Since I started at Equator on the affiliate team earlier this year, I’ve picked up what I think are a few key insights into the wonderful world of affiliates.
One of those insights is the role of the networks. Networks are the middle ground – the meeting place between advertisers and affiliates. In addition to providing a place where affiliates and advertisers can find each other, they also supply tracking, reporting and payments. They do all of this for a fee, usually based on the performance of the programme (as a percentage of the payable affiliate commission).
So if you’re running an affiliate programme, you’re likely on a network. But this isn’t the case for everybody. Some advertisers run their own private programmes. They have decided they want more control over their programme and have figured that they can duplicate the value that they get from a network themselves but without paying the fees. They likely have a base of affiliates that is already in place and individual deals with each. They may have their own tracking and reporting set up or they may be using a white label solution.
A few things must be considered when you choose whether you will join an affiliate network or go on your own. One consideration is the resources. As I mentioned you need a tool for tracking and reporting. And the other is of course time. It takes a surprising amount of time to manage all your affiliate relationships. Though this is the case with or without a network, with a network you get extra support with account management.
Unless you have these resources covered, your best bet is to employ a network. Selecting a network is a whole other blog post though!
By Laura Paterson, Media & Affiliates Coordinator