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January 26, 2021

5 Common Affiliate Marketing Mistakes–and How to Avoid Them

Craig McGlynn

We all know that performance-based marketing is complex. There’s a lot of room for error which means wasted time and, even worse, wasted money. Integration can be slow and cumbersome, and the longer it takes to launch a program, the longer you wait to see any kind of return. 

But affiliate marketing can also be a very effective, low-risk investment that not only broadens your audience and expands your reach but also results in a meaningful return. But affiliate marketing doesn’t work on auto-pilot, and these five mistakes are all too common. Luckily, they are also completely avoidable. 

1. Focusing on quantity more than quality:

Spoiler alert: All partners are not created equal, and the ones who publish subpar content or don’t truly understand your business aren’t doing you any favors.  Instead, you’ve got to strategically evaluate potential affiliates and build a foundation (and commission incentives!) only with those who have established credibility and are consistently getting your brand in front of your target audiences. You’ll end up with higher quality leads that actually convert instead of fishing for those valuable leads in a sea of unqualified traffic. Remember, affiliate marketing is so much more than just a numbers game. All the traffic in the world doesn’t mean anything without conversions from the right people.

2. Being reactive, not proactive, against fraud:  

Did you know that activity from fraudulent sources reduces your return on ad spend by an average of about 22%? In the last year, fraud cost brands like yours more than $23 billion globally. That’s a lot of wasted marketing dollars. Not to mention, a real risk to the integrity of your brand. One of the best ways to stay ahead of fraudsters is to constantly be on the lookout for anomalies in your data like high click counts without the conversions to match. Set up a consistent schedule for proactively reviewing affiliate traffic and sales for inconsistencies so you can stop a problem before it escalates. Here’s the thing, though. Fraudster tools will continue to become more sophisticated so new forms of fraud are inevitable. You can’t afford to let your guard down for a second.

3. Ignoring your Share of Opportunity and what competitors are doing:

Do you know how you rank in relation to your competitors across the affiliate landscape? Wish you could be a fly on the wall and track your competitors so you can plan your promotion schedule around theirs? There are now tools that can show you your Share of Opportunity across hundreds of publisher sites so you get access to new affiliate opportunities that lead to more customers and sales.  

4. Setting it and forgetting it:

If your affiliate marketing goal is growth and ROI (and really, what’s the point otherwise?), you have to regularly track, optimize and monitor your affiliate program. Performance metrics allow you to see what is working, and just as importantly, what isn’t so you can make adjustments accordingly. Our motto? Always be optimizing. There’s no such thing as a set-it-and-forget-it solution in affiliate marketing–period. 

5. Attempting to DIY an affiliate marketing program:

There’s a pretty widespread misconception that affiliate marketing is simple to implement, which explains why it may be tempting to hire someone with limited experience or tap someone in-house to manage your affiliate marketing. Cold hard truth? You might be setting yourself up to fail. Not everybody has the breadth of industry knowledge and, most importantly, the relationships needed to navigate the nuances and regulations of affiliate marketing. 

At PartnerCentric, we believe experience matters. Our account managers have the highest experience level in the industry. Over fourteen years, on average. That’s a big deal, especially right now. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility is everything in this space. Our team has the experience and relationships they need to find the right partner opportunities for you and, if necessary, to quickly make strategic changes. They know their stuff, and they deliver real, measurable results. In fact, 98% of our current clients have experienced significant program growth since working with us. 

Schedule a call with us today and find out what PartnerCentric can do for you.