Finding and onboarding affiliates.
Deciding commission rates.
Handling currency conversions and taxes.
The to-do list goes on and on when you have an affiliate program to run.
That’s where robust affiliate marketing software can make all the difference. But that also sounds tedious. There are numerous listicles with recommendations. How do you choose? How many integrations and platforms do you need?
This primer on affiliate marketing software will help you answer these questions. We go over:
- What is affiliate marketing software (in simple terms, we promise)
- The benefits your ecommerce brand can experience when you have software to help you out
- How to pick the right affiliate marketing software
We also go over what NOT to do while using and choosing affiliate marketing software. You will also get some of our best recommendations. Get ready to step up your affiliate marketing game.
What Is Affiliate Marketing Software?
Ecommerce brands use affiliate marketing software to manage their affiliate marketing programs. The software assists with aspects like:
- Affiliate discovery and recruitment.
- Management of your affiliate network. This includes onboarding, sales tracking, coupon creation, and commission payments.
- Analytics and reporting based on affiliate sales.
- Integrations with other tools that assist with your sales cycle.
Affiliate marketing software helps you create, track, and grow your affiliate marketing program.
Why Do Brands Need Affiliate Marketing Software?
Brands need affiliate marketing software to facilitate increased sales for their affiliates. You hit higher revenue targets when affiliates earn more or attract qualified traffic to your online platforms.
Affiliate marketing as a tactic helps with:
- Accelerating brand awareness and reaching a broader audience through diverse affiliates
- Increasing conversions
- Generating social proof
These tactics contribute to the ROI of an ecommerce brand’s marketing efforts.
Affiliate marketing software, helps with:
Automating Tedious Manual Processes
Setting up and running an affiliate marketing program requires the following:
- Researching affiliates and finding those that work in your niche. They must have a good reputation within their industry or a large following on social media. Alternatively, they should show growth potential.
- Negotiating and putting together terms of your partnership. These include contract provisions, KPIs, commissions, etc.
- Supporting your brand affiliates with training material and resources.
- Tracking affiliate performance across different timelines.
- Scheduling payments, calculating commissions, managing taxes, and activating multiple payment options. For example, fewer affiliates will sign up if you offer just PayPal or one or two payment options.
- Tracking royalties.
You can complete all these steps manually through an unspeakable number of Excel sheets…or you could just use affiliate marketing software to automate the process!
Unlocking Efficient Access to Technical Documentation
Let’s talk about contracts and tax management. There are a large number of online formats, forms, and templates. Each communication you send to the affiliate leads to a piling number of emails and instructions.
You can access a streamlined set of contracts, invoices, and emails with affiliate marketing software. With everything in one place, managing all this documentation becomes easy.
Avoiding Affiliate Fraud
Anura is a leading fraud detection software. They report that 45% of affiliate marketing campaigns are not secure enough to avoid fraud. Affiliate fraud can occur through fraudulent lead-generation techniques and cookie stuffing. These will lead to massive losses for brands.
When affiliate fraud hits your ecommerce brand, your reputation among top-performing affiliates also dips. If you don’t have talented affiliates by your side, is there a point in having an affiliate program at all?
You can vet affiliates and encapsulate fraud detection in the campaign life cycle with affiliate marketing software.
Providing Tailored Commissions and Independence to Affiliates
An affiliate who commands a generous following or has an excellent record will only work with flexible affiliate programs. This means having:
- Multiple payment options
- Timely payments
- High commission caps
- Ongoing support and training
The bottom line is: The less red tape they have to go through, the better they perform.
You need to provide this flexibility and independence to your affiliates. This comes partly from sophisticated tracking of their performance. You also need to understand their individual needs and requirements. That’s the only way to unlock their long-term potential. You need affiliate marketing software that allows for variations in affiliate campaign processes.
What Makes a Good Affiliate Marketing Software
Most affiliate marketing solutions you find online will have intersecting features and benefits. One way to filter your search is to devise a checklist of non-negotiable factors. Some of these will be unique to your ecommerce brand’s model. Other criteria include generic requirements like easy-set up and intuitive UI.
Here are the other nine parameters to identify good affiliate marketing software:
- Powerful Fraud Detection Features
The security of your brand collateral and your affiliates across any affiliate platform or software is instrumental to your affiliate program. A built-in/integrated fraud detection tool is vital. It will save your ecommerce brand tons of money in recovery.
- Real-time and Intuitive Dashboards
Affiliate marketing software is only as good as the value a non-technical ecommerce brand can get out of it. That means intuitive dashboards that are easy to understand. Your marketing team should be able to translate these into forecasts, case studies, and other reports. The data points must be digestible and in one place.
Another aspect of this is that the dashboard should be able to give fast insights. It should let you tweak your campaign with real-time inputs.
- Multiple Forms of Affiliate Tracking
With advanced tracking and reporting, you run your affiliate program with a deliberate strategy. Third-party cookie tracking is not the only option out there. The more diverse your tracking capabilities are, the more you can get out of your affiliates.
- Free Trials
Affiliate marketing software should ideally be a part of your long-term marketing tech stack. Carefully deliberate over the features and benefits of an affiliate marketing software before committing to it. This approach will help you avoid the burden of switching later on. Your affiliates will appreciate you for it. You can experiment with multiple software options through free trials before picking.
- Extensive Network of Affiliates and Robust Search Features
An affiliate marketing software that promises to help with the affiliate search should have a vast network for you to tap into. Filtering affiliates that are a good fit for your brand should be easy. Competitive affiliate marketing software makes this discovery process uncomplicated through relevant filters.
- Storage and Sharing of Brand Resources
The affiliate marketing software should allow brands and their partners to systematically organize all communication, files, and brand collateral for easy reference.
- 24/7 Support
Affiliate campaigns often hit roadblocks midway. Having immediate help to iron out the issues can lead to salvaging lost returns. The following will be integral to your affiliate program:
- Readily available training resources
- Tutorials for initial setup and specific processes
- 1-on-1 live support
- A Large Number of Integrations
Do not think just in terms of the integrations you are using currently when you assess this parameter. Keep in mind the increase in integrations as you grow. You will need payment integrations, shop integrations, referral integrations, and many more. Your choice of affiliate marketing software should support this.
- Multiple Options for Commissions
Your goal is to offer affiliates as much independence and flexibility as they need to convert your customers. It is vital to offer diverse commission options incentivizing them based on the type of purchases, sales numbers, clicks, performances, etc.
5 Mistakes Brands Make While Using Affiliate Marketing Software
Here are five mistakes to avoid while choosing or using affiliate marketing software:
- Not executing the full capabilities of the affiliate marketing software. Brands commit this mistake to prevent complicating the affiliate program.
- Not offering beta access to your existing affiliates. Let them identify obstacles and test your affiliate marketing program.
- Ignoring the insights of the affiliate support assigned to you within the affiliate marketing program.
- Not training your affiliates or supporting them in understanding how to use the software.
- Expecting to generate results from the affiliate marketing software instantly.
Examples of Affiliate Marketing Software
There are many affiliate marketing websites, software, and network options you can choose from. Here are some to kickstart your search process:
GiddyUp offers an international network of marketing partners as potential affiliates. The affiliates do a small-scale test run of advertising your products on their channels to their audiences. Only then do you onboard them as affiliates for your ecommerce brand.
GiddyUp also provides marketing strategy services, funnel creation, and testing of brand creatives. Brands must fill out a detailed form about their offerings and budget. It chooses brands based on this form. This due diligence indicates (to some extent) that they will partner with you only if they can help you scale.
Refersion supports your affiliate marketing goals from start to end. It offers:
- Discovery and recruitment of the right affiliates through keyword/platform search
- A network of 3M+ affiliates
- Management of payouts and multiple tracking options
- Unique tracking capabilities
- It acts as a one-stop affiliate marketing software solution.
Refersion provides a custom dashboard to track affiliate performance. It automates campaign approvals, email communication, payment schedules, and other logistical processes. It also includes tax management support, such as compliance with W-9s and 1099s. You get 24/7 support with Refersion. You can explore its 2,000 app integrations with a 14-day free trial.
GoAffPro has an affiliate network of 2.8M. It onboarded over 50K ecommerce stores in the past year. It boasts a clientele of skincare brands like Juicy Chemistry, Sublime Life, Minimalist, and Plum Goodness. Its custom affiliate portal allows you to track them effectively across campaigns, from landing to conversion. It offers payouts through PayPal.
GoAffPro facilitates integration with over 10 store platforms, including Wix, Squarespace, WooCommerce, and Shopify. It guarantees 99.99% uptime and 24/7 support. Brands within the $1M revenue earnings band with 1-10 employees use GoAffPro the most. It also provides support for MLM plans.