Affiliate Networks and Tracking Platforms, The Best of 2020. Part 7: CAKE

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With three more features to go in my analysis of the leading affiliate networks and tracking platforms of 2020, today we are featuring US and UK based CAKE.

A Brief History of CAKE 

Throughout the organization’s decade-long history, CAKE has served as a stable core of the industry with a consistent company mission – to deliver trusted, innovative performance marketing technology solutions that create the best revenue opportunities for our customers worldwide. 

As part of its enterprise technology solutions, CAKE’s Affiliate Marketing Software measures, manages, and optimizes partner campaigns for the highest performance. 

As of today, we have onboarded thousands of customers, including advertisers, networks, and publishers across 50+ countries. CAKE’s reliable affiliate marketing solution ensures data security, accurate measurement, and unrivaled support to attract new partners and foster profitable relationships. 

Constellation + CAKE

In June 2019, we were happy to announce CAKE’s acquisition by Constellation Software Inc., a $20+ billion international provider of market-leading software and services. Constellation has a strong track record of acquiring and integrating companies with much success. With the Constellation investment, CAKE is the largest performance marketing software vendor and sets the foundation for the latest Constellation target vertical – the performance marketing industry.

This marked the beginning of a new chapter for CAKE and highlights the continuation of stability and promises to bring more exciting things ahead with the new long-term investment. 

Who is Constellation? The organization acquires, manages, and builds vertical market software businesses which provide specialized, mission-critical software solutions. With 125,000+ customers in more than a hundred countries and a proven track record of solid growth, Constellation has established a broad portfolio of software businesses to provide its customers and shareholders with exceptional returns.

Maximize profitability with integrated solutions

CAKE is the only platform that delivers affiliate marketing, lead distribution, and multichannel marketing capabilities on a single platform. 

Key Features and Capabilities 

Affiliate marketers face multiple challenges such as managing razor-thin profit margins and optimizing campaign performance in real-time. Another common issue they encounter is wasting valuable time on administrative tasks like providing performance reports to partners, sending campaign and creative assets, reconciling billing with partners, and more.

CAKE Affiliate Marketing Software solves these challenges by allowing advertisers, networks, and affiliates to manage an entire performance marketing program with one tool. The end result? Affiliate marketers and networks can easily capture and analyze granular data, then pinpoint the partners and campaigns that are the most valuable in driving revenue. This maximizes profitability while keeping their partners happy.

The following highlights CAKE features and capabilities that enable affiliate marketers to streamline their performance marketing program.

Leverage performance insights

Optimize affiliate marketing program performance through accurate and real-time insights and CAKE’s customizable reporting functionality. 

  • Quickly and easily access granular performance reporting across partners, campaigns, and offers
  • Customize reporting attributes and create multiple shared views
  • Receive alerts for margin thresholds, traffic volumes, abnormal or suspicious activity, and customizable alert criteria
  • Leverage the CAKE API to get performance data for additional analysis and data visualizations

Simplify campaign management

Streamline administrative efficiencies with intuitive workflows and powerful functions to manage campaigns.

  • Manage pixel and tracking link parameters to ensure proper tracking
  • Build click and conversion caps to control incoming traffic
  • Implement rules targeting to increase conversion rates 
  • Create, target, and report on unique landing pages to optimize performance
  • Customize payout structures with unique commission rules based on campaign, traffic volume, quality, and order details to properly reward partners

Optimize campaign performance

Increase profit margins through real-time monetization tools to ensure performance and accurate measurement for each impression, click, and conversion for proper revenue and payout attribution.

  • Target by device, ISP carrier, operating system, and browser
  • Target by language and location (including countries, regions, and cities)
  • Set redirect rules for A/B testing, fraud detection, traffic caps, and referring source

Automate partner management

Enhance partner satisfaction through customizable communication and automation tools.

  • Automate the affiliate onboarding and management process
  • Distribute insertion orders and terms and conditions
  • Manage campaign compliance
  • Streamline communication with all affiliates through branded emails, real-time Twitter feed and web pages embedded within the dashboard, offer tags, and display available offers based on top EPCs
  • Give partners access to their own customized dashboard to view/apply for available campaigns, access campaign details and assets, generate links, and place pixels. Additionally, partners can view performance reporting and payment details, update billing and payment information, and receive alerts about changes to campaign statuses, and more

Streamline accounting functions

Manage partner payments through automated processes within the CAKE administrative portal.

  • Store partner billing and payment details, such as billing cycle and terms, plus automate the bill and invoice generation process
  • Generate bills based on reporting data and verify accuracy
  • Reconcile payable actions across partners and keep a record of referral commissions owed
  • Track the status of payments and invoices, plus log all history within the application
  • Leverage integrations with Tipalti and Payoneer for partner payment processing, as well as QuickBooks and Great Plains for internal payment processing

Advantages and Benefits 

CAKE is built to enable customer growth, unlock new revenue opportunities, and unify marketing measurement. Our technology fuels the long-term growth and success of our global customer base through intelligent, real-time scaling, and integrated solutions for affiliate marketing, lead distribution, and multichannel marketing.

Platform scalability that aligns with customer growth

CAKE’s infrastructure empowers customer growth by seamlessly handling increasing traffic volumes without compromising the accuracy of data. CAKE proactively procures additional hardware which automatically shifts with traffic loads. As a result, customers can feel confident as they expand their performance program to include additional verticals, new regions, partner network growth, and the flexibility to experiment with different campaign types. 

Technology stability and reliability provided by CAKE enables customers to enhance their performance marketing programs and focus their efforts on building long-term profitable relationships, which are the core of a healthy affiliate marketing ecosystem.

Intelligent lead routing unlocks new revenue opportunities

Marketers who combine CAKE’s affiliate marketing and lead distribution solutions unveil new opportunities to monetize leads beyond what’s possible with affiliate click traffic. As the first company to deliver affiliate marketing and lead distribution capabilities on a single platform, CAKE provides marketers with a comprehensive view of the affiliates that drive high-quality leads which result in increased lead selling prices that ultimately convert to customers.

Lead distribution is a process that involves capturing, validating, and distributing leads to buyers that can be sold for a premium price across multiple verticals. Instead of sending just traffic to the advertiser, affiliate marketers can also send qualified leads to the advertiser at a higher selling price than a typical CPA. Additionally, lead distribution expands the playing field for affiliate marketers by introducing them to more verticals. This allows them to grow their network of partners to also include lead buyers looking to purchase highly qualified leads.

Here is how the lead distribution process works:

To learn more about how affiliate marketers can leverage lead distribution to grow their performance marketing program, download our white paper Better Together – Adding Value to Your Affiliate Program with Lead Distribution.

See how CAKE customers are harnessing the powerful combination of affiliate marketing and lead distribution here.

Measurement across multiple digital channels unifies performance

CAKE’s multichannel marketing solution enables marketers to measure the performance of their affiliate channel with other digital channels including search, display, email, and more. Equipped with this holistic view into the performance of digital channels, marketers can easily identify the most and least effective channels, as well as their impact on the customer journey. This helps marketers improve overall return on adspend (ROAS) and gain a clear understanding of the true impact the affiliate channel has on their brand’s performance.

Industry and Category Focus 

More than 500 advertisers, networks, and publishers leverage CAKE’s performance marketing platform across a wide variety of industry verticals in 50+ countries.

Case Studies

LenderEDGE is a digital marketing provider that specializes in lead generation for businesses offering lending products and services. Backed by an experienced network of affiliates and in-house team, the company is focused on quality, both in terms of the leads delivered and the buyers it matches with affiliate partners. See why LenderEDGE selected CAKE to power their business.

View additional CAKE success stories:

Publisher Relationships 

There are three main options for creating and managing an affiliate marketing program and its publishers: in-house/direct, outsourcing, or a hybrid approach. Each option has benefits. For example, outsourcing can initially seem easier, but an in-house program delivers more flexibility, control, and potentially higher payoffs. Additionally, in-house enables affiliate marketers to foster long-term relationships directly with affiliates that are built on a foundation of trust and performance.

Benefits of in-house / direct relationships

CAKE’s technology enables networks and marketers to reap the benefits of in-house or direct relationships by allowing them to:

  • Build direct relationships with partners – Develop one-on-one relationships with publishers and provide greater incentives and customizations. Instantly gain direct feedback from publishers and develop an understanding of what’s working or not to quickly pivot and optimize campaign performance.
  • Increase profit margins – Reinvest the money saved on hefty network commissions and management fees into top publishers by creating custom campaigns and payouts to gain a competitive advantage and boost affiliate program performance.
  • Gain better campaign control – Gain transparency and additional control over the selection of affiliates running campaigns, increased insight into where the campaigns appear, and ensure safety with GDPR compliance efforts and data protection. This approach also opens the door to custom campaigns and flexible commission structures that would not be available when working with a middleman.
  • Get real-time access to performance data – Access campaign performance data in real-time instead of waiting for campaigns to end for greater visibility, cost savings, and instant optimizations. Leverage these insights to make data-driven decisions regarding spend, payouts, performance, and creative assets.

CAKE also provides another option for creating and managing an affiliate marketing program and affiliates:

  • Hybrid approach – Savvy marketers often combine the best of both in-house and outsourcing by implementing a hybrid approach. They use a third-party service for reach and to manage a larger volume of their affiliate partners, while running an in-house program to cultivate top-performing affiliates. For instance, CAKE allows users to manage their top affiliate marketing partners that are the most valuable in driving revenue.

Tracking and Attribution Capabilities

With ongoing consumer privacy movements such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and browser updates that block first- and third-party tracking cookies, maintaining accurate measurement across advertising campaigns has continuously become more challenging. CAKE offers customers a variety of tracking and attribution methods that best suit their needs so that they can respect consumer privacy and maintain accurate measurement.

Tracking capabilities

  • Server-to-server tracking – This CAKE tracking method, also referred to as postback tracking, allocates a unique ID to an anonymous consumer’s interaction. In lieu of a cookie, a session ID is stored on the server-side or within the advertiser’s first-party cookie, up until the point of conversion. Once a conversion takes place, the consumer’s click on the ad is then attributed to their conversion through the unique ID.
  • Javascript SDK tracking – CAKE provides a hybrid approach to tracking that leverages both cookies and cookieless tracking in conjunction with a JavaScript SDK in place of a Postback URL. When the JavaScript SDK is used with the click pixel, it reads the unique session identifier that is set in the first-party cookie by the click pixel and uses that value for campaign attribution, instead of the cookie.
  • Clickless tracking – Marketers can seamlessly track the sales attributed to a voucher code and gain a clear picture of the overall campaign success, by leveraging unique voucher codes for influencer and social campaigns. CAKE offers flexibility when it comes to clickless tracking. For example, customers can create unique voucher codes for their partners. Alternatively partners can also request voucher codes through the affiliate portal. Users can also set customized attribution parameters at the voucher-code level to determine which affiliate gets credit for the actual sale and assign an expiration date to the code.
  • Fingerprint tracking – Commonly referred to as “session tracking” or “probabilistic tracking,” fingerprint tracking aims to match the consumer’s ad interaction to their conversions utilizing metadata identifiers on a click such as device, location, operating system, etc.
  • Direct linkingDirect linking provides a great alternative for performance marketers to properly measure campaign performance when media platforms like Google and Facebook reject third-party tracking links. With direct linking, affiliates can send consumers directly to the advertiser’s landing page from the first marketing interaction and attribute the conversion back to the affiliate that initiated the traffic. This tracking method appends query string tracking parameters to the landing page URL in place of a tracking link.

Attribution capabilities

Customers who leverage CAKE’s multichannel marketing solution gain access to multi-touch attribution in addition to the tracking capabilities listed above.

  • Multi-touch attribution – CAKE’s multi-touch attribution helps customers improve campaign performance and boost return on adspend (ROAS) with a holistic approach to measurement across all digital marketing channels. Customers can leverage CAKE’s attribution to gain a complete view of the customer journey, optimize future campaigns, and better allocate digital spend. CAKE also offers a  range of attribution models including first-and last touch, linear, time-decay, u-shaped, and custom. For affiliate marketing scenarios, we offer first-and last touch attribution to help determine affiliate commissions.

To learn more about CAKE’s attribution, access our white paper, Using Multi-touch Attribution to Map the Online Customer Journey.

Additional Information About CAKE

Customer testimonials

“By streamlining our affiliate and lead distribution programs on CAKE, we are armed with significantly better insights into campaign performance and the ability to maximize profitability. This empowers us to provide our clients with the best leads at the best prices, helping them drive and expand their businesses.”   – Carter Matzinger, President – Surge Logics

“Thanks to CAKE’s customizable alerts, tracking features, and ease of use, we’re able to streamline campaign management and better manage our company’s growth. Our affiliates enjoy using the platform too.”  – Ricky May, Senior Affiliate ManagerMonetise

“Since making the switch to CAKE, we have been able to eliminate traffic that is not backing out. As a result, our traffic quality has increased and our advertiser relations have grown even stronger.”   – Matt Stowe, PresidentRevenueAds

Free CAKE Resources

Interested in learning more about CAKE? Sign up for our free 30-days trial here. Or visit our website to request a demo.