Value of Outsource Program Management Agencies – By Jonathan Goodwin

by Sara Szado on November 13, 2015


The affiliate channel adds significant value to online marketing efforts, and many merchants face challenges selecting an effective, successful management team. Should the merchant outsource their affiliate program to an agency (OPM)? Hire in-house? Utilize other resources?

Proper assessment and analysis of all options is necessary to ensure their investment yields the highest dividends. Each option offers benefits, which is why finding the right management team will help determine your ability to achieve your affiliate channel goals.


A well-constructed affiliate management agency has the bandwidth, expertise, and proven ability to maximize affiliate program results. By taking advantage of industry-vetted talent, brands can minimize program ramp-up times and reduce some risks associated with a staffing decision.

Affiliate channel development demands copious time and attention. That alone displays the benefit of working with a market-tested resource. Recruiting, activating, and testing optimization tactics, working with hundreds or even thousands of affiliates takes considerable time to figure out what works and what does not.

OPMs have tested strategies and relationships within the affiliate community to fully understand and cater to consumers for each affiliate. Each publisher is unique, requiring appropriate promotional methods to engage their consumer demographic.

From loyalties, coupons, daily deals, or comparison-shopping affiliates, an experienced OPM will easily cater to each segment. In order to achieve the goals for the affiliate channel, the OPM must align their strategies with the client’s goals and initiatives, and deploy the right tactics to achieve the client’s goals.

Often times, OPMs are the most expensive option, however, the ROI you receive from a group of seasoned professionals with their resources, tools, and expertise yields excellent results.

Everyone Else

Merchants need bandwidth and creative ideas to drive the incremental revenue needed for an effective affiliate program. Most options outside of an OPM do not have the ability to devote the time and attention required. Many of these options are cheaper for merchants to utilize, but typically focus only on the low hanging fruit.

Although in-house management teams may accomplish a lot, due to focusing on a single client, OPMs have the proper resources to cover what’s needed to manage programs effectively.

Most in-house management teams consist of one person, whereas an OPM may have three people working on several accounts, with support staff. Not only do you have a team working on your program, but also they have opportunities to brainstorm with other seasoned marketers in their company on the best strategy for the program.

Agencies are also well acquainted with publishers in the industry, and have established relationships, whereas most in-house managers are new and must take time to cultivate those relationships.

Choosing the right management team is very important. Merchants want a team with the experience and expertise to grow the channel. Time and the right strategic methods separate OPMs from everyone else.

The team approach to affiliate program management creates opportunities to utilize more expertise and breadth of experience than any single person can provide.

Jonathan Goodwin is the Director of Accounts at JEBCommerce.

This article appeared in issue 31 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in August 2015.

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