Bringing Affiliate Management In-House

Peter Hamilton

How to bring affiliate management in-house

Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

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Almost every major brand is starting to set up digital marketing efforts in-house.  Whether its SEO, SEM, CPM display, or direct email marketing, more and more companies are taking control.  Now, I understand that it is a long standing debate whether this is good or bad for some companies, but ultimately it makes the most sense to at least have some in-house people managing each marketing channel, even if you are outsourcing most of the work to agencies or consultants.  This way you can really keep a sharp eye on your marketing efforts and make some educated decisions about what is working and what isn’t.

So why aren’t brands bringing affiliate management in-house?

1.  They’re afraid of fraud.

Funny enough, this is the exact reason most companies should be tracking their affiliate programs internally.  Even if they are taking advantage of networks like CJ, Neverblue, ShareASale, and others they should always be tracking their own campaigns to monitor fraudulent activity.  Imagine if your company picked up on fraud before the networks did.  It could save you so much hassle.  With your own fraud detection tools, real-time reports, and safety features in place, you have the best chance of catching fraud before it becomes a problem.  On top of that, you have the control to only work with affiliates and publishers that you trust.

2.  They don’t have the knowledge.

Many companies are afraid to even dabble in affiliate marketing, much less create their own program, because they have absolutely no idea how it works.  What they don’t realize is that it is actually far simpler than many of the complicated marketing channels they are already building.  If you don’t have someone that is up to the task, consider working with an affiliate management agency like Affiliate Traction or PMG.  This companies help represent you to CPA networks without taking your shirt in the process and still allowing you to have your own, branding affiliate program, where you own the data.

3.  They don’t have the tracking.

I know I know.  Shameless plug, but it really is true.  So many companies are shy about getting started because building an affiliate tracking platform is too costly and difficult to maintain, and in the past, signing up for new platforms was cost prohibitive.  Every company needs a simple, cost effective solution that can scale with their affiliate program as it grows.  I would urge any company considering to start their own program to take a demo of HasOffers just to see how simple it can be.  With the HasOffers API you can even aggregate your affiliate program with other marketing/analytics platforms so that you have a better overview of your digital marketing efforts.

Does this mean companies should abandon affiliate networks?

Affiliate networks are a hotbed of knowledgeable affiliate marketers with access to real traffic.  For many campaigns it is essential to get started by establishing relationships with some key networks, but it is just plain silly not to do your own tracking and continue to improve your campaigns based on the data you are collecting.  No one truly knows your product like you do, and though many networks will have you believe you need to compromise your campaigns in order to see results, having your own program, in-house, allows you to keep a close eye on your offers, your brand, and your profits.

So what are you waiting for?  If you aren’t using affiliate marketing to increase your sales, you are missing out on the most profitable marketing channel at your disposal.  Start paying for marketing by performance, measured by real leads, sales and conversions.  It is the lowest barrier to entry, the least amount of risk, and has the greatest potential to take your profits to a new level.

Peter Hamilton

A digital marketer by background, Peter is the former CEO of TUNE, the enterprise platform for partner marketing. In 2018, he sold TUNE’s mobile measurement product to Branch, unifying measurement and user experience. He led TUNE’s efforts to bring better management technology and automation to marketing partnerships, across affiliates, influencers, networks, and business development relationships. Follow @peterhamilton

7 responses to “Bringing Affiliate Management In-House”

  1. Evan says:

    Great points Peter. They should also consider using an experienced, pro-active outsourced affiliate management agency like Experience Advertising, incThat would make it much easier for big brands.

  2. Guest says:

    I couldn’t agree more! They are already working with agencies like this on other marketing channels. Why not with their own affiliate program?

  3. All affiliate networks provide your business with a mass pay file. Most likely you download this file for your records and then upload it to a mass pay system like PayPal or Quicken. However that system pays everyone whether you have tax documents or not.

  4. Ayurvedah1 says:

    Thanks, this is great information, and true, companies are afraid to take the initial steps in setting it up on their own. Great idea to hire a management firm, but how much do they generally charge, and do they also go out and sign up affiliates?

    • Peter says:

      @ayurvedah1 – It totally depends on the agency or firm. Some of the best firms like AffiliateTraction, Experience Advertising, and PMG charge anywhere from $2k-$6k per month, but they are also connected to some of the best publishers and affiliate networks out there. They do a great job of getting your offer out there while still allowing you to maintain control. And when you think about it, it is muuuch cheaper than hiring new employees.

  5. There will be different reasons for each organization as they make this decision. Most of the time it will come down to where you believe you can generate the most revenue with the least amount of cost. Other companies would rather choose to outsource affiliate management since it saves time and money. This allows you to focus on what you’re good at.

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