If you are reading this article, then you most likely have heard of affiliate marketing and are considering working with an affiliate network to accomplish your marketing goals. You’re a company looking to acquire new, quality lifetime customers of your product or service. Maybe you’re at the point where you want to supplement your internal marketing efforts. Maybe you want to take your marketing efforts to the next level, cast a wider net to potential customers and use an affiliate network to do so. According to a survey by Forrester Group, a giant 83% of advertisers use affiliate networks. That number is growing and if you are considering using a network to help with your marketing objectives and pay on performance only (when a specific action is completed: sale, lead or click), here are 6 key factors to assess.
- Brand protection
Putting your marketing efforts in the hands of others can be a daunting feeling, especially when it comes to keeping your brand protected. One important aspect of this is to understand how the network monitors and screens it’s publishers. What are they doing to ensure they are working with quality publishers. Do they have an in-house legal counsel and compliance department? Ask about their fraud rate and educate yourself on how the network keeps their publishers compliant, while keeping their advertisers safe.
- Find out what other companies are saying about them
Word of mouth is a powerful tool and knowing what other companies are saying can aid in finding the right affiliate network for your brand. Does the affiliate network work with companies like yours, how have they helped them? Look to their website for reviews and case studies; and also check out social media, listing services and even ask point blank.
- Client support
Client support is an essential part of partnering with an affiliate network. Are they available 24/7? Do they have a compliance support team to ensure your campaigns are kept safe from fraud? There is also a concern of scrubbing and/or pixel under-tracking. Networks should compare the numbers in the tracking system to the lead CRM on a regular basis and add the missing leads and sales manually. It’s a very labor intensive task on the networks’ part, but it’s a very important aspect that you should keep in regard.
You want to be able to rely on a team who can help if compliance issues arise, if you need a recommendation on the performance of your campaigns and most importantly, that they be able to assist you when you need it most.
- Traffic sources
Another crucial aspect to assess when choosing an affiliate network is their traffic sources (email, display, social media, mobile, etc.) Does the network have traffic sources exclusive to them? Do they offer a variety of traffic sources to promote your offers? This is important because while social media marketing might be super successful for your brand, it may not be for another. Any great network you work with will educate and inform you on what paid traffic sources to use and what will work best for your campaigns.
It’s vital you feel safe and trust the network you work with. As you navigate through the research process, keep your eyes open for networks that bring years of experience to the industry and that can prove it with case studies, testimonials and accolades. Also acknowledge what their commitment is to brand protection, can spam laws and fraud.
One last thing to consider is the value that the network brings to the ecosystem of performance marketing. Do they have their own offers? Do they have their own traffic or a unique technology? The more value a network adds to the industry, the more likely they will have better traffic, better offers, a secure financial future and legal practices.
Evaluate these 6 factors and you’ll be on your way to finding the best affiliate network for your company.