Success stories
April 5, 2022

Travel Affiliate Network automated direct marketing and reduced affiliate churn

  • GoalReduce affiliate churn through direct communications
  • SolutionCombine fragmented customer databases and send all mailings from a single platform
  • Personalize bulk mailings and set up 300+ triggers
  • ResultsThe churn of affiliates decreased year by year
  • The CRM manager saves an hour a day as a result of manual mailing automation
  • ITThe website, iOS and Android apps, as well as backend developed by Travelpayouts, marketing automation platform
  • Business scaleMore than $20 million paid to affiliates over 10 years
  • 300,000 users connected
  • 100+ affiliate travel programs
  • FeatureSpecial project trigger chains branch out depending on whether affiliates check their rating, whether they subscribe to mailings, or whether they sign up to their personal customer page

Travelpayouts Affiliate Network is a global integrated affiliate program focused exclusively on travel offers. It allows the user to choose from 100+ affiliate travel programs and to monetize traffic, i.e., users who clicked on a link from your website receive payments for booking travel services. It includes the following business verticals: flights, hotels, insurance, excursions, and car rental. The company was founded in 2011 as part of the Aviasales travel metasearch company

Elizaveta Rudykh

Elizaveta Rudykh, Deputy Head of Marketing at Travelpayouts

Marketing Automation Results

Hour a day
CRM manager saves as a result of manual mailing automation
↓ Churn
of affiliates decreased year by year

Opinion

We can’t say exactly how much we earn thanks to Mindbox, nor do we have such a target. The main thing is that thanks to marketing automation, we have managed to reduce the churn rate of affiliates, that is, to increase their retention and conversion into making a first payment.

Although this didn’t happen immediately, we found the right criterion for determining the churn rate. This is when the customer stops logging in to their personal customer page. Moreover, the period depends on the stage of the life cycle: seven days for new users, two weeks after the first payment, and a month for permanent users.

We also look at the effectiveness of each specific offer, whether affiliates are starting to visit their personal customer page more actively, or whether the time before the first payment is reduced. As a result, we are gradually trying to digitize the results of automation.

Without Mindbox, we would not have been able to work with such specialized segments in manual promotional mailings, launch trigger mailings for local promotions, and track user activity in them. We could set up triggers for large segments in any platform, but only here can we automate specialized offers.

Anastasia Kuvshinnikova

Anastasia Kuvshinnikova, CRM Manager at Travelpayouts

We can automate very specialized offers only using Mindbox

How marketing has changed after automation

Before automation was introduced After automation was introduced
Bulk mailings were sent from one platform, trigger mailings from another, transactional mailings from a third, and web push notifications from a fourth. The communication load on the customer could not be controlled All mailings are sent from a single platform. Thanks to point segmentation, the customer only receives relevant offers and is not overloaded with messages
Customers weren’t able to unsubscribe from mailings, and they just kept on coming Customers can unsubscribe from mailings with one click
When creating segments for mailings, we had to manually upload contacts from different sources and ask analysts for help. There was no information about the actions, activities, or earnings of affiliates All customer data, including information about sales, interest in mailings, sign-ups to the personal customer page, activities, and earnings, are stored in a single profile. The segment for mailing is created by the CRM manager in just a few clicks and is automatically updated
We had to turn to the IT department and wait a long time for a new trigger mailing to be created, so there were only two chains The CRM manager is able to create new trigger chains in a few hours. This allowed us to produce more than 300 trigger mailings
In order to analyze the results of the mailing, we had to branch out to analysts at pretty much every turn Simple analytics, such as interest in communications, are available on the platform, so we no longer need to involve analysts

Opinion

We used to bother customers a lot, and it was almost impossible to unsubscribe from mailings. Now we have uniform sending rules, the communication load on affiliates has decreased, and mailings have become consistent.

Everything works perfectly, and we have no complaints. For example, we have set up automatic chains that work without our intervention, benefit the business, and increase the satisfaction of affiliates.

We are not using all of Mindbox’s tools yet as the single customer profile opens up wide opportunities for personalized work between our sales managers and affiliates.

The platform itself is constantly moving and evolving: if at the time of connecting the interface it was incredibly difficult, now everything has become clear and convenient. I’m also delighted with the support we’ve received. Mindbox’s staff are the best thing about the company.

Elizaveta Rudykh

Elizaveta Rudykh, Deputy Head of Marketing at Travelpayouts

The communication load on affiliates has decreased, mailing lists have become consistent

Below we’ll tell you how we achieved this result:

  • How did we choose the platform and what tasks did we set for it
  • How to segment customers in manual mailings in order to send messages only to specialized audiences
  • Why send 300+ trigger emails to customers

Which criteria were used to select the marketing automation platform

We were looking for a platform that would allow us to:

  1. Eliminate superfluous services and send all mailings from a single window.
  2. Combine customer data from different sources.
  3. Save the time of a CRM marketer.
  4. Exclude developers and analysts from working with mailings.
  5. Reduce the communication burden on customers.
  6. Personalize mailings thanks to point segmentation.

Opinion

Initially, we relied on another service through which we sent mailings, but it turned out that it did not have the functions of the Customer Data Platform (CDP). For instance, the same person who registered for four webinars was recorded on the platform as four separate customers that were completely unrelated to each other.

We realized that we needed a system that could properly build a customer profile. Mindbox has become such a system for us. The final argument in its favor is that almost all the emails I receive are created with its help.

Elizaveta Rudykh

Elizaveta Rudykh, Deputy Head of Marketing at Travelpayouts

How customers are segmented in manual mailings

Opinion

Manual mailings are a very important channel for us. We never send them to wide audience segments. We don’t communicate everything we do with all our customers. Even if we’re launching a big promotion for all affiliates, we still show different parts of it to different segments.

Manual mailings work well, and there will only be more of them in the future. We will never be able to automate all communications because we have too many promotions, webinars, and excursions for specific business verticals.

It is very important that the platform allows us to segment customers point-by-point, for example, to take into account the stage of the life cycle, the business vertical, and the date of the last sign-up to the personal customer page. We simply collect segments according to the criteria we require inside the platform, thus eliminating the need to contact IT or analysts.

Thanks to filters, complex segments are available to us, for example, affiliates who would earn from X amount until Y amount on Z vertical; those customers who went into churn in 2019, but later returned to us.

Anastasia Kuvshinnikova

Anastasia Kuvshinnikova, CRM Manager at Travelpayouts

We collect segments according to the criteria we require inside the platform. This eliminates the need to contact IT or analysts

What trigger emails are sent to customers

Travelpayouts has 300+ triggers configured. Such specialized segments are used making it impossible to conduct A/B tests: it is simply impossible to get a statistically reliable result on such samples. Below we will tell you about some of the most important business chains.

Onboarding. Affiliate marketing is a complex tool. New users need to be explained how to use it, so the mechanics are very important for Travelpayouts.

News regarding offers. Travelpayouts has 90+ affiliate programs, there are different verticals of users. Hence, we need to send several news articles regarding offers every day.

Opinion

Previously, we manually sent up to 10 news articles on offers per day. It took about an hour, however, the manager had to prioritize and postpone less important news.

Now, urgent news is sent promptly: the trigger checks if there are no new offers, and automatically sends an email every day. The manager only needs to make sure that the mailing is formed correctly.

Anastasia Kuvshinnikova

Anastasia Kuvshinnikova, CRM Manager at Travelpayouts

Training to secure offers. The goal of Travelpayouts is to allow the affiliate to receive their first offer as soon as possible. The training email chain was set up and its effectiveness was immediately verified with the help of a control group: part of the segment was excluded from communication in order to compare the behavior of other users with it. The test showed a statistically reliable result. The rate of receiving an offer by the main group has increased.

Special projects. Travelpayouts’ special projects are complicated. Onboarding is provided for each of them. It also tracks whether affiliates check their rating, whether they subscribe to mailings, and whether they sign up to their personal customer page. All these conditions affect which emails they will receive.

Reactivation of churn. The main goal is to motivate the customer to carry out a simple action that does not involve any obligations. For example, clicking on the affiliate link and making sure that the transition is displayed on their personal customer page. The chains differ depending on the customer’s lifecycle.

Opinion

Reactivation works very well. For example, we recently sent an email to several thousand inactive customers offering our help. We got 150 responses. We helped a lot of people, and they came back to us.

Anastasia Kuvshinnikova

Anastasia Kuvshinnikova, CRM Manager at Travelpayouts

Next steps

Develop more triggers for user segments, taking into account the lifecycle, earnings, and activity.

Make reactivation mechanics even more personalized: take into account not only the sign-ups to the personal customer page but also the transition from segment to segment.

Finalize onboarding. Add to the basic onboarding mailings, branching out depending on the user’s behavior, i.e., what they did or didn’t do. Our goal is to help each specific customer. We aim to explain the basics to those who do not understand affiliate marketing; to offer more complex solutions to those who received a payment in the first month.

Set up triggers to remove inactive users: together with analysts, define criteria showing that affiliates cannot be reactivated, and automatically delete them to avoid overpaying for database storage.

Create a set of standard dashboards that can be applied to each company, for example, to evaluate the transition from segment to segment. Standard reports for Travelpayouts are unsuitable. They are designed for e-commerce.

P.S. In this article we discussed our products "Customer Data Platform" (CDP) and «Mailings». Learn more about the products on their pages or by speaking to a consultant.