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Affiliate marketing

Chart-topping affiliate marketing for HMV

Read how we unlocked a new and incremental revenue stream with affiliate marketing for the leading music & entertainment retailer.

HMV Web_CS Header
increase in total revenue
increase in AOV

Like many retailers HMV had ventured into the affiliate channel in the past but with limited success; with a new year and new growth targets they approached Visualsoft to unlock a new, and incremental, revenue stream.

Through collaboration and robust onboarding we created a strategy and reporting elements that unlocked the performance of the channel while offering deep insights into value, incrementality and attribution. The result was a huge uplift in bottom line revenue with incredibly strong ROAS to boot.

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In Numbers
increase in total revenue
increase in AOV
increase in clicks

Initial launch & objective setting

Integrating the required tracking onto the HMV website was the first task, and ensuring that all data was equally tracked into Google Analytics as the advent of GA4 was close at hand. We knew that being able to report on each partner, cross-channel against Paid Search, Social Media and even Organic traffic and performance was going to be critical to ensuring every partnership was mutually beneficial. Transparency was key.

The primary objective of the channel relaunch was to establish a new revenue stream that would incrementally increase bottom line revenue. This meant each partner needed to be carefully curated to fit into a wider strategy that would ultimately realise this primary goal.

At the same time ROAS needed to be strong to sustain the investment into the channel with consideration for the natural crossover of channels with customers and the journey through existing channels that would inevitably occur.

We also knew that certain products, being UK exclusives to HMV, would require little to no marketing investment and as such had to be viewed in a different way. This would maximise budget into areas that needed it and drive that incremental piece forward, as opposed to spending budget on products that would, and had already, sold out easily.

Early results

Because the affiliate channel allows total control, and mandating of ROAS without fluctuation or deviation, the channel launched with and maintained over the first year a staggering ROAS of 40.9, rising as high as 119.3 in specific date periods.

At the same time revenue reached over a quarter of a million pounds per month by the 3rd month, coupled with the strong ROAS we took a view of heavily scrutinising each partnership to test for true incrementality, terminating partnerships that did not meet certain KPI’s and investing more heavily into those that did. All the while we continuously activated new opportunities and continued the cycle of testing and investment.

A huge part of the early success was also driven by large volumes of clicks which then fueled other activity such as email signups, remarketing ads and ultimately filled the top-of-funnel strategy with more traffic and potential customers to target.

Digging deeper

We opted to work with a selection of premium partners from a variety of verticals, one of the key considerations being avoiding an over-reliance on any one particular partner or vertical. This strategy also helped to fuel the regular reviews and incrementality testing of partners, providing a robust comparison between different types of partners and their impacts. Some improved AOV but only with existing customers, others were almost 90% brand new customers (defined by the clients ecommerce platform as customers who had never purchased before).

We also needed to explore specialist partner opportunities that could assist with very specific needs in our overall strategy; ultimately the volume of traffic needed to be optimised to convert as heavily as possible and we knew this would take a combination of on-site conversion optimisation and off-site remarketing and display activity.

After vetting several partners and meeting in person with them to iron out the activity we launched a display remarketing campaign via Incubeta, an industry leader. This activity further boosted revenue by almost 100% while reducing override to 30.3. This model of achieving high revenue and high ROAS and then revisiting for growth ultimately defined the core of our approach. Giving the client tremendous trust in the channel due to the reversed investment nature of such a model while producing extremely strong results and opportunities for growth in the future.

Overall in year two the channel experienced a growth of 79% on revenue, 6% on AOV and 57% on clicks.


After 2 years of success against objectives and consistent growth the channel is now considered a primary revenue stream for the business, alongside Paid Search and other mainstream channels. Customer acquisition (new customer acquisition) sits at an average of 60% new and 40% returning over that period, further solidifying the channel as an acquisition point and also, critically for the business, a channel that drives retention and repeat purchases.


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Our Craft. Your Success.

“The Visualsoft team really works hard for you and keeps you informed of performance and progress at every step. Always quick to respond, communication is friendly and engaging and no question goes unanswered. Detail, collaboration, and sustainable growth are at the heart of our partnership.”
Emma B - Marketing Channel Performance & Insights Lead

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