Original Lead Sources and Call Tracking: The Missing Piece in A/B Testing

Germain Palacios
Content Writer
6 minute read
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Germain Palacios
Content Writer
6 minute read

A successful affiliate marketing campaign relies on the ability to optimize strategies based on accurate data and valuable insights. 

Phonexa COO Jeffrey Schaffer recently joined Merged Media co-founder and CMO Jason Hunt on the Merged Marketing Podcast to share his expertise on A/B testing in affiliate marketing and highlight the importance of identifying and leveraging original lead sources.

The Merged Media Podcast delivers valuable insights from industry leaders to help listeners make informed decisions and grow their businesses online. 

Let’s dive into Schaffer’s expert input and explore some key takeaways he shared regarding A/B testing, original lead sources, and more.

Understanding the True Origin Source

“Standard metrics that most marketers look at when it comes to A/B testing would be things like open rate, click-through rate, and, for those that can then measure the result, the conversions that those yield,” said Schaffer. “But the way in which A/B testing is done rarely, especially in a world where brands are sourcing traffic from multiple affiliates, takes into account the true origin source of that given lead — specifically the publisher Sub ID.”

The Shift to High Intent Response

“We’ll use email specifically to really cover two things. One is really bifurcating the audience that you’re putting into a given test to separate it as much as possible and be able to identify which publisher source that came from,” said Schaffer. “Depending on what your tech stack looks like, you may or may not be able to do that, particularly if you’re dealing with aged data that ends up in the ‘non-converting’ bucket.”

Schaffer further discussed A/B testing by focusing on another approach to A/B testing that is less about measuring CTR and more about generating the highest intent response: a phone call.

“Many marketers, including major brands, have been very slow to adopt appropriate call tracking mechanisms. And when they do, what we see is that email is commonly left out of the mix.”

Schaffer suggested that marketers should get granular about the original source of their traffic, especially when it comes to Sub IDs, to gain a clearer understanding of the customer journey.

Revealing the Impact of Original Traffic Sources

“We recently had a client who was A/B testing a non-engaged audience at our recommendation. They had two different creatives, and we tested it two ways,” Schaffer shared. “One was the old way — they changed up the creatives and used the same subject line for both so we could strictly measure click-through rate. The first way we noticed a blended click-through rate variance of only 10%. These are leads that came from six different publishers over the last eight months.”

“In the second case, we broke down the audience by Sub ID for these six publishers, and what we found was that the click-through rate variance was over 40% for two of those publishers,” Schaffer explained. “By actually breaking down the audience into where the real traffic source came from — even if you don’t know the whole journey the consumer went through — we’re able to get much better insights into how to get portions of that audience to engage.”

Tailoring Creatives and Call Tracking

“In an ideal world, if you’re a brand controlling the entire consumer experience, then you can really tailor everything in an email — the creatives — because you know where it originated,” Schaffer stated. “When it comes to the call tracking component of things, very often marketers are scared to make the primary call-to-action a call because the thought process is that you’re going to have a higher amount of people that are going to click through an email at some given time than those that are going to call.”

“Calls tend to be very disconnected and even those entities that are using call tracking to measure call duration and things like that very commonly will find that there is a big disconnect between their customer management system, their CRM, and having information about conversions trickle back up the funnel in a ping-back disposition to the original lead source,” Scheffer explained. “So they’re mixing and matching reports from multiple data sources to be able to see what converted, and what didn’t. Whether it’s a click, a call, an email, or another form fill — a re-engagement of some sort or first engagement if we’re talking about cold emailing — you want that to be attributed back to the original source.”

The Challenge of Lead Generation Marketing

“One of the biggest challenges has to do with getting different technologies to talk to each other and to be able to have clean and seamless reporting that can truly show you what the consumer journey is,” said Schaffer. “That’s one of the challenges we solved at Phonexa. We have a singular, all-in-one platform for all things performance marketing that can allow you to optimize your campaigns whether you’re in the affiliate space and you’re dealing with a thousand publishers and hundreds of buyers, or whether you’re a network or a brand that’s sourcing traffic.”

Schaffer’s insights on A/B testing in affiliate marketing shed light on the importance of leveraging original lead sources and adopting a more strategic approach. By understanding the true origin source of leads, segmenting audiences, and incorporating call tracking, marketers can optimize their A/B testing efforts and drive higher engagement. 

Furthermore, utilizing an all-in-one platform like Phonexa provides a competitive edge by streamlining the process and facilitating seamless reporting.

As Schaffer stated, “Anything you can do, especially as a network, to give yourself a competitive edge, is crucial.”

To continue the conversation with Schaffer, connect with him on LinkedIn.

Germain Palacios avatar
Germain Palacios
Content Writer
Germain Palacios is a Content Writer at Phonexa. He is an alumnus of Kean University, where he earned a degree in English and graduated with honors. Germain also possesses a background in business administration. After graduating on the East Coast, he relocated to California to advance his writing career. Germain’s previous writing has been featured in several publications, including SoberRecovery.
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