February 2, 2022

Don't Live an Affiliate Marketing Horror Story: How to Make the Most of Your Investment

Affiliate Marketing Horror Story

Driven largely by the COVID-19 pandemic, 50% of consumers are shopping on digital channels for products they’ve never bought online before. Brands have an unprecedented opportunity to capture the interest of those shoppers to not only drive awareness and trial but also, if they play their cards right, build an ongoing relationship.  

If there was ever a time to jump into the affiliate marketing channel, this is it. 

Here’s the deal, though. Affiliate is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the channel is only getting noisier. Affiliate marketing spending in the U.S. alone is expected to reach $8.2 billion this year. That’s more than triple what it was 10 years ago, but that doesn’t mean success is guaranteed. 

Trust us, we’ve heard our share of affiliate marketing horror stories. Here are three that happen all the time and can seriously compromise the return on your affiliate investment. 

Problem: You’re not getting the ROI you want with a “content-only” strategy

It’s true that content is a great way to generate valuable traffic to your brand’s website and increase brand awareness. But if all of your productive publishers are content sites, you’re reaching a lot of people who might still be at the top of the funnel and not ready to make a purchase. 

Solution: A diversified partner portfolio 

Content affiliates have their place but significant growth requires a diversified partner portfolio. Over the last few years, a big trend in affiliate marketing has been to focus on full funnel opportunities–and for good reason. Not only will a diverse portfolio help you maximize results at every stage of the customer journey, but it will also help you reach a broader audience and broaden your revenue streams. 

Problem: Overpaying in the channel is blowing your budget

Obviously, the goal of any paid placement or publisher partnership is to reap a benefit greater than your initial cost. But overpaying for paid media and commissions are both such easy mistakes to make. The affiliate industry is incredibly nuanced and complex. There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of players–and not all of them are equally valuable to your brand. Remember, high traffic does not guarantee high profits. At the end of the day, it’s the quality of the click that counts. To ensure the best possible return, your spend must be strategic and laser-focused. 

Solution: Never underestimate the value of hard-earned experience in this channel.

From securing the best possible rates (a.k.a. the ones only agencies have access to) to negotiating commission structures, an agency is able to strategically stretch your marketing dollars–and maximize your return. PartnerCentric has even created a paid placement predictor that uses data to provide a more quantitative look at the ROI you can expect to see from a partnership. Also, keep in mind that time is money, too. Outsourced management agencies handle such a large volume of work that they can’t afford to be anything less than efficient. They’ve nurtured the relationships, perfected the workflows and streamlined the processes needed to roll out quality programs with ease and in record time. You know what that means: A much faster return on your investment.

Problem: Terms and conditions violations are putting a dent in your bottom line–and your reputation

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but not every affiliate is going to play by the rules. Some will fail to adhere to your agreed-upon terms and conditions. Some affiliates will forget to include a mandatory Federal Trade Commission disclosure. Others will promote your brand using incorrect terms and keywords or offensive content. And guess what? You could be on the line for all of it. Whether it was intentional or simply an innocent mistake, the consequences are pretty severe. These days, illegal behavior–such as deceptive claims, hidden fine-print disclosures, and confusing terms–comes with major repercussions like $40,000-per-day fines, permanent business closures, and often irreparable damage to your good name. 

Solution: The only way to know if any of these things are going on is to actively monitor your content across the entire affiliate landscape.

And by actively, we mean every day, every week, every month–no matter what. And no, monitoring your content 24/7 manually is not sustainable, especially as your program grows. 

Often, the easiest and most cost-effective solution is to work with an experienced team that has the expertise, relationships, and technology needed to protect your investment. PartnerCentric is the only agency in the industry that combines award-winning account management with our proprietary software tools that we call Control Suite.

Control Suite’s Content Monitoring enables us to:

  • Monitor for compliance issues across the affiliate channel
  • Monitor the affiliate landscape for violations of set terms and conditions
  • Gain invaluable insight into competitor advertising offers and promotional tactics
  • Proactively find new content opportunities
  • Optimize brand performance and return on investment

And that’s just part of what Control Suite can do. Control Suite gives you clarity and total control over all of your investments in the affiliate channel with: 

  • Opportunity Discovery–This powerful tool allows us to uncover new and unique publisher opportunities no one else can find to grow your incremental revenue by reaching new audiences. 
  • Top Rank–This placement and position technology monitors brand and competitive ranking activity across a set of publishers. Top Rank gathers the necessary intel for our clients to earn the coveted top spots and leave their competition in the dust.
  • Fuse–This proprietary and patented PartnerCentric technology aligns affiliate network tracking data with your source of truth (typically Google Analytics, but integration with other technologies is available), eliminating the risk of an expensive margin of error.  
  • Block and Filter–We deploy this fraud detection and redirection technology to help tackle the $23 billion lost annually by advertisers globally due to ad fraud. 

In addition, our account managers have the highest experience level in the industry. Over fourteen years, on average. That’s a big deal, and we’ve got the results to prove it: 98% of our current clients have experienced significant program growth since working with us. 

Contact us today and find out what PartnerCentric can do for you.