There are several factors that set the best affiliate networks apart from a bad ones. Below, we will go over some of the basic elements that make for a good network. Although many of the expectations discussed seem obvious, some people who are new to the industry are unaware of what characteristics to look for in a network.
The following will discuss some of the most important components to look for in an affiliate network.
Knowledgable affiliate managers
One of the biggest differentiators between the best affiliate networks and the worst is their affiliate managers (AM). Since AMs are the day-to-day contact for affiliates, they should be knowledgeable and helpful. This sounds like a given, but, surprisingly, many networks have incompetent AMs contacting affiliates all the time, which can be downright frustrating.
Your AM should know how to match affiliate’s traffic to the right offers. They should also have contacts to help you scale if you need them. If you’re running Nutra with them and you’re unable to scale because you can’t get ahold of as many Facebook accounts as you need, your AM should have a contact to put you in touch with to help you out. The same goes with credit cards and other key elements of the affiliate marketing process. It is in their best interest to help you to run more volume with them.
Additionally, AMs should be responsive with their affiliates. This is one of the most important aspects of their job. They should be able to offer guidance, respond to questions, and find answers in order to help affiliates. Responsiveness is essential for the success of both the affiliate and AM. Although it’s not in their terms/contract, AM’s that make themselves available outside of working hours will likely do better
Your AM doesn’t have to be an affiliate superstar, after all – you’re the affiliate, not them. But they should at least understand the basic flow of traffic from the publisher all the way to through to the advertiser, including tracking and cloaking (if used). If you ask them to place your conversion pixel on an offer – they should be able to do it without making errors.
Offer competitive payouts
Competitive payouts are one of the biggest distinguishing factors between a good network and a bad one. They should be able to bump up your payout for quality proven traffic.
When it comes down to it, affiliates will choose to work with networks that offer them the best payouts. Therefore, it is mutually beneficial to affiliates and affiliate networks when competitive payouts are offered.
Give data for lookalike audiences
A good affiliate network should have a decent amount of user data that they can provide you with to create lookalike audiences. Although, their ability to get this is highly depend on whether advertisers are willing to give networks their user data. Most networks collect data from different advertisers over time. Your network should have collected user information from them, which they can use to create a targeted audience list within the vertical you are running your campaign.
Provide regular feedback on quality if applicable
If you are running in a vertical, which requires quality checks on your traffic (for example leadgen), networks should keep you up to date with how your traffic is performing for the advertiser, and whether or not anything needs tweaking. You can’t improve things if you don’t know there’s an issue. They should be getting regular reports on your traffic, and if your offer has certain filters that are required for the conversion to happen (for example credit score restrictions) and a large amount of your traffic is not passing the filters – this is also something they should make you aware of. You can only tweak this if you have knowledge of it.
A good affiliate manager will also likely ask you to run your various sources and angles on different SubID’s so that this can be used to identify the best and worst quality segments of your traffic.
Provide updates regarding interesting new offers
It is important for networks to let affiliates know about interesting new offers. Otherwise, affiliates will take their business elsewhere. However, the updates should be perceived as helpful to affiliates rather than pestering. Affiliates prefer the medium ground between providing affiliates with updates, and badgering them constantly. If you have affiliates than only run on mobile popups, don’t go pestering them with new offers that only accept social traffic. It’s a waste of their time.
It can be difficult to know what to look for in affiliate networks. With so many of them, it can be challenging for new affiliates to choose the one that is best suited to them. When you are looking into a network, an easy way to decipher whether they are good or not is if they have knowledgeable affiliate managers, competitive payouts, provide feedback on quality, and updates regarding new offers. While these are very basic expectations, good affiliate networks will have these elements.