Kevin Azzopardi, ShopBack Australia

Kevin Azzopardi, ShopBack Australia

Rakuten Advertising recently caught up with Kevin Azzopardi, Head of Marketing at ShopBack Australia, to discuss how the platform became a one-stop shop for customers to discover new brands, seek out the best deals in market and earn cashback. Kevin touches on leveraging the gamification trend and the ShopBack Super Saver Facebook community to keep customers highly engaged, and tailoring solutions for brands to meet their objectives.

Tell us a little bit about ShopBack.

Kevin: ShopBack first launched in Singapore in 2014 with a mission of helping customers become savvy shoppers. We realised this by rewarding our customers with cashback on their online purchases. Seven years later, we’re now live in nine countries (Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea) and have over 28 million customers, with 1.5 million in Australia.

To date, we’ve rewarded customers with over $200 million in cashback globally and broadened our product suite to further help customers on their paths to becoming savvy shoppers. In the last 12 months, we’ve launched a product comparison feature that allows customers to search for a product, compare prices across a range of merchants and set price alerts. We’ve also introduced a gift card portal that allows customers to earn cashback on gift cards using their cashback balance and/or a Mastercard or Visa card. In Australia, we’ve just launched an offline product that allows customers to earn cashback in-store.

Across Asia-Pacific, ShopBackers are mobile-first individuals aged 18-45, and it seems we’re equally popular with males and females with pretty much a 50/50 split across the two.

What sets you apart from publishers in your category?

Kevin: Our customers, our product and our brand. Having first established ourselves in Southeast Asia, we knew that we needed to deliver a mobile-first product, and it had to be incredibly user-friendly. We invested heavily into mobile technology and produced an award-winning app that customers (and advertisers) love. We know that 47% of ShopBackers don’t know what they’re looking for when they open the app, so we’ve improved discoverability for customers and opportunities for advertisers to place themselves front and centre in these moments.

Our app not only provides advertisers the ability to target specific offers to segmented audiences, but it has become a space where customers can discover new brands, find deals on ones they love, and even play games. In late 2020, we launched a feature called “Challenges” that allows advertisers to hyper-target a specific user with an offer. Since then, we’ve had almost 1 million Challenge opt-ins from customers. Cashback Troopers, our in-app game, has been played over 7 million times in 2021, amounting to more than 14 years of game play – that’s a lot of time spent in the ShopBack environment.

We’ve also worked hard to build a brand that has a strong and unique tone of voice that customers can engage with, and that truly adds value. This is particularly evident across our social channels including Instagram, and our closed Facebook Community, ShopBack Super Savers, where customers are highly active and engage with us both publicly and privately. Our brand values also help guide our partnership choices, where we support and work closely with those who give smart advice to consumers about their personal finance. Customers come to ShopBack, not just because we offer cashback, but because we help them make smarter decisions with their money.

How do you help advertisers add value and drive incrementality?

Kevin: Our Account Management team is second to none! They work closely with our partners to understand their overall objectives and then tailor solutions to achieve them. Thankfully our team of 155 engineers have also built unique product solutions that allow advertisers to slice up our audience and target specific customers to drive key metrics like acquisition, retention, reactivation and gross merchandise value.

As we’ve grown, our product has become a tool for discovery, with Australians opening the app on average 9.5 times a week. Today customers start their shopping journey with ShopBack – searching for products and trusting us to share the best deals. We provide advertisers the opportunity to not only get in front of these customers, but to choose the messages they want to communicate.

In addition to the everyday benefits of being on ShopBack, we also participate in major external events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Click Frenzy, and have created our own seasonal marquee events such as ShopFest, Cashback Carnival and Birthday. Mega events provide partners with the opportunity to boost their volume by 10-fold by participating in our infamous flash sales, or by simply increasing their cashback amount and exposure throughout the period.

What excites you about the affiliate marketing industry and where it’s headed? What new innovations will we see from you this year?

Kevin: What doesn’t excite me about the affiliate marketing industry! The industry has changed so much since ShopBack first launched in Australia in 2018 and continues to grow and evolve. From a cashback perspective, we’ve witnessed incredible growth over the past 12 months, fuelled by a migration to online shopping as lockdowns continue to be a challenge for Australia. At ShopBack we’ve been able to move fast, and not only pivot our marketing strategy, but also our product development pipeline. We’ve prioritised features and products that are truly beneficial to both advertisers and consumers.

The final quarter of the year is always exciting for ShopBack, as we run our annual ShopFest event. This year we’ve developed a campaign that will excite both advertisers and consumers and we can’t wait to bring it to market.

Why did you choose to partner with Rakuten Advertising?

Kevin: As we rapidly expanded across Asia-Pacific, we were looking for partners who could not only help us grow, but who we could forge a strong long-lasting relationship with. Rakuten Advertising is present in all 9 ShopBack markets and has been instrumental to our growth across the region.

As we entered the Australian market, it was clear that Rakuten Advertising would be equally important to our growth here, as they work with the world’s biggest and best brands. What we could never have foreseen was how proactive they would be in helping us to grow brand partnerships.  Rakuten Advertising truly understands the landscape they play in, its nuances, and the changes that lay ahead, and they work hand-in-glove with partners to ensure 360 success for the present and into the future.

Stay up to date on the latest and greatest from ShopBack on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and the ShopBack Super Savers Facebook Community. To hear more from our publishers in the future, subscribe to the Rakuten Advertising blog.