Revshare or Per Order?

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked, “Which should I use: revshare or per order?”… well, let’s just say I’d have a lot of water bottles full of nickels. It really is an often asked question with proponents on either side certain they have the right answer. I know the REAL answer and here it is: Which payout type to use depends on your traffic, your business needs, which affiliate program you’re considering, what ad type you’re using, what options you have, and so much more. The answer is that there IS NO ANSWER. You need to test and compile data and then test and compile data some more.

Part of the issue is that the answer to this age old question is related not only to financial results but to a host of other concerns. How trustworthy is this company? How long will they continue to pay rebills? What if they change billers? What if there’s a glitch in their software? What if they go out of business? How well will the site I am promoting rebill? What if they’re really good at converting but not retaining? What if they suck at converting but retention is high? Are they going to change my terms if I decide to send my traffic elsewhere?

Making the issue more difficult to figure out is that a lot of companies won’t provide good data and who has the time to crawl through mountains of information to make the simple determination of whether or not they would have been better off going with revshare instead of per order? Most of us are hard-workers dedicated (addicted?) to the zany adult industry and we juggle multiple jobs while wearing multiple hats. It’s just not worth the time.

I decided to take the time to crunch some numbers for one of the programs we promote. We have been sending traffic to AdultFriendFinder since December 1997. We have sent traffic both to the revshare and per order models so I have a lot of data to sort through. This process was made more difficult by the lack of an export feature in their system… but I digress.

It is very difficult to extrapolate a real honest-to-goodness comparison for a few reasons. First of all is the inability to separate new orders from rebills in the revshare data. Secondly, I’m not going to take the time to gather data related to specific genres promoted and where on our sites the promotion may have been any given month so in some instances the revshare placements may have been better quality than the per order placements, and vice-versa. But most importantly, the conversion ratios on AdultFriendFinder have clearly decreased over time making it impossible to determine a uniform average to apply across the board.

That being said, here are the overall results. I hope you find something useful in this data and are able to apply it when making your own decisions about what types of programs to promote.

Revshare Program
o Promoted 118 months
o Overall conversion ratio unique to free – 1:22
o Overall conversion ratio free to paid – unknown
o Overall revenue per unique – $0.46
o Overall revenue per free member – $11.47

Per Order Program
o Promoted 26 months
o Overall conversion ratio unique to free – 1:39
o Overall conversion ratio free to paid – 1:6
o Overall revenue per unique: $0.37
o Overall revenue per free member: $14.64