Why we started Odyssey Partnerships

Jelle Oskam

Jelle Oskam
14 Sep 2020

Why we started Odyssey Partnerships

I’ve been talking about looking at incrementality in the affiliate channel for years. Everybody seems to agree that last-click attribution in affiliate marketing isn’t sustainable, yet nothing has changed in recent years. And so, we’ve taken matters into our own hands and started Odyssey Partnerships with the mission to drastically change the affiliate industry.

1. Why do we need incrementality in the affiliate channel?

I’ve worked with many different channels but the affiliate channel is my favourite channel by far. It includes both branding and performance and gives the merchant great opportunities to set up amazing marketing campaigns. However, the industry is also one of the most challenging ones as the affiliate networks are limiting the possibilities by applying last click attribution.

Everybody in the affiliate industry knows that last-click focussed publishers (like voucher and cashback) are often over-rewarded due to the last click attribution model. Simultaneously, publishers that are active more at the beginning of the customer journey are often under-rewarded. It’s clear that the last-click attribution model limits the possibilities of both the merchants and the creative publishers to really work together and create great marketing campaigns. It’s also very unfair.

The only way advertisers can fully create a creative partnership program is by rewarding the publishers based on their incremental value with a multi-touch attribution model.

2. How Odyssey Partnerships works

When creating Odyssey Partnerships, our goal was to create a great and straightforward platform that’s easy to use for both publishers and advertisers. Obviously, the core of the product has to be driven by multi-touch attribution and incrementality.

With that struggle in the back of our heads, we started brainstorming on the affiliate platform we have since created. As we do with Odyssey Attribution, there are two main core values we used in the development of Odyssey Partnerships:

  • Cross Channel multi-touch attribution With Odyssey Attribution we use Google Analytics and apply multi-touch attribution to that data to provide advertisers with better insights into the performance of their marketing channels. Odyssey Partnerships uses this attribution data to determine the value of individual publishers.

  • Transparency One of the biggest challenges in all marketing channels is transparency, but there is an especially huge lack of transparency in the affiliate industry. At Odyssey, we don’t use black box algorithms, but publicly transparent calculations. Furthermore, publishers get all the same information as the advertisers, so publishers can truly understand their performance in the customer journey and optimize their work based on that data.

3. What Odyssey Partnerships means for advertisers

As an advertiser, Odyssey Partnerships can help you out on multiple levels. The most obvious one is wanting to pay publishers based on their full performance in the customer journey. This way affiliate managers can optimize their affiliate strategy and work with all types of publishers on a CPS basis. Instead of working with fixed fees, advertisers can now trust that their budgets are spent well.

4. What Odyssey Partnerships means for publishers

As a publisher, and most definitely as a content publisher, you’ve been on the wrong end of the deal for far too long. Working with (a lot of) big brands based on fixed fees is nearly impossible but working with them through the affiliate channel is also hopeless because of the last click payouts.

With Odyssey Partnerships, publishers get two main advantages.

  1. Publishers are paid fairly for their performance. This is because Odyssey Partnerships pays publishers for their performance throughout the whole journey, not just the last click.
  2. Transparency is key. As a publisher you get all the same data as an advertiser. Aside from that, you also get insight into the full customer journey, so you can see exactly where and how often you were part of a customer journey.

5. Decathlon as a launching customer

Odyssey Attribution has been working with Decathlon NL for years. When we started with Odyssey Partnerships, Decathlon NL was extremely enthusiastic about piloting the new product. Decathlon has been using the attribution insights for years now and with this pilot they got the chance to systematically apply these insights to the affiliate channel.

After the successful pilot Decathlon decided to continue their cooperation with Odyssey Partnerships.