April 23, 2024

In-House Affiliate Program vs Hiring An Agency

Deciding how to run your brand’s affiliate program can feel overwhelming. Whether you’re looking to establish an in-house team or work with an agency, either option presents various pros and cons. Valuable considerations that come into play include: financial commitment, technology resources, industry expertise, and what will drive long-term sustainable growth. In this blog post, we look at the benefits of hiring an affiliate management agency and when it makes sense to recruit an in-house team.

Financial Costs

Establishing an in-house program often incurs higher costs compared to partnering with an agency. When recruiting an internal team, expenses extend beyond full-time salaries to encompass benefits like holiday and sick leave, pension contributions, and health insurance. Additionally, there are costs associated with training, software licenses, professional development courses, and performance bonuses, which can add up quickly.

Opting for an agency replaces all of these costs with a single fixed fee that is significantly lower in comparison, making it a more cost-effective approach. This choice leaves more resources within the budget that can be used to further affiliate marketing opportunities.

Industry Relationships & Experience

Relationships are crucial to the success of affiliate campaigns. Identifying affiliates who resonate with your target audience and align with your brand’s goals is key to success. It may take an in-house program ample time to identify the best affiliates and build relationships with them. This can result in time delays and entail trial and error while recruiting the best network of partnerships. While individual in-house managers may boast industry knowledge and experience, it typically doesn’t compare to the expansive networks.

By working with an agency, you instantly tap into their vast network of affiliates. These pre-existing professional relationships allow your program to hit the ground running and execute seamless campaigns with top-tier affiliates from the start. Agencies and their employees will work with thousands of brands and affiliates over the course of their career, leading to an unparalleled amount of experience. You can benefit from decades worth of collective experience, enhancing the efficiency of your program.

Data & Technology 

What distinguishes affiliate marketing as a strategy is its ability to scale, capability to track key metrics, and being relatively low-risk. With these qualities also comes the importance of using various tools and systems to ensure a smooth operation. Launching a program from scratch often leaves critical questions unanswered: Which affiliates will yield the best results? What compensation structures are optimal? How can performance be maximized? Addressing these questions takes time and a lot of data to gain accurate answers.

Working with an agency like Advertise Purple avoids the set up and eliminates the guesswork that comes with starting an affiliate program. Our proprietary technology and platform, Purply, allows us to build custom recommendations and campaigns for clients based on over a decade worth of affiliate-driven transaction data from thousands of clients and affiliates. This data-driven approach enables us to make informed decisions, optimize affiliate partnerships, and drive tangible results for your business.

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 that 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. In the case that someone in the agency decides to leave, they’ll conduct a thorough handover to someone else so the transition is seamless.

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 fully understand your culture without being a part of it each day.

If you prefer to have direct control over your staff and manage them face-to-face, then in-house may be the best option. They can attend in-person meetings and provide instant responses, instead of having to rely on meetings via the phone or 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. Contact us today.

Are you getting started in affiliate marketing or looking to improve your current program?

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