If you are currently managing an affiliate program, I’m sure you know who your Publishers are. Perhaps you could even tell me the number of Publishers that have applied, been approved, and been declined over the life of your program.
But do you truly know who your Publishers are? Two questions I think are important to analyze are: “Which Publishers are driving your sales?” and “What kinds of sites are your sales coming from?”
Just like a tree, for a program to fully flourish and bloom it must have many strong roots.
Take a look at a monthly performance report of the program. When you pull out all the sales from the month, group the transactions by Publisher.
Count up how many individual Publishers are actually sending the sales from the month and what percentage of the sales each Publisher represents. You want to be able to identify if the program is overly reliant on a very small number of Publishers.
So for example, you may have 100 transactions in a month and realize that all of the transactions were sent from just a fraction of your total Publisher base. If this is the case, there is an opportunity to increase performance by activating a greater number of Publishers in the program.
It would be stretch to say that a program could have 100% of their approved Publishers driving sales, as there will always be some level of inactivity. That is to be expected. But, as a general rule of thumb, I like to maintain the following ratio: 30% of the Publisher base consistently driving traffic, and 10-20% of those Publishers consistently driving sales.
The other percentage to look at in your monthly sales report is what percentage of overall sales is represented by each Publisher? Perhaps there is a good number of individual Publishers driving sales each month, but if one Publisher is responsible for 90% of the sales, the program is very vulnerable.
If the foundation of your program lies in just a handful of Publishers, the whole program will crumble should you lose that Publisher. Just like you wouldn’t build a house on top of one pillar, you don’t want to build your whole program around just one Publisher.
While you have those monthly numbers pulled, the second piece to look at is the sites bringing in the sales. As you review the list of Publishers that have generated sales, take a look at what types of sites your transactions are coming from. The more diversity there is in the make-up of your transactions, the stronger the program will be.
One way to build diversity in the program is to create activation campaigns that are targeted for the specific types of Publishers you are looking to engage. For example, if the program sales are mostly comprised of coupon sites, the Advertiser may want to focus on activating product niche, or content Publishers.
Below are a few examples of the different types of Publishers and the tools they could use to start generating sales.
Coupon Publishers – Coupons! Provide regular fresh deals such as free shipping, site-wide sales, dollar or percentage-off specific product, BOGO. Beyond providing deals and coupons, consider offering exclusive coupons or codes to your top Publishers. Be sure to always provide the deals well in advance allowing the Publisher time to post the coupon.
Paid Search Publishers – Provide keyword lists of some top terms and phrases that you see traffic trending from. Include long-tail phrases and variations of common terms. These Publishers would also be interested in some of your consumer demographics to help them identify high potential ad regions or even to create compelling ad copy.
Bloggers – These are content focused sites that will be looking for story ideas.Provide background information on specific brands or products you carry. Or send samples of new product releases. Bloggers would also benefit from knowing the seasonality and demographics of the site.
Product Driven – Sites that feature specific products such as price comparison sites or niche sites will be looking for a well categorized and up-to-date product datafeed. Be sure your datafeed includes clear images, product descriptions, current pricing, available stock, and indicate best sellers and new arrivals.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.