The Role of Affiliate Networks
Kevin Edwards, strategy director at Affiliate Window, recently published an article about the evolution of the role of affiliate networks. He talks about how, in the past, if tracking worked and commission was paid on time, the network was doing its job.
Nowadays, the network's role is more complex and the thought-provoking piece got us thinking: what are affiliate networks used for?
Whilst the role of the network may have changed, the fundamentals remain the same. Whether it's a new programme set-up or improvements to tracking for existing clients, we rely on the network to confirm that our tracking has been implemented correctly and their technical specialists will let us know if anything's not quite right. No programme can succeed without data, and it is essential to evaluating what marketing and strategies were successful.
Working with a network enables access to various affiliate models, the most common being: content, PPC, loyalty and reward, voucher code, social media/blog, price comparison and email. Each model needs to be managed and engaged with differently to ensure maximum results are achieved. Many networks also now offer additional services such as Cost Per Call or Cost Per Lead as options to support Cost Per Acquisition of the typical affiliate model. Many merchants have been afraid to go beyond the last click to reward a particular type of affiliate. However, by allocating your budget in line with your customer's behaviour you can get a lot more out of your affiliate channel - for instance giving tenancies to top affiliates or paying email affiliates a CPM.
Affiliate networks are platforms that provide services such as reporting, hosting creative, tracking and paying affiliates. However, it is an important to consider what "bells and whistles" your network offers with regards to technology - can they manage voucher codes efficiently? What fraud protection is on offer? The more your network can do to prevent any issues, the more brand control merchants will have across the web.