Osprey Affiliate Marketing
As affiliate marketing continues to grow as a revenue driver for brands of all sizes, industries and target consumers, Backbone has seen consistently strong results in both creating new affiliate programs for our clients and refining existing programs.
In January 2020, Backbone launched Osprey’s affiliate program and saw immediate success by quickly recruiting over 200 high-quality content affiliates into the program, including Wirecutter, Outside Online, and Gear Patrol. While our main goal was to drive new revenue and top-of-the-funnel traffic, select loyalty and deal sites like Honey and Slickdeals also helped round out a full-funnel program. With this strategy, Backbone pulled traffic from Amazon to Osprey’s site direct, which ultimately lead to double- and triple-digit revenue growth within the affiliate channel.
Amazon slashed commission rates in its popular Associates affiliate program in April 2020. Backbone forecasted these cuts would drastically affect the livelihood of many of the publishers that rely on it. That said, Backbone saw it as an opportunity to recruit new publishers into Osprey’s program and change affiliate links away from Amazon and direct them to Osprey.com. Firmly believing that direct partnerships are key to affiliate (both on the brand and the publisher side), Backbone saw Amazon’s implementation of significant cuts as a serious impact on the livelihood of many of the publishers that relied heavily on Amazon affiliate revenue.
SEO and affiliate go hand in hand. In Osprey’s travel and backpacking space, much of the SEO strength is held by niche travel bloggers and core backpacking review sites. These sites have a large share of search results, and many of them link almost exclusively to Amazon and make all of their revenue from affiliate.
Backbone’s affiliate team reached out to a handful of these blogger sites to recruit them into Osprey’s program for a mutually beneficial collaboration. Acknowledging that Osprey’s on-site conversion rate would be lower than Amazon’s, Backbone negotiated commission rates that would help offset this and were equitable for both Osprey and the affiliate (in some cases, these were five times what Amazon was offering). The goal was not to seed product or facilitate new product reviews, but instead to identify high-SEO-value content and use the affiliate program to redirect links on previously published content.
This strategic affiliate plan with key partnerships saw strong success. Since their inception, the top three blog partners (The Broke Backpacker, Switchback Travel, and Indie Traveller) have driven a combined 22,000 clicks and $16,000 in revenue to Osprey. Overall, Backbone Media’s affiliate efforts continued to reap strong benefits for the Osprey brand since launching the program in January, with continued affiliate revenue growth between 49% to 255% month over month.