Affiliate networks, or platforms, may seem to be a simple tracking system or a straight-forward organizational tool to the untrained eye. Whilst this is true, your network is capable of so much more. If you dig a little deeper into your chosen network, chances are you will find a complete host of useful features and tools that are imperative to the success of your program.
If you’re wondering where to start, we can help. Yes, all networks are different and we can’t list every feature of every network available in this article; but, we will list some useful pointers of where to start and what common features to look for on whatever network you have chosen.
Most affiliate networks will have one kind of training resource or another. Some have videos, some have documents, and some even have certified training courses. It is well worth investing the time to find what your network offers.
This training will set you off on the right foot and help you to understand and explore many of the features that we will go over in this article. Taking the time to properly train yourself on a network will not only mean that you will avoid making basic mistakes but will also give you the chance to familiarize yourself with the network’s features.
Reporting is one of the most important features of your affiliate network. It is what allows you to understand how your program is functioning, areas of improvement, and importantly, overall performance.
Reporting functionality varies from network to network, as does the terminology and naming conventions used. However, most networks have both high-level and in-depth reporting available. Reporting features range from revenue by day, month, partner, ad or promotion, to in-depth leap-frogging reporting, and advanced action listing reporting. The more granular reporting features may be harder to find and analyse; this is where taking advantage of any platform training will really come in handy.
Segmenting your affiliates into groups of publisher type, commission amount, or any other category that makes sense for your program, is a great way of understanding your affiliate landscape and allows you to navigate this easily. Most networks have this feature in one form or another; it may be ‘groups’, ‘tags’, or something along these lines.
Depending on your network it will allow you to understand which publisher type is performing best, pull reporting by group type, tailor your messaging by group type, and even easily adjust commissions per group.
The Affiliate Industry is all about relationships and every good relationship relies on communication. Your network will have a messaging feature that will allow you to put out newsletters/updates/sale notifications to your entire affiliate base. Regular communication is imperative to a successful program and using your network’s messaging feature is the most efficient and easy way to stay in touch with your partners.
Tip: Regular newsletters relating your product to fun seasonal holidays is a great way of getting content out to your affiliates and provides them with new creative ways of presenting your product to their audience.
5. Deals and Promotions
Most networks offer a deal/promotions feature; this often appears to your affiliates on their dashboard in the form of a feed. Utilising this feature is a great way of keeping your affiliate base up to date with any upcoming promotions. Updating this a few days in advance of the promotion start date gives your affiliates time to create quality content and promote the deal.
Tip: if you have the option to toggle on for ‘top-selling item’, ‘hot product’, or any other call-out make sure to use it! This will give it an extra push on the feed and help get it in front of your affiliates.
The Marketplace feature on your network is an excellent recruitment tool. Here you will be able to find all active affiliates already on the network that are open to offers from new programs.
Since the affiliates you’ll find in the Marketplace are already on the network, it takes a step out of the recruitment process for the affiliate, enhancing your chances of a successful recruitment campaign.
7. Create a Partner Account
Use a separate e-mail address and sign-up for a partner account for your program. Doing so will take you through the sign-up process from start to finish and let you see and easily access the partner-facing dashboard. This will give you valuable insight as to how your program is being presented to partners and let you tailor accordingly. It will also be extremely helpful to see what your partners see if you get any unusual questions.
These are just some of the many features that most affiliate networks offer. As stated before, every network is different in the way that they present these features and what they call them. If there is one tip in this article that by far is the most useful and important, that is to make use of the training resources offered by your network. This will help you fully utilise your network and create a successful affiliate program.
If you would like more insights to running a successful program on any network, contact us and speak to an expert today!