Advertisers that believe they cannot form direct partnerships with publishers by signing up to an affiliate network have been told otherwise in a panel at Performance Marketing Insights: Europe.

Contributing to the discussion on communications between advertisers and their publishers, Affiliate Window managing director Mark Walters insisted that going in-house with an affiliate campaign is not the only way to work closely with top traffic drivers, and that network members can always have direct contact with affiliates if they so wish.

“From a network perspective it’s not a question of ‘you have an intermediary, you don’t have a relationship with your publishers’.

“Any advertiser who wants to have a direct relationship with a key publisher segment or top-performing publishers, or new, emerging bloggers and everything else. It is merely a request you set that up to operate when you want it to.”

Direct or indirect?

Walters added that affiliate networks are now offering highly customisable solutions, whereby as many advertisers who want to have direct, one-to-one relationships with volume drivers are provided with the tight client relationships they demand.

On the other hand, Walters acknowledged that not all advertisers will favour this approach, with this possibility contributing to some of the preconceptions about networks and their ability to manage all aspects of affiliate programmes.

He attributed this to certain clients not wanting to give up any precious resources or in-house talent in connecting with publishers.

While debating the pros and cons of opting with networks, agencies and in-house operations, the topic later turned to publishers and their best course of action when starting out.

This saw both Walters and Florian Gramshammer, country manager of fellow affiliate network Commission Junction, insisting that network membership is still the preferred route among publishers.

“I don’t know of any publisher that doesn’t want to work with a significant compliance network,” added Walters.