Groupon is jumping globally into the affiliate marketing world with the launch of the Groupon Partner Network (GPN), which is their proprietary local e-commerce affiliate marketing platform.  While Groupon has been taking advantage of the affiliate marketing model sine 2009, it has always been through third party platforms including Zanox for their European business, and Commission Junction in the US.  While very effective, they required Groupon to set up individual affiliate programs in each region, which they apparently believed to be inefficient.

The Groupon Partner Network is available throughout their global footprint so everywhere that Groupon does business, which includes 34 countries at this time, will be able to take advantage of this new platform immediately.  Affiliates promoting Groupon deals will gain access to some custom tools which will allow for real-time reporting on impressions, click-through rates, sales volume and more.  The platform will also provide access to high-converting links, browser bookmarklets and widgets based on geolocation, retargeting and the category of the deal.

These additional features which were not available through the third party affiliate programs will, Groupon hopes, further improve on the profitability of their affiliate sales.  According to Sean Smith, Groupon’s VP of global partner marketing and business development, affiliate marketing through the third party vendors has already given Groupon their highest conversion rates (compared to email marketing, search, mobile notifications and other marketing tools.)

The advancements which are available through the GPN should further improve the conversion rates, as well as bring in new marketers to promote their products.  Groupon is already partnered with some of the world’s largest sites, including Ebates, Dealnews, Fat Wallet, and Upromise by Sallie Mae.  At launch Groupon estimates they will have around 10,000 marketers promoting their deals, and over time they hope to grow that to hundreds of thousands of marketers around the world.

For those who sign up for the GPN by September 30, 2013, Groupon is offering commissions of 10-12 percent for Groupon Local sales, 6-8 percent for Groupon Getaways and 5-8 percent for Groupon Goods.  They have not yet announced what the commission rates will be after the 30th, but they will undoubtedly be competitive with existing affiliate programs.

While Groupon states they are focused exclusively on rolling the GPN out to affiliates promoting Groupon offers, they also acknowledge that in the future they might open up the network to additional services outside of their own.  Smyth said that at this time, “It’s in discussion to open this to third parties.  If we build a great tool then yes, we will like to maximize the enterprise value, but for now we’re very focused first on the near term and making it work with Groupon.”

It seems clear from these comments that if their network is a success internally, they will be opening it up as an additional revenue stream in the future.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Groupon Partner Network, or signing up as an affiliate, can learn more HERE.

What do you think about this move by Groupon?  Will you be signing up to promote their deals?  Please, comment below.

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