There is a lot of maintenance work to be done with regard to an effective affiliate program. This is especially so when the program is in the initial stages. If the management is poor or there is no proper management, known as auto drive, the affiliate program will not be able to get much revenue, unless it is a vertical market type.
Some of the affiliate programs are poorly managed and consist of rogue affiliates. Such affiliates indulge in activities, such as false advertising and spamming. They also conduct trademark infringement and cookie cutting activities. These are unethical strategies and have brought a bad name to affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing can mature still further on account of increased number of merchants relying on online business as well as more people relying on such modern technology, as they tend to shop through the internet.
Merchants find it very difficult to be seen online as there is a lot of competition, with their competitors also producing good quality products. The online market is very congested as all of them believe that they can create a substantial profit. Through affiliate marketing, merchants find that they can get improved revenue and get more traffic.
The online marketing business has greatly improved these days with the online media becoming as advanced as the offline one, with very professional form of advertising providing a competitive edge. Merchants need to fulfill more regulations and needs and it is becoming more difficult to manage the business in house.
When the affiliate program management is outsourced, it provides a viable option for merchants. Outsourced program management or OPM is done by companies that make use of professional affiliate managers or well qualified network program managers. (19).Such companies are recruited by merchants, just as companies recruit advertising agencies to market their products and services in the offline market.
Categories of Affiliate sites
Merchants and affiliate networks group the affiliate websites, though there are no set standards for dividing the marketing into such groups. In general, affiliate marketers make use of the following types of affiliate websites:
- Search affiliates – Here search engines with pay per click are made use of to increase the sales of the advertiser (also known as search arbitrage)
- CRM sites are sites that are concerned with making charitable donations
- Loyalty websites – they offer a reward in the form of points back or offer a cash back offer
Comparison shopping with the help of websites and directories
- Personal websites
- Feeds from website syndication and weblogs
- File sharing – there are online sites that have are a hosting site for games and movies as well as music and different types of software. Visitors can upload whatever content they wish to the site. They can then give descriptions of the product and get the links from such host directory sites. The file hosting site will make payment for the up loaders according to the frequency with which the files are downloaded. The user can access premium download of files from such file hosting sites. Advertising is sold by such file hosting sites but they are not the hosts of the files.
- Virtual Currency – in this case, the publisher makes use of social media and combines the advertiser’s product or service with virtual currency. This is done through a game and is conducted on a virtual platform.
- Top tier affiliates work on the basis of networks using cost per action. They showcase the advertiser’s offer to their own affiliate network.
- Use of Adbars, such as Adsense. This is used for showing advertisements that are sensitive and relevant to the context of the products on their site.
- Shopping directories – These make a list of the advertisers by grouping them, but they do not provide other details, such as prices, coupons or any other features. Such features can keep changing quite often, so they avoid these as it would require to be updated very often.
- Affiliates, such as Co registration or registration path incorporate other advertiser’s offers on their site during the process of registration to their website.
- Affiliates through email list – such affiliates own huge mail lists and make use of email drip marketing. This also includes newsletter list affiliates involving heavy content.
- Websites concentrating on coupons and rebates for promoting sales.
- Websites focusing on content or niche markets, such as sites showing product reviews.
- Video Blog offering videos with the help of which users can click on the product and purchase the product shown in the video.
There are a huge number of publishers available to the affiliate network, along with several advertisers. They can make use of these publishers or it is more likely that the publishers themselves apply for the network program. The advertiser, in this case, does not need to take any steps towards recruiting publishers.
Affiliate partners can also be chosen from other websites having the same type of target audience but not providing competition to the advertiser. The advertiser can also recruit customers and make them into affiliate partners, so long as it is practical and feasible and is not against any stipulations or rules.
An advertiser can recruit any website as its affiliate publisher. However, websites enjoying high traffic will be more interested in becoming affiliate publishers, as there is less risk of cost per mille. In case of cost per click, the risk is a medium one for the publishers when compared to a greater risk in case of cost per action or for deals made regarding sharing of revenue.