LeadDyno and Refersion are two of my highest referred Shopify affiliate management apps – and for good reason – but they have some major differences that impact whether or not I recommend them to a specific store. If you're here researching those two apps, be sure to also read my full Refersion review and LeadDyno review.
Refersion vs LeadDyno: Pricing
One of the biggest differences between the two apps is their pricing structure. For this reason, I often base my recommendations on whether to go with one over the other on the store's product price point (or average sale amount) and traffic volume. Allow me to explain…
Refersion charges a monthly fee based on your quantity of affiliate generated sales, starting at $89/month for up to 130 sales. If you exceed 130 sales per month, you'll need to request custom pricing and migrate onto their Enterprise level plan.
LeadDyno charges based on your monthly traffic, starting at $29/mo for up to 1,000 unique visitors per month, $49/mo for up to 3,000 visitors, $59/mo for up to 4,500 visitors – all the way up to $349/mo for up to 500,000 unique visitors. They offer custom pricing for stores with higher traffic volume.
What I love about Refersion's pricing structure is that it includes unlimited visits each month. For example, you would pay the same flat rate whether 1000 or 100k people visited your shop. Whereas in comparison, 1000 visitors per month with LeadDyno would put you on their $29/month tier and 100k visitors would put you on their $249/month tier – regardless of if you sold anything.
What I dislike about Refersion is that as of Dec 2018, they no longer offer a Startup plan. Their $89/month service fee may price them out of the budget of small stores.
What I love about LeadDyno's pricing structure, as I mentioned a moment ago, is that they include ALL of their features with every plan. This can be a very cost effective option for new sites with minimal traffic who want to track affiliate sales by discount code or use other advanced features.
What I dislike about LeadDyno is that they charge you based on the number of unique visitors to your store from ALL your traffic sources – not just the traffic generated from affiliates. It becomes pricey for stores that already get great traffic from other sources like organic search placement or PPC because they have to start out on a higher plan even though their affiliate program is just getting started. It makes sense, however, why they do it this way, because in order for LeadDyno to know whether a visit originated from an affiliate or a different source, the software has to analyze every visit.
Which pricing structure is better?
In the past, I've found that Refersion is the best solution for stores with a medium to higher product price point. For example, if your average ticket order is $50+ then Refersion's per sale fee becomes relatively negligible. However, if your average ticket order is only $10, then Refersion's per sale fee would be too high of a percentage of each sale to justify. For example, let's say you're on the $89/month plan and you used all 130 sales – that'd be about $0.68 fee per sale plus whatever commission you offer. If you had a $10-20 average sale amount, that wouldn't be very cost effective, but if you're at a $50-$100 average sale amount, a $0.68/sale fee would be great.
LeadDyno on the other hand, I've found to be ideal for small startup stores who don't have a lot of traffic and will be largely depending on their affiliates for traffic. In this case, paying for your traffic volume on a plan that allows for unlimited sales may be the more cost effective route. And if you're looking to track sales via custom discount codes, which is what most Instagram influencers would require, it's nice to be able to do that at first on a less expensive plan since it comes included with every LeadDyno plan.
It's definitely a numbers game to determine whether it's better to pay per sale or for traffic – and there's no perfect answer. One option might be less expensive at the beginning, but more costly in the long run. However, if every penny counts at the beginning, it makes sense to start off with what works best for you now.
Refersion vs LeadDyno: Features
Both LeadDyno and Refersion offer a similar set of features – both of which I'd consider a complete package in regards to what you might be looking for in an affiliate management app. You can get a better idea of these features in my Refersion review and LeadDyno review and you can stack them up against other apps in my Shopify Affiliate App Comparison Chart.
In my Top 3 Affiliate App Picks, I rate LeadDyno as the winner for overall features vs pricing. What I love about LeadDyno is that they include every feature they offer with every plan. However, once you get to Refersion's plan level, it often becomes a toss up in terms of features as both offer a full suite of features.
Both Refersion and LeadDyno offer:
- Unlimited affiliates
- The ability to track by discount code
- URL tracking (standard amongst most apps)
- The ability to permanently assign a customer to an affiliate so that they get all future commissions
- Affiliates can link to any page or product (not just the homepage)
- Syncs with Shopify Refunds so commissions are automatically deducted from affiliates on refunded sales
- You can control the duration of a cookie (such as 24 hours, 30 days, 60 days, 1 year, etc)
- The ability to use sub-IDs for tracking purposes
- Offer different rates for affiliates so that you can pay one person a different higher or lower commission than another (like your power affiliates for example).
- Ability to set custom commission rates for different products.
- Only pay affiliates for NEW customers (activated by request on Refersion)
- Multiple Stores w/ Single Affiliate Login which means affiliates can login to one backend and promote multiple stores that you operate.
What LeadDyno offers that Refersion does not:
- Unlimited sales – since you pay for the amount of monthly visitors, not the amount of sales.
- Recurring Commissions – You can set the commission to repeat monthly forever, or for a set number of months
- Tiered affiliate levels – This allows you to have “Parent Affiliates” who receive on-going commissions for referring “sub-affiliates”. (Similar to an MLM program.)
- LeadDyno operates E-commerceaffiliates.com which is a marketplace for their e-commerce clients to list their stores. Affiliates have the ability to one-click Apply to the various affiliate programs. And Merchants can reach out to top affiliates through the network.
What Refersion offers that LeadDyno does not:
- Unlimited traffic – since you pay for the quantity of sales, not the amount of traffic your store receives.
- Refersion recently released a tiered commission feature. Tiered commissions provide commission terms/payouts based on affiliate sales, allowing merchants to provide a gamified structure. So essentially an affiliate can earn a higher percentage commission when their total sales volume increases.
- Refersion offers the “Refersion Marketplace” where brands can be introduced to new potential affiliates. It seems to serve more as a brand directory as opposed to an integrated affiliate network.
Should you go with Refersion or LeadDyno?
I hope this post has provided you with enough information to make an informed decision. And not to complicate that decision, but remember that they are only one several great options. You can view the rest in my Shopify Affiliate App Comparison Chart, or if you need help deciding, you can fill out my Help Me Choose Questionnaire and I'll do my best to recommend the app that's best for your shop.
There's no single perfect solution for everyone – if there were I'd just tell you what it was. The best Shopify affiliate app for your shop depends on your particular needs and budget. Obviously an e-commerce store that requires an enterprise level solution would not benefit from an app geared towards small businesses, and vice-versa. You’ll want to choose an app that satisfies your needs today while also thinking about the immediate future. Switching affiliate software after you’ve already built a large affiliate base is a pain. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but it’s not something you want to plan on doing. It’s best to begin with a software that you can grow with in the foreseeable future. You can learn more about starting an affiliate program in my FAQ section.
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