Disclosure: If I'm not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on my part and will be corrected soon.

ShareASale’s New “Tag” Feature Re-Opens the Door to Previously Closed Affiliate/Merchant Relationships

by Missy Ward in Affiliate Marketing   &  ,   4 Comments

ShareASale's New Tag System

While strolling through the ShareASale block during Affiliate Summit East 2012, I caught up with Brian Littleton, CEO of ShareASale who was demonstrating some of their new features which as a ShareASale merchant and affiliate, I was unaware of and think are extremely important for affiliate and merchants to know about.

These new features center around two key areas of any affiliate marketing strategy; segmentation and attribution, and when implemented by merchants can immediately re-open the door to affiliates that those merchants may not have accepted into their programs before; such as coupon or rewards-type affiliates.

ShareASale's New Tag System

Similar to tagging content or friends on a social marketing platform, ShareASale's new Tag System allows merchants to categorize affiliates with unlimited amounts of tags (such as “coupon affiliate”, “ppc affiliate”, “U.S. affiliate”, “cash back affiliate”, “Recruited at ASE12”, etc.) and unlimited rules-based options, allows merchants to alter how commissions are paid based on those tags and other information.

Some examples that I can think of where this can be used successfully are:

  • Exhibitors at Affiliate Summit might offer a bonus to new affiliates that they recruited there, when the affiliate activates within a set time period.
  • “Top Performer” or “Rising Star” bonus commissions
  • Varied commission rates for content affiliates versus a rewards or coupon site.

Pay Multiple Affiliates For One Transaction

As a merchant, what really sends my marketing brain twirling, happens when I start digging into the click stream of traffic that was sent on an individual transaction.

In the ShareASale system, I am able to see the actual transaction itself, the last click affiliate (the affiliate that was paid) AND all the clicks before that related to any other affiliate in my program.

ShareASale's tagging system enables merchants to pay more than one affiliate for a sale or pay a specific type of affiliate a different commission rate than their standard program commission.

For example, many merchants (including Affiliate Summit) have previously not allowed affiliates who send traffic primarily through the use of a coupon into their programs. Many merchants have felt as though the consumer was nearly finished with their transaction and may have simply Googled a coupon, finding an affiliate site that offered one; causing that coupon affiliate to get a sale and earn a commission that in all likelihood, would have happened anyway.

ShareASale merchants can use tag rules (exact tags, timeframes and specific patterns) to automatically go back to check to see if there was a previous click that the merchant may also want to commission at any rate they set.

I can totally see how their new tag system can help ShareASale's affiliates and merchants agree on very specific actions instead of either being forced out of a program entirely or put behind a blanket policy. Everyone wins.

Attention ShareASale Affiliates and Merchants!

As I missed this new feature going live, I have to assume that other ShareASale merchants may have missed it too.

If you're a ShareASale affiliate, you may want to talk to your ShareASale merchant to make sure they know about it too — especially if you've not been able to work with them before.

See ShareASale's New Tag System in Action

Here's a video from Brian Littleton going through the new ShareASale tag system, so you can get an idea of how neat it is for yourself. It's very robust.

Now to go talk to my business partner about what we're going to do with our program!

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Missy Ward

Co-Founder & President at Affiliate Summit, Inc.
Missy Ward has been in affiliate marketing since 1999. She is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm, itsaWAHMthing.com; the Co-Publisher of Revenews.com, Founder of AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com and manages many of her own affiliate sites. If she's not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on her part and it will be corrected soon.

Comment & Add Your Voice

1 Amanda March 8, 2013 at 12:47 am

Hi Missy,
Over the course of this last week, I have been evaluating a few affiliate programs. I appreciate this additional information that I didn’t even realize was happening. There is just so much to consider now that I am getting into affiliate programs again. This is most definitely valuable.

Much Appreciative – Amanda


2 Missy Ward September 25, 2012 at 11:52 am

Greg Hoffman put ShareASale’s new tag system to use, analyzing some sales for his clients with some very interesting results! http://www.internetmarketinggorilla.com/2012/09/shareasale-clickstream-analysis/


3 Joel Wood September 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Hi Missy,

Yes, this is some really good functionality. ShareaSale walked our agency through these upgrades a few weeks ago. The tagging seemed to be missing some redundancy reconciling through . Example; giving an affiliate multiple tags but then assigning each tag a different commission. I think the affiliate defaults to the highest commission but there wasn’t a notification mechanism to make an advertiser aware of the conflicting tag commission tiers. But to be honest, ShareaSale may have addressed this and we’re just unaware.

The attribution functionality through click stream tracking is definitely an upgrade. I know that a handful of networks have this functionality and more and more advertisers are requesting it. Initially the push came from advertisers to have attribution tracking at the marketing channel level (i.e. paid search, organic, affiliate, etc.). Now we’re seeing an upwards trend in merchants wanting to give certain affiliates higher or lower credit on the influence of a sale.

All good stuff from ShareaSale 🙂


4 Anthony Clements September 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm


Some very nice functionality released here by Share-a-Sale.

The initiative to award variable commissions for different affiliate types is a fundamental part of running a successful programme, as is the ability to do bespoke affiliate tagging. It just makes program management so much more streamlined.

However, I would question the innovation behind these developments. Variable commission rates per affiliate type and affiliate tagging are both well-established pieces of functionality on the Affiliate Window network. They have been an integral part of how we manage affiliate programs for some years now. In fact, I know very few large brands that we work with that operate an entirely flat one rate fits all commission structure.

That’s why functionality like this, and also variable commission rates per product and per coupon code are a must. Affiliate Window has been forging ahead with this functionality for some time now.

It is good to see another network developing real insight into affiliate click paths. We have done quite a bit of work with our brands on click path to understand which affiliates and affiliate types are losing out under the last click wins attribution method. We have even expanded this to include other marketing channels.

In some cases it has actually enabled us to completely change a merchant’s commission structure, up weighting commission for rich content sites and blogs that continually appear upstream in the purchasing chain.

Kind Regards
Anthony Clements
Affiliate Window


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