Affiliate marketing can bring you some kickass income. However, helps to know certain things.
You are an affiliate, everyone wants your traffic and at times you feel like there are thousands of networks out there. So many options, so little time. Feels impossible for you to decide who gets your traffic.
I bet that sounds familiar for so many of you. I have been there. So let me share some insight as to what you should look for when shopping for an affiliate network.
You want to ensure they have direct and exclusive offers. This is key because that means you will get the highest CPA - if the offer is directly run from the product owner: you get the highest pay, no rebrokering involved. If the offers are exclusive it’s even better: that means the network has high quality traffic and lots of it (otherwise the product owner would let other sources run it as well). Plus if the offers are exclusives you don’t need to worry about too many affiliates running on the same traffic source. Cleaner traffic is better for everyone!
Advertiser or Publisher oriented
Most affiliate networks are advertiser oriented, which means the product owners get the most attention since they are the ones paying a fee to the network. Which is illogical if you ask me - affiliates are the ones pushing the traffic, taking the risk of buying the traffic or exposing the leads so they should be treated royally. Or at least treated at the same level as the product owners. Do your research - you will be able to tell right away if the network you are interested in is publisher or advertiser oriented. The best ones will treat all partners equally and affiliates will never be shaved of sales and leads.
A strong vetting process to new affiliates will probably vex you. However, this is a great indication of a magnificent affiliate network. Because this implies that you will be sending traffic alongside trusted affiliates that have proven themselves.
Most times a successful campaign is directly impacted by strong creatives. A stellar network will have good email swipes, banners, prelanders and more, for each offer. High quality resources are a must and you should have to worry about creating all the content alone.
Tracking and reporting
If the affiliate network does not have an intuitive backoffice and impeccable reporting - run. Log out and never look back. All jokes aside, your traffic is valuable, and you need to ensure that clicks, visits and conversions are easily tracked. You should have the ability to set your own postback pixel or at least have an account manager swiftly do it for you. I personally do not love it when affiliate networks use a third party solution - if they have a robust in house solution, that is always a fantastic sign! However, if they do go with an outside affiliate tracking solution : make sure this allows server to server tracking, and the ability of you setting a postback pixel, because that is the most reliable form or tracking.
You should work with an affiliate network that pays you weekly. This is important for two reasons. One, because it tells you that your are valued and they want you to have a healthy stream of income since cashflow is crucial in our industry. Two, it tells you the network has financial stability to prepay on traffic even if the product owner has not paid them yet. Successful networks can always pay weekly.
Affiliate Managers should reply promptly at all times. You want to work with a team that truly cares and answers all your questions clearly and urgently. Plus, a good affiliate manager is many times the key to a successful campaign : they can approve you on the top converting offers, change your payment terms or make sure you get the best possible creatives.
In a nutshell, a good Affiliate network will treat you like a partner, providing you with all the tools you need to succeed. But most importantly : they will show you they CARE.