The five reasons advertisers should get support from their network
Adtraction is a full-service network. Since working with our very first clients back in 2007 we have always had a strong belief that all advertisers should receive support from their network.
Service is a pivotal part of what we do and who we are. This belief isn’t just a value that we support, it’s proven time and time again that support will help our clients generate more value and revenue from the affiliate channel.
This isn’t another article extolling the virtues of an affiliate network over a SaaS platform. It’s not that argument. If an advertiser wants a lightweight solution to track a handful of partners, there are some good ones out there. Similarly if an advertiser’s strategy is to ‘in-house’ it is their prerogative to explore that route. Today we want to discuss the reasons why advertisers who choose to do affiliate marketing through an affiliate network should receive proactive, dedicated support.
1. Affiliate marketing isn't automated
Affiliate remains a partnership channel. Unlike Search or Paid Social advertisers don’t set up a campaign by inputting CPAs, cost caps, audiences or keywords to get instant reach metrics. Whilst the industry is moving pockets of affiliate management to more automated solutions it is hard to imagine a time where the millions of partners that make revenue through affiliate marketing will not have final, first-hand control over their content.
Affiliate marketing does not take place on one platform owned by one company.
Therefore adding links, creating pages or designing ads isn’t automated. For advertisers, getting marketing setup with affiliates can be time-consuming. Networks have a responsibility to advertisers to get this marketing live. Revenue is not generated on the number of affiliates who apply to a program, or the number signed up ‘with potential’. The art of activating affiliate ads is something that affiliate networks should do on behalf of their advertisers.
This outreach is ostensibly more efficient when networks liaise with affiliate partners for multiple programs. We often find that getting links and promotions live is achieved more easily through the network relationship.
2. Talking through whether opportunities are right for your business
Affiliate networks have perspective. We believe that a network should be using that perspective to support its advertisers. Networks can benchmark site visits, conversion rates, keywords and other data against marketing cost and provide consultancy. Without this consultative element advertisers are restricted in their experience of what returns investment and what doesn’t.
For businesses entering affiliate marketing for the first time this communication is vital. Affiliate marketing offers a myriad of partners and enhanced promotional opportunities, but how do you know which ones are right to trial, especially where tenancy costs are involved? We are frequently asked to share our opinion on new opportunities by advertisers exploring affiliate marketing for the first time.
As a network our goal is to support affiliate marketing that can build long term revenue for advertisers and publishers, so we aim to consult in a way that best supports long term gain. Our account managers are asked to step into the shoes of their partners when considering whether an opportunity should be recommended.
3. It's not simply a case of ‘you pay more, you get more’
In ecommerce, advertisers can't just keep increasing the spend to optimise reach, there is a limit. The key is to test and learn what is the line between increasing spend to get the maximum value from an affiliate partner, and inefficient budget control. We often hear advertisers asking to ‘pull the lever’ with affiliates to increase revenue. It is a network’s job to know at what cost, which partner and what is the maximum return you can achieve from each partner.
We want to create sustainable affiliate programs, and to do so it must be at a CPA / CPL that works for all parties involved. If a network doesn’t advise on costs, particularly helping advertisers to find the upper-limit of their effective CPA, they aren’t doing their job.
4. We are experts
Accountants, HR managers, content writers, legal counsel. Businesses employ or partner with professionals in their field to bring in the skills required to support and enhance their operation. Affiliate marketing is over 20 years old as a digital discipline. There is a lot of data, experience and iteration that the industry has moved through, and affiliate networks have mostly been at the forefront of that evolution. We think it's just as important to engage with expertise to support your affiliate marketing as it is to engage with accountants to manage your profit and loss statements.
At the start of 2020 LinkedIn listed affiliate marketing as one of the top 10 most in-demand skills for businesses. Our team are experts in affiliate marketing. They are all professionals specialising in this industry. And that's important when those individuals are representing an advertiser’s brand and talking to existing and prospective publishers.
As digital companies we also have a duty of care to provide feedback on macroeconomic, legislative and other factors that might impact an advertiser’s business. In recent years this has included GDPR, ITP, Buy now pay later options, fair trade supply chains, and of course now, the impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce. Advertisers should be able to lean on their network; for discussion on what we see or what we know, and sometimes even to learn from our knowledge in matters that affect but are not exclusively impactful to affiliate marketing.
5. Tap into data, insight and resources
Have you ever been to a self-serve buffet where all the food looks tasty but you don’t really know where to start? So you look around at what others have on their plates, or where the longest queues are forming, or ask people what is good. Relying on data is a fundamental way to make decisions. Affiliate networks have a wealth of data, insight and resource to help companies enhance their affiliate marketing.
Using tools such as SimilarWeb for traffic data, or Tableau to interrogate cross-sector sales data are commonplace parts of a network’s arsenal. But talking about this insight and how it relates to advertiser’s businesses through dedicated support is the tangible part of this data analysis. By doing this advertisers can tap into a better understanding of which partners work well in a specific sector, find out about conversations the network is having with new entrants into the CPA space, learn what updates publisher managers are receiving from their publishers, or lean on the resources of the network to amplify the presence of the affiliate program.
For Adtraction our expertise, combined with the time we invest working with advertisers and the data tools we use means our advertisers can tap into resources that can only be provided through a full service network setup.
Full service network support
A new affiliate program that receives dedicated support is twice as likely to be running 12 months later than those using an unsupported affiliate set-up.
Every advertiser on Adtraction is partnered with an experienced account manager and it is our ethos that affiliate marketing done right will always mean the network takes responsibility to provide proactive, personal support.
These five reasons are the most important, non-technology areas where a network provides value to advertisers. For a channel that is built upon partnerships we believe that service is fundamental in order to properly and effectively support those partnerships.