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You're ready to enter the world of affiliate marketing and launch an affiliate program, but you don't know how to choose an affiliate network. We've got your back covered! Let's start by defining the term. An affiliate network is an all-in-one solution for managing your affiliate marketing program's tracking, reporting, and payment needs. Choosing which affiliate network to operate your program on is one of the most crucial choices you will make. Today, we will demonstrate how to select an affiliate network. When you are in the determining phase of selecting an affiliate network, you should first address the following seven questions.
When beginning your affiliate recruitment, it is essential to consider which types of affiliates you will be targeting. There are numerous affiliate networks available, including some specializing in specific themes (be it sports and outdoors, weddings, health and wellness, or anything else). Perhaps you want to find and recruit affiliates in a very narrow niche, and there is an affiliate network where a significant number of affiliates that operate in that field already congregate.
Before launching a new affiliate program, we always advise conducting a thorough competition intelligence investigation. This competitive intelligence analysis aids, among other things, in selecting a network. By obtaining a high-level overview of how your competitors manage their affiliate programs, you should be able to generate ideas for your affiliate network decision. Despite this, do not be misled by pure numbers. Observing that many competitors utilize a particular affiliate network is only part of the picture. You must also evaluate the success of their efforts. If they are, it is a good sign that you will be able to recruit affiliates for your affiliate program from this network.
While most merchants can get by with basic affiliate tracking, many require more powerful affiliate tracking solutions. Before deciding on a network, it is essential to determine your requirements. If you want your affiliate program to pay out for specific categories of affiliate-referred leads or purchases, you must ensure that the network you select can accommodate this. Occasionally, this may incur additional costs or a different cost structure. This beautifully segues into our next question.
All networks are priced differently and charge merchants in unique ways. The most prevalent method involves initial setup fees and monthly minimums if certain sales thresholds are not met. See our Side-by-Side Comparison of North American Affiliate Networks for a comprehensive summary. There are, however, more sites that require a set monthly price. Compared to the more common approach, where the network receives a modest percentage of each sale, this may be a preferable alternative for big affiliate networks. A commission model makes far more sense for smaller programs that are just getting started. Just be mindful of the monthly minimums, as they do accumulate. When estimating your costs on this front, you should also consider the length of the contract you'll be entering into with the affiliate network. In certain instances, you will be allowed to pay month-to-month, but in others, you will be required to commit to the platform for a year or longer.
Consider this while selecting an affiliate network if you ever intend to expand beyond the United States. Some networks provide a greater number of international connections than others. Awin, for example, just acquired ShareASale. Since ShareASale is largely focused on the United States and Awin is centered in Europe, the union of ShareASale and Awin provides a stronger network-level understanding of the worldwide affiliate marketing industry. In certain instances, neither of the major U.S. television networks will be significant. Consider Commission Factory if you're targeting the Australian market, for instance (which at the time of this post owns nearly seventy-five percent of that geo-market).
How your affiliate program will be administered is also likely to play a role in your selection of a network. Will you require a specific level of assistance from the network? Some networks provide this service at an extra fee. Work with an affiliate management agency such as AM Navigator? In this instance, a network's managed services package would not be required. Do you want to handle the program in-house but need minimal assistance? Regardless of your management position, you must ensure that the network you select provides the quality of service you need to launch and manage your affiliate program successfully.
In addition to the aforementioned, there is an additional question to consider, and not just before beginning your first affiliate network. On more than one occasion, a super affiliate has required us to add a second affiliate network to an existing one. Be receptive to such input, which you will receive in one-on-one conversations and during your affiliate recruitment process, and adaptable to your partners' needs. After reviewing and answering these questions, you will be ready to conduct interviews with the nominated affiliate networks. You will want to ask the network questions; therefore, you should seek a time to speak. Demand that they earn your business. Do not settle for something that will not meet your requirements.