Switching Product Categories – Before and After – By Jennifer Parker

by Sara Szado on January 31, 2016

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feedfront-33 cover-188x240Coming into a field as diverse and complicated as affiliate marketing as a newb advertiser can, at times, be overwhelming. Affiliate marketing, like most industries, employs a special language. So while you’re trying to decipher what CPC (Cost Per Click), DOI (Double Opt-In) and EPC (Earnings Per Click) are, you still have to do the grunt work of getting your program up and running. Switching product categories is not generally recommended, but it can be necessary. I found myself in that situation.

Here’s what I learned:

Different networks have varying degrees of transparency.

A network might ask you about your model for creating conversions (in the case of lead generation) or the types of products you sell and then serve up your banners and ads to the affiliates of their choosing. This kind of faith-based relationship should be monitored closely months after launch, and audited routinely thereafter.

I prefer the most transparent networks, where you can fill out your own information that will be accessed and viewed by potential affiliates.

Product categories can range from pretty vague—General Web Services—to specific such as Clothing.

Whether it was user error or a setting default, our program ended up in the General Web Services category, completely inappropriate for our lead gen campaign that promoted membership to our consumer survey panel.

There’s so much information being transferred when you’re signing up with a network that it can be easy to overlook even something as significant as advertising category.

For networks, in which you have much more input, make sure you pay attention to what category you choose. If you’re not sure, ask your contact what advertisers similar to you have done. For the less transparent network, have your contact explain in detail how they will be promoting your offer.

On networks where it is permitted, sign up as an affiliate.

ShareASale is one network that encourages you to sign up as an affiliate. This information has been invaluable to me. It has shown me where I stack up with the other advertisers in my category. I can see if my offer is competitive, or if I need to tweak it.

You have to ask to change categories.

Don’t do what I did and search through my account settings for an hour. Send an email to your contact or the network’s help desk and ask to switch to a more appropriate category.

Before switching from the disastrous (for us!) General Web Services category, the only affiliates in our program were ones that had been specifically invited to our program. Once I noticed the error and requested to be moved to the Freebies, Free Stuff, and Rewards Program category, requests from appropriate affiliates began pouring in.

Jennifer Parker is a Panel Administrator and Affiliate Marketing Manager at Decision Analyst.

This article appeared in issue 33 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in January 2016. http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-33

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