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Tips & Guides — 09 May 2023
10 tips to choose the best affiliate marketing software
Doing a business in the affiliate marketing industry is a complex undertaking that requires a lot of expertise, skills, and resources. However, affiliate marketing software is the factor that can make or break your business. Thus, choosing the right solution for your affiliate network or agency shouldn’t be a shot in the dark.
You can choose to build in-house software to manage partnerships or rely on a Saas solution – we’ve explored the pros and cons of both ways in a separate article. If you’re prone to a second option, consider that a user-friendly interface is not the only criterion of a great affiliate management solution. In this article, we’ve unpacked quite a few tips and hacks for choosing the best affiliate software for your business. Let’s dive in.
According to Juniper Research, digital advertisers’ total losses to fraud will reach $100 billion by 2023. It makes robust anti-fraud functionality a crucial component of each affiliate marketing platform.
The industry best practice implies spotting and declining fraudulent conversions and clicks in real-time before they can corrupt affiliate sales and overall campaign results. Such an approach helps affiliate networks and agencies avoid dealing with false campaign results at the end of the month and reimbursing losses to affiliate partners.
However, the main problem with affiliate marketing fraud is that it’s growing more sophisticated and hard to spot. Thus, the accuracy in determining sharp practices becomes the paramount factor of excellent fraud prevention. To protect your campaigns, look for affiliate marketing software with the most-accurate fraud detection, such as advanced anti-fraud by 24metrics and Affise.
24metrics is the author of Fraudshield – industry-leading fraud detection algorithms. Their expertise helps Affise anti-fraud scan affiliate conversions for bot-like behavior, duplicate IPs and device IDs, proxy/VPN traffic, and more. Thanks to it, most fraudulent conversions can be found and eliminated off the bat.
Customer service and support are nothing to sneeze at when working with a complex B2B product like affiliate marketing software. Most solutions for affiliate marketing program management require serious onboarding and maintenance. Both of these processes can have many pitfalls. Top-notch customer service is key to avoiding these pitfalls or swiftly solving emerging issues.
Unfortunately, not many affiliate management solutions can be proud of their fast support. So, pay special attention to solutions that provide 24/7 support, like Affise. Our award-winning multi-language support team is eager to help via email or live chat anytime you need it.
However, an even more significant role can be played by customer service, or, as we call it in Affise, the customer success team. These professionals have much broader expertise than simply troubleshooting issues. Our team has vast experience in helping build the best affiliate programs and campaigns from scratch and developing affiliate marketing strategies and tactics. This knowledge and skills may have a tremendous impact on your business growth and success in the affiliate marketing industry.
Before purchase, a lead interacts with a brand through dozens of touchpoints. When affiliate marketing is involved, the customer journey becomes even more complicated. For example, a prospect in eCommerce may learn about the brand from a social media ad, then get more details about the product from an influencer, eventually sign up with a blogger’s newsletter to be nurtured via email marketing till they’re ready to make a purchase. All affiliate partners involved in this process want to get their rewards and deserve credits.
Companies and agencies need various attribution models to maintain good relationships with content creators and attract new affiliates. This practice allows them to spot the source of lead and reward partners according to their contribution. End-to-end analytics with an automated data import help affiliate program owners, agencies, and networks build sophisticated attribution models to see what sources bring the best results and tweak commission structure accordingly.
To avoid spending hours on creating multi-touch attribution for each advertiser, make sure your software solution offers not only first or last-click attribution. For instance, Affise offers a probabilistic attribution. This feature is effective for measuring mobile attribution from iOS.
Probabilistic attribution relies on statistics and probability distribution of the campaigns likely to have generated a mobile app install. Though this method is not 100% reliable, it’s one of the few ways to measure attribution under the strict ATT policy taken by Apple for their iOS 14.
One more valuable attribution is view-through attribution (VTA) or impression tracking. It lets advertisers and agencies get insights into user behavior before clicking the button and performing the desired option. Having this information at hand is priceless for optimizing affiliate marketing strategy.
When view-through attribution is used, a conversion happens before the user clicks the ad. Instead, the software takes a moment when a user sees a display of the product’s ad as a starting point. Conversion is considered to happen when a user makes the target action by going directly to the website or doing an organic search within a specific time frame. Affise allows full-cycle impression tracking on the offer level by using a pixel or impressions link.
As consumers are growing concerned about their privacy online, brands and organizations take more strict measures to protect them. One of such measures is a refusal to use third-party cookies, which require new tracking opportunities from an affiliate marketing software.
The most-used ways to track affiliate and referral program conversions and results are server-side (S2S) and client-side (C2S) tracking. Client-side tracking is deeply affected by third-party cookie elimination but is still commonly used due to its simplicity and higher speed.
To help you keep reaping the benefits of C2S tracking, Affise offers a direct tracking feature. It lets advertisers employ accurate C2S tracking even in the absence of third-party cookies and helps increase user journey speed.
For cases when server-side (S2S) tracking can’t be replaced with C2S tracking, we developed server parallel tracking. Standard server-side tracking directs a user to the final destination through several touchpoints, increasing the journey and waiting time. Server parallel tracking helps to avoid this complexity and leads a user straight to the final destination page without losing any redirecting data.
Mobile tracking, especially iOS, requires a different approach, so your affiliate marketing platform has to give you special options to track mobile campaign performance. One of them is a SKADNetwork attribution – your platform’s ability to integrate with SKADNetwork, where Apple stores all the data about campaigns and parses the data directly to your tracking platform. One more possible option is a probabilistic attribution we’ve mentioned earlier.
The ability to support integrations with various services, the smoothness of implementing these integrations, and the speed of data transfer between services are crucial criteria for choosing a tracking solution. To nail down all these criteria, brands, networks, and agencies need an end-to-end open API, such as one the Affise provides. It allows businesses to connect with third-party services directly, seamlessly integrate data, and set up automated software updates.
Another thing that helps Affise users to integrate affiliate marketing software with other applications easily is a Marketplace. It provides a range of plugins to meet various business needs without leaving the platform. If Affise does not have some functionality, Marketplace provides integrations with other technologies that have it.
To enhance the convenience of working with the platform and gathering the data from various services, Affise has data fusion or Affise BI. This solution allows you to manage unstructured data from multiple marketing channels, make evidence-based business decisions, and optimize an affiliate marketing strategy.
Companies need proper implementation and onboarding to squeeze every bit of value from the affiliate marketing software. This process should have low friction and a short time to value, so the software users can move their business to the new platform and benefit from it as soon as possible.
On average, B2B Saas is a complex product, which makes assistance in onboarding a must-have. Thus, pay attention to how the implementation and onboarding processes are built for the solution you’re considering. Carefully thought-through assistance is a great sign.
For instance, Affise offers its new users an onboarding package with practical guides and prompts to help new partners get started. Apart from it, each customer on every pricing plan gets a dedicated onboarding manager, who leads them through all the software implementation process stages and helps solve occurring issues.
One more way Affise offers to speed up the implementation and onboarding process is Affise Academy. Affise Academy includes free tutorials to teach you to work with the Affise platform and to level up your knowledge in affiliate and digital marketing. With these courses, you can outsource educating your team about affiliate marketing and the platform usage to Affise.
If it’s not about getting in-depth knowledge of your affiliate marketing campaigns’ performance, when what it’s all about? Robust analytics and dashboards are the core of each affiliate tracking software. The golden standard for such solutions is providing a customer with an excessive amount of data in real-time alongside the opportunity to form this data into easy-to-understand reports.
However, not every affiliate marketing platform offers wide customization opportunities for your analytics and reports. So, pay attention to the Saas services that provide the most freedom, such as Affise. It allows you to employ custom statistics to view specific and detailed data for a particular time frame or add your custom formulae. You can filter this data by nine criteria and create filter presets.
The analytics feature which Affise clients are fond of the most is Drilldown reports, which lets you put several pieces of data on a single page. The reports can be grouped by an account manager, advertiser, affiliate, offer, and more. The layout and order of your reports are also fully adjustable to your needs.
One more feature valuable for networks and agencies is sharing the statistics with affiliate partners in one click. On average, tracking solutions allow you to create and download the report and share it with advertisers. The other way is to share the access to your admin panel, which is not always a good option.
Affise suggests an alternative that couples the advantages of both these ways and eliminates the pitfalls. All you need is to choose the data you want to share and generate a shared report’s link to it. The data will be available to your partners within three days.
Payout is an integral part of affiliate marketing, and its flexibility and variability can’t be underestimated. Unfortunately, a great chunk of Saas solutions has quite limited payout options.
First of all, it’s not always possible to provide payouts in multiple currencies, which can be a roadblock for an agency or network at a specific stage of its development. So, even if you don’t need it now, consider looking for a solution that provides payouts in various currencies, such as Affise – you’ll thank yourself for it later.
Another thing to consider is the payment model. Affise was the first company that developed a pricing strategy based on conversions. This approach has been implemented in the product itself, so our customers can benefit from CPI, CPA, and CPS payment types. Last year, we expanded these options with CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per thousand impressions). Various payment methods can be combined in one campaign, which is convenient for agencies and networks.
One more important thing is the possibility of setting up tiered commissions. Commission rates increase proportionally to the results partners deliver, which is a great incentive for the best affiliates. Finally, Affise offers automated payments, which lessens the time spent on routine chores and eliminates the mistakes caused by human factors. Eventually, all of this helps streamline payout processes and build better relationships with publishers and content creators.
Automation is a sure-fire way to save time and resources, prevent human factor risks, and focus on strategic things. Sticking to the software that provides a robust set of automation features is always a winning strategy. To squeeze every bit of value from it, consider affiliate marketing platforms that offer unique or rare options, such as a Smartlink feature in Affise.
Smartlink is an automated tool that allows your affiliates to get only one link to all offers. Using machine learning, Smartlink analyzes the incoming traffic by a number of parameters – geo, OS, device type, etc. – and directs it to the most likely to convert offer.
To prevent traffic losses to a human factor, we developed a Smartlink in Trafficback URL that redirects mistargeting, overcapped clicks to the Smartlink and splits them among the variety of offers. One more solution for the issue of traffic loss is an Affise checker – a tool that helps spot and eliminate broken offers.
Also, Affise provides a set of automation options built to improve affiliate campaigns’ conversion rates. One of them is CR automation – a feature that filters traffic according to affiliates’ performance and traffic sources. This tool helps to automatically block affiliates or traffic sources that fall short of the target rate.
Another strong feature from Affise is KPI automation, which allows advertisers to spot the audience that is most likely to respond to their ads and perform the desired action. To optimize your campaign performance, you need to set up the KPI rule, and Affise will block affiliate partners or traffic sources that are not performing accordingly.
Moving from one solution to another can be a pain in the neck if the process is not set up well. Long and challenging migration can cause many losses, both in time and money. Thus, pay attention to the affiliate marketing solutions with well-designed migration protocols and additional tools to streamline the moving process.
One of such tools – CPAPI in Affise – lets you move thousands of affiliate offers in a couple of clicks. In contrast with using traditional import tools for offers, CPAPI lets you fully synchronize with the offers’ source and automatically get timely updates of offers’ conditions and affiliate campaigns’ results.
To move affiliates and advertisers to the Affise platform swiftly and easily, you can use standard import tools. Bulk actions on the advertisers and affiliate lists will help you tweak details in a click, and special no-sweat testing tools let you check how the migration process went. To announce the move to a new affiliate platform, you may employ Affise’s built-in notification feature.
Thanks to all these tools, well-designed migration guides, and the help of a dedicated onboarding manager, the migration to Affise takes no more than 24 hours. Thus, you don’t need to stop your business and lose hard-earned revenue.
Affiliate marketing software can become a game-changer for your business. Whether you’re planning to use it for your own affiliate program management or working as an agency or network, consider the following criteria to choose the right affiliate platform:
If you’re thinking of employing software with all of these options, consider Affise Performance – the solution built for simplifying partnerships for agencies and networks. Try our end-to-end partner marketing platform to reach more customers and optimize your costs.
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