Affiliate Networks and Tracking Platforms, The Best of 2020. Part 4: Awin

In the continuation of my series called "Affiliate Networks and Tracking Platforms, The Best of 2020" (in support of my good friend Leenie), I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Global Affiliate Network, Awin!



History of Awin

Part of the Axel Springer and United Internet Groups, Awin is a global affiliate network with 20 years of experience in the industry. Together with ShareASale and the recent acquisition of Commission Factory, the Awin Group is comprised of 1,000+ employees, over 211,000+ contributing publishers and 15,200+ advertisers, connecting customers with brands in over 180 countries. Operating across the retail, telecommunications, travel and finance sectors, Awin generated $12.4 billion in revenue for its advertisers and $915 million for its publishers in the last financial year.

Following the acquisition of one of North America’s largest platforms, ShareASale, in 2017, the Awin Group’s most recent acquisition of Commission Factory now grants partner reach into the much desired Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia markets - which play a crucial part in the Group’s mission to become the partner of choice globally for affiliate marketing. 

Awin emerged in 2017 when consolidating zanox and Affiliate Window operations, both of which had been driving sales for affiliate partners since 2000. zanox grew from a Berlin, Germany, tech startup while Affiliate Window started as a small operation in London, UK. Throughout their histories, zanox and Affiliate Window were repeatedly awarded for innovative affiliate marketing solutions and exceptional service… and now a global community of people, technology and business intelligence insights. No matter what type of partner, level of service, or tools needed to achieve business goals, Awin provides solutions to drive sustainable growth.

Key Features and Capabilities

Tracking custom data to improve and optimize affiliate performance.

One of Awin’s key features is the use of advanced data tracking, allowing brands to parse numerous values directly to Awin along with basic sale information. Awin tracks and dynamically awards commissions based on 254+ advanced data points to help retailers analyze and understand trends across their customer base, informing optimization strategies surrounding ideal partnerships and accurately measuring incrementality – all of which is enabled through the Awin Advertiser MasterTag. The tag integration is only required once to leverage this unique solution, along with many other benefits to overcome todays’ digital challenges.

Data is a fundamental component of any affiliate marketing program and the wealth of data available across the industry has seen its use become increasingly sophisticated. Over the years, Awin expanded the number of data points (or parameters) that are tracked and reported on, allowing advertisers to make informed decisions around their program. This can typically include a customer number to understand repeat purchase, more in depth product information and delivery details for a retail client.

Combining customer demographic and product-level details at the confirmation page, these data insights support customer segmentation across affiliate programs to tailor offers and content accordingly. The retail and fashion sectors have also readily adopted mobile as a transaction device compared to wider retail, with mobile sales up 16% on retail in general. Bringing advanced data points alongside device-level performance and even cross-device tracking, Awin advertisers have a holistic view of how customers are interacting with their brand, and understand what paths lead to generating loyal and repeat purchase customers. 

Examples of data points to improve affiliate program growth:

  • Loyalty/Membership Number: Understand how often a customer returns through the channel and which publishers motivate repeat purchases
  • Product Brand: Track product brands to aggregate and compare product sales and product affinities driven across the current publisher base
  • Unit Price: Split out the unit price of an item as a proportion of the total basket amount
  • Product CategoryCategorize products to ease product group analysis by publisher
  • Previous Purchase Date: Distinguish the customer as new or existing to determine purchase latency and any performance variations by promotional type/affiliate
  • Discounts from RRP from the Basket: Analyze the impact of discounting on purchasing behaviors
  • New or Existing Customer: Identify publishers effective at driving new customer acquisition

The Awin Advertiser MasterTag allows for many important functions like advanced data point capture, strategic/innovative technology partnerships, plus the integration with a brand’s mobile experience, to  ensure a complete picture of channel data. Awin works with brands to discover and reward contributors throughout the customer journey based on the unique value placed on specific interactions according to client KPIs (ex: rewarding influencers on the value they drive or rewarding coupon publisher based on new vs. existing customer rations). This ensures spend is continuously optimized to drive more valuable customer activity, having a positive long-term impact on ROI.

Advantages and Benefits

Awin is the only platform that enables channel performance alongside a data led multi-touch attribution to accurately measure marketing spend, helping clients achieve incremental revenue growth tied directly to sales performance at 16:1 ROAS.

The platform’s data compliant and comprehensive e-commerce tracking is powered by Awin’s MasterTag to set first-party cookies that respect consumers’ browser privacy settings, avoiding tracking prevention and ensuring a brand’s full visibility into all consumer touchpoints. Transparency across all web-based activity enables retailers to determine and optimize the performance of each individual promotional partner and to maximize ROAS.

Advanced tracking and multi-touch attribution

The seamless integration with Awin’s data led multi-touch point attribution partner, SingleView,  provides brands with accurate, non-biased metrics and a holistic view across all marketing channels. In understanding the true value of each channel in the customers’ journey and how different channels work together to improve conversion rates, brands can realize strategic performance goals and  improve their channel incremental ROAS by 42%.

Additionally, Awin’s Bounceless Tracking sets the new standard for tracking accuracy. Built with a privacy-by-design approach, Bounceless sends a prospective customer directly to e-commerce sites without any tracking redirect via Awin servers. Asynchronous calls via MasterTag produce significantly faster consumer journeys and better shopping experiences that yield higher conversions and more sales while direct links boost SEO and retain full referrer visibility. In fact, brands using Bounceless Tracking increased their partnership conversion rates by 4.2%. 

Publisher discovery and strategic technology partnerships

In pairing platform enabled partner discovery with expert recommendations, Awin actively promotes partner development across 211,000+ active publishers, influencers, bloggers and mass media sites. Alongside more traditional partnerships, the Awin Advertiser MasterTag offers seamless, plug-and-play access to innovative technologies and service providers, optimizing performance and driving new customer acquisition across desktop, mobile and app. The custom campaigns are designed to:

  • Increase AOV and conversion rates
  • Drive new / content site traffic
  • Personalize your website
  • Enhance search visibility 

Data, insights and expertise

Awin provides intelligent, strategic direction for growth across all verticals, offerings and solutions by leveraging unique data-driven insights across 254+ data points with 20 years’ experience leading the industry from the largest global network. The ethical treatment of personal data is core to Awin’s values, and the wide range of standard and advanced reports are designed to support affiliate campaign objectives.

Private and public partner management flexibility

Awin’s private network solution gives brands the flexibility and control to manage direct partnerships in a fully-branded environment while using Awin’s award-winning technology. Express sign up forms and expediated approval processes fast-track invitations to seamlessly activate publishers.

Awin’s private network solution is a direct brand extension, perfectly placed to drive incremental revenue through influencers, brand ambassadors and other select, exclusive business partners.


Awin is the first network to produce a critical solution aimed at reducing the risk of ad disclosure for publishers and advertisers alike. Activated easily via Awin’s Publisher MasterTagadMission automatically serves ad disclosure content with all links, not just affiliate links and is network agnostic.


Industry and Category Focus

For more than 20 years, Awin has been servicing brands across a wide range of sectors within retail and  shopping, travel, telecoms and services, as well as finance and insurance. Today, more than 15,200 global advertisers trust Awin to power their affiliate programs, yielding $12.4 billion in client revenue in 2019 at an average ROI of 16:1. Services range from technology access and client and agency support to fully-managed affiliate marketing campaigns.

In North America, Awin supports some of the market’s leading DTC brands, including AliExpress, Etsy, Under Armour, HP, FabFitFun,, edX, and Motley Fool…  just to name a few. Retailers leverage Awin’s expertise and unrivalled reach to diversify their publisher partnership mix, help reduce reliance on a few top revenue drivers, achieve incremental growth like new-to-file or product categories with high margins, and optimize mobile conversions. Based on some amazing results in North America, Awin received impartial recognition from industry peers for the strategies enacted in market for multiple clients, including being awarded best managed affiliate program 2018 and best content marketing campaign 2019 for our work with HP, where:

  • 43% revenue growth from adding 73 new content partners to the HP program
  • Increase in profitability and online sales revenue from the affiliate channel, determined by a double-digit YoY uplift
  • Development of a diverse affiliate partnership portfolio with non-traditional affiliates
  • Increase in share of sales against traditional products from promotion of high price point items and niche product lines

Leading global brands across key verticals.