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In parts one and two of this series, you’ve learned the basics of affiliate marketing as well as how to navigate the technology. In part three, we covered what happens during a launch. In this final installment, we will dive deeper into what happens after your program launches.

Once all integrations and necessary setups are complete, our knowledgeable and tenured client services team takes over management of the account. While each client gets a dedicated account manager, on any given day there are 5-6 strategists, compliance experts and analysts working within the account to ensure proper optimization and implementation.

The first six weeks

After the kickoff call with the client, the dedicated account manager and marketing analyst start working on a six-week action plan that covers the following:

  • Recurring tasks are created - These include weekly reports, trademark monitoring, setting up a weekly call with the client to review program performance, updates and opportunities
  • Creative and link inventory with recommendations provided to the client
  • Competitive analysis conducted - This typically involves analyzing the affiliate programs of direct competitors (especially payouts, promotions, cookie duration, etc.)
  • Loyalty Analysis conducted - Provides a landscape of all of the loyalty site and audits who the client is and isn’t joined to, their percentages back, points back, and if their competitors are listed on the site and their percentages back, points back
  • Recruitment and Optimization Campaigns
  • Reviewing and securing new opportunities and placements and negotiating the best price for the client
  • Reviewing all historical insights to understand past initiatives and their level of success

During this time, the client is only involved when we ask that they sign off on strategic initiatives that we’re proposing or if we need them to send us necessary creative or deliverables. At the end of the six weeks, there is a comprehensive review set up with the client to go over all of the team’s findings and then recurring weekly calls proceed normally as well as monthly dashboards and Quarterly Business Reviews.

After 90 days and beyond

Once the program has been live for 90 days, an additional review is scheduled with the client to analyze overall performance, insights on performance, what has been working well, what new opportunities exist and what we think can be further improved. We then propose initiatives and strategies to help with growth and optimization based on our research and years of industry experience.

After three months, we sometimes shift or set new goals based on what the client wants to see and whether their priorities shift. Our aim is to fully support our clients so they know that someone is always focused on their program and its opportunities. We work with the client to set up reviews quarterly to continue optimization and hold strategy reviews that dive into the monthly dashboard reports as well as other reporting to track progress.

We are there to answer their questions and provide insights every step of the way because our success is dictated by their success.

Have more questions? Want to talk to someone about your affiliate program? Contact us!

The post Affiliate Marketing 101: My program is live. Now what? appeared first on PartnerCentric.

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In parts one and two of this series, you’ve learned the basics of affiliate marketing as well as how to navigate the technology. In part three, we will be covering what happens once you’ve made the decision to work with PartnerCentric.

Getting Started

Immediately after signing a new client, the PartnerCentric tech and client services teams spring into action. If the client has an existing program, the tech team spends time reviewing the client’s site and existing program settings. They look for ways to improve upon what the client is pleased with, and fix what they do not like. Additionally, they ask for existing login credentials to get a full view of what has been done previously to look for immediate areas for improvement.

If the client is starting with a new program, the tech team aims to find out what they’re looking for in terms of tracking solutions. Prior to the kickoff call, a questionnaire is sent to the client whether they have an existing program or not. The questions aim to provide insight into the client’s goals, general information about the brand and what success looks like for them. This ensures that the call is productive and everyone is on the same page.

The Kickoff Call

The tech team, the client services team (including the account’s dedicated account manager and marketing analyst) and the client all join the kickoff call, which is typically set for 60-90 minutes. Because we see ourselves as an extension of the client’s team and brand, the call allows us to begin the process of determining the best practices and strategy for launching a new program or taking an existing program to the next level. The tech team gathers information about current integrations (for existing programs) and gets an idea of what the client would like to improve. For new programs, the tech team gathers information about the proposed integration and what the client would like to implement based on their goals. The PartnerCentric client services team adds insights regarding program strategy and gets a better understanding of what the client’s program needs to grow. At the end of the call, the tech and client services team have the information they need to get started and are able to set the strategy for success.

What Now?

After the kickoff call, both teams determine which tracking platform is most appropriate for the client’s needs if it’s a new program. The tech team then reaches out to secure pricing, proposals and contracts  For an existing program, the tech team conducts pixel tests and reviews the current account settings to ensure everything is in order. Additionally, they ensure that all day-to-day items are set up including reporting. For new programs, the account manager makes sure that all text links, banners and newsletter templates are uploaded to the chosen network and for an existing program, they review all content for quality. Once all necessary integrations are completed successfully, the client services team can take over management of the account.

In the next and final installment of our Affiliate Marketing 101 series, we will cover what can be expected when a program has launched and has been live for a few months.

As always, please contact us with any questions you may have.

The post Affiliate Marketing 101: Anatomy of a Launch appeared first on PartnerCentric.

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After learning about the basics of affiliate marketing in part one of our four-part series to simplify affiliate marketing, let’s dive into the technical aspects of how a merchant can drive the brand growth and revenue they’re looking to achieve. At the macro level, the basis of understanding is that most affiliate programs will function through the integration of a pixel deployed on a merchant’s  “Order Confirmation” page, through a few lines of JavaScript (if they are driving a lead, it would be the equivalent email submission receipt or other lead verification form). This pixel will fire each time someone completes a transaction, and credit the affiliate with a referral commission (if that sale occurred within your predetermined referral parameters). A technology platform or network enables the merchant and its tens, hundreds, and very often thousands of affiliate relationships to exist with scale by providing the transparency (or tracking) of what occurred, and the payment from merchant to affiliate when what is being incentivized has, in fact, occurred.  Sounds easy enough, right? So why are there so many different options for affiliate tracking platforms?


Technology platforms provide various answers to a merchant’s specific program needs. If a merchant is looking to expand their web presence, protect their brand values, mitigate coupon leakage, create a smart commission strategy, expand internationally or drive new customer acquisition, there is a network or SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solution to meet those needs. Working with an agency like PartnerCentric provides additional insight into true technology strengths, as opposed to just industry noise and marketing, and eliminates solutions that may lead to strategic disadvantages. Let’s explore the most important elements to consider when selecting the right technology partner and solutions.

Costs

We all have budgets! Whether you’re a Fortune 500 or a start-up, ROAS goals are usually one of the first considerations in how we allocate our marketing dollar. Technology solution pricing can vary across the channel and within the network itself. It’s important to look at the available tools the network or SaaS provides and balance that with your goals as a merchant. It is key to analyze the risk and benefits of doing volume-based versus transaction-based pricing. PartnerCentric can help a merchant take advantage of our strategic partnerships, and to negotiate the most advantageous pricing for their specific needs.  An agency like ours, who has worked with countless merchants across all the major and minor technologies, can also navigate the unique and often-times confusing terms and conditions in the agreements with the technologies.  We know what is standard, what is best practice, and what is unusual.   

In-house dev resources

Technology solutions take a variety of approaches when it comes to developmental support. Some are willing to walk you through every step or provide easy plug-ins designed to complement the most common cart solutions. Others provide basic documentation with the assumption a merchant’s team will be able to handle the integration autonomously. An agency with a dedicated technology department can bridge this gap, offering additional support where it might be needed, speaking both the language of the technology and of the merchant so that a program can get implementation right the first time.  If development resources are strained on a merchant’s team, an agency can assist with testing, troubleshooting, documentation and research to ensure tracking is integrated properly. A merchant will also want to be able to lean on someone internally to add the tracking elements directly to their site or through their tag manager.

Timeline

If merchants are looking to get a program in place before a key season, selecting a technical solution with a proven publisher base could be the best choice. Many networks specialize in specific verticals: footwear, retail, finance or insurance.   Others may have a better footprint for geographical reach, or better cost-of-entry terms to make it easier to test the waters.  Most of the highest revenue-driving affiliates  will have a presence within all of the major networks and platforms.  Balancing the technology’s publisher base with recruitment tool solutions will help a merchant gain traction as they grow. An agency like PartnerCentric can make sure merchants are taking advantage of the best opportunities in the space by providing an independent 360- degree approach to what’s out there, where they are, and how to work with trusted technology partners to canvas the space to everyone’s benefit.

Marketing Content

No matter what solution a merchant chooses, their affiliate partners will promote their brand through tracking links. These can live in banners or basic text and product links. Being prepared to provide high quality images, content and product feeds before the program launches will expedite the launch process, and will help merchants see the return on investment much sooner! Being prepared, and knowing what resources are needed from the merchant’s side is half the battle.

Attribution and analytics

As a merchant, even if you’re only looking to pay your affiliate partners for a specific action (a lead or a sale), integrating multiple parameters  across multiple conversion or touch points can drive program success. While you may not incentivize a publisher for page visits for example, tracking your consumer behavior and their entire journey on the merchant’s site can provide excellent data to help make smarter marketing decisions as the program grows. This information can be leveraged to build the best commission strategies, as well as lowered costs in your other channels. Program growth and cost efficiency are not mutually exclusive if done in a smart, thoughtful, and measured manner.  

So where do you start? Researching some of the available solutions can be a great first step to see what tools will best meet your needs. If you would like more guidance, contact us!

The post Affiliate Marketing 101: Navigating the Technology appeared first on PartnerCentric.

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So what is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing, at its core, is about partnerships. In essence, websites promoting offers (or “affiliates” as we’ll learn in the next section) want to work with merchants to promote their products and services, and in return they get a commission for the value they drive for those merchants (typically sales or leads). Because these affiliates have audiences and untapped consumers that the merchants want to reach, this provides a win for all parties involved.

The affiliate gets paid, the merchant gets more new customers or sales, and the customer makes a purchase or completes an action that benefits them. Additionally, the affiliate invests in the marketing campaign upfront, and the merchant only pays on the desired actions once they have already happened … the beauty of performance marketing!

How does it work and where does PartnerCentric come in?

Key players in affiliate marketing:

The advertiser: Also known as a merchant, retailer or brand. This is you. The advertiser can manage their program and affiliate partnerships on their own, or with an outsourced program management agency (like PartnerCentric) to start and grow their affiliate program. Some networks offer a certain degree of managed services but an OPM agency will give you the most strategic and hands-on, independent approach that is tailored to grow your business.

The affiliate: Also known as a publisher or influencer. Anyone that can reach new or returning customers on behalf of an advertiser to drive a desired action. This is achieved through various strategies including blogging, social shares and mentions, reviews, email campaigns, mobile,  loyalty programs, discounts and special offers among many others. What’s in it for them? Affiliates earn a commission from the advertiser, to compensate them for the value (typically a sale or a lead) that they drive.   

The customer: Makes a purchase, fills out a form or completes an action after interacting with an affiliate. The affiliate gets paid once the action is successfully completed.

The networks and SaaS solutions: How do these partnerships work? They have to be tracked, reported on, and then paid. A network or a tracking SaaS solution is the foundation of an affiliate program. Relevant affiliates (because you certainly don’t want a heavy metal blog promoting Tommy Hilfiger apparel) are recruited to an advertiser's program (and receive an invitation from their network/platform to join the program). The managing team lives and breathes in these technology solutions, updating links, banner ads, text ads and creative, product catalogues, and everything that affiliates will need to successfully promote you. In addition to being a management portal, these technologies track the consumer journey, offer affiliate and advertiser reporting, and disperse the commissions to all of the affiliate partners.

The OPM agency: This is us. Think strategy, expertise, and execution. Agencies offer a full-service and strategic approach to program management, properly setting up and leveraging the network technology, recruiting and optimizing the right affiliate partnerships, and ultimately ensuring your affiliate program is a success. They can work directly with an advertiser’s in-house staff or fully manage the program. Additionally, agencies can work with multiple networks, which gives them more reach and ensures that the advertiser’s program is successful.

What are the benefits of working with PartnerCentric as my OPM agency?

Our team aims to be the affiliate marketing extension of your company. We take a hands-on approach with our full-service clients and our tenured account managers dive in fully from day one. Because we have cultivated over 60,000 relationships and take a network and platform agnostic approach, our clients are getting strategic support to grow their programs without the need to play favorites. If one technology is more successful with a specific vertical than another, we will always choose the best option for our clients. Additionally, our full-service clients get an entire team of dedicated experts in account management, compliance and technical services to their account, not just one person. At least five team members are touching the program in a significant way every day, with your lead account manager spearheading strategy and acting as quarterback internally.

What should I think about before I start an affiliate program?

Before you start an affiliate program, it’s important to have an understanding of the budget that must be allocated, and who is paid for what.  

Technology: You’ll need a solution to track, manage and grow your program. Networks typically charge a percentage of revenue or commissions paid to affiliates.  SaaS solutions charge a flat fee based on the volume that goes through the solution.

Affiliate commissions: You’re paying the affiliates on performance. Build a cost effective program with a strategic commission structure based on competitive Intel and publisher benchmarking, and proactive technology, which an agency like ours can guide you through. Commissions vary based on the value a partner drives for you, for example, you’d want to pay a content partner differently than a coupon partner.

Agency Investment: Think of this like an in-house hire, except instead of one junior “head” you get a team of seasoned industry experts and no ramp up or training required. Our team never learns on your dime.  We are the trusted advisor, the confidante, the manpower, and the extension of your team you've been looking for to help you meet and exceed goals.

While we hope this provided a high-level overview of affiliate marketing, please reach out to our team to learn more about how this channel can help grow your business. We’re always here to help.

Contact sales@partnercentric.com.

In our next post, we will cover what is needed to start a new affiliate program from a technical perspective. Stay tuned!

The post Affiliate Marketing 101: Your Guide to What It Is, How It Works and What to Consider Before Getting Started appeared first on PartnerCentric.

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What You Should Know About Working with a Performance Marketing Agency on a PI-only

vs. Retainer Model

Picture this scenario: You’re reviewing your current marketing strategy and want to see if your brand will experience significant growth and ROI by utilizing the affiliate channel. Perhaps you already know a little bit about how the industry works or maybe you’re starting from zero. What do you do next?

We understand that when it comes to paying for a service, you want to make sure you are getting the best advice. At PartnerCentric, we are trusted advisors for our clients, which means we’ll always be honest and completely transparent, especially important when it comes to budget and costs.

There are a few ways that performance marketing agencies set parameters around how they get paid. Some will only charge a retainer, which is meant to cover operational costs as well as performance. This is often seen as a higher flat monthly fee. Others will have a smaller retainer as well as PI (performance incentive), which often takes the form of a percent of sale, commission, or other share of the performance being driven. And yet others will work on a strictly PI-only basis, which is often the model that those attracted to affiliate marketing are drawn to, as a pay-per-performance driven channel. However, while it might sound like the most cost effective option, the PI-only structure isn’t always in the best interest of the client or program. Below are some reasons why investing in an agency that requires a retainer may be in your best interest:

A retainer ensures your program is being proactively managed, not just maintained.

An agency’s retainer ensures that their operational costs are covered, so they are positioned to proactively manage and grow your program at all times; not just when they are making a return on peak seasons or promotional periods.

When an agency gets paid on a PI-only basis, growth may be achieved using strategies that are not in the best interest of your brand. Rather, the focus can become one of quick, not smart, growth as increased program revenue results in increased agency revenue under this model. Typically, growth incentivized this way comes from high-volume discount partners, which presents itself as rapid success but eats into margin if not properly managed. A PI-only relationship with your management team could prevent steady growth and optimization while potentially increasing fraud. In the short-term, it feels like you’re paying less because you’re not committed to a retainer but you may really be losing money along the way due to mismanagement, overpaid partners, and loss of margin.

At PartnerCentric, you get a full team of experts to manage your program and they each bring a unique set of skills to ensure that your program is seeing ROI quickly and strategically. We make sure the agency and client are aligned on goals and expectations and focus on data-driven management. You will see the results of our work every step of the way. We aim to be an extension of your team and always put your success first. We’re primarily focused on growing relationships with a thoughtful approach, and always consider the integrity of the brand in our recommendations.

A PI-only agency tends to put all the eggs in just a few baskets.

At PartnerCentric, we have a healthy mix of diverse partners that we utilize to grow your program. Depending on the goals and needs of your brand, we can use a combination of email, content, mobile, loyalty, and coupon publishers, just to name a few. This ensures that we aren’t relying too heavily on just one partner and can be nimble when it comes to recruiting the right affiliates.

Conversely, there is huge margin and concentration risk with hiring a PI-only agency. Often, they go for high-volume “plug and play” affiliates, resulting in only two or three partners driving 75% or more of the revenue. If one of those partners leaves, the program is immediately in trouble and loses significant revenue. Because the goal is to grow as quickly as possible with limited regard to stability and maintenance, there isn’t an emphasis on choosing strategic partners, diversifying your partner portfolio, or preventing this very top-heavy mix. At PartnerCentric, we make sure our clients are in the position of calling the shots for their program, instead of being at the mercy of their top few partners.

A retainer agency is always looking for ways to save you money.

A PI-only agency has little incentive to ruffle feathers with partners so they are less likely to negotiate and reduce commissions. They want to keep everything as smooth and easy as possible with those top two to three partners who are driving 75% or more of your revenue. We have seen cases where partners were grossly overpaid and under-performing when we took over management of a program.

Our team has over 60,000 partnerships and we aim to save our customers money wherever we can. Because our base costs are covered, we will negotiate commission rates and paid placements with affiliates to get you the best possible ROI.  We genuinely care about the success of your program, and success is not always seen as simple growth - reducing cost, incrementality, increasing ROAS, and diversification are just some of the additional KPI’s we care about.

The safer bet.

If you are someone who cares about your brand’s value and wants to work with high-quality affiliates, you’ll appreciate a premium agency that is always looking out for your best interest, not our own. We’d love to hear from you.

The post The Perils of Only Paying for Performance appeared first on PartnerCentric.

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Just a decade ago, influencer marketing wasn’t a concrete strategy that brands were employing because it didn’t really exist. Sure, there were bloggers and various YouTube channels dedicated to fashion, reviews and trends but the brands were still setting the rules and telling consumers what they should be purchasing. Oh, how times have changed!

In a modern world full of competing viewpoints and general information overload, consumers want to know that they are making well-informed decisions when it comes to the brands that they support. The much-discussed millennial generation is comprised of over 75 million Americans. There is endless chatter about how to engage these millennial consumers. While it is known that they want to spend money on experiences and brands that aim to do good, how come so many large brands find it so difficult to connect with these coveted consumers?

Influencer marketing has become a great tool for brands to access because it allows them to reach a targeted audience in a more authentic way. A millennial might not trust a large clothing brand, but if their favorite blogger is touting the clothing and the company’s ethics, that millennial could very well turn into a loyal follower and consumer. Here are just four reasons why you should make influencer marketing a part of your overall marketing strategy:

  • Consumers Want Trusted Brands Only - In 2015, the percentage of brands people trusted in North America was only 22%. That’s quite low when you consider the fact that every brand wants to be considered reputable and attract loyal consumers. The term “influencer” is bestowed upon individuals who have built trust in order to grow a targeted and loyal following. If a brand works with an influencer and that influencer gives an honest review of a product, it builds trust for the brand. A consumer will feel comfortable making a purchase because a blogger they admire and respect has touted the benefits of the brand.
  • Authenticity is Valued - According to Forbes, “43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news.” Consumers are savvier than ever and want to make sure they support genuine brands who champion causes and are honest and clear with their values. The easiest way to convey this authenticity is to work with influencers who respect the brand and vertical. They often have a targeted group of followers who engage with them for their honesty. The key here is to work with influencers who understand your brand and who are authentic with their reviews and opinions. Fortune 500 brands can often appear “faceless.” Because they are so large, they can’t connect with consumers the way an influencer can. Influencers aren’t on the corporate payroll and have more freedom to express themselves in a “real” way. There are no canned statements and PR departments when you’re a blogger telling people about the brands and products you genuinely like.
  • Know Your Audience to Make Meaningful Connections - Plain and simple, make sure you understand the audience you’re trying to connect with before you consider influencer marketing. A fashion blogger won’t build meaningful relationships with your target audience if your brand sells car accessories. Know how your intended audience thinks and understand their unique demographics.
  • Take A Targeted Approach - Now that you know how influencer marketing can help your brand connect with targeted consumers in a genuine way, how do you get started? REACH is PartnerCentric’s service offering that focuses on engaging influencers. We act as an extension of your team and partner with the best and most relevant influencers for your brand. With our years of knowledge and expertise in the industry, we have established many meaningful relationships with influencers and understand their unique audiences. Based on campaign objectives, we then report on chosen metrics.

The ideal REACH clients are brands that are looking to begin or expand their influencer marketing efforts, regardless of whether or not they have an existing affiliate program. If you’re ready to see what influencer marketing can do for your brand or just want to learn more about REACH, contact us.

The post 4 Reasons Why you Should Invest Dollars in Influencer Marketing appeared first on PartnerCentric.

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Choosing an Affiliate Management Agency vs. Managing the Affiliate Channel Internally

We get it. With so many opposing viewpoints and endless how-to articles, it’s hard to know how and where to manage your affiliate program most effectively. At PartnerCentric, our goal is to implement your program right the first time and ensure that it is performing optimally. With a team of dedicated industry experts, we employ strategies that are tailored to your brand’s unique needs so you can see faster ROI.

After 6 months of PartnerCentric taking over management for a large retail-based client, traffic grew by 33% year over year and sales revenue grew by 59%. If this stat isn’t reason enough to work with us, below are some other points to consider:

A Dedicated Team of Experts

An in-house affiliate manager often works alone and can’t rely on a centralized team of experts to assist with creative, recruitment, analysis and tech. Instead, these team members are often in different departments and are far removed from the affiliate marketing channel. Due to this, the affiliate channel falls by the wayside in a sea of competing initiatives.

PartnerCentric provides a unified and experienced account team who work together to deliver strategic solutions and get results. Every member on the account knows what is happening with a program and can provide support and insights in order to present unique solutions based on their individual expertise. While your in-house affiliate manager has to wait their turn to receive internal resources from other departments, our strategic affiliate manager has a dedicated services team to support them, ensuring their time is spent on high ROI activities. Finally, there are no competing marketing channels, priorities to juggle, or company politics to navigate. We are 100% focused on your affiliate program’s success and will keep you informed at every step of the process.

A Wide Span of Meaningful Relationships

An organization that hires an in-house affiliate manager will only be able to leverage that person’s previous experience and reach.

PartnerCentric touts over 60,000 partnerships and knows how to leverage those existing partnerships to help your individual program. There is no one-size-fits all solution to fully optimize a program and we provide a team of industry veterans who know how to drive success. We have experience working across 16 different networks globally, and are not limited to any one platform or network. Additionally, we maintain benchmark data on every affiliate partner, client vertical, and paid placement opportunity. An in-house team is unable to reference such benchmarks in order to optimize partner conversion rates, improve ROAS or negotiate lower cost paid placements with specific ROI goals. Lastly, in-house teams are typically not kept up to date on changing legal matters like Nexus, international laws or tax forms for partners. We have a team solely dedicated to these matters.

Always Optimizing

In order for an affiliate program to be successful, it needs to be properly managed. There is no set-it-and-forget-it solution if you want growth and ROI. It is often tempting to hire someone with limited experience to effectively manage an affiliate program because there is a misconception that affiliate marketing is simple to implement.

At PartnerCentric, you get a robust team that invests a lot of time and energy into making sure your program is doing as well as it can be and the right tactics are being employed. Our account managers have an average of 10 years of experience in the affiliate marketing industry. They have seen the space evolve and have evolved right along with it. They know what it takes to bring a program to its full potential and they understand that it’s often a team effort driven by research, data, insights and tech.

Long-run Cost Savings

Organizations are often lead to believe it is cheaper to hire an in-house affiliate manager. At PartnerCentric, many of our clients move to us after testing an in-house resource and quickly realize that the cost of their underperforming program far outweighs the savings from an in-house hire. For the price of one new hire, you get 5-6 affiliate experts added to your team. You also get complimentary technologies and tools, like compliance and fraud monitoring, as well as proprietary technologies for protecting margin. No onboarding, employee training, planning meetings or hand-holding required; just an immediate expert team providing faster and higher ROI.

Facing the Facts

When we take over programs that were previously managed by in-house teams, we usually find and fix just some of the following issues: Overpaid and underperforming partners, lower ROI relative to benchmarks, missed growth opportunities, compliance and traffic quality issues, concentration risk with 10 or fewer partners, coupon cannibalization, and tracking issues. With the ROAS lost from mismanagement and lack of optimization from an in-house manager, can you truly afford not to work with an affiliate marketing agency?

Have more questions? Ready to see how PartnerCentric can cost-effectively grow or jumpstart your affiliate program? Contact us today!

The post Why Should I Work with an Affiliate Marketing Agency? appeared first on PartnerCentric.

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We all know there's fraud out there – in fact, it’s a huge buzzword in digital marketing right now. Truly, it is crucial that all affiliate marketers monitor the quality of their traffic and converters. Picture this: You are an e-commerce jewelry company. Your affiliate program is skyrocketing, revenue is strong and everyone is happy. But suddenly, all that jewelry everyone bought is being returned. All your beautiful converters disappear in a puff of smoke. This type of problem happens too often in affiliate marketing.

PartnerCentric takes an extremely vested approach to handling fraud. Below are just a few of the ways we ensure compliance:

  • Our Internal Support team proactively monitors known violators network-wide
  • Your dedicated account manager is constantly on the look-out for major changes or discrepancies week-to-week by publisher to identify trends that seem suspicious
  • Vanity code and promotional audits are conducted bi-monthly to proactively address any potential issues

Additionally, here are a few other best practices to prevent against fraud:

  • Analytics - Look at the quality of your visitors that are converting via certain partners. Now, we know that not everyone has the best tracking tools but even with a free version of Google Analytics, you can see metrics that indicate if these partners are truly high quality. Did the consumer come to your site, spend 30 seconds on the site and then buy a $10K ring? That’s a sign to start digging.
  • Customer Reps - Track the returns, refunds, and complaints from each affiliate partner. Sometimes this can involve walking over to your customer reps team and talking with them about something a consumer said. But if your consumer is calling to say, “I was incentivized to buy this ring and return it,” you might have a problem.
  • Legality - Make sure your affiliate marketing agreements state that if a product is returned, the commission is de-valued or nulled. That way, you are also making sure your company isn’t losing money. In addition, make sure your agreements also have strong minimums in returns/complains. If, suddenly, ten of out of the last fifteen purchases made are returned, there needs to be a solid legal plan to opt out of the contract or stop using the affiliate.

By incorporating these best practices, you will be on your way to having a strong affiliate program. To learn more about how PartnerCentric ensures that your affiliate marketing program maximizes ROI while protecting it against fraud, contact us.

The post Controlling for Quality: How PartnerCentric Avoids Affiliate Marketing’s Bad Rep appeared first on PartnerCentric.

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One constant always true for an affiliate program is the goal to differentiate from its competitors.  We can do this through payouts, product offerings, publisher communication and the tools available to those publishers.  What I’d like to focus on in this article is one of the most important tools we can provide our publishers: the creative they use to put our products and services in front of the customer.

Updating the main creative of a program is often overlooked and can lead to a poor representation of your company’s brand as well as the products you are trying to sell.  Not only that, but this area is a ripe opportunity for you to interact with and convince your publishers that your program is worth running.  Publishers want to know that you are just as invested in the affiliate model as much as they are, if creative is updated on a consistent basis this will assure publishers that you are invested.   Giving publishers access to a strong creative arsenal can increase a programs performance on two fronts, with both conversion and activity.

Putting new creative in the hands of your publishers is just one aspect of developing a strong creative footprint.  Before supplying new banners or text links, they should be tested on your own campaigns in various channels.  This way you can tell publishers with confidence that they have the best creative for their type of marketing and what kind of conversion to expect.  Available data on performance allows publishers to push out budget for campaigns quicker and get your program in front of more eyeballs.

Recently, one of my clients, Allianz Global Assistance, conducted a publisher survey where we found that publishers felt having strong creative assets was just as important has having a strong product offering.  With this information in hand we took a look at our creative library and worked on creating a piece of creative that would be worthwhile for publishers to take notice of and incorporate into their marketing channels growing both their commissions and our revenue.  This new creative was a quote widget as seen below:

A creative tool such as this widget brings the consumers one step closer to the publisher and reduces the chance of losing them once they make it over to the merchant’s site.

As mentioned, there are many ways to separate your program from the herd.  Building out a creative library and keeping it relevant and useful is one of the more cost effective ways of creating more activity in your program.  Not only will your publishers appreciate the time and effort you put towards your brand image in their tools, but the testing you do to make sure that creative work will also help your other channels be more profitable.

The post The Importance of Being Creative appeared first on PartnerCentric.

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Calling all 'pinning' fanatics!! Whether you're looking for the perfect dinnerware to impress your in-laws, seeking inspiration for your living room decor or hunting for the perfect outfit to wear to your company holiday party, Pinterest is the pretty little hub for all things fabulous.  Its status has grown exponentially and quickly become the place where shoppers everywhere start their journey to from first-click to shopping cart check-out! This is why we are SO excited that Pinterest is allowing affiliate links again!  This infographic says it all on why this is such great news. Take a good look because Pinterest is about to transform your affiliate program!

Happy Pinning!

The post Infographic: 'Tis the Season for Pinterest Affiliate Links appeared first on PartnerCentric.

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