Working with an Affiliate Network or internalizing the operation?
When making the decision to invest in Affiliate Marketing, one of the first questions the advertiser will face is if he will develop this work with an Affiliate Network or if he will “internalize” the operation.
This is a far from trivial question, and understanding the work done by an Affiliate Network is fundamental to make the right decision.
The advertiser needs to understand well what an Affiliate Network does in order to act assertively as an advertiser and, above all, to understand what he will have to do if he chooses to internalize the operation.
It is practically impossible to synthesize everything an Affiliate Network does; however, it is worth highlighting some crucial points.
Hours and hours of media research
It all starts by mapping out who your potential affiliates are.
It may sound like a simple task, but the Internet is complex and there are a multitude of types of potential partners.
The most obvious are websites, blogs, and influencers in your industry.
Let’s take as an example an advertiser in the car rental segment, with a focus on tourism. The most obvious affiliates are content publishers in the travel and tourism niche. The user who consumes this type of content is the same user who might be interested in renting a car on their trip. It makes total sense.
But how many blogs, websites, and influencers are there in the travel and tourism segment? What is the audience of each of them? Are they open to listening to affiliate offers? Do they have the technology and time to dedicate to your campaign? Will they trust you?
Far beyond content publishers, there are several other types of affiliates that could be used in your campaign.
Some examples of these not so obvious affiliates are email marketing bases, comparators, coupon and cashback sites, apps, browser extensions, wingames… the list is long. In many cases these companies are not even in the same country as the advertiser, nor do they speak the same language.
All this wealth of audience tends to be untapped by the advertiser that decided to internalize the operation.
You will need a lot of “saliva” to convince them
Assume as a starting scenario that nobody knows you, your reputation is null.
You will have to introduce yourself, present your business, your advertising offer, convince the affiliate to take the risk of working only by performance, convince him to receive in the post-paid format. To be effective in this funnel of convincing the affiliate is not easy.
Now, multiply this difficulty by the number of affiliates you intend to work in partnership.
Be prepared for an extremely capillary operation
It may seem nice to work with 20-30 sites and influencers in your industry, but the scale of an affiliate program can be infinitely larger than that.
But can you imagine managing a portfolio with 100-150 active affiliates? And one with 1,500-2,000 partners? The paperwork involved (receiving invoices, bank transfers, etc.) is enormous! What about providing technical support to all these people? And to provide the necessary support, in the sense of promoting this partner?
It is not as simple as it seems…
Can someone call the IT guy to help?
Managing the cash flow will get much more complicated
Try to delay the payment of an affiliate by 1 day…
Maintaining a good relationship
The affiliate has started to promote his campaign. The work has just begun… the advertiser has to maintain an active relationship so that the affiliate prioritizes his campaign.
Know how to act when an affiliate commits fraud
Fraud can happen and you have to know how to handle this situation to avoid problems.
Manage all the bureaucracy (receive invoices, make bank transfers)
Pay on time (having to deal with a complex cash flow)
Invest in tracking technology / tracking / pixel installation
Produce landing pages and creative (email marketing pieces, display banners, etc.)