A new study from CJ, one of the largest global affiliate marketing networks, and Namogoo, a customer journey platform, provides new, compelling data on the business value that browser extensions deliver for both merchants and consumers as an affiliate marketing tool. The study, "Quantifying the Business Value of Shopping Browser Extensions," analyzed over 67 million shopping occasions across various categories to quantify the sales impacts of extensions.
Why Did CJ Want to Report On Browser Extensions?
Shopping browser extensions, widely embraced in the affiliate industry, play a pivotal role in influencing consumer behavior and contributing to affiliate channel revenue. Many publishers offer browser extensions which can deliver consumer benefits like easy access to product information and offers such as cashback and coupons right as the consumer is shopping online.
In fact, millions of consumers use browser extensions for online shopping, but despite their popularity, they can be controversial for some affiliate marketers.
Browser extension critics argue that these tools primarily engage users already on-site, claim credit for orders that would have happened anyways, disrupt the shopping experience, and potentially cut into advertiser margins by delivering increased checkout discounts.
Recognizing the importance of shopping browser extensions for advertisers and the uncertainty surrounding their effectiveness, CJ conducted an extensive industry study to determine their impact on shopper behavior.
What Did CJ Hope To Answer With This Study About Browser Extensions?
What is the incremental impact of pre-checkout exposure when an extension “pops” on:
- Load cart (add-to-cart) rates
- Purchase conversion rates
- Average discount applied at checkout
- Average order value (AOV)
The results show that far from cannibalizing other marketing efforts, delivering much higher discounts, or disrupting the shopping journey, browser extensions actually supercharge conversion rates and average order values.
The key findings CJ unearthed during their study include:
Pre-Checkout Browser Extension Pops Increase Add-To-Cart Rate
CJ found that when a shopper saw a pre-checkout shopping extension “pop” (e.g. such as when cashback browser extensions such as those powered by the Wildfire platform, indicate the consumer can receive shopping rewards when they complete their purchase) significantly increased cart load (add-to-cart rate).
Users in the study who saw a pre-checkout alert from their shopping extension actually increased their add-to-cart rates by 38%.
Extensions Increase Conversion Rate by 64%
Shoppers who received a pre-checkout browser extension pop were 64% more likely to complete a purchase compared to extension users who did not see a pop. This counters concerns that extensions predominantly reach users who would have converted anyway.
Extensions Grow Average Order Values (AOV)
With the combined effects of a higher add-to-cart rate and a much higher conversion rate, shopping browser extensions resulted in 65% more revenue per shopping session when an extension pop appeared.
While extensions are often considered discount-focused tools, the study also found minimal impact on discounts applied at checkout.
Compared to extension users who did not see a browser extension pop, extension users who saw a pop at any point during their shopping trip only received 0.5% points more discount (pre-checkout pops delivered only a 2.2% increase in discount amount).
And because of the increased conversion rate and higher AOV, the net effect of the browser extensions was actually positive for merchant revenue.
Extensions Build Shopper Confidence
An interesting finding was that extensions increased conversions by 25% even for shoppers whose carts contained no discounted items.
This indicates that extensions provide confidence to users that they are getting the best available deal.
Why Affiliate Marketers Should Be Open To Partnerships with Publishers Offering Browser Extensions
Overall, the report makes clear that browser extensions should be considered an impactful tool for affiliate marketers rather than something that damages return on ad spend or cannibalizes other marketing channels’ attribution. CJ wraps up their report on browser extensions by concluding:
Browser extensions are a significant positive for the affiliate marketing ecosystem, as they:
- Increase the likelihood a consumer adds items to their cart
- Dramatically increase sales conversion rates
- Create substantial increased in merchant revenue without significantly impacting retailer margins
Additional Research on Cashback Browser Extensions
In 2023, Wildfire conducted a consumer survey which revealed similar findings regarding consumer use of cashback browser extensions and their benefits for merchants.
- First, we learned that 50% of the shoppers already using browser extensions to save money, expect to use them even more this year
- 33% of them stated they are likely to purchase more items when they can earn cashback
- 48% agreed they’re more likely to complete a purchase when they can earn cashback.
We appreciate the hard work and diligence by CJ to build this well-documented study over 67 million shopping journeys. It further validates a core part of Wildfire’s platform, the cashback rewards browser extension, as a marketing and conversion-enhancing tool that delivers a ton of value both for consumers as well as merchants.