9 Best Practices For Affiliate Networks

Josh Todd

tune partner center

2019 Update: HasOffers has rebranded to TUNE! TUNE is the same great technology behind HasOffers, now enhanced with new tools and features for affiliate networks and performance advertisers. Check out our new network features page, compare network pricing plans, or read the rebrand announcement.

There are plenty of factors that set great affiliate networks apart from the rest of the pack. Some of them are obvious. You need to have great offers (preferably exclusive), competitive payouts, and excellent support from your affiliate managers. But beyond that, there are some simple things to keep in mind that can make the experience of working with your network a lot easier and more productive for affiliates.

1. Write a Proper Description for Each Offer

I cannot understate the importance of having a clear description for each offer in your network. Without it, affiliates are essentially flying blind. By providing them with the details here, you are making a preemptive strike against confusion down the road.

Your offer description should include the following:

  • Action required to trigger a conversion (i.e. “submit first page” or “install application”)
  • Traffic types allowed (i.e. Display, Search, Social, Email, etc.)
  • Traffic types NOT allowed
  • Specific restrictions (i.e. “No bidding on trademarked terms”)

Pro Tip: In TUNE you can use HTML tags in your offer description to help make the information more clear with bold type, italics, etc.

2. Set the Right Geo-Targeting for Each Offer

Quality can vary wildly from one country to the next. Make sure you clarify which countries your advertiser will accept traffic from. Once you have done that, be certain to set the allowed countries from your offer settings page. This is the preferred method, as simply putting the country in the offer title can be overlooked by affiliates. Furthermore, if you set the geo-targeting in the offer settings, affiliates are able to search for offers by country.

3. Create and Set Offer Categories

Offer categories are another way that you can optimize your affiliates’ experience using your network. Affiliates can sort the offers by category so they can quickly locate the ones they are interested in promoting. You should create a category for each vertical or type of offer that you have. Common examples would be:

  • Dating
  • Diet / Health
  • Finance / Insurance
  • Games
  • Surveys
  • Mobile Apps
  • Retail

4. Allow Affiliates to Place Their Own Pixel

Waiting for your affiliate manager to place a pixel can be one of the most annoying things as an affiliate. Whenever possible, be sure to allow affiliates to place their own third-party pixel or server postback tracking on your offers. This makes it’s quick and easy to setup a campaign, especially on nights or weekends when your support staff is unavailable.

5. List Contact Info for Affiliate Network Managers

Being able to contact your affiliate manager is crucial for affiliates. Don’t forget to list the full contact info for your affiliate managers in your platform. Email is practically a requirement these days, but it is also beneficial to list a phone number and a preferred messaging app (Skype, text, WhatsApp, Slack, etc.) contact method as well. The more accessible your affiliate managers are, the more comfortable affiliates will feel doing business with you.

6. Upload Your Affiliate Network’s Logo

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. When affiliates come to your platform, you want to have your best foot forward. Uploading your company logo to your tracking platform will instantly give you more credibility and give your network a professional appearance. Make it easy for affiliates to remember where they found that awesome offer!

7. Upload Offer Thumbnails

Offer thumbnails are the little pictures that appear next to the title when affiliates are looking at the list of offers in your network. It’s remarkable how much of a difference it can make to have these uploaded and displayed in your system. A list of offers can be a bit drab without them, and a good offer thumbnail can catch the eye of an affiliate where they might have just closed the page and moved on.

8. Set a Separate Preview URL and Default Offer URL

A preview URL is designed for affiliates to get a quick look at the landing page of an offer. No geo-targeting or redirection is applied. That means that even if your offer only accepts traffic from the UK, anyone in the world can click the preview URL. Furthermore, if you are brokering the offer from another network and you paste the actual tracking URL into the preview URL, your affiliates can just bypass you and get the offer direct from your source. This means lost revenue for you.

If your advertiser doesn’t give you a preview URL, simply click through the tracking link in a browser, wait for the page to fully load, and copy the URL from the address bar.

9. Always Set a Redirect Offer

When offers get paused or expire, there is always going to be some residual traffic from affiliates that didn’t switch out their links fast enough. Make sure to set a redirect in your tracking platform so that traffic isn’t lost. Even if there is not a similar offer available, sending it to any offer is better than a dead link or a 404 page.

More Info for Affiliate Networks

Hopefully these points will give you a head start in setting up your affiliate network to be successful right from the beginning. If you are an affiliate network veteran and have your own tips for new affiliate networks, be sure to leave them in the comments below, or head over to the TUNE Blog to get more information.

Josh Todd

Josh Todd, TUNE's VP of Product, is an innovative product management leader with 12 years of experience in the partner marketing industry. Prior to TUNE, Josh ran an early mobile-focused affiliate network, wrote a marketing blog, and generated thousands of leads for advertisers via targeted media buys.

10 responses to “9 Best Practices For Affiliate Networks”

  1. Sevil Cycle says:

    Nice share Josh, Thanks

  2. Rafael Zelik says:

    This is great!
    Just got your newsletter and saw our shiny affiliaXe logo making appearance. We love this kick ass logo too 😉

    Nice post Josh.

  3. miguel says:

    Goog post, I hope that other affiliate networks will apply this techniques in the future

  4. Michael D. Rich says:

    Great share, Josh. I dig #8 – you would be surprised how often an affiliate network sends the offer URL, rather than a preview link. It can quickly become frustrating for an affiliate wanting to review a landing page, but the page is redirecting when the user is not located in the targeted country. Some affiliates have proxy; however, many do not.

    How did you come up with the list? Market Research? Your own experience? I can imagine you have access to a lot of data working w/ HasOffers 🙂

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