Difference between Referral Code and Discount Codes
This can cause some confusion. We think of a referral code as a unique code for a single person. Whereas a discount code is a ‘generic’ code that is not linked to any person in particular, a universal code. A good example of a generic discount code or coupon is one that you might see on a TV advert or on a poster. Anyone can see it, and it is normally issued by the company or shop for all people to see.
A referral code, on the other hand, is unique to you. That means noone else will have the same code as you. Cool huh? Makes us all feel a bit special. And hopefully, will make us want to share it with others, as their are personal benefits attached to it…
Indeed, this other key difference is that a referral code almost always has a benefit for the person doing the referring. So, for example, Booking.com have been running a referral program that offers each party – the referrer and the referred, ‘giver’ and ‘receiver’ – a benefit, either direct cash-back or a % off a purchase.
There is therefore a good incentive for the giver to spread the news about his or her link. You might think of it as the company appealing to the incentives of the giver; they are more likely to tell someone about their experience or product they’ve bought if there is a little kicker or incentive to do so.
If you compare that to a normal voucher code or discount code, be it from the newspaper, on the TV or in a newsletter or on a social media post, that code is for all users. The company or service doesn’t really care who uses it, and of course, it is a 1-sided benefit. Only you, normally a new users, will get the benefit. Unlike with a referral link, there is no corresponding benefit to the ‘provider’. The company is effectively the provider.
What is better, a referral code or discount code?
Truth is, they complement each other. Some discount codes offer great incentives, and some referral codes offer better ones. When you’re shopping or about to buy something, check out both and see which is better. Many companies only offer referral codes, which is why we built this site. But let us know! We always want to hear your feedback.
Best wishes from ReferralCodes HQ