An insightful View from the advertiser’s perspective
Affiliate networks are often considered to be little more than tracking solutions — convenient means of establishing affiliate campaigns by removing the complexities of directly paying and reporting on affiliate activity. However, if utilized correctly, affiliate networks can play an integral role in an advertiser’s online strategy.
Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of the network prior to the set-up and launch of a program is highly important. Networks can be used for standard practices such as uploading creative and text links, generating and issuing reports, and distributing promotional communications to affiliate partners. If this is all you are using your affiliate network for, the level of exposure, brand awareness, and program effectiveness is being severely restricted.
Your affiliate network should be used as a strategic partner, advising you on best practices and industry updates as well as sharing insights within your business sector. No two advertisers are the same, so your affiliate network will want to work closely with you to understand your business model, your objectives for the performance channel and how you incorporate affiliate marketing within your overall online marketing strategy. Having a solid understanding of these key components will ensure that your goals are correctly aligned with publishers on the network. Knowledge-sharing is a vital component of a successful campaign.
With new technologies being introduced and additional performance opportunities coming into the marketplace, your network should be able to explain how these new solutions can add value to your program. They could also advise you against working with certain types of affiliates if they are not the best strategic fit for your business. Rather than simply saying you should work with coupon or cashback sites, they will assess how you can work with them strategically to meet your objectives. This could be in terms of new customer acquisition or by increasing the average order values that are being experienced, or simply to provide a seasonal push for key products.
In addition to the network providing guidance on how new technologies can benefit you, it’s also important that they address any concerns that you may have. Behavioral retargeting is a perfect example. It has the potential to deliver substantial volume on a campaign but could ultimately mean there is a possibility that advertisers will pay commission on sales they may have made irrespective of the retargeting activity.
Affiliate networks will be able to present you with all of the necessary information to assist you in making an informed decision. Because affiliate networks are technology-driven, there are a number of tools at your disposal to help maximize the effectiveness of your campaign. Amongst others, advertisers can benefit from being able to track sales through mobile devices, produce content widgets to showcase key products, and utilize video within creative.
Technical support is on hand from the initial set-up and available on an ongoing basis, should there be any additional tracking requirements needed. Publisher activity is regularly monitored to ensure that advertiser terms and conditions are being adhered to. This includes PPC policies as well as correct usage of coupons and cash-back promotions. Most networks will utilize brand monitoring tools to ensure that publishers are not in breach of PPC terms and conditions.
To maximize the potential of your affiliate network, it is essential that they are treated as a trusted and reliable business partner as opposed to merely a tracking solution with reporting facilities. If utilized correctly, they can be very valuable allies in driving quality traffic and generating additional revenue.