The importance of a diverse affiliate portfolio

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A common challenge faced by advertisers following a programme launch is an over-reliance on a small number of sale-active affiliates. This is generally due to the time it takes to establish, develop and execute bespoke plans with affiliates that are tailored to both parties’ goals and strategies. It is invaluable to invest in partnerships that lead to an engaging and rewarding relationship. Having a diverse portfolio of affiliates is a great way to grow revenue streams and minimise any major risks an advertiser faces with dependency on one affiliate type or method of promotion.

The channel is a bedrock of innovation and is experiencing an exciting wave of new affiliate models such as influencers, savvy tech providers and even podcasts all extending new types of partnerships through the affiliate marketing model.

By embracing innovation, advertisers have a unique opportunity to grow brand awareness and drive incremental sales through a variety of partnerships in a high-quality affiliate programme.

Benefits of having a diverse portfolio of affiliates

Reach new audiences

Building relationships with multiple affiliates can help to grow your programme by opening up a variety of different revenue streams, managed on a performance basis. Advertisers can benefit from greater brand reach working with a variety of affiliates, many of whom are now recognised as brands within their own right. Many affiliates have a highly engaged and trusting audience, allowing for increased brand reach with a base of loyal consumers.

Increase product variety

Different affiliates can tailor their offering and campaigns to support your overall strategy. In order for your affiliates to take advantage of the wide range of products available for promotion, it’s important to consider a well-managed product feed or product level tracking. For instance, if part of your strategy is to focus on driving product-level sales, both comparison and display affiliates can maximise exposure if they have access to an accurate product feed. Another example is considering which products are the most popular during seasonal campaigns, with product-level tracking enabled, this clearly shows the advertiser which affiliate types are supporting which products.

Expand beyond traditional horizons

It’s important to note that there is no ‘one size fit’s all’ approach when building your programme diversity, and it’s something that takes careful consideration, planning and organisation. By creating programme goals, affiliate recruitment and activation can focus on achieving specific outcomes.

Affiliates can interact with customers at a variety of touchpoints along the customer journey so it’s important to work with a range of affiliate models. For example, content sites and influencers are primarily an awareness driver, educating potential customers about your brand. During the consideration stage, it’s important to tap into the likes of voucher, comparison and loyalty sites; where different factors such as an exclusive rate or offer can encourage the purchase. At the bottom of the funnel we tend to see cashback, email or re-targeting affiliate types driving final conversions. By gathering and analysing this data, brands can make informed decisions about your strategic approach to working with a diverse mix of affiliates.

Best practice for diversifying your affiliate partners

So now you know why a diverse affiliate portfolio is so important, here are my top tips to achieving one.

  • Segment your affiliates: Segmenting your affiliates and communicating with them in a targeted and relevant way will improve activation and engagement on your programme. To drive the level of sales you set for each segment, it’s important to consider a target ROI for all your affiliate types on the programme. Once targets have been set for each affiliate type, you can tailor recruitment and activation tactics for each affiliate type.
  • Explore existing opportunities: To grow revenue opportunities in your current affiliate mix, you can explore new opportunities with your existing partners as well as looking at top affiliates by vertical to determine if there’s any scope for cross recruitment. If your programme has been running from between six months to one year, you the opportunity to make informed decisions on where to invest budget based on different affiliate types and their performance.
  • Do your research: In order to find new affiliates, research each affiliate type. Look at their site size, audience reach, means of communication, tracking features and opportunities for optimisation. Tools such as Similar Web or SEM Rush can be a great way to find new affiliate as part of a recruitment drive or activation campaign.
  • Avoid silo’s: Avoid any silo’s by sharing information and results of your affiliate programme with peers and team members. More often than not, there will be scope for collaboration among marketing teams and this can be a great way to solve challenges other teams may be experiencing through affiliate partnerships. We’ve seen some really interesting affiliate projects stem from PR, social and wider marketing initiatives.

Here at Acceleration Partners, we have a range of brainstorming sessions with our clients to determine who works well and what areas we would like to grow, and setting these objectives are key to the affiliate programme’s strategy. In addition, our publisher development resources allow us to run tailored gap analysis to recruit new partners to join our programmes.

A diverse portfolio of affiliate types is key to a high-quality affiliate programme. This can be achieved through both new and existing partnerships; all that is required is for advertisers and affiliates to be strategically aligned on the goals, approach and outcome of their performance. The channel is constantly evolving and there is great opportunity to be creative in the affiliate market space.

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help grow your affiliate marketing programme and join other large global brands that are using Acceleration Partners expertise, get in touch with us.