What Super Affiliates Need from Affiliate Networks – By Jonathan Brown

by Jenae Reid on October 27, 2017


Large “super affiliates” have a particular set of needs. Rather than relying on only click-to-access links and network reporting interfaces, larger affiliates with proprietary technology platforms need data instead of tools. As Wickfire has integrated with more than a dozen affiliate networks, we’ve learned what networks should provide and what agencies and advertisers should look for when choosing a network or tracking technology.FeedFront issue 40 cover

Click-Level Tracking

Almost all networks support Sub-ID tracking, allowing affiliates to pass an identifier for each click that ties to generated sales. However, not all support unlimited unique Sub-IDs, but rather allow an affiliate a finite number, which only allows channel-level tracking (which shows whether a user came from Google, Facebook, or a specific webpage). Unlimited unique Sub-IDs allow affiliates to tie a sale back to a unique user action, which is critical for optimization.

EPC Data

Program EPC (Earnings Per Click) data is extremely useful for larger affiliates as it allows them to prioritize what advertisers they work with. Alternatively, networks sometimes provide ranges, “bars”, or rankings. While these are helpful, specific EPC information is preferred. This helps affiliates determine whether their performance is in line with others, estimate program conversion rates issue, and allows affiliates to often be the first to identify tracking issues in the network.

Clear Terms & Conditions

Networks should require clear terms and conditions from advertisers and present this information in a standard format. Effective networks provide special sections for keyword bidding restrictions, for instance, which simplifies reading and understanding terms. Others go even further by providing a matrix of promotional methods with what’s allowed or not.

Reliable Contact Information

Affiliates need to know who they should contact regarding a program, whether it’s a network representative, an agency contact, or an in-house program manager. Larger affiliates often have questions about terms or want to send proposals for future work, and these need to get to the right person. If an affiliate network provides no or bad contact information, it is much more difficult to grow sales and build the affiliate-merchant relationship.

API Parity

Large affiliates need data in-house for prioritization, optimization, and sending to platforms like Google Analytics for conversion tracking, so it’s important that networks provide as much data as possible via an API. Most large affiliate networks do provide APIs, but they often do not include all data available through platform interfaces. The most critical data to provide via an API:

  • A list of all advertisers (not just the advertisers the affiliate is joined to), including EPC data
  • All tracking links and creatives for joined advertisers
  • Commission-level reporting, including click-level Sub-ID, sale time, and sale amount

In addition, it’s important to have complete documentation for the API. One item often missing is how reversals are captured. Does the commission disappear, does the amount get set to zero, or is there a reversal state? Because many networks represent data differently, it’s important for affiliates to understand this for accurate reporting and sales predictions.


Jon Brown is Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer of Wickfire.

This article appeared in issue 40 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in October 2017. https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-40




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