In Affiliate, If You're Not Monitoring for Coupon Code Abuse, Your Marketing Dollars are at Risk.

Stephen Borlik Nov 3, 2021

With access to a growing number of resources to conduct product and brand research, consumers are becoming increasingly more savvy. In fact, 90% of consumers use coupons when making a purchase, and digital coupon redemptions are projected to surpass $90 billion by 2022. With increased emphasis on discovering the best possible deal before making a purchase, marketers that once leveraged coupon codes to drive traffic, increase sales, target new customers, and build loyalty with existing customers, are experiencing complex risks associated with providing discount codes to their consumers.  

Coupon codes can be found on a variety of different mediums including social campaigns, email nurture programs, blogs and coupon sites. Codes can also be very general or very specific, generated exclusively for a single partner or blog, public-facing or reserved for internal or exclusive distribution. The complexity of the environment can create a challenge for preventing abuse of the channel. 


Identifying Coupon Code Abuse

Marketers can identify and control coupon code misuse by monitoring for these common signs: 

  • Codes that are too successful. If a code is far more popular than expected, it is likely the code has found its way to unintended channels. This type of abuse will make it difficult to gain any insights into the campaign. 
  • Strange user behavior. If codes are being used by shoppers who were not targeted for the campaign or redeemed in channels for which the code was not intended. 
  • High occurrence of codes failing. If codes are failing or being rejected at a high rate, it is likely that expired codes are appearing online. This creates a poor experience for shoppers.
  • Increased commission for select affiliates. Codes intended for some partners may have a different commission or discount rates. If these codes appear in channels outside of the intended partners, increased payouts and discounts are likely. 


Manually Monitoring Coupon Code Usage

Marketers that do not leverage an automated monitoring tool to identify and eliminate coupon code misuse should implement these manual initiatives into their practices or risk wasted marketing spend and brand integrity: 

  • Manual Audits. Marketers can use Google to identify common codes across many coupon sites. This means of compliance is fairly easy but lacks sustainability and scalability. 
  • Google Alerts. Marketers can create alerts for specific search terms, often coupon codes. If Google locates the code, you will be notified. This method of monitoring relieves some of the pain of manual searches but can be hard to scale. Codes that are generic in nature can create a lot of unwanted alerts. 
  • Manual review of affiliate partners. Abusing partners can sometimes be identified in your internal network. If a partner is generating commissions much higher than normal, this may prompt an investigation. This can be a very beneficial process when abusing partners is easy to find. However, nefarious affiliates can go to great lengths to conceal their behavior. 
  • Commission Overrides. Some affiliate providers may include an automated feature to prevent double hits on discounts and affiliate commissions or suppress commissions entirely based on the code. 


Gain Control: Implement an Automated Monitoring Solution

For marketers that would prefer to eliminate tax on resources and maximize a solution that eliminates error-prone practices, there is an automated monitoring tool via BrandVerity.

By automating traditionally manual coupon code audits, marketers are tapping into more comprehensive and scalable options for monitoring where coupon codes appear online and who receive attribution for the code. BrandVerity offers a coupon code monitoring tool that can alleviate issues with discovery and scalability of monitoring. 


If you are interested in learning more about coupon code monitoring, contact

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