Affiliate Network Insider — 17 Jan 2018
Each day new players are starting to conquer affiliate marketing industry. They all aspire to achieve great success and hope that someday their names will appear along with the affiliate marketing leaders’. Now we could hardly imagine that days and years ago all these giants were newcomers as well. What were they dreaming of? Which problems did they have? What were the key factors of their success? How did they become globally known? What was the affiliate marketing industry like back then?
We are about to share the answers to these and many more questions in new series of articles that will touch upon the working life of the biggest and most prominent affiliate networks in the industry. Stay tuned not to miss newest pieces at Affise blog, and welcome our first interviewees from Zorka.Network:
– Zorka.Network is now one of the biggest names in affiliate marketing. And I am not talking about just CIS countries. You are exploring new horizons, new countries and new niches. But looking back, how did it all begin?
OG: It was 2015 when Stanislau Litvinau (former Zorka.Network CEO, current Affise CEO) came up with an idea to launch his own affiliate network. He approached the investors, and luckily they supported the idea. There were just 3 people in our team at the very beginning. We were sitting in a tiny room of 12 sq.m. without any windows in a derelict building. No one knew anything about affiliate marketing except for Stanislau, so the rest had to learn new information very fast. In order to attract huge advertisers we had to make up stories about what the company size was and how much experience we had. A lot has changed from that time. We no longer need to prove our credibility. Currently we have several spacious offices in different countries. We are steadily growing and attracting new members to our team. And these stories have eventually become a history.
– What was the most challenging at the very beginning?
KT: I guess, everyone who is just getting started in affiliate marketing faces the same problems. It takes time to gain trust of the partners. And it’s not that easy. You should constantly prove everyone that you are trustworthy and capable to take your partner’s business to the next level.
– You came into affiliate marketing 3 years ago. How has the industry changed since then?
KT: The industry has changed a lot. So have our goals within it. We’ve gone through thick and thin, made a bunch of mistakes. But we wouldn’t be where we are without this experience. Now we hold firm, set new goals and achieve them. Zorka.Network is no longer an affiliate network specialized in promoting offers to CIS countries only. We think bigger, investigate new markets, and we do it quite successfully, I should say.
– You’ve mentioned that mistakes are an integral part of any experience. Can you recollect any that completely changed your vision of the industry?
KT: In 2015 we had a Chinese advertiser with a popular game among our clients. KPI was quite simple: Day 2 retention rate. Our affiliates started promoting this offer in Russia and showed really impressive results. That is why the advertiser decided to try promoting the game to the USA and Germany. The Day 2 retention rate was sky-high. We were so happy that we managed to enter global market and even celebrated the achievement. But at the end of the month the report showed only a few users actually continued to use the app starting from the day 5–7. Logically, the advertiser refused to pay for such installs. It appeared that we ran into 25,000 bucks. This is how we found out what the fraud means.
– What did you do in that situation?
KT: We had no choice but negotiate with the advertiser a lot to smooth the waters somehow. We explained to him that we didn’t have such detailed statistics by the moment. Of course, now we would not let this situation happen. Now we have a reliable anti-fraud system and real-time statistics providing us we the data we can trust. But it was a very important lesson for us.
– What do you think set you apart from other affiliate networks?
KT: Our team is the main asset we have. We are all aimed at finding the right approach to each client and partner and ensuring they are satisfied and reach their business goals. We always try to turn the partnership with our clients into a very pleasant and mutually-beneficial journey.
– And how do you build such a team? What do you seek in the candidates?
KT: First of all we are looking for People with a capital letter P, as human relations is the key in affiliate marketing. Surely, we aspire our potential team members to be professionally skilled, keen on mobile marketing, and so on. But if they are rigid to anything new and not interested in ongoing learning — they can hardly be a part of our team. You just can’t start working in affiliate marketing with a certain background and continue working with the same over the years. You should always keep up with the newest trends and innovations and implement this knowledge into your working life.
– An affiliate network is an important link between an affiliate and an advertiser. How do you attract affiliates to your network?
KT: No one invented a better way to attract affiliates than word of mouth. First, you earn the reputation, then the reputation works in your favor. Nevertheless, it’s much harder to retain affiliates rather than just attract them. If you are acting like a robot, monotonously fulfilling your duties, be sure it wouldn’t be a problem for them to find much more sensitive and soulful substitution for you. So, be a friend to your affiliates, listen to them and identify their needs and wishes, and they would love you forever.
– Who is “TOP Affiliate” for you?
KT: The factors defining a top affiliate are their volumes per day/week/month, potential rate and a range of skills. Top affiliate may either be a super expert in a single niche, or work with different traffic sources and verticals and be ready to test new offers. It doesn’t matter. Anyway, the more you do or can do for a network, the more valuable you become. What concerns the guys we are working with, all of them are real professionals. Their potential is limited by advertiser caps only.
– And what about advertisers? How do you manage relations with them?
MI: In the very beginning, we had only one person who was in charge of communicating with advertisers. It was our CEO. Now we have a separate Sales Department of 8 employees for it. Their responsibilities are to clear up and understand advertisers’ goals and aspirations, set KPI targets, define strategy and advice which events in an app they should pay attention to. In the past 3 years advertisers’ competencies and requirements skyrocketed. Although it challenged our work a bit, playing by the strictly defined rules is much more interesting.
– Your forecast for 2018: what to expect?
KT: We expect the uprise of e-commerce and services verticals. Mobile market increases by leaps and bounds. People change their smartphones quite often, so the market potential has absolutely no limits. Moreover, the audience is exploring new resources, that is why previously popular traffic sources are becoming irrelevant.
– Your top tips for affiliate networks to increase their ROI?
KT: Learn-Read-Test-Repeat. But do it wisely. You should realize that you can’t copy someone’s success. But you can build yours on the basis of your insights and experience. So, invent your own approaches, test them and don’t be afraid to fail (sometimes it happens). Negative experience is also experience. And as an affiliate manager you couldn’t value anything more, than this.
– What is the secret of your success?
KT: Our secret is the TEAM!
AFFILIATE NETWORK INSIDER is a project, covering success stories and inside lives of the biggest and most prominent affiliate networks in the industry. Make YOUR story heard by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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