Remember that pivotal moment when “Gangnam Style” invaded your ears? It was a catchy tune – but the real magic was Psy’s infectious enthusiasm, captivating audiences beyond his native Korean borders.
That is the effect that a multiple affiliate network strategy can have on your affiliate program.
Working in a single affiliate network can offer you some positive outcomes – but for ambitious e-commerce businesses looking to grow, the downside of working in a single affiliate network, means you could be wasting valuable time growing your audience reach and slowing your partner program onboarding. You could be missing out on bigger growth opportunities from niche partnerships that aren’t in that single pool of affiliate network contacts.
For mid-sized e-commerce businesses (SMBs), navigating the affiliate marketing landscape, it can feel like traversing a high and terrifying mountain peak. Each step could lead you to a win or lose situation. While working in one affiliate network offers you a seemingly safe harbor to begin with, restricted publisher outreach can stifle your business growth and slow your program growth progress too.
In today’s hyper-connected world, the key to unlocking explosive affiliate expansion lies in a strategic plan that leverages multiple specialist networks to build momentum and create synergy between your desired outcomes and your target KPI’s.
A 2022 study by McKinsey & Company recently highlighted that diversifying marketing channels by 30% leads to a 15% increase in customer acquisition.These compelling figures underscore the transformative potential of venturing beyond the confines of working in just one single affiliate network and group of partners and publishers.
So apart from these stats, why are two networks perhaps better than one – in this instance?
Affiliate networks cover a broad range of partners to invest in – however , can miss hidden gems. Smaller, niche publishers with first party data, ad networks and lead generation partners with traffic sources that can cater to specific audience types, like mobile savvy consumers, the eco-conscious or even millennials in Asia may not be members of the network you’ve perhaps partnered with.
Partnering with networks that have a specialism in vertical or traffic type can unlock a goldmine of targeted niche traffic to test en masse with little fuss. Ensuring your products land in the right shopping carts is vital to your business growth so placing “all your eggs into one network basket” – could have a slower impact on your affiliate program growth.
Similarly, if you’re looking to target local influencers or offline to online some networks that have local on the ground publisher recruitment teams attending smaller in person events and networking to find new leads, can really help you leverage these niches at the start of your program journey along with helping you to tailor your outreach and onboarding to help you get the right relationship fit helping your program to scale.
Imagine explaining the nuances of your organic skincare line to an affiliate in Tokyo through a pixelated video call in a language that they don’t really understand. The saying lost in translation could impact how the partner positions your product and brand.
vCommission, for instance, boasts experienced sales teams on the ground in key global markets from the US to India, speaking the local language and understanding cultural nuances and helping to showcase client brands to partners in local areas. Additional networks you partner with can act as your cultural conduit using local interpreters, empowering local partners to promote your brand authentically and effectively according to your program terms.
As Bob Sparkins, of Leadpages, a top Advertiser in our global affiliate network affirms, this in a recent video testimonial received for work delivered in 2023 –“vCommission not only achieved a top 2 placement in our program but 71% of their leads convert to real paying customers which is phenomenal!”
This level of cultural understanding as you’re expanding your program and service into new markets – ensures authentic brand representation and empowers affiliates to champion your products to their local audiences with clarity and confidence.
Each network whispers to a different marketing melody. A multi-network approach lets you listen to a wider segment of publishers to fast track your learning of what’s working by gleaning insights into diverse audiences, buying behaviors, and campaign performances. This affiliate data symphony unlocks early identified product and promotion optimization opportunities, allowing you to fine-tune your strategy for maximum impact across multiple continents. More data equals more early learning that you can glean from helping you to correct course and fast track success.
Customer reactions may differ across markets and you can lean in to use this data to optimize your approach globally to find your niche without wasting valuable marketing dollars to test and learn.
As your brand blossoms, so should your affiliate network relationships. A single network might eventually feel like a cramped space to grow in. A multi-network approach offers more flexibility of where you can scale and leverage expertise. It lets you scale effortlessly, without having to hire in more resources for local partner discovery and recruitment. You can add network specialists into your strategy calls to augment your program growth adding or removing partners based on your evolving needs and global ambitions.
With every new network opportunity you onboard to your business you will also need to consider certain affiliate program cautions. Working with multiple networks can get tricky to manage efficiently if you do not set up the correct working parameters with each network partner. Here are a few key ways you can manage your growth and maintenance in a dual Affiliate network approach:
When you work with multiple affiliate networks, the risk of encountering fraudulent activities can increase because data is spread across different platforms and likely tracking different measurement metrics. To mitigate this risk, invest in advanced fraud detection and prevention tools or enlist a single BI dashboard to bring all the network data from multiple sources back to one single reporting platform. This can easily be done with a variety of off the shelf reporting tools or simply built in-house if you have development and data analysis teams internally.
Alternatively, look for networks that have robust fraud monitoring systems and teams in place to advise you on how to mitigate fraud risks as you onboard the second or third network partner. Publisher vetting and onboarding is key here. Ensuring a dedupe of publishers to avoid double dipping across networks and helping identify irregularities in traffic and conversions, allowing you to take prompt action. Additionally, consider setting up strict guidelines for program applications and approvals and ensure monitoring affiliate behavior and traffic sources are vetted closely before going live – to spot any suspicious activities early on.
Maintaining open and transparent communication with your affiliate partners and your network service account manager – is crucial. Clearly convey your expectations and policies regarding fraud prevention, outreach, onboarding and KPI’s you want to achieve. Monitor your program reports regularly and have monthly pulse check meetings to ensure things are working smoothly. Encourage affiliates to report any suspicious activities they come across. A transparent approach can foster trust and collaboration, making it easier to detect and prevent fraud collectively.
To minimize pricing cannibalization, segment your affiliate partners and target them strategically. Allocate specific products or regions to different affiliate networks based on their core competencies. By carefully mapping out which products or territories each affiliate network operates in and promotes, you can control the potential for price conflicts. Be transparent with your affiliates about these allocations to avoid misunderstandings too. Periodically review your affiliate partnerships and make adjustments as needed. Continuous monitoring and optimization are key to maintaining a healthy and successful multi-network approach.
Implementing dynamic commission structures can help you manage pricing cannibalization effectively. Offer tiered or differentiated commissions based on specific criteria, such as product categories or customer segments and pricing variances country by country. By aligning commissions with your business goals, you can incentivize affiliates to focus on areas that are less prone to cannibalization while ensuring that your overall profitability remains intact.
Conduct regular audits and assessments of your multi-affiliate network strategy. Analyze the performance data, track ROI, and evaluate the effectiveness of fraud prevention measures. Periodically review your affiliate partnerships and make adjustments as needed.
Provide ongoing education and training to your affiliates and equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to identify and report potential issues. Hosting webinars, workshops, or providing written resources can help keep affiliates informed and engaged in your efforts to maintain program integrity.
Remember, “Gangnam Style” wasn’t just a viral video; it was a cultural phenomenon. If you want your business to grow faster and reach more customers globally in a number of niches, embrace the multi-network approach as part of your affiliate program culture.
Your e-commerce affiliate program could be the next global sensation, captivating audiences and ringing up sales across the globe. So, are you ready to turn up the volume and unleash the full potential of a multi-affiliate network approach?
Contact our sales team today to find out more about how vCommission can help you grow your affiliate program this year!