10 New Year’s Resolutions for Affiliate Marketers in 2019

Becky Doles

A man watches fireworks and celebrates the new year

Photo by Ryan Wong on Unsplash

Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? If you’ve got yours all set for the gym but are stumped when it comes to business (specifically crushing your affiliate and performance marketing goals), we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 resolutions we recommend to launch your performance-based partnership game to the next level in 2019.

Repeat after us:

⏳  I will save myself (loads of) time by buying instead of DIYing.

Development time is one of the largest trade-offs networks and advertisers face when comparing whether they want to buy a partner marketing solution versus building one in-house. For example, developing core tracking, reporting, and payment platform functionality often requires at least six months of full-time focus for two to three engineers and an additional 75% of their time post-deployment for daily maintenance. Barring the need for exceptionally unique capabilities and massive network volume, these are investments that seldom pay off.

Another important factor is the time required to bring a new platform to market and help users familiarize themselves with key functions. For performance marketers focused on generating revenue as fast as possible, a leading third-party affiliate tracking solution should be expected to accelerate time-to-market and be both flexible and easy to learn.

Need help keeping your resolution? We recommend checking out: Buy vs. DIY: Considerations for Scaling Your Ad Network

📈  I will live by the motto “ABT”: Always Be Testin’.

Ask any veteran performance marketer what has made the most impact on their success, and, aside from “the right partners,” we’re willing to bet their answer is testing and optimization. That’s because the most successful performance marketers are always willing to test, test, test any and all variables in a campaign. Subject lines, CTAs, images, offers, even background colors — different combinations will yield different results. And remember: even when campaigns are performing well, there’s always room for improvement.

Finding the optimal mix of these variables takes time. A performance marketing platform with robust analytics and flexible data streaming can help, and is usually the best way to understand which combinations are the most successful.

Need help keeping your resolution? We recommend checking out: A/B Testing With the Multi-Armed Bandit Approach: What It Is and Why You Should Be Using It

🤖  I will make friends with AI.

If you’ve hesitated to dip your toes into new smart technology, make 2019 the year you get after it. Managing partnerships at scale requires care and attention to detail, but automation can help. Instantly knowing which partners are meeting, exceeding, or failing to meet acceptable parameters is great. Automatically notifying, warning, turning off, or dialing up affiliates and traffic is even better.

While artificial intelligence has a way to go before it can truly revolutionize performance marketing, it has at least made intelligent, worry-free campaign optimization possible today.

“As more marketers and more channels adopt performance frameworks, it will be critical for marketing platforms to build in more automation and AI to help marketers make the best decisions at scale.”

– Lucas Brown, Co-Founder of TUNE; founding architect of HasOffers

Need help keeping your resolution? We recommend checking out: Performance Evolution: Putting the Brand Budget to Work

🤝  I will prioritize new partner relationships.

Our research indicates that there are five key reasons for the performance marketing industry’s 10% compound annual growth rate. The most important? Performance-based partnership marketing is simply more flexible and expands marketing reach when compared with traditional marketing. Still need convincing? Learn why it will work for you.

Need help keeping your resolution? We recommend checking out: An Introduction to Affiliate Marketing for Your Business

🎯  I will master targeting.

Android and iPhone users have different tendencies, so it’s crucial to tailor campaigns to use the appropriate parameters, including device type. It ensures your offers are targeted to the traffic you and your advertisers care about. If you aren’t using device targeting, you could be bleeding money.

Performance marketers should also become familiar with advanced targeting, which allows you to create specific rules based on how to target preferred audiences. Whether targeting by operating system, device brand, or custom defined rules, you need to get into the nitty-gritty of targeting to get the most bang for your buck. You can even get as precise as only accepting clicks from specific sub-publishers based on the IDs passed in by your publisher.

Need help keeping your resolution? We recommend checking out: The 7 Deadly Sins of Mobile Performance Marketing

📱  I will track post-install events.

Forward-thinking networks that are serious about growth need to be measuring which traffic sources drive users with the highest LTV. Setting up offers but not tracking post-install events is leaving money on the table. If advertisers want users to continue to complete actions after they download an app (isn’t that the point?), offer goals must capture and track these events, and then pass payouts to publishers.

Speaking of payouts: While CPI is still valuable, consider shifting more focus to a CPA-based model to encourage affiliates to bring in more engaged (and profitable) users.

Need help keeping your resolution? We recommend checking out: Pixels vs. Postbacks: Which Tracking Method Should You Be Using?

🖥  I will up my landing page game.

In the fast-paced world we live in, brands and advertisers have to capture their customers’ attention almost instantly. If they don’t, chances are they just missed out on a sale.

A big part of getting a customer’s attention comes to creating a simple, responsive, and fast landing page. As SEO company Moz puts it, “Because of hardware and connectivity issues, page speed is even more important for mobile users than desktop users. Beyond optimizing images, you’ll want to minify code, leverage browser caching, and reduce redirects.”

Need help keeping your resolution? We recommend checking out: The Importance of Mobile Optimization

♻️  I will add redirects to all my offers.

Even if there is not a similar offer available, sending visitors to any offer is better than a dead link or a 404 page. When offers get paused or expire, there is always going to be some residual traffic. Make sure to set a redirect so that traffic isn’t lost.

Need help keeping your resolution? We recommend checking out: 9 Best Practices for Affiliate Programs and Networks

🛡  I will do my part in the battle against fraud.

It’s clear that, for now, fraud isn’t going anywhere. But marketers, advertisers, affiliates, and networks are taking on the issue by working together and increasing transparency, openness, and trust. Advertising fraud and marketing fraud will never be 100% eliminated, but marketers need to be assured that the vast majority of their spend is warranted, safe, and fraud-free.

“The issue of fraud needs to shift to focus on trust. Fraud is reactive; trust is proactive. And trust requires relationship.”

– Lucas Brown, Co-Founder of TUNE; founding architect of HasOffers

Need help keeping your resolution? We recommend checking out: How Performance Marketing Industry Leaders Are Taking On Fraud

💯  And above all else … I will have reliable cross-device measurement.

Having a dependable, accurate partner tracking platform should be every performance marketer’s top priority to enter the market. Without it, affiliates and advertisers won’t work with you, you can’t build effective relationships, and your chance at succeeding slips away.

Networks and advertisers can no longer afford to make mistakes when it comes to performance marketing. With the pace the market is moving, mobile ad networks must be precise in their targeting and tracking methods. The formula to success is multi-faceted, and you have to be able to oversee everything: tracking customer journeys across devices and operating systems, identifying quality traffic sources by analyzing lifetime user value, preventing conversion discrepancies by monitoring all campaign settings, passing device identifiers to ensure attribution, remaining compliant with GDPR and other privacy and security policies, and so much more.

Need help keeping your resolution? We recommend checking out: Best Practices When Choosing an Affiliate Marketing Platform

Here’s to a Successful 2019!  🥂

Now we want to hear from you — what are your New Year’s resolutions for 2019? Tell us in the comments below or join the conversation on social media.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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