The Importance of a Diversified Publisher Base By Jonathan Goodwin

by Cruz Alvarado on February 1, 2019

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Summary: Having the right mix of affiliates and contributing to the overall affiliate revenue is critical to the success of the program.

One of the most critical elements of a successful affiliate program is ensuring it does not heavily depend on a specific publisher segment. The affiliate contribution should be distributed amongst several types of publishers, such as coupon sites, voucher affiliates, technology partners (i.e. site solutions), sub-affiliate networks, and most importantly, influencers.

Each of the listed publishers bring different and unique value to the affiliate program as each has its own extensive reach and audience. Leaning on the extensive reach of these publishers can mean larger reach, more brand awareness, new customers, and a new affiliate marketing channel.

While it is important to have a solid mix of publishers in the channel, it all starts with strategy. What do you want the affiliate program to be? If the strategy is to focus on new-to-file (NTF) or acquisition, then publisher revenue contributions will differ from that of an ROI-centric affiliate program.

However, the commonality between the two executions is the need for affiliate diversification within each strategy and approach. Managing an affiliate program is a marathon, not a sprint, so activating partnerships in different divisions will help build a revenue generating program.

There are drawbacks to hosting an affiliate program heavily dominated by select publisher segments. An example of this is an affiliate program driven by coupon affiliates. This could indicate an affiliate program is severely underperforming and could be an area of missed opportunity.

The focus should be optimizing other affiliate partnerships, loyalty sites, technology publishers, content, and the like. Will Gaines, Senior Marketing Manager at DigitalRiver has a unique take in support of diversification. It is as follows:

Maintaining a diverse partner marketing mix is crucial to managing a successful program. Changes to search engine indexing algorithms can severely hamper search partner revenue. Expansive new privacy laws can hurt your email publisher revenue overnight. A management decision to move away from discounts and promotions could suddenly mean you can’t work with those publishers anymore. If you keep a diverse based of partners, you will be able to pivot and adapt to whatever the market throws at you. Diversify—good advice for your investment portfolio, and your affiliate program.

There are many types of affiliates in the industry. It’s important to be patient and make sure the affiliate manager explores all segments of publishers. Recruiting, activating, and optimizing are the key essentials in affiliate program management.

Being heavily dependent on one or two affiliate segments leads to an active, but not prosperous, affiliate program. Exploring other partnerships in the channel, understanding what those affiliates need to be successful, testing strategies, and optimizing those partnerships will make for a more rewarding affiliate channel.

Jonathan Goodwin is UpSellit Solutions’ Partner Executive, with eight years of experience in digital marketing. This article appeared in issue 45 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in January 2019: Visit Here

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