Toolbars are always a hot topic in the Affiliate and Partner Marketing industry. As with all toolbars and partners, we believe they should be evaluated and measured on an individual basis.
Most toolbars do not provide much incremental value for brands, as the user is already on your site and in most cases it is difficult to understand the shopper’s likelihood to purchase without the interaction with the toolbar. To understand that fully, we recommend using a technology partner like Clean to a/b test toolbars to measure whether there is an impact to conversion rate or AOV with or without the toolbar experience present.
The way we recommend thinking about toolbars is similar to how you think about retargeting. The shopper is already on your site. With retargeting, you’re trying to get them back to purchase. A toolbar may help prevent the shopper from leaving your site and gives the shopper confidence to make the purchase right then. Working with toolbars via an affiliate program allows you to control their content so a bunch of codes they shouldn’t have aren’t available on the toolbar.
If you do have partners with toolbars in your program, it is imperative you have an auditing process in place. Toolbar partners should always be affirmative click (the shopper has to click on it in order for them to drop a cookie), but it is not uncommon for some toolbars to drop cookies without a click. More recently it’s been common for toolbars to pop under a tab when the user attempts to close out the toolbar. This drops a cookie behind the scenes so the shopper doesn’t notice and then at some point later in the conversion path, the tab closes out. You can see an example in this video, where the tab pops around 45 seconds: