You are probably here because you are at that stage of growth for your ecommerce brand where the question, “What more can we do?” is clawing at you and your marketing teams. You may be dipping your toes in the world of affiliate marketing for the first time. Or, you are wondering how to overhaul your current program because your competitor research shows their affiliate program is bringing in more ROI on a smaller budget.
When you are done reading, you will have a good idea of how to establish a thriving affiliate marketing network. We will also equip you with a few options to consider as you start your due diligence on which affiliate marketing network to choose from.
Mistakes Ecommerce Brands Make While Doing Affiliate Marketing
Here are the three most common mistakes when setting up affiliate marketing programs:
Mistake #1: Not Structuring Your Affiliate Program Well
Putting together an affiliate program is more than about bringing a group of affiliate marketers and influencers together. There are numerous guidelines you need to put into place, and it has to be clear what your KPIs and goals are (more on this later). You need to set realistic expectations among your affiliates and make the program profitable and worthwhile for them. Returns will follow when you approach the affiliate marketing program with the mindset of making it the best setup for your affiliates.
However, ecommerce brands often focus on generating returns. With this tunnel vision clouding their decisions, operative processes like structural guidelines, contract management, and flexible payouts go on the back burner.
Mistake #2: Choosing the Wrong Affiliates
Your marketing team (or if you are a one-person army) may need more time to vet every affiliate you bring on board. You are unsure how well they will gel with your brand, but you may also be unsure how to test an affiliate’s potential.
There are many factors to consider when you want to know how effective an affiliate will market your products. You can look at the website traffic they bring in for their existing partners, their website, and how streamlined it is with your brand vision. You should also look at review sites to understand the previous experiences of their partners.
But all of this takes work. This vetting process is not a 5-minute checklist you can complete while prioritizing other marketing goals. Finding the right affiliates is instrumental to your program, and most ecommerce brands do not have time to commit to this process.
Mistake #3: Signing Up With Too Many Affiliate Marketing Networks
To increase chances of success, ecommerce brands sign up with multiple affiliate marketing networks. This can backfire because not every affiliate marketing network will be in line with their brand goals. Instead of partnering with a host of affiliate marketing networks hoping something sticks, ecommerce brands need to put in the time to find a flexible affiliate marketing network that fits their needs.
The 7 Best Affiliate Marketing Networks
You can avoid these mistakes with affiliate marketing networks by having structured programs and a ready network of affiliates so that you don’t have to vet them. Here is a list of affiliate marketing network websites to help in your search for the perfect affiliate marketing network:
ClickInc is a beginner-friendly affiliate marketing network with a low fee. One of its unique features is that it tracks affiliate IDs automatically without you having to input them one by one. This TruLink feature also enhances the SEO ranking. The robust fraud detection system relies on geolocation signaling to identify fraudulent transactions.
ClickInc has tiered commissions that allow you to customize the plan for individual affiliates. You can also set an overall or individual minimum/maximum payout limit. They have user-friendly reports that help you visualize changes in engagement and traffic on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
Refersion provides an all-inclusive affiliate marketing platform. From campaign management, payment, and tax handling, to discovery and recruitment of affiliates, Refersion has it all. With over three million affiliates, Referison is one of the most extensive affiliate marketing networks on the list. Like LeadDyno, Refersion also tracks first-party data and does store tracking and multi-domain tracking.
You can create custom campaigns and track all performances using the dashboard. They also have a unique filtering system that allows you to find affiliates based on platforms, keywords, and other criteria.
Similar to LeadDyno, Refersion automates emails, but it also automates campaign approvals and payment schedules. Refersion stands out among its competitors because they handle tax matters for the ecommerce brand, including W-9s and 1099s.
Awin gives diverse access to a trusted network of affiliates for its ecommerce partners. With affiliates covering 17 niches, Awin has one of the most assorted sets of affiliate experts. If you are an ecommerce brand operating in the following sectors, you will have a wide variety of affiliate partners at your fingertips with Awin:
Their master network has over 241,000 affiliates. They provide an internal tool that will help you compare affiliates. You also get access to their account management teams, which will provide you with financial guidance on setting up and sustaining an affiliate program.
Awin is also a favorite choice among affiliates because of its perks, so the quality of affiliates on Awin is high.
This affiliate network boasts of clientele like Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, and CNN. They rely on data-driven insights to power their affiliate platform. They have a global focus, with the aim to reach as many cross-border consumers through their affiliates as possible through a localized platform and regional strategies.
Their tech focus brings a lot of plugins for brands that sign up on their platform. These include proprietary ecommerce plugins, app tracking, data transfer, integrated tag managers, and so on.
They also have a tie-up with CreatorIQ, considered the “highest performing in-house influencer platform” by Forrester. Ecommerce brands can take advantage of this platform through CJ Affiliate to run successful and scalable influencer campaigns.
Avantgate is a platform for ecommerce brands looking for affiliates in the digital goods and software sectors. They are known for their swift and personalized support in setting up affiliate programs for ecommerce brands. With a professional affiliate manager that handles the brand’s needs and requirements, brands get support with setting up the program and finding the right affiliates without having to vet them individually.
Avangate facilitates thriving partnerships with a minimal logistical burden on the brand. Their reporting capacity is advanced, with numerous tracking insights available for the brand to analyze and base their marketing campaigns on.
LeadDyno focuses on providing fast setup and diversification of affiliate marketing programs for ecommerce brands. It uses first-party data for tracking, making it an ideal platform for when Google eventually phases out third-party cookies. Their weekly demos and workshops for ecommerce brands looking for best practices in affiliate marketing are valuable resources.
LeadDyno claims to have tracked over 240M+ referrals since 2014, and happy customers observe that they got leads from Day 1 using LeadDyno. They integrate with all the top ecommerce platforms, email platforms, and CRMs, making it a viable one-stop solution.
LeadDyno provides automated email options for communication with affiliates and partners. You can send them newsletters, too, outlining your new product offerings and other business updates. LeadDyno also equips its affiliate network with versatile tools and helpful resources so that it can bring in more sales for businesses.
They also have diverse commission options, including bulk payments and the opportunity to customize and build your commission structure. However, they do not have a mobile app for sales tracking.
With a whopping 229 integrations (barring Salesforce and Hubspot among the popular ones), Post Affiliate Pro is likely to support any plugins you may have. It also has advanced reporting capabilities. It provides insight country-wise and ad-wise, among other categories.
You also get a quick overview of your affiliates’ performances. Post Affiliate Pro provides your affiliates with a wide range of marketing formats so that they can present your product in the best possible way. They have a robust commission structure, allowing for commission groups, recurring commissions, and splitting commissions. Your commissions can be based on:
- Newsletter signups
- User registrations
- Any other action by a customer you may want to award an affiliate for
Post Affiliate Pro also has diverse tracking methods, including a variety of affiliate link styles, coupon tracking, and custom affiliate tracking codes.