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Nov 30, 2011 · 6 min read

Working with Multiple Affiliate Networks

Your affiliate program on just one network can be a handful. Running on multiple networks can increase your workload by up to 2 or 3 times.

Running your affiliate program on just one network can at times seem like a handful, then again running your campaign on multiple networks can increase your workload by up to 2 or 3 times. Whilst the workload may seem larger the benefits of spreading your marketing efforts across platforms can outweigh the increase in workload and drastically increase your sales.

Affiliates like a little variety and certainly don’t appreciate being bound to a single network. Like any individual, affiliates have a preference for whom they like to work with and sometimes spreading themselves across networks gives them an opportunity to leverage tracking, performance and the available creatives provided before they make a decision on whom they would like to promote through. By utilising multiple affiliate networks and keeping in mind that some do have a network preference you can ultimately snatch up affiliates that may not have otherwise joined your campaign. Working across networks gives you a prime opportunity to split test your campaign to see what works and what doesn’t. You can offer varied commission rates, different creatives etc to be able to determine what makes a great campaign, with your results in you can ultimately roll-out what works across the board.

Not all networks are created equal, in fact there are more and more popping up each year, so the decision to use an affiliate network needs to be well thought out and doing your due diligence and speaking to an account manager is essential in determining what level of control and customisation you will have over your campaign.

As they say, “With great power, comes great responsibility” and this is true when managing your campaign on multiple networks. Your responsibility as the affiliate manager does increase and the pressure to optimise your program and grow it increases as well. A good affiliate manager knows they need to communicate with their affiliates and when you get up to numbers of 100+ promoting your campaign you need to be in a position to consistently manage them and communicate regularly. Ensuring your network has the functionality to allow this and mass communicate is vital, so this would be a part of your due diligence when choosing a network.

Each network has different technical capabilities and formatting requirements such as the way you provide data feeds, banners, dynamic tools etc, so you yourself need to feel confident you are in a position to cater to this or know/hire someone that can help you. Some affiliates on the other end of the scale may be hesitant to promote a merchant that is on multiple networks simply because experience has shown that potential integrity risks can arise such as overwritten cookies, improper tracking whereby multiple referrers may be credited for the same action.

In summary like any endeavour in life, the increase in potential cash-flow never comes without an increase in risk or workload, the trick is in how you manage it and how transparent you are with the networks you work with and the affiliates that promote you. Investing in a CRM (Client Relationship Manager) may definitely be on the cards as it reduces human error by setting up a series of recurring tasks under specific contacts. These recurring tasks eliminate the need for affiliate managers to keep track of relationships in their head or hacked together calendars.

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