December 14, 2018

In-House Affiliate Program Vs Hiring An Agency

The decision to run an in-house affiliate program can be a tough one. Weighing up the pros and cons of having a dedicated team member versus hiring an agency isn’t always easy. If your company is growing quickly, then it can be tempting to recruit a new head and expand your capabilities. But unlike other areas of marketing, having a dedicated person may not lead to a successful affiliate campaign. It’s not enough to have the personnel resources as there’s much more involved. In this article, we look at the benefits of hiring an affiliate agency and when it makes sense to recruit someone in-house.

Financial Savings
Implementing an in-house affiliate program can be a lot more expensive than hiring an agency. You’ll need to pay a fulltime salary to anyone you recruit which can be quite significant if you’re in a metropolitan hub. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of additional benefits, like holiday and sick pay, pension contributions, and medical insurance. Plus things like training and development courses as well as performance bonuses can quickly add up. By hiring an agency, you replace all of these costs with a single fixed fee that will be considerably lower so that you save money leaving more budget for other things.

Leveraging Pre-Existing Relationships
Relationships are crucial to the success of affiliate campaigns. Knowing the right affiliates with the appropriate target audience and a professional approach to publishing is key. When you hire an agency, you benefit from their network of affiliates and existing relationships. This allows you to hit the ground running and execute successful campaigns from the start. But if you decide to run things in-house, then it’ll take time to identify the right affiliates and build relationships with them. This can cause the initial results to be disappointing until you’ve established the right network.

Hassle-Free Tools & Systems
There are numerous tools and systems required to manage affiliate campaigns. An in-house professional will have to create processes from scratch, purchase the necessary systems, or install expensive software to track and manage campaigns. This is important since it ensures that sales and commissions are tracked correctly, as well as enabling KPIs to be measured accurately. By hiring an agency, you can bypass this costly and time-consuming process. They’ll already have everything that’s required to run an efficient campaign so that you can benefit from their existing setup.

Reliable & Continuous Support
It’s natural for people to change jobs every few years so this is something to be prepared for with an in-house affiliate program. Team members can leave with just two weeks’ notice and it’s unlikely that they’ll be replaced in time. This can lead to weeks or months where your campaigns aren’t being managed and affiliates aren’t being supported, damaging both your relationships and results. Agencies, on the other hand, don’t quit or leave. They provide reliable and consistent management since they have a dedicated team of account executives. Even if one of their team does decide to leave, they’ll conduct a thorough handover to someone else so the transition is super-smooth.

Extensive Industry Experience
Affiliate managers at agencies tend to have a lot more experience than those working in-house positions. Research shows that agency managers usually have over 10 years of experience whereas the average in-house manager has just half of that. They’re also likely to have a greater variety of experience because they’ll work with many different clients during their career. This means that you can benefit from a wider range of ideas and best practice if you outsource to an agency.

When Does It Make Sense to Run An In-House Affiliate Program?
Of course, there are times when it’ll make more sense to run an in-house affiliate program. If you want someone who will adopt your company culture, then they’ll need to be based in your office. Agencies can often replicate your brand’s tone of voice but they may not understand your culture unless they’re part of it.

If you prefer to have direct control over your staff and manage them face-to-face, then in-house may also be the better option. They can attend in-person meetings and provide instant responses, instead of having to rely on phone and email. If an agency can’t allocate sufficient time to your campaigns or deliver the output you’re looking for, then it may be worth looking at other options. But be aware that they often have much greater resources so hiring an in-house person may not necessarily be any better. However, if you have the budget to recruit someone with the proven experience and relationships you need, as well as implement key tools and systems, then it may be a viable option for your business.

Looking for Help to Leverage Affiliate Marketing?
Our experienced team of professionals is always up-to-date with the latest developments in affiliate marketing. We can help you to set up a brand-new affiliate program or manage an existing campaign to maximize results. We can even have one of our affiliate managers do a complementary analysis and strategy session. Contact us today by calling 866-708-2520, filling out the form below or emailing [email protected].


Phone: 424-272-7400

For new partnership and affiliate management inquiries please email:

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