Top Referral and Affiliate Programs and Their Pros and Cons

Top Referral & Affiliate Programs
and Their Pros & Cons
Referrals can and should be a major part of a company's growth strategy
Referred users tend to retain
better than other users
Program should be as simple and straight forward as possible
Sharing should be simple, quick and painless OR very smart (see e.g. Airbnb Referrals 2.0)
Program should have high visibility. Awareness is
key. It needs to be promoted properly WITHIN
the product as well as outside
Landing page
Blog post
Help section
In app (e.g. in Account
menu dropdown)
Marketing email
Programs That Target Free
For every person you get to join Trello, we'll give
you a free month of Trello Gold, up to 12 months.
Simple, straight forward, instant value
Gives them a taste of the Pro plan that
might eventually get them to sign up for
For every friend who joins and installs Dropbox on their
computer, we'll give you both 500 MB of bonus space
(up to a limit of 16 GB)!
Similar to MM bonus map program
Extra space can be retained, it's key to
usage and enjoyment of the product
35% of daily signups are via the referral
Invite 3 friends and get 3
months for free if they sign up
What happens when the paid
subscription runs out is a bit
Sets the bar pretty high
Program not visible other than in
the user settings
Invite your friends, get 25$ when they take
a trip and 75$ when they rent out their
Targets both hosts and travellers
High visibility, mobile optimized,
uses new channels such as
Referrals drive 900% yearonyear growth
for 1st time bookings
In South Korea, 30% of their first time
bookings come from referrals.
It took a 5 person team (with lots of borrowed
help!) 3 full months and 30,000 lines of code to
do Airbnb’s Referrals 2.0 system.
Get up to 10 extra free mind maps for
inviting your friends, every sign up gets you
one map!
Simple and straightforward
Free maps are retained forever
If free user turns into paid user at some point, he
can use his referrals to get cash instead of the
free maps
Programs That Target
"Professional Affiliates"
People first have to join an affiliate network
Earn 1525% commission for
sales of paid Skype products
Program closed in 2015
Earn 15% per sale on certain Mindjet products
Not sure if program still active
Rider Referrals: Drivers earn cash when inviting
new riders. They get paid every time someone
takes their first ride
Referral earnings are included on the
driver's weekly payment statement
Get 20% commission
(recurring) for paid users you
Programs That Target Free &
Paid Users
Earn Evernote points by referring friends,
your friends get 1 month premium when they
sign up
Points can be redeemed for various rewards,
among them free premium months, but also
individual features
More complicated than e.g. Trello
Share Slack with another team and they'll get a 100$
credit when they sign up. If they upgrade to a paid
plan you get 100$ credit as well.
Incentivizes the new team to stick
with the paid plan from the start
If features such as integrations can't be retained in free
plan after credit is gone, free users might not be
inclined to go for this offer
A ‘3month free’ reward for
both the sender and recipient
Targets already paying users as
well as trial users
referral program placed in the
main dashboard experience
Relatively simple and straight forward
When a new user is referred, both the referrer
and the new user get 20$ credit, which basically
equals one free ride for both
Simple, clear message
Easy to share
Instant value
Popular Tools That - Surprisingly -
Don't Have Affiliate Programs
Possible reasons could be:
The new user is invited by the existing user in order to collaborate with him.
The new user trusts the recommendation of someone he knows more than for instance a random tool he finds through Google
storage space, something that was key to usage and enjoyment of their product