From recruitment to refinement: How to assess your affiliate portfolio

Once you have set up your affiliate program and spent time on the initial recruitment, the next stage entails checking all bases are covered, and finding easy improvements you can make to develop the affiliate partnerships with the most potential for growth.

See what’s live: Cashback, rewards and voucher networks

and rewards partners are one of the easiest and most reliable affiliates to
partner with. This is because by using your commission as the amount given to
their customer as cashback, you often won’t need to supply offers in addition
to your standard CPA rate.

voucher networks will also operate in the same way, or even offer a combination
of cashback alongside any vouchers that you have added to your program.

To audit: Firstly check which have applied or been accepted onto your program. You can ask the Grow Support team for recommendations of the top performers in your market. Next, look in your ‘reporting’ tab (group by ‘site’) to see if they have generated clicks – and therefore if your profile is live.

Then where possible, search for your brand on their site to see what your brand’s profile looks like. If you are not yet listed or you think it could be improved, it might be you need to send the affiliate some details or extra assets like header images in order to be onboarded, or you might need to fill out an onboarding form.

To diversify: As well as traditional cashback sites you might also be able to find specialist cashback affiliates to partner with – for example ‘charitable giving’ cashback sites (where the cashback is given as a donation to a charity of the consumer’s choice) card-linked cashback (for purchases made via banks and other payment methods or apps with ‘reward’ functions) browser extensions, or closed user groups (membership based reward sites, such as those available to employees or students).

Consider which target audiences suit your brand, and research which affiliates you think would be good matches. You can also ask Grow Support for contact details or recommended affiliates on the network.

Nourish your Feed: Checking how CSS campaigns are running

Google Shopping / Comparative Shopping Specialists usually work in a highly automated and data-driven way, so it is important to ensure that your product feed is working well your side.

To audit: Check that your product feed shows the correct number of products and that all categories are mapped. You can do this either via the platform, via your Google Merchant Centre or by viewing the host URL of your feed on your own website (where you can make any changes).

A high quality feed contains all the relevant information about your products, in detail, with well populated product descriptions and all possible relevant categories.

To diversify: Contrary to what many may assume, having multiple CSS partners does not drive up the bidding costs of keywords associated with your products. Most CSS partners will not bid on brand related terms, but instead the algorithms are trained to look for the maximum results for the lowest costs, meaning they automatically avoid competing and pushing prices up and instead hunt for ways to fill the gaps in campaigns. So, if you want to test out different CSS strategies, you can run several at a time without harming other campaigns.

Convert your traffic : Onboarding Tech Partners

Tech partners can be extremely diverse and target very different user behaviours. They can range from retargeting partners, looking for traffic to site which has not yet converted, to collecting leads via a form, to making product recommendations or offering unique discounts to those going to leave your site with an item in their basket.

To audit: Simply accepting tech partners onto your program does not mean they will be able to launch their campaign automatically, so make sure that you contact them (or Grow Support) to ensure that you can integrate their technologies into your website, and initialize their campaign

To diversify: Tech partners can also be sophisticated enough for you to request personalisation and can be designed to meet very specific needs. For example, Intent.ly will create bespoke designs for the look of their feature adapted to your website, and are able to blacklist other affiliates in order to avoid unfair last-click attribution. Consider where your site has points of leaking traffic, and what type of solution might address this.

Spread the word: Content sites, Review sites, and Subnetworks

These are often some of the most sought after affiliates for small businesses looking to boost brand awareness, but can be tricky to engage. It is worth bearing in mind that being accepted onto the program may not mean they have created content for your brand yet, and you may need to do some additional outreach or offer flat fees to commission bespoke articles.

To audit: Check which affiliates on your program are content-based or have bloggers on their networks. For content partners and bloggers, you may be able to reach them via details on their site or by asking your network for their contact details. Subnetworks (networks of bloggers and content partners) might also be able to push your brand to certain audiences in return for increased commission.

To diversify: Often content sites will be quite specialized, so the best way to work with content sites through affiliate networks is to onboard new affiliates in your specialism to the network. They can join for free, and use Tradedoubler technology to manage their tracking links and find new partnership opportunities in addition to working with your own brand. For details on how we can help you with this, get in touch with Grow Support.

Ellen Kemp
Grow Client Support Executive - UK and US Markets

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