Deal sites are a rarely recognised part of the affiliate industry in that they are often mixed in with discount code sites but there are some fundamental differences that makes these types of sites worth exploring further.
There aren’t a huge number of deal sites in the affiliate industry but most of them will feature in the top 10 performers of a typical retail based program. Their contribution makes them a highly desirable partner and the question about how valuable these sites is easily explored.
In line with our other articles about how affiliate sites get traffic, let us now explore the major deal sites and where they get their traffic from.
Hotukdeals.com are one of the two most famous deal sites in the UK with over three million monthly visitors each month.
The vast majority of their traffic comes from direct sources which means users are either opening their app or typing in the URL directly.
They do not rely on search traffic very much at all which makes them quite unique in the affiliate world.
The high proportion of direct traffic requires us to recognise the site as a destination/starting point for many shopping journeys and in turn makes them the ‘inspiration’ for many purchases. Users recognise them in this way as their community voting system separates “real offers” that give genuine consumer value rather than “lip service offers” that are either easily found or replicated throughout the year.
When we tag up the small amount of traffic that Hot UK Deals get from search engines, the majority of it is on their brand name with a few generic rankings too. The volume of “brand + voucher” terms is a lowly 23.8% further cementing their status as a site that can influence consumers earlier in their shopping journeys.
Based on the data above, we can say with certainty that just 2.8% of all Hot Uk Deals’ traffic already knows the online store they want to buy from.
One of the other major deal sites in the UK is latestdeals.co.uk, who amass a cool million monthly unique visitors.
In what is proving to be the typical makeup of a deal site, most of their traffic arrives directly (from URL type-ins) or their app .
They also pick up a small percentage from social and email.
When we explore the search traffic more specifically (which only makes up 31.7% of all their traffic), we learn that it comes from a mix of search terms:
Just over half comes from “brand + voucher” and that is followed by 34% from generic terms such as “freebies”, “uk deals” or “uk competitions”. The remaining 11% comes from searches for the affiliate’s name.
Based on the data above, we can say with certainty that only 17.4% of all the traffic that arrives on latestdeals.co.uk knows which retailer they wish to purchase from.
Perhaps the most famous deals site in the UK (now owned by Moneysupermarket), Moneysavingexpert are a huge part of many affiliate programs with almost 6.5 million monthly unique visitors.
Most of their traffic does come from search engines (which makes them a little different from the other two deal sites) and they also have the highest contribution from email marketing and social channels.
When we explore the site using ahrefs.com, we see how their search traffic is split between the website’s name, generic terms and “brand + voucher” terms:
Just over 60% of their search traffic arrives from users looking for generic terms such as “best savings accounts” or “best broadband deals” and a further 30%+ arrives from searches who are looking for the name of the affiliate’s site. The volume looking for specific brands is very small at just 4.2%.
Based on the data above, we can say with certainty that under 2.5% of all the traffic that goes to Moneysavingexpert.com already had the intention to buy from a particular online store.
Conclusion on “do deal sites add value”?
Deal sites do add value to retailers. They are able to sway consumers towards a product or service that has a competitive price point and they hold consumer sway because they vet the content that goes onto their site quite forcefully.
This approach creates a sense of consumer loyalty which means they are often the starting point of many shopping journeys and this is reflected in the fact that most of them get their traffic directly from their apps or direct type-ins.
When we compare the percentage of users who already know which store they’re going to buy from pre-visit, deal sites (8%) are on average a lot better than voucher code sites (84%) and as a result, they add a lot more value.