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DMi’s Partnership Development team prides themselves on publisher relationships, not only does the team love building on existing partnerships they’ve fostered for years, but there is always excitement around new and innovative partners entering the affiliate channel. One partnership category we’re seeing exponential growth from this year is CLO partnerships. While not completely brand new, they are still considered a novice partner compared to traditional partners with traditional promotional methods. One of the most exciting aspects of these partners is their unique ability to gather consumer behavior data, which can really be powerful when targeting and trying to reach a specific audience. Furthermore, their robust reporting can be an asset not only to the affiliate channel, but for a brand overall.

What exactly is a CLO Partner?

CLO stands for card-linked offer, and it’s exactly that – an offer that a consumer links to their card that can be redeemed via in-store or online. According to a study run by Vogue Business and Rakuten Rewards, 56% of users surveyed used their credit card rewards to collect cash back from fashion brands, exemplifying how powerful these partners can be. Some key players in the space right now are Cardlytics, Drop, Collinson, and JP Morgan. Typically, consumers must log into their account to gain access to available offers. Offers range from cash back, points back or a $/% off. When it comes to redeeming an offer, every CLO financial institution is different. Some require a consumer click-to-activate, while others allow consumer to view an offer that is automatically linked to their card. Additionally, how long your offer is available is completely contingent on the partner, the brand’s budget, and goals.

What are the benefits of working with CLO partners?

Perhaps one of the most exciting reasons to run a campaign with a CLO partner is their targeting capabilities. Because they work with financial institutions, they have access to intricate consumer behavior data. They can see where consumers have previously shopped, categories and brands they have a propensity to convert with, the geographical location of a consumer, and so much more. This data gives CLO partners the ability to get granular with targeting a specific audience, with a specific offer, ultimately incentivizing them to convert. Whether a brand is looking to capture market share, acquire new customers, increase AOV with current customers, or re-engage lapsed customers, CLO partners can certainly help strategize with many different brand goals in mind.

Another benefit worth mentioning is the sheer amount of consumers CLO partners reach. In some instances, CLO partners have their own network of consumers, but they may also work in tandem with other major financial institutions that have millions of consumers.

DMinsight: A large CLO partner we currently optimize with holds over 160MM active users, giving brands the ability to reach enormous audience through a single partnership.

Moreover, these consumers have a high intent to purchase, which means incremental revenue growth for brands. Speaking of incremental, all CLO partners can run incrementality testing to ensure they are, in fact, driving incremental performance. Generally, partners will run a test vs control analysis to determine incremental lift. Brands looking to reach high volume, high intent shoppers should undoubtedly check out how CLO partners can assist in attaining goals.

DMinsight: A large Clothing and Apparel brand that DMi manages ran a campaign with a CLO partner. The partner was able to recognize the brand’s top competitors and target the consumers who were shopping at said competition and who also never shopped for the brand through those financial institutions. A staggering 85% of consumers the promotion was served to converted through our brand over their competition, capturing considerable market share and locking in new customers during this campaign flight.

DMinsight: In 2022, a well-known CLO partner ran campaigns with 6% of DMi’s brand roster, resulting in over $7MM of revenue with an average 10:1 ROAS

Last, but certainly not least, is their ability to share in-depth reporting. CLO partners can see competitive insights, share of wallet, customer journeys, consumer churn, and so much more. Not only can this data help solidify campaign strategies, but it’s incredibly insightful data for brands to have overall.

It’s clear to see the benefits these partners bring to a brands program, but sometimes new partners come with challenges that we must work to combat. Despite CLO partners being able to bring a fresh new promotional method into the affiliate space, CLO partner data does not running through affiliate networks and platforms, which adds a layer of complexity to each partnership and can propose some unique challenges, however, The DMi Partnership Development team works very closely with CLO partners, and they have an excellent understanding of how they function and how to work through some of the nuances of a new partnership can pose. Brands that are interested in exploring what CLO partners can do for them should work closely with their team to identify goals and the partners that make the most sense for them based on said goals and business needs.

Interested in hearing more about how we work with CLO partners? We're always happy to chat.