To help brands discover ways they can improve their digital performance, we spoke to an expert within the industry. Alex Comisky, a Rakuten Marketing program manager on the Campaign Optimization team, speaks to the ways he helps his financial services clients increase ROI through analyzing performance-data. Alex has been with Rakuten Marketing for six years and aided multiple brands understand data and what actionable insights to take from it. See what Alex is doing to create data-driven campaign optimization for brands within the financial services vertical.

Q: As an analyst, what are you looking for when reviewing a client’s performance?

alex comiskey, ask the expert, campaign optimizationA: Naturally, my eye will gravitate towards deltas in performance data – differences are where we find the most insights. This may mean different growth rates for different products, publishers showing variable approval rates for different products, or shifts in click traffic growth over time. That said, no one delta tells a full story, so it is critical that anyone analyzing performance data be able to review all the possible dimensions of a trend when evaluating a hypothesis as to the cause of that trend. The search for answers shouldn’t stop until you’ve ruled out all possible alternative explanations that the data can provide!

Q: Can you give some examples of optimizations that you might recommend based on trends that you see in the data?

A: Where possible, and where publishers can optimize on said data, providing publishers with clear knockout criteria to use in deeper media targeting can introduce strong improvements in program performance and drive approval rates up with low cost. In particular, this data could be passed through new transaction fields and made actionable through dynamic commissioning.

Q: What do you hear most often when working with publishers?

A: One of the most common requests we hear from publishers is for additional data on the ‘why’ behind decisions on applicants – to be able to see deeper than just the decision. This information can often be used to build better traffic models for the publisher, to ensure that they are driving the most qualified consumers possible to an offer, which (in theory) helps both improve Publisher EPC and Advertiser approval rates. To this end, we at Rakuten Marketing are making significant strides in the types of data we can commission on, through our dynamic commissioning functionality, which should enable myriad improvements of this kind.

Q: What trends do you see happening in the financial services industry that may impact how brands manage their affiliate marketing programs?

A: Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing focus on financial services issuers attempting to optimize their programs even further towards high-LTV consumers, to avoid consumers who are potentially gaming the system, and to encourage a positive mix of revolvers/transactors for the overall consumer portfolio. I believe this is driven in no small part by the increasingly competitive rewards marketplace, where more issuers are offering ever richer rewards products to consumers.

Q: Would you mind sharing a little-known fact about yourself with our readers?

A: I studied classics in University in addition to math!