The latest IAB Affiliate Marketing Study revealed that advertisers spent £554 million on affiliate marketing in 2017, generating £8.9 billion sales for advertisers, with year on year growth of 15%; making it one of the most efficient sources for driving new revenue.
As we look ahead to 2019, in a market full of opportunity, how can advertisers ensure they stand out from the competition and continue to see growth from the channel? What does a great affiliate programme look like and how can it help you gain that competitive edge? And what can be done to move an affiliate programme from “good” to “great”? We’ve worked with some of the world’s leading brands to review and audit their affiliate programmes, two recent examples of success are, identifying over £1m worth of new opportunities for a leading retail client and cost savings of over £0.5m for a client with an effective programme restructure.
In this post, I share the top 4 areas any brand should consider when revitalising their affiliate programme, thinking about the structure, skills and a collaborative approach behind best-in-class affiliate programme management to drive better affiliate marketing.
Affiliate platform choice
In order to track affiliate programme activity and manage affiliate payments, brands have the opportunity to work with an affiliate network, SaaS platform, or both to run their affiliate programme effectively. The platform selection will support not only the brand but affiliates in how they deliver the goals set for your programme. By reviewing your affiliate platform, you have the opportunity to stay well informed about what each provider’s capabilities are and whether they are the right fit for you and your business goals. Key considerations upon reviewing this include programme expansion into new territories, vertical specialisation or the supporting technology to assist with both affiliate programme management and development. You can get support running a programme audit working with affiliate marketing consultancies such as Acceleration Partners, where we would provide an impartial review of your programme, ensuring you work with the best supplier(s) to deliver your goals.
The affiliate manager plays a pivotal role in running a high-performing affiliate programme. There’s no better way to inject some life into your programme than by having a dedicated, knowledgeable point of contact over-seeing both the day to day and on-going strategy of an affiliate programme. An affiliate programme can have 100+ joined partners and managing relationships from the top tier publishers to the activation of smaller, more niche partners is key. Establishing communication that is informative, inclusive and inspiring takes a special element of both relationship building and sharp attention to detail. Not to mention an ability to make strategic recommendations through data insights and project management. By having a dedicated account manager who executes everything from publisher approvals to quarterly strategy sessions will make all the difference from a well-managed programme to a high performing one.
Engage with your affiliates
The affiliate market-place is more diverse than ever, looking beyond the traditional affiliate landscape into new realms of unique tracking solutions and innovative promotional methods, across a variety of different publisher types. In order to establish key partnerships across the diverse mix, it’s important to think outside the box and truly engage with your affiliates. Moving into the New Year, consider new ways to interact with partners, of course – phone calls and emails are necessary – however true collaboration comes from shared ideas, and no one knows their audience better than the affiliate themselves. Put time into understanding their needs and tailor how your brand can fit with their audience. Consider hosting an ‘affiliate day’, by inviting a selection of existing and new partners to educate them about your overall marketing goals and provide relevant resources about the brand that will not only identify with the partners but inspire them to promote your brand.
Budget and resource
In addition to the above focus areas, it’s also important to consider both budget and resource. Do you have an internal or agency resource? As you expand what budget do you have for additional resource? Resource considerations are often undervalued or overlooked. Highly successful affiliate programmes need skilled people that can deliver your goals, so be sure to consider these two factors in your 2019 budget and planning.
If you would like to find out more about how our award-winning team help brands deliver better affiliate marketing programmes, get in touch today.