Reprinted from Affiliate Marketing Blog with the permission of the author.
As you may have heard earlier this week Google has announced that it is retiring its affiliate network [see a good commentary on the likely reasons here].
Thousands of advertisers (from brands like Target, Puma, Jos. A. Bank, Under Armour and other major names to smaller businesses) are now facing the tough task migrating their affiliate programs to new platforms. With these businesses in mind I have decided to put together a cheat sheet to make their life a little easier.
Here are the 5 main steps that you want to take to move your affiliate marketing program elsewhere (in the next few months while Google winds down Google Affiliate Network):
Step 1: Do Your Due Diligence
Engage in high-level competitive intelligence to figure our what your immediate rivals (or closely related advertisers, if you don’t have much direct competition) are doing. Look at their affiliate program terms (payout structure(s), cookie life, locking periods, bonuses, policies) and, of course, the platforms on which they run their programs.
Step 2: Choose Platform
Your options will range from affiliate networks (here are just a few in an alphabetical order: Affiliate Window, AvantLink, Commission Junction, LinkShare, ShareASale) to platforms which allow you to manage the program entirely in-house (like HasOffers, DirectTrack, ImpactRadius, and others).
Step 3: Negotiate & Sign Contract
Do negotiate before you sign! If the platform’s compensation is in some way connected with the performance of your affiliate program (as is the case with most affiliate networks) and you already have an established affiliate program, the time spent on negotiating the deal will be the time well spent.
Step 4: Set Up the New Program
Migrate your creatives, data feed (if you have one), text links, as well as affiliate program policies. Also, if you go with an affiliate network and you’re using tools to monitor network-specific compliance with your terms, don’t forget to set those up to monitor violations on your new network!
Step 5: Announce to Affiliates
And give them plenty of time to migrate and switch links. Explain the importance of migration, provide all the necessary knowledge to make it easy for them (an FAQ devoted just to this may be pertinent), and ensure full support of all affiliates during the migration.
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.