Top Tips for Affiliate Marketers in 2012

Chris Johnson

Content Director for PerformanceIN, the company behind this very online publication and also a se

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Top Tips for Affiliate Marketers in 2012

What are your biggest tips for Affiliates in 2012?

Matt Bailey, Director, Performance Horizon.

"Focus on a small number of things rather than trying to be all things to all people. Ongoing Google changes mean that affiliates will be under increasing scrutiny to ensure that they’re adding value and therefore focussing concentration on your core objectives should see you reap benefits in those areas as competitors drop out of the space. It will become harder but affiliates have always found ways to survive and I foresee that concentration on niche areas will prevail."


Fiona Robertson, Head of Performance, Bigmouthmedia

"Get better with video. Blogs should be designed with video in mind. Affiliates should know how to put a clickable overlay on a YouTube. Another tip is also Content! Ask your agency / network / client account manager to provide you with some unique content.

"Finally - improve how you ask for exclusive codes. Ideally, affiliates should go to maerchants, ask for a specific exclusive offer and provide an estimate of the traffic / volume they can drive from that offer - we get a lot of requests with no real substantial argument for us giving one - we need a good proposition to put to our clients."


Dan Cohen, Network Director North-West, TradeDoubler

"2012 is going to be an exciting year for affiliate – and it’s all about content. It’ll be even more important given the tough economic climate to build brands by providing consumers with useful, regularly updated sticky content to ensure that people keep on returning. At Tradedoubler, we keep on seeing new sites, new methods of driving traffic and new ways of capturing the consumer’s interest – and I can’t see that ever changing. 2012 is all about sticky content, but then again, it always has been!"


Gary Bicker, Country Manager UK, Affilinet

"Share the data you have as much as you can…as networks have so much data which is all related to traffic and sales, we can work harder together to make the whole picture more insightful if we have more of a joined up view on what’s happening with your sites, campaigns etc"


Helen Southgate, Senior Online Marketing Manager, Sky

"Think about mobile and how you can engage with your users through this channel to drive incremental sales and ensure you don’t lose traffic by missing the boat on this. Without doubt more and more consumers are using mobile, and specifically for research so make it easy for them and make sure you push networks / agencies / advertisers to have tracking in place so you can be awarded for sales and optimise for more sales! 6.8 million Andriod and IOS devices were activated on Christmas Day and Eve alone, that’s far too big to be ignored!"


Lee Brignell-Cash, Managing Director, FusePump

"Seek new ways to provide fantastic consumer experiences in eCommerce, particularly on new devices such as tablets."


Matthew Wood, Founder of A4u

"Gathering, deciphering and understanding consumer data will be a key differentiator in 2012 and might just give some affiliates a competitive edge. This may involve data share with advertisers to get a wider view of customer demographics. This will allow affiliates to offer personalised products, deals and offers that are relevant and more likely to convert, thus uplifting conversion and revenues.

"My second tip would be to sell yourself as an affiliate. It’s increasingly tough out there to compete against some of the big boys, so you must find yourself a USP. Whether that’s simply working in a very specialised niche to drive targeted sales, or utilising technology to offer something of value to both the customer and the advertiser."


Kevin Edwards, Strategy Director, Affiliate Window & buy.at

"From a network point of view one thing that helps speed up partnership opportunities between affiliates and merchants is comprehensive information about an affiliate; their traffic, audience, unique visitors, demographic data and so on. I’d therefore urge affiliates to ensure they have as much of this data to hand and readily available.

"When I was an account manager I was often challenged to provide this information and affiliates are far better placed to profile their sites than an account manager who could be trying to do it on their behalf. This can also be used to an affiliate’s advantage as if this is done professionally and comprehensively they can start pushing for bespoke deals, higher CPAs, hybrid payments such as tenancies, ultimately fostering a closer and hopefully more productive relationship."

What should Affiliates be doing more of in 2012?

Nadeem Azam, Managing Director, Azam Marketing.

"I have three bits of advice for affiliates:

  1. Focus
  2. Focus
  3. Focus

"It may not be the most earth-shattering bits of advice you’ll come across for the New Year, but the number one issue I see with affiliates is jumping from project to project. It’s far less exciting to work on one project year-in year-out rather than chasing the sexiest new-fangled strategies and bragging about this and that new venture to one’s mates, but it’s generally more profitable to become an expert in one niche or marketing discipline and focus all one’s energies on squeezing the maximum return from it. Quidco and TopCashback don’t have fifty or even five websites; they do one thing and do it lethally well."


Helen Southgate, Senior Online Marketing Manager, Sky

"Promote themselves to Advertisers, Agencies, Networks and the wider online world. Enter A4u's Performance Marketing Awards, showcase the innovation and thought leadership that is coming from the publisher base. Hassle your network / agency to get the data you need such as attribution, value of sales etc, so you can really understand your role within the mix and how you can capitalise."


Fiona Robertson, Head of Performance, Bigmouthmedia

"Affiliates should get more involved in incentives - for our clients we run some good incentives that don't even need you to generate sales to be entered! It would be great to get affiliates more involved in incentives, or let us know why they don't as otherwise they become hard to sustain spending budget on."


Dan Cohen, Network Director North-West, TradeDoubler

"Affiliates should be doing more of everything – keep on going! The industry is at the forefront of the digital growth and as such, we need to keep on innovating, keep on being at the cusp of the consumer trends. However, in terms of specific activities, we’ve picked 4 things:

  • Social Media – this is a vital way to drive traffic to your site, ensuring that consumers know where to come and what for! We can only see social media becoming more powerful as a means of driving traffic and as new methods and platforms arise, we expect affiliates to be the first to take advantage and monetise them.
  • PR & Blogging – this is useful way of building your brand and ensuring people understand how you can help them and why they should visit your site. Tradedoubler expect to see increasing brand building activity by affiliates in 2012.
  • Mobile – I know it’s been said every year since 2007, but at Tradedoubler we see 2012 as the year of the mobile. In fact, with triple digit growth in 2011, it already accounts for 7% of our traffic and we only expect it to grow. We expect more Advertisers and Affiliates to have apps, m-commerce sites and to see an increase in sales delivered by mobile.
  • Attend Events – whether it’s the A4u, other Expos or general get-togethers, these occasions provide us with a great opportunity to talk to Advertisers, Affiliates, Agencies and Networks and find out where the market is going, what the future holds and collaborate on ideas, solutions and how to help drive the affiliate industry forward. For Tradedoubler, these events are key in our calendar and our thinking for 2012."

Matt Bailey, Director, Performance Horizon

"Attempt to develop direct relationships with the merchants and agencies with whom you do most of your work. Merchants seem to be moving more to having a more closely controlled affiliate programme rather than the ‘spread the net wide’ approach seen previously, and so ensuring that you are one of the trusted few will be vital.

"I predict that these smaller affiliate groups will have bespoke strategies developed for them rather than the one size fits all approach we’ve seen before. Overall merchant affiliate strategies are becoming more sophisticated and affiliates have to ensure that merchants have visibility of how they add value in order for them to dedicate resource to developing these relationships."


Kevin Edwards, Strategy Director, Affiliate Window & buy.at

"This is a tough one as I’m not an affiliate and as a network we work with the whole gamut of affiliate activity; generalising doesn’t really offer much insight. For me I’d love to see more affiliates develop their own mobile propositions. I know there is a huge issue associated with the lack of affiliate tracking on many advertiser mobile sites but there’s an element of chicken and egg here. Without a full range of mobile affiliate opportunities there will be less imperative for advertisers to add tracking to mobile platforms. We have a bit of an impasse at the moment but we do have some well known advertisers who have added their tracking so the potential exists for mobile promotions.

"Widening out mobile I’m also interested to see whether there are any traditional PPC affiliates who have put together a mobile search proposition to go to advertisers with. This also includes anyone who has arbitrated on cost per call activity. This is an interesting proposition from a lead point of view.

"Aside from mobile I’m always keen to hear from any affiliates who want to showcase their successes. Case studies are crucial for fleshing out affiliate marketing into something more tangible.

"Our industry suffers from a perception of complexity that can lead to advertiser disengagement. Shouting about compelling performance marketing campaigns really helps to persuade advertisers that they should be investing more in their affiliates."