IAB Guidelines for Successful Affiliate Programs

Becky Doles

The IAB Affiliate Marketing Council (IABamc) released an Ethical Merchant Charter for affiliate marketing yesterday. This document promotes transparency between merchants and advertisers to strengthen relationships. I’m really excited to see something this comprehensive coming from the IAB, providing some really solid guidance.

Check out the Ethical Merchant Charter PDF

Basically, the IABamc document provides recommendations for successful affiliate programs through increased transparency in the following areas; affiliate payouts, communicating de-duplication, traffic type approvals, appropriate and timely notifications.

1.  Affiliate Payouts The IABamc recommends that merchants provide reasons for every payout cancellation to their affiliates. Some of these may include; failed credit check, customer cancellation, returned items, duplicate order, etc… They bring up a great point, when a merchant’s customer can convert offline, a third party call-tracking solution needs to be implemented. RingRevenue is the leader in call-tracking technology and is now compatible with affiliate tracking software.

2.  Communicating De-Duplication It’s great that the IABamc addresses de-duplication as the second point in their charter. De-duplication is very important to understand and something affiliates are awaiting changes to. If you’re interested in learning more about the next generation of affiliate tracking and attribution, I recommend that you check out Adtribution.

3.  Traffic Type Approvals Communicating approved and restricted traffic channels to your affiliates is going to make life so much easier for everyone. The IABamc calls out a comprehensive list of traffic channels that may be prohibited for affiliates to run, check it out.

4.  Appropriate and Timely Notifications The age of online marketing has introduced a new level of turnaround. It needs to be coupled with a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that encourages communicating changes in a fair and timely manner. Remember to evaluate the scope of the modification and notify accordingly.

This best practices document that IABamc published is a phenomenal resource for establishing, managing and promoting a successful affiliate program. I’m really pleased to see such proactive efforts to educate affiliate programs to enable their affiliates to be successful through increased transparency and communication.

Kevin Edwards Chairman of IAB amc

Kevin Edwards

The council chairman, Kevin Edwards, seems to be doing an excellent job, and you can follow the IAB’s updates and communications on Twitter @IAB_amc.

If you aren’t already familiar with the work the IAB is doing, definitely check out their website, and do some reading.  To find out more about becoming a member, click here.

Check out the IAB’s Affiliate Marketing Guide.

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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