To establish a successful affiliate program, it is essential to build lasting relationships with the right publishers to determine who are "good" publishers (a) understand the goals of your business and (b) have the data to help you understand which publishers are likely to help you achieve those goals.
Here I will guide you in the process of identifying good editors for your brand, using examples based on our company's data to demonstrate that good affiliate partnerships – in combination with your other marketing activities – can help you. achieve your business goals, no matter what they are.
1. Identify KPIs for your business goals
Affiliate marketing is often associated with driving immediate sales. However, the truth is, you can set up your affiliate marketing business in different ways depending on what you are trying to achieve.
This sounds simple, but understanding what you are trying to accomplish in the first place, rather than thinking "we need an affiliate program," is essential to identifying effective partnerships with publishers. That's Marketing 101: Start with your goals, identify the corresponding goals, and then identify the specific KPIs associated to help you understand how to achieve those goals.
For example, one of the goals associated with brand awareness is reaching new audiences. The associated key performance indicator would increase the number of new users visiting your website. Beyond that, your goal might be to make sure that you reach the right audience – that is, to find people who are truly interested in your brand and your products. The goal would be to increase the commitment, and the KPI could be to increase the average number of pages viewed per user.
Further in the funnel, your goals will likely be to increase sales and revenues; an associated KPI would be an increased conversion rate.
Once you've identified your KPIs, you can start thinking about how affiliate marketing will fit into the mix. How do you know which publishers are good at impacting these KPIs?
2. Using data to identify good potential affiliate partners
There are three things to remember when using data to help identify potential successful partnerships:
- Make sure you have complete multichannel data throughout the user's journey so you can measure your KPIs at all levels of the funnel.
- Segment this data by new and existing customers, so you can accurately measure the performance of your acquisition and retention strategies.
- Make sure your data is accurate enough to identify each interaction at the publisher level.
With these three elements in place, you will be able to identify specific partnerships likely to have – or who already have – the best impact.
For example, our data shows that three of the top 10 US affiliate publishers to attract new users are content / influence publishers, each of them attracting at least 80% of new users. This suggests that companies seeking to increase brand awareness by attracting new users can confidently test new partnerships with relevant content publishers.
For companies looking to find people who are likely to be very involved in their products or services, our data shows that seven of the top 10 affiliate publishers have a high number of page views, which is indicative of a high commitment. So, investigating loyalty or rebate partnerships is probably not a bad starting point.
For companies looking to increase sales and revenue by attracting the most likely customers to buy, we found that six of the top ten publishers attracting visitors with a high conversion rate are publishers of Loyalty. That said, coupon publishers are also in the top 10, so depending on your brand, they can also provide successful partnerships.
By digging deeper into the data, we can see the shades by vertical. For example, if we look specifically at the apparel and accessories industry, fewer content publishers appear in the top 10 publishers to generate new user visits .
However, two shopping publishers are appearing, resulting in a new percentage of users of about 72%. If you are a clothing retailer looking to attract new customers, these data demonstrate that these publishers could be appropriate partners to investigate
3. Test, collect and collect your own data
The data we have examined so far is grouped between a number of US clients and a range of industries. Aggregate averages are an excellent starting point, and the data relevant to a particular industry is even better, but each brand is different.
The fact is, not all affiliate publishers will be suited to your goals, industry, or brand. It sounds simple, but it's important to take this aggregated information to help you identify the right partnerships to test, then test your own campaigns and measure them – both on the basis of immediate and longer-term performance.
Watching immediate performance will help you understand which partnerships earn you quick wins; further performance analysis – for example, by examining the repeated buying behavior and lifelong value of customers brought by this initial affiliate partnership – allows you to understand the value to more long term.
With these two points of view on your data, you will then have a clearer idea of the partnerships that work best for you and your goals. Based on this specific understanding, you will be able to evolve your affiliate strategy and increase its effectiveness.
4. Remember the multichannel context
So, at this point in the process, you've identified potential affiliate partners to help you achieve your business goals. The use of other marketing channels to the same end will increase the impact. As such, it is essential to measure performance in a way that allows you to see the impact of your marketing channels on each other.
For example, say that you have identified that you are working with a publisher partner who is particularly effective at attracting users with a high conversion rate. As I mentioned in one of my previous Land Marketing articles, one of our American customers saw its conversion rate increase by about 25% when the display was involved in the consumer journey, demonstrating that these two channels work well together.
The identification of the channels that have the most influence on each other allows you to test the positive impact of running a campaign on these multiple channels .
By having a good understanding of what you are looking for and having access to data to help you make informed decisions about publishers that can help you achieve these goals as part of your other marketing activity, your marketing Affiliate is more likely to succeed – just like your marketing campaigns as a whole.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.