Migrating platforms is never an easy decision no matter where your programme is in its life cycle. As an advertiser you have spent months or even years nurturing partners to ensure they can deliver results for you and your current platform houses all the necessary partner information and data to make historical analysis required for future planning. Deciding to move platforms can be daunting especially since there are many moving parts to a programme. However, with the right tools and actions in place from beginning to end the process should be straightforward.
As an impartial affiliate marketing consultancy our team of affiliate marketing experts help brands migrate their affiliate programme to a new supplier or service. In this article, I will share best practices we follow with our clients to ensure a smooth and straight-forward migration process, saving you time and money and ensuring relationships with key partners and stakeholders and intact.
Before starting any programme migration it’s important to create a checklist that will allow you to manage your priorities and execute them in a timely fashion. Sharing this document and allocating tasks to all parties involved is a way to mimise risk and oversee all operations.
Stakeholders – Be sure to share your checklist will all stakeholders involved in the migration, this will include legal, technical, finance etc.
- Technical – Clarify with your tech team the time it will take them to add a new pixel to your website as this will determine the timelines for migrating.
- Legal – Have your legal team review existing contracts to ensure that you are aware of any caveats in the current contracts that need to be addressed with the incumbent platform.
- Finance – Do they need to approve a new vendor so they can pay invoices? Sometimes a lot of paperwork needs to be completed for a migration so be sure to notify your finance team with plenty of time.
- Historical data – Ensuring that you download and save as much information prior to the move is key. Some platforms can plug in your existing data into the new platform so it’s worth checking with them if it’s possible; this is worth considering in your choice of platform if this is an important requirement for you.
- Communication – Ensure all parties involved are aware of what they are responsible for and what contractual obligations need to be adhered to.
Publisher communication – Divide the publishers up into smaller manageable segments. The key partners need to be addressed first, ensuring that they receive personalised outreach to explain the process. With the mid to long tail partners, schedule follow up communications with these partners with clear instructions on how to the use the new platform and where to grab links/creatives from. For retail programmes, using data feeds, be sure to provide clear instructions on how to pull the new feed.
Commissions – Being able to change commissions to suit your future needs may be one of the many reasons to move platforms. If the commission structure is going to change from the current structure, be sure to make the benefits clear to partners. It is worth while ensuring that your top partners are onboard with the new structure first before imposing the new structure on them.
Moving partners from one platform to another will take time depending on how big the programme is. In addition, time of the year will also make a difference. Moving providers in Q2 is easier than moving in Q4 for a retail programme as some partners may have a technical blackout period. Project management is vital to effectively migrate your programme, and the following factors should be carefully considered.
Invoicing and reversals – Be clear with your current network or agency who is responsible for clearing the last months invoicing, processing validations and reversals, and missing cashback claims. This is where things can get messy if there is no set out ownership of tasks. You don’t want to be paying for orders that weren’t validated.
Partners – Have your revenue generating partners moved across first, ensuring you’re communicating with them the time frames and highlighting the cut off point for migration clearly. For long-tail partners it is worth considering offering a small incentive to increase engagement in the programme. Be sure to carefully track which affiliates are live, so you know which affiliates need extra support in the process.
Following the migration, it’s important to always sense check a few things to ensure everything is moving in the right direction.
Tracking – This should be checked a few times to ensure that everything is working as it should be, even simple checks such as checking commissions are not being paid on delivery, if that’s in your terms and conditions.
Partners – Once the programme has launched keep a track of how many partners have moved over and how many are still left to move over. Clear actions with each segment type will ensure that you don’t lose partners along the way.
Reporting – Check your performance reports regularly to ensure that everything is recording properly and in line with expectations.
Once the migration is complete it’s important to gather feedback on how many partners joined, which of your top partners didn’t migrate and why, as well as recording any roadblocks in the set up on the new platform that could have been avoided.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you with your programme migration get in touch with our team today.