaign is set up using the “Edit” button visible there for your campaign. Existing cookies already deployed on customer’s machines won’t be affected, but existing referral subscriptions will have their monthly commissions adjusted per your changes if you alter the commission amount. Be careful about doing this since your affiliate partners will likely not be happy if they refer a paying customer to you with the understanding that they’ll be getting X% of that subscription monthly and they are surprised with a lower amount later instead.
The next step is to set up the tracking pixels on your website. Unlike regular affiliate campaigns, you might need more than one pixel to be set up for subscription campaigns, since subscriptions can be modified at some point in future after being started, and tracking pixels should be able to track that.
From the campaign list under “List/Edit Campaigns”, click on the campaign name to see the tracking pixel for your subscription campaign. You can retrieve it from the page that comes up next. It will look something like the below:
The tracking pixel HTML code is on the first line here (your campaign ID will replace the “21” in the screenshot example). Follow the instructions on this page to put the pixel in your conversion page, and set your website to fill it out with the correct monthly charge, a unique subscription ID, and any optional text (must be URL encoded) as per the instructions.
To allow for any plan upgrades/downgrades by the customer resulting in monthly amount changes, you should also place this pixel filled out with the correct updated information on the landing page your customers see after making those changes in your system.
Likewise, to allow for cancellations of your subscriptions, you should also place this same tracking pixel filled out with the correct updated information (a monthly charge of 0.00) on the landing page your customers see after cancelling their service in your system.
It is important that your system keeps the subscription ID unique and constant throughout, so that pixel loads can be correctly attributed to the correct subscription by ReferDigital. Once set, this ID should never be changed for a particular subscription, and no other subscriptions should use it.
Finally note that there is an option in your account menu to manually edit subscriptions if ever needed. In theory, you’d never need to use this, since your tracking pixels should take care of everything automatically if correctly set up as above. However, if you really need to, go to “View/Edit Referred Subscriptions” under the Affiliate Marketing section of your account menu, find the subscription ID of the subscription you’d like to edit on the next screen listing your active subscriptions tracked via ReferDigital, and click the “Edit” button to edit it. This will bring up the “Edit Subscription” screen which will look something like the below:
From this screen, you can adjust the subcription amount being used for calculating commissions at anytime, including setting it to zero (0.00) in the event you want to cancel a subscription entirely.
And that’s about it! As it says on the website, feel free to drop us a line at anytime if you have questions about setting up subscription campaigns (or anything else) on ReferDigital. You can click the “Contact Support” link in your account menu to get in touch.