Choosing an Affiliate Network
Find an Affiliate Network For Your Business
Are you shopping around for an affiliate network? Do you want to find a new channel to increase traffic? If you have just started looking you may have come across Share-A-Sale , PepperJam , AvantLink , Commission Junction, and Rakuten LinkShare but what about the others?
With a simple Google search, you will find a number of different affiliate networks available with new ones popping up everyday. All of the networks offering CPA (cost-per-acquisition), CPL (cost-per-lead), CPS (cost-per-sale), CPC (cost-per-click), and CPM (cost-per-1k impressions). Which is best for you
In the end you need to find; an affiliate network that fits your business, affiliates that are most successful in the network, and the network that will help acquire the most new customers. Having helped companies choose affiliate networks for their needs, I decided to highlight a few simple questions that will help your company better evaluate and affiliate networks for your business.
1. What types of advertisers find the most value in the affiliate network?
Request a list of advertisers similar to your business and ask why/how are they successful in this network. It can be helpful to gain insight on how you biggest competitors are being successful, there is valuable knowledge in knowing what categories of advertisers perform best in the network.
2. What types of offers work best with affiliates in the network?
This question will help you figure out the pay for performance model that affiliates tend to go after in the network. For instance if you are looking for an affiliate network that will serve as a platform to grow e-commerce sales, be sure that the network is focused on e-commerce with affiliates that like rev-share on a CPA basis.
3. What types of affiliates are most successful in the affiliate network?
Identify what type of affiliate is most successful in the affiliate network and what are there go to marketing methods. An example, If you do not want to allow affiliates to use pay-per-click (PPC) or promote your products using coupon codes, it would be best not to use a network with heavy coupon and search marketing affiliates. Ask the network representative to provide you a breakdown of splits on different affiliate types in the network.
4. What fraud protection does the network offer?
One of the biggest downsides and a growing problem with affiliate traffic is fraud. It is the continued thorn in the side of the performance marketing industry. Typically larger brands are often the target for fraudulent affiliate, but small and medium-sized businesses can become their focus. Find out how the network monitors fraud as well as their policy and process for dealing with fraud in the network.
5. What type of support does the affiliate network offer?
Request a list of merchants that you may speak with that are similar to your business in terms of affiliate revenue. Find out how there experience with the network has been. What are the pros and cons that they have seen? It is also important that you speak with merchants that have a similar SLA (service level agreement) within the network as you’re considering. If you have an affiliate management agency or are signing up for a lower-tier SLA to manage your program in-house, speaking with a merchant that has a network-managed or top-tier SLA may not be relevant or as helpful.
Build a spreadsheet to evaluate the different affiliate networks. Your spreadsheet should contain information around the questions above as well as other factors that will assist in your decision making, ie. setup cost, monthly fees, contract terms, minimum revenue required, etc. Quantifying each of the items will make the decision process more efficient and will make sure everyone is on the same page.
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