When two become one, everything becomes a little bit better. I am not talking about personal relationships, but rather a network relationship. Once upon a time, there was a strong case for an advertiser to use two or more networks i.e. exclusive affiliate partnerships or increased reach, however in 2015 this is just not the case.
Below are the top three misconceptions I encounter as to why advertisers choose to use dual networks and why I believe you should stick to one.
1: ‘I am aiming to increase sales by joining an extra network’
I receive this response more often than I should, and sometimes it’s not just as a second network, but even as the third, or fourth! If your programme is not performing as well as it should be, then you need to look deeper, and assess exactly what you are looking to achieve, and why you may currently not be meeting business objectives.
It may sound obvious but, the more networks you have, the less time each network is going to spend on your programme, because the time invested will exceed the amount of revenue each additional network can make.
If as an advertiser you are not experiencing the sales you expected, then this may because of the following reasons:
- Your network is underperforming – Does your network have the relevant account management experience, platform technology and publisher relationships in place?
- You may not be investing enough time and resource to the channel and/or your network – The more network relationships you have in place, the harder this becomes.
Networks really do want your programme to work, so give them the opportunity to show you what they can do.
2: ‘We are looking for another network to manage the long tail’
As the number of bloggers and vloggers creating meaningful and trusted content increases, more and more advertisers want to tap into this gold mine. A recent survey conducted by affilinet found bloggers to be the third most trusted group of influencers behind family and friends. Real people are influencing purchasing decisions and advertisers are recognising this!
To truly spice up your affiliate programme with the long tail is no easy feat, but asking another network to solve this problem isn’t always the best solution. In some cases, where the advertiser manages a select number of top affiliates in-house, it may be beneficial to split activity. However, from a network point a view they should have the time, resource and experience to manage the whole process. This includes the following:
- A clear long tail strategy and vision as a business.
- A publisher team which is able to identify, develop and nurture new long tail publishers.
- A platform which is user friendly and appealing to bloggers and content sites.
- The ability to segment and profile publishers.
There are many benefits of being able to see the whole picture, managing both the long and short tail of affiliates. For starters, it’s possible your account manager will spend a great deal of time finding potential new partnerships, only to find they are on the other network. There are also huge opportunities to not only co-ordinate strategies, but to use the insight and data from the short tail to utilise more intelligent and targeted campaigns within the long tail.
3: ‘We do not want to lose sales by leaving our network’
I am going to keep this one short and sweet. This just will not happen. An effective network will have procedures in place to ensure a swift and smooth migration. This includes assistance with technical integration and increased resource to migrate existing affiliates.
It can often be an opportunity to identify gaps and rejuvenate a program and it’s highly possibly you may even see an increase in sales!
So, what are the benefits of using one network (Below are just a few)?
- Large amounts of resource invested by one network, results in more sales.
- Co-ordinated long tail and short tail strategy.
- Concise and clear reporting.
- Avoid duplication of sales.
- Less time spent logging onto different platforms and speaking to multiple people.
If for some reason you are not achieving exactly what you expected from the affiliate channel, have a deeper look at your current programme and see where the gaps are. If they can’t be fixed and there is no answer, then it’s time to “be a little bit wiser baby” and look for a network that can.