The affiliate management world has, at last count, upwards of 30 active platforms striving for the same pool of clients. These platforms are also headed up by a few big hitters commanding a sizeable share of the market. So launching a new product requires not only a unique vision but for this to be backed up by no little bullishness and confidence. ReferOn, with its highly experienced team, would appear to have this in spades.
One of the key drivers to the company’s growing success is utilising its very “newness” as an asset, given that some of the legacy platforms in the space have gained a reputation for being rather unwieldy and inflexible, to put it kindly. ReferOn has used its combined experience and hard-won knowledge to understand the current problems faced by both programmes and affiliates in the igaming market and build a product that addresses these.
“We really used our combined experience and knowledge to understand the problems at hand in the market and why ReferOn would be beneficial”David Harris, referon
David Harris, ReferOn’s affiliate technical team lead, is a well-known figure in the affiliate technical field. He first entered the igaming space around seven years ago as a Product Trainer, going on to manage brand launches for B2C and B2B implementations, including full affiliate programme set-ups and technical affiliate duties. David is, therefore, perfectly positioned to provide iGB Affiliate with the inside track on both the creation of the product and the strategy behind ReferOn’s successful launch.
“Being a brand-new platform, we could really get into all of the various coding, particularly the reward engine and the platform structure, to redefine what is good for affiliate managers and affiliates alike.”
That clear-sighted recognition of the issues at hand and their subsequent solutions is based on lessons he and the team have assiduously learned over their many years in the industry.
“When we built the product,” says David, “we really used our combined experience and knowledge to understand the problems at hand in the market and why ReferOn would be beneficial.”
Dream into action
Being able to then realise this vision anew from the ground up, without the hindrance of legacy technology, enabled the ReferOn team to build many stand-out features into the new platform, such as “company grouping, dynamic reporting, fluidity of deal and tracker set-up and more data transparency”, according to David.
The leanness, flexibility and precision of coding also mean that, in these straitened times, cost does not become prohibitive. Indeed, David believes that ReferOn is an “affordable choice”, answering the problems that many programmes face both today and, more importantly, going forward into the future.
All brands and their associated programmes are naturally aware of the bottom line and are, therefore, always likely to be looking to make occasional changes to their set-up and structure. According to Harris, this might be due to “changing market trends and current platforms not updating to match” or maybe simply due to “rising costs”.
The question then is, who are the main customer targets for ReferOn? Is acquiring new-to-market programmes seen as the key driver for the company’s growth, or is it, maybe, the more established businesses that may be disenchanted with their current platform? “Truth be told,” smiles David, “both of these are targets for us.”
For ReferOn, accommodating integration for newer brands to market takes just a week or two. It does, of course, take a little longer for the more established brands, as they naturally come with a history that takes time to be integrated, including resolving queries and data migration. According to David: “We have done several migrations from other platforms now and, in both cases, queries and training on the platform are just as important.”
“With reporting, we have made it super easy for variable tracking, allowing affiliates to add any variable they need, and it will be tracked without the need to contact the operator”David harris, referon
The ReferOn system also offers a broad selection of affiliate marketing services which are key to the partners they support. From the very first public release of the platform, it was ensured that reports and application programming interfaces (APIs) were adaptable and easy to use for all users.
“With reporting, we have made it super easy for variable tracking, allowing affiliates to add any variable they need, and it will be tracked without the need to contact the operator or have any loss of tracking,” David explains further.
“Last but not least,” he continues, “the ability to set deals on a tracker level has made the flexibility for understanding the performance and costs much better for users. We have really pushed transparency across the board and also [made it] easy to use.”
That ease of use is something that the other major players in the affiliate platform space would be well advised to take note of. But at only six months old, what metrics is the company using to evaluate what success means?
“The feedback has been highly positive so far,” says David. “We gained significant interest at ICE London with additional new brands signed, and we continue to make waves, constantly engaging in demos and drawing attention from new and existing brands in the market.”
That, then, recognises the approach for new clients. So how does ReferOn go about assessing what improvements are actually needed? And, almost more importantly, how quickly are any identified changes able to be implemented?
“We strive to base the product on affiliate experience and knowing the market,” says David. “Prior to public release and first migration, I, and the other co-creator, did many affiliate workshops to get feedback directly from affiliates in the product’s infancy.”
It was the feedback from these direct engagements that allowed ReferOn to prioritise the inclusion of particular items in upcoming releases. “Going forward,” continues David, “feedback from affiliate managers, clients and affiliates is helping our release patterns in Q3 and beyond.”
This continuing information loop is critical to the company’s evolution. It serves to underscore ReferOn’s ethos of reciprocity. David is adamant that they will make their roadmap clear for any new partnerships to ensure that all existing and future relationships are transparent and built on trust.
It is also critical for the company to remain light on their feet, able to react and respond at a moment’s notice to any particular client’s needs or if there happens to be a shift in regulations in the markets they work in. Each request from a client has to be weighed up for its complexity, as the impact of any given change may have subsequent ramifications.
“Balance becomes a tricky see-saw for the product team,” clarifies David. “You must weigh up between market-oriented and product-oriented requests and your resources; otherwise, you might be too late, and the problem is right before you.”
Building on solid foundations
ReferOn’s first six months have seen it execute a successful entry into a highly competitive space. The company is now in a prime position to translate its healthy infancy into productive and fruitful adolescence.
So how is it looking to further develop the ReferOn product and offer, and what does the development pipeline look like from here?
“We have such a huge list of functionalities [that] we want to release over the coming months to even years, including tiny quality-of-life changes to big-ticket items,” reveals David. It all suggests that, while the company is naturally focused on what’s right in front of them, equal weight is being given to planning for the long term.
“As the market changes, so do we,” continues David. “But we have some really cool features to come including, but not limited to, integrated invoice depositories – upload, management and approval process, a fully-fledged notification and warning system for affiliates and affiliate managers and also affiliate know your customer (KYC) practices to help with approval processes and many more.”
“We have such a huge list of functionalities [that] we want to release over the coming months to even years, including tiny quality-of-life changes to big-ticket items”David harris, referon
There has been an emerging need for a fresh and modern alternative to the legacy platform technology crowding the marketplace. ReferOn’s lightness, cleanness and flexibility are ideally placed to appeal to affiliate programmes, whether they be new startups or seasoned campaigners in the industry.
As the company goes into just their third quarter of existence, its streamlined offering of effortless tracking, easy rewards, and in-depth reporting is looking well-placed to maximise any affiliate marketing potential and attract new programmes on board.