Affiliate marketing is a mainstay of any modern digital performance campaign, if managed properly affiliate programs can lead to very profitable revenue streams.
Affiliate marketing is a kind of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliates own marketing efforts. Affiliates can also be executives from your marketing team.
The key players are:
1. The merchants like any brand or retailer. E.g. Flipkart, HP, Homeshop18.com, Simplymarry.com, HDFC Life, Jabong.com, Vistaprint.in, Lenskart etc.
2. The network who is a middle man between affiliate and brand, can be solution provider also. Includes Advertising Network like iCubes, Cuelink, VDOPLA, AffiLeads.in. Affiliate Consultants like ZEDO, Komli, Tradedoublers, SPOTON, Google, netCORE, adChakra.
3. The Affiliate or Publisher: The guy who drives the traffic that he wishes to be paid for. They are divided into 3 categories:
- Network Affiliates like CORE, KOmli etc.;
- Aggregators like policybazaar.com, bankbazaar.com, APNA PAISA etc.; and
- Publishers like Google, Blogger, WordPress etc.
4. The customer who is a kind of unsuspecting customer who the affiliate attracts to the brand.
5. The technology provider that is implemented to track affiliate performance, manage creative offers, outreach & automate payments.
6. An agent to manage all of the above & alleviate the client’s headache.
Some questions asked during the webinar were:
1. For Life time cookie drop, what happens when customers keep cleaning cookies in browser side?
Answer: There are two way: if the model is based on pure cookie tracking then affiliate may have chances of losing the sales. But if you have an CRM system which is able to log the initial refer for that customer and CRM system always has it so that affiliate can rollback that sale. Then you could still run that log simultaneously. In that case affiliate system would be wonderful scenario where he/she can use the brand in maintaining that the customer is associated with particular affiliate. So you could go beyond the cookie, use your CRM to determine pay-outs but to be honest those kind of affiliate programs are little bit tenures as affiliate might deliver just once and other channels might work hard to get back customers to the channels. You keep paying affiliates and they might not be adding values.
2. Usually people start work when they are coordinating with affiliate marketing that running it across multiple affiliate network. Then how to optimize advertisement across multiple affiliate network. Give any suggestions?
Answer: With creativity if person go for proper reporting in place say for example, the PHT System which shown at the end, that system is going to tell you indebt reporting on a creative units itself so as to show which affiliate is selling and which units driving the sales. One can do those comparisons in terms of creative units. In a case of dynamic system where the creative units would be pulled up, a request has to come to excel to which system is attached with to get creative units and then those units get pulled up to affiliate websites. With that sort of scenario one can change the creativity on the fly through affiliate management platform. If suppose I know the affiliates are running on creative A, I can track that. So the affiliates themselves linking back and fro to creative servers and using whatever creative an organization have. You can also do spin testing or AV testing where you launch program to check which creative units adding value. Likewise if you want to get sort of good deal for creative then I advise to looking for the agency that manage your display or your privacy sort of things.
3. There is an ad network called icubeswire which does not reveal their websites they are planning to use for promotion? Is there any specific reason that you can think why they do that? (Assuming affiliates in this case in place of websites).
Answer: Some networks monitors, comes and say I am going to give you CPL access and they mask all the information coming at the backend. Now if we got some good software where link text system will be able to tell us exactly from where networks visitors are coming. On running the link on network, we get over their referring past even if they don’t tell you where they are coming from you are able to get the information. Lot of networks make them blind and that the curse they might do things that they shouldn’t be doing. Say for example, they might be doing some other stuff where let’s say I run a PPC campaign. I brand the bet on your brand and you run my PPC campaign at say hours of 8 o’clock in night till 8 o’clock in morning. So they are making sure that you are not going to check your PPC during that period. They switch connection on then off. So it’s called brand trapping where they get sales at night and disappear. If you go for good systems you can track and see that kind of activity. Also if they decide to do instead of activities where by….there are lots of dirty things affiliate might do. There would be cookie running for example. Have you been on some website and you click something over a sudden 20 pop ups comes up i.e. your systems bombarded with 20 different affiliates. So these things you should be remind of. Some can intentionally send an email with a virus that emails clicks contains the cookie bomb. Where that email is going out and out, so you got a lot of spread of cookie at the base these are some of the darker things that affiliate can play out. So the masked network, one shouldn’t go for it because we want to know from where the traffic is coming from. I don’t say that we don’t operate with them as an advisor we might use a mask network but we assures the quality of the networks coming in and if that network does not convert the sale then that can be thrown off and in some cases we do not argue with the networks because if I am paying my standard click to conversion is 3% and I am paying and your output is 0000.1% that what scenario may happen.
4. Do sales for CRM and Microsoft dynamics have some provisions in this? Since there are lot of questions regarding B2B scenarios, so considering if sales are happening offline are there ways to integrate the CRM tools with the affiliate network tools so that one can actually do end to end tracking?
Answer: Yes, we need to understand the time beyond the CRM system and at your end as a brand. It is all dependent on lead identifier, so it might be affiliate system which uses this to identify the unique provisions in CRM system which will allow that unique identifier to pass through a CRM system. Let’s say the consumers comes in then they drop a lead at that point you need to take their name, address etc. You need to take the identifying source and you need to pass this information into the CRM system so that it is capturing. Then only you go to do report on that. Just make sure that when your affiliate program linked in then you can also have a clear identification of them that where they come from. And ideally you take one step further to say that this came from this affiliate program, this is the affiliate and this is the source of it. You have to go three steps to identify the affiliate but at minimum you need a single identification. That might require an s/w solution or a person with good technical skills.
5. Lot of questions regarding working model. Lots of business thinks that lets get the conversion, or conversion is not ready for the affiliate program. When they should switch to affiliate network or get some agency involved. What are your suggestions in terms of marketing?
Answer: Lot of the affiliate networks like Netcore, Ivcommission have POC based models where you pay for the lead and that’s a very simple thing. You can stray a lead page, pay traffic attention, generate leads but at the backend you want to make sure where your leads came from and from where your leads get captured so that these are the leads, this is the commission etc. based on that you have to start validation. Make sure that if you are doing weekly backup or monthly with some excel data like that, you’ll be able to see whether this is working or not. Like old digital marketing you have to see each and every touchy feeling, if it works or its ok don’t spend too much money to shut it off. You are willing to make some sort of investment then see something that does work and if something does work that you can scale or that is sustainable then always try for that business, just keep very simple thing to operate initially. Invest more money only if you want.
6. I could not kind of see things in sales force. I been working on this since quite some time and how does affiliate marketing help me in ERP system for UK and Ireland where local agencies like Ofstate and CQC monitor everything?
Answer: To plug into sales you definitely need, or you have to work with some sales force cell to do integration properly. It’s not a straight forward probably. If the lead captured firm then you need to integrates into sales force after which you need to create just another field which will be message pulling whichever your identifiers are instead of sales force. Sometimes you actually need to do direct implementation with only sales force. The easiest way of doing something in UK, is going to one of the larger networks like Trade Doubbler, Affililate Future, By apps etc. They have huge affiliate basis which crossed over and in sector program in UK and Ireland, they would do work but then going to affiliate program in UK you probably going to spend crores of money. Like basic program might cost one somewhere around 5-10 lacks just to keep a things on place. To reach those markets one wouldn’t try from here, he / she should try to take on the affiliate in there UK or just plug in one of the easiest network instead of affiliate networks out there and then get the things rolling. This is the easiest way to initiate and to get the things rolling. You find very difficult to turn managing director to yourself and getting hold of affiliate.
Interested in similar Webinars? Join our upcoming Webinar on ‘How to covert more customers through Email Marketing‘ on Feb 19th by Punit Modhgil, Managing Director of Octane.in