Just last week, we offered up a back-to-basics affiliate marketing definition, in the form of a blog post written in a style that a nine year old could understand. So by now, hopefully, either you already knew what an affiliate program was or now you have the basic framework.
Now, let me help you understand how Advertise Purple – an affiliate marketing agency – can help you form relationships with the top affiliates in the entire world, making it even easier for your brand to succeed in today’s digital landscape.
Now, our approach of course differs on client, vertical, budget, and many other factors. That said, if there’s an affiliate out there that can help your business grow, we are the right people to get your product in front of them.
But how is that possible? You may have heard us tell you we have relationships with over 100,000 affiliates. Parsing through all of them and making strategic decisions about which ones to utilize sounds like a nightmare!
Have no fear. Rowland H, our Director of Technology at Advertise Purple, has given me the secret sauce which I will now share with you.
So without further ado, here is how we manage individual relationships with the wide array of affiliates in our ecosystem.
Automation is the name of the game
It should come as no surprise that we don’t manually keep track of all of the affiliates we manage or even manage everything on Microsoft Excel in some sort of gigantic spreadsheet.
Previously, our methodology was a bit more archaic and representative of a traditional digital agency’s workflow. At that point, we were, as still the majority of affiliate management and marketing agencies are today, relying on human suggestions for affiliate pairing.
We’d cross our fingers in hopes that the best Account Managers got a solid night of sleep the night before, so they could prescribe, through a mixture of off the cuff thinking coupled with the utilization of 300+ spreadsheets, the best affiliates to staff for a new customer.
However, as the reader can imagine, this was sometimes inaccurate, not scalable, and too reliant on humans. But now we are thrilled to have a SaaS product called Purply that works both internally and externally with B2B customers.
It can help either a B2C customer or our own staff internally that works directly with both affiliates and customers to sort through the endless examples of affiliates we have at our disposal along with the totality of all of their data.
So, in short, we have technology on our side when it comes to quickly consolidating strategic campaign information we’ve gathered over the last 9 or so years which helps us to prioritize which affiliates are statistically proven to provide the most immediate growth for that specific business.
How does that work? Glad you asked.
Where do all of these affiliates even come from and how do we sort them?
Affiliates are pulled from over 12 different networks, both domestic and international, and data from over 9 years of affiliate management experience. This gives us incredibly wide reach.
Affiliates are indexed by vertical and sub vertical. Each client is assigned verticals and sub verticals and these are applied to affiliates so that we can understand which affiliates perform best in which sectors.
And while we treat each customer as a separate entity, if we do have information which can help us predict success for a customer (perhaps, based on a similar customer’s success with that affiliate, for example) we will gladly utilize that knowledge to our benefit.
Kitchen supplies might be one affiliate’s forte, and they may have driven droves of traffic for a certain brand’s product offering. If another brand we work with makes cutting boards and other kitchen supplies, maybe they’d do well with that affiliate who helped the first brand sell blenders.
Again, this is the benefit of having all of this useful and applicable data at our disposal. That’s not a garbage disposal pun, by the way… anyway!
Ways we manage and quickly assess performance based on data
We can evaluate affiliate performance over any chunk of time (yesterday or two years) and sort by any major KPI (revenue, traffic, conversion rate, AOV, average commission, product sold, ad text, ad medium, product pricing, etc) to help our data analysts make informed decisions.
Each account we work with is assigned at least 6 staff members to constantly be tinkering with the data to figure out the best matches for a brand.
Our internal affiliate discovery tool broadcasts and identifies the best affiliates that have a history of success with similar business profiles, then suggests them to our operations team.
Again, automation along with up-to-date and relevant data plus the human touch in the form of the final decision-making process is how we don’t constantly have to do our due diligence each and every time we activate an affiliate for a brand.
Classifying each affiliate by type
Not only do we have proprietary data that goes back 9 years and has countless brands and affiliates intertwined, but we also keep up to date with new affiliates and old, by tracking them in the following categories.
We have a new publisher classification system where affiliates are labeled by type as well as vertical and sub vertical – list below.
Content, Blog, and Multimedia
Comparison, Review, and Discovery Site
Social Media Influencer
The human touch still matters
We’ve almost doubled in staff in the past year, and the reason why is simple. While we are proud of the strides we’ve taken towards automation, we feel it is best paired with skilled human beings that we trust to take the reins. This way, we have the best of both worlds: algorithmic suggestions + human touch with customers.
Of course, the affiliate space is a relationship business, and we have dedicated teams that have maintained superlative daily relationships with all affiliates and networks. You can find out more about a few of those in our affiliate and network spotlights on our blog.
Because, while it’s possible, we’d rather not automate that kind of business relationship. However, our goal has always been to make the lives of our operations team and data team as simple as possible.
If we free up time in their day, they can find incongruities and provide the best possible service to clients. This opens up more time for phone calls and client satisfaction, rather than running intricate Excel spreadsheets. Our staff can then work with our software to make sure clients are hitting their goals on a monthly basis.
We also think that having calls with clients where our team is not only knowledgeable about their program but armed with practically unlimited data is the best way to do business.
In conclusion, you can’t do what we’ve done without grinding it out for years in order to gain all of this affiliate data.
And important to note, all of our data is ‘actionable.’ Each data point ties back to a campaign we’ve initiated for a customer that has either led to either a successful or unsuccessful result.
For you data nerds, this type of data is much different than ‘pooled’ data from other affiliate tools, which is more observational in nature.
The amount of work that was once manual and time consuming and is now able to be completed instantly is honestly awe-inspiring.
We’re happy to be able to manage all of our relationships: whether those are with clients, affiliates, networks, or partners.
We hope for even more success in 2021 and beyond!