Publisher Spotlight Chelseah MurphyRakuten Advertising recently had the opportunity to speak with Wickfire to learn more about its background in the affiliate space, the key strategies that lead to its success, and what sets it apart from the other publishers in the industry. Read below to learn how Wickfire started, where it is now, and where it’s going.

Tell us a little bit about WickFire.

Over a decade ago, Wickfire’s two founders, Chet Hall and Jon Brown, brought their background in software development and desire to understand the affiliate space  to create new and better search marketing technology. The goal was to create a software that helps consumers with their online purchase decision-making. Wickfire partners with e-commerce product and service advertisers across nearly every imaginable consumer product category, as well as select subscription services, technology products, and finance and insurance categories.

Wickfire’s online advertising channels have generated over $1 billion in sales for their clients by leveraging superior technology and data-driven decision-making expertise. Wickfire owns and operates BuyersGuide.org, which captures 5M customers monthly by helping them evaluate and research their e-commerce purchasing decisions, and TheCoupon.Co, which provides deals and coupon codes for thousands of merchants and reaches over 500k unique visitors monthly. Wickfire’s paid search campaigns cover the purchasing funnel and provide a low-risk, but highly effective, means of generating sales.

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Buyer’s Guide focuses primarily on US and Canada traffic, whereas TheCoupon.Co works with advertisers across a wide range of geographic regions, including US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, APAC, and more.

What sets Wickfire apart from other publishers in the field?

Between our various paid search channels we cover the entire shopping process, from initial research (bidding on generic keywords) to the final push to make a purchase (TM+ coupon terms).

We have been recognized as a finalist in the International Performance Marketing Awards for three consecutive years. Our first year, we were a finalist for Best Performance Marketing Technology, and in the past two years we’ve been recognized for Best Automation or AI and for Best Machine Learning and AI. In 2020, we were a finalist for Best Use of Data. Wickfire has also been recognized as a Microsoft Rising Star of the Year Runner Up for 2021 and Trailblazer of the Year Finalist for 2022! Technology is our team’s passion and the core of our business, and it’s a great honor to be recognized for what we’ve accomplished.

We’ve also been recognized by many of our partners as being part of an elite group of publishers that are their top partners. We were a Google Premier Partner and Bing Select Partner for many years, and are currently a Bing Elite Partner, CJ Performer and Rakuten Linkshare Platinum Publisher!

How do you help advertisers add value and drive incrementality?

One example of incrementality is on BuyersGuide.org where we bid on generic keywords, such as “best meal delivery service” and “mattress reviews,” which can be very expensive for individual brands to bid on in their own paid search campaigns.

On TheCoupon.Co we help advertisers control the top paid search positions on TM+ coupon terms by pushing their competitors further down the page. We also help ensure consumers are being advertised valid offers. Often consumers click on organic search results advertising large percentages or dollars off that don’t actually exist or work; this creates a negative consumer experience, which can be avoided when advertisers partner with reputable TM+ affiliates.

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

We remain very excited about the increasing shift towards mobile shopping. User experience analysis and mobile-first design have long been our standard for all layout development, and we are increasingly seeing users feel comfortable doing in-depth research and making important purchasing decisions from mobile and tablet devices.

We also continue to refine our content development with user engagement and satisfaction at the front of our minds. This year, we introduced comparison grids onto hundreds of our consumer product pages, allowing users to quickly compare key features of one product against other similar options. We continue to iterate and improve on our comparison grids, with custom product comparisons and improved visibility of this feature on our roadmap for the end of the year.

Why did you choose to partner with Rakuten Advertising?

Rakuten has a wide variety of advertisers, ranging in size and across many categories! The UX is very user-friendly and the terms, contact information, and background for each program are clearly outlined. Additionally, the Rakuten team has a great understanding of the affiliate space and always contributes substantive value when we collaborate with them. Reporting on many KPIs is also very easy using Rakuten Advertising!

Read our entire Publisher Spotlight series featuring other incredible publisher partners here.