Detecting the ideal affiliate marketing service for your business: Self-service platform vs. managed network?

In this article, we introduce you to the differences between a self-service affiliate platform and a managed network and share different advantages.

Due to the pandemic a big part of businesses shifted from offline to online, making online marketing your most important marketing channel. In that matter, affiliate marketing is the approach many companies are considering to diversify their revenue streams.

An area that often deters people from starting an affiliate program however is not knowing which service to use and whether to use a self-service affiliate marketing solution or to join a managed affiliate network.

Self-service platform vs. managed network

A self-service affiliate platform gives an advertiser the opportunity to run a performance marketing campaign without the employed experience of client services teams.  

Both have their individual advantages. When you are deciding between a managed network or a self-service platform, keep your business model and your time in mind: 

  • Do you want to connect with one company or more? 
  • Do you want to connect with companies individually or do you want to have your partnerships all in one place, a service networks offer? 
  • Would you classify your business as a start-up or small business?

This article introduces you to some of the advantages a self-service affiliate platform might have and how you can identify if a network or a self-service platform is the best way to promote your business.

What to consider

When deciding between a self-service affiliate platform or a managed affiliate network, some points to consider are:

  • Ease of use: Joining an established affiliate network might take much of the work off your hands. However, you do need to consider if you have the additional time to speak to your account manager.
  • Support: While both options provide you with some level of support, it is on you to recognize when things are not working as they should if you use a self-service platform.
  • Costs: A self-service platform might be cheaper, easier to set up and more focussed on generating sales for its advertisers from the start. 
  • Promotion: Either path you take, your affiliate program will only be as successful as your affiliates are.

When it comes to a self-service affiliate platform vs. using an affiliate network, there is no obvious winner. The decision is more so dependent from your business needs and your available resources, such as time and money, to invest.

If you are in the early phase of a start-up or small business, you might not have the time to speak to account managers at networks or publishers. Actions, that are needed to build and maintain relationships for continued investment.  

In conditions of limited budget and resources, small businesses are the ones who could benefit the most from a wide range of online partners rewarded on a performance model. That is where we suggest a self-service platform like Grow.  

Federico Bonavita
Digital Marketing Manager

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