Decision Tech has launched a new service to the affiliate industry, which they contend will revolutionise reporting for affiliate businesses. Here, Dominic Baliszewski fills The Drum Network in on Fullsight, a new tool that puts affiliate sales data in one place for publishers.
Can you give a brief company history of Decision Tech? What areas are you working in?
Decision Tech was founded in 2005 by two brothers and a friend (Michael and Chris Phillips and Alex Tsantikos ) Having worked in the comparison industry, they saw a lot of potential to do things differently, to give customers, and the team working for the customers, a much better experience. They set Decision Tech up to be a fast paced business, able to make quick decisions without getting bogged down by too many processes, and to be a really fun place to work. Since then we have grown organically to become the UK’s largest OFCOM accredited comparison site, with major brands like GoCompare, Compare the Market and Money Saving Expert using our comparison tech.
Decision Tech works with data in the affiliate space. Have you run into any problems with the GDPR deadline?
I think we have been very ‘compliance conscious’ as a business. We’ve always made sure that we are looking after people’s data properly, even before the announcement of GDPR. We have the right processes internally and that mindset has always translated well when dealing with clients. We are confident that we are in a really good place there.
Why did you feel the need to build Fullsight? Can you describe the process?
The affiliate industry is a really exciting place to be as it is continually growing year-on-year, showing even faster growth than digital as a whole. There is a huge variety of technology, reporting and analytics solutions that exist in the market, but these are often targeted toward digital business in general, not specifically affiliate businesses. In the wider digital landscape, the affiliate space is very data heavy; we have information on how the customer engages on site and what they are going on to buy, helping to inform smarter marketing.
But the way the industry is set up, that information is really disaggregated. In a billion pound industry, even large affiliates will be logging into multiple systems and spending their time in spreadsheets trying to reconcile and get the reporting they need. That is what we're doing until a few years ago when we thought ‘look, there must be a better way of doing this.’ We looked to see if a smart, unified affiliate reporting technology was available, realised that it wasn’t, and decided to build it ourselves. Initially we built it to use in-house, but quickly realised that it wasn’t just us that could benefit from this, and that any affiliate business / publisher could benefit too. When we were confident it worked and saw results ourselves, we started rolling it out to our partners to improve their experience. This clearly showed that there were a lot of businesses that could find Fullsight useful so at the end of last year we decided to take Fullsight to the market. We’ve now launched in the UK and are also looking at Europe and the US.
What kind of companies do you believe will benefit from Fullsight?
Any business that is making some or all of its revenue from affiliate activity. Pretty much every digital business will use Google Analytics to see what their customers are doing on site. If you are, say, John Lewis or Argos, and your customers are transacting on site, it is really easy to match that back to see the journey the customer takes in one place. Where we differ is people don't buy directly from us, they will compare or research on an affiliate site and then go to brands to complete their purchase. The result is that we can see what they are doing on our site, but when it comes to monitoring the sales data user journey it becomes difficult and time consuming. Fullsight takes that revenue data and pushes it into GA meaning that you can see user data as if that person had transacted with you.
How did your clients initially react to the launch of Fullsight?
There was a bit of disbelief and then the reaction: ‘how is this problem only now being solved?' We found within our own company that we saved hours of manual reporting and that is the same for our clients using it now. You have marketing teams actually doing marketing as opposed to reporting, you have content teams who can instantly see how well their content is performing. You have UX teams actually being able to test the quality of performance or test the site right the way through to the transaction, which wasn’t possible before.
What are the challenges you can envisage for publishers in the market going forward and how can Fullsight help?
What we are seeing in the affiliate marketing space is a lot of traditional media brands, some of whom get tens, if not hundreds, of millions of visitors to their site, that would previously have been monetising their site through display advertising are now growing their e-commerce proposition. It’s an exciting time. We are working with a number of the largest UK news brands as well as several lifestyle publications who are increasingly recognising that affiliate and e-commerce presents a massive revenue opportunity. For some of them this is brand new territory, and Fullsight can help them define what works as they grow these revenue lines. The upshot for the market is that that traditional content/voucher/comparison affiliate sites will increasingly see large brands be in the market beside them. The savvier brands will think about how to work with them and others will see them as a threat and try to compete.
What are the main ambitions for decision tech and Fullsight in the next 12 months?
We are working through the process following our acquisition by Moneysupermarket. We are also continuing to grow the business in mobile comparison and also mobile handset recycling space – there’s a lot of opportunity for growth there and we really want to help people unlock the value of their old mobile phones. It’s a habit that consumers haven’t got into yet and we’d like to see it become as standard as comparing broadband. Finally, we're continuing to work with our partners, developing new tech solutions and offering them the best comparison experiences for their users.
Dominic Baliszewski, Head of new venures, Decision Tech