O2 to unite social media and affiliate channels in ‘Refer a Friend’ UK launch
O2 is to reward people who recommend and share its products on social networks with £20 Amazon and M&S vouchers, with the view to extending this to cash rewards in future.
The mobile operator has already launched the scheme, called Refer a Friend, in Germany, but it has now been working with Online Media Group (OMG) to roll out the programme in the UK.
The scheme, which The Drum expects to launch this week, marks the first time the mobile operator has tied together its social media and affiliate channels so closely.
People who recommend an O2 phone to a friend either via email, or by sharing the affiliate link on Twitter or Facebook, can receive either a £20 Amazon or M&S voucher, if that friend goes on to become a paying O2 customer off the back of the recommendation.
The scheme is voucher-based for launch, but the brand will consider extending it offer cash incentives in future – a model which has worked for its German counterpart for some time. It will also look at introducing a more tiered structure to the rewards.
O2’s affiliate marketing manager Ben Hayward told The Drum: “For launch we are just doing a standard £20 voucher offer, which the person who has recommended a phone will receive, as will the person who has gone on to become a paying customer from that recommendation – once the recommendation has been validated.
“Once it is more established we may look at playing around with the tiers and CPAs, if for example certain phones are more profitable than others or we have more stock of one particular phone that we want to drive,” he said.
Hayward said the move will also open up opportunities to share expertise with the brand’s award-winning social media team. “They deal with all sorts of enquiries and for us to be able to engage with them over how best to engage with people, how to encourage them to interact with each other, and how to make tweets stand out and be popular, will be really valuable. There is a lot of knowledge within O2 that will allow us to cross over,” he said.
Running affiliate activity on Facebook has previously been difficult because the social network will often “strip out” affiliate links, according to Hayward. However, OMG’s scheme is designed to ensure the link is still recognised as an affiliate link, but that made relevant only to the two individuals that are sharing the recommendation, which can then be tracked so O2 can see the whole journey.
“We are really hot on attribution, and our affiliate strategy is fully integrated with mobile too, which some merchants are still behind on. We believe it is very important to give credit to the affiliates for mobile sales,” he added.
The move is aimed at helping speed up the average person’s “consideration window” for choosing and buying a phone, which is 45 days according to Google.
O2 will run cross-platform marketing to support the launch.
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