As a network it is our priority to ensure we can support the relationship between publishers and advertisers as best we can, to optimise sales, commissions earned and customer satisfaction. As an industry responding to new legislation changes, data protection rules and emerging innovative technological developments, it is crucial that our attention to these relationships remains unwavering.

With that in mind, we have highlighted the most frequent areas of miscommunication between publishers and advertisers below and offered our recommendations for optimising relationships. 

Lack of clarity

Slow publisher programme approvals

The time between a publisher application and subsequent advertiser approval can be unnecessarily long and confusing, particularly for new publishers, who are eager to promote advertisers and start earning a commission. Slow publisher approvals may deter publishers from advertising your brand due to frustration and lack of communication. In addition, both publisher and advertisers are missing out on incremental revenue and new customers. For example, utilising data from our network, roughly 130,000 pending applications corresponds to approximately £3.4 million in missed average sales revenue per year. More often than not, advertisers may have between 50-100 publisher requests per week, this can easily accumulate if not monitored regularly.

We recommend assigning programme approvals to your network account managers to ensure ongoing approvals, or consider implementing auto-approval on all publishers. Auto-approval should not be feared as all new publishers are screened and vetted by our network’s Compliance Team before such accounts are established, verified and made visible on the network. 

Decline reasons

Unclear or unjustified transaction decline reasons can deter publishers from promoting retailers. In just one month alone, Awin registered 1.2 million different decline reasons submitted by advertisers, making it very difficult for publishers to keep track of sales. Specifically for cashback and loyalty publishers, this presents a larger issue as these decline reasons will be directly displayed to their members, who are technically the advertiser’s customers. Additionally, brand account managers often spend time resolving these issues with publishers, meaning less time spent growing the programme. At Awin, we offer twenty pre-selected decline reasons for advertisers to select from which should cover all scenarios. We recommend sticking to these and only using custom decline reasons if absolutely necessary.

High decline rates

When advertisers choose to decline more sales than those they approve, this could indicate a warning sign to publishers. If an advertiser is displaying high decline rates, publishers may opt to promote or send traffic to competitors with better sale approval rates. Advertisers could be penalising a publisher without realising if a customer applies the wrong code or returns an order, as the publisher in question is unable to control this. Advertisers should consider approving sales with exclusivity clauses, setting different commission groups, or consider payment on assist to ensure true content sales are rewarded for sending quality traffic. 

Payment queries

Long payment periods

With most publishers receiving payment only after a sale has been validated and then processed, it is no surprise that payment has a tendency to unsettle publisher and advertiser relationships. 

In a recent global survey for publishers, over 70% of respondents declared they would be likely to leave a network due to poor payment or being left in arrears and 94% confirmed that updates on payment status were important as well as ensuring payments were made on time. Advertisers are increasingly looking towards implementing longer payment terms (between 30 and 60 days) which is a cause for concern for publishers who also need to pay their staff and maintain their businesses. 

Vague cashflow justifications or unclear reasoning as to why payments need to run into a different month signify unreliability issues for publishers. 

This has been remedied at Awin, with the offer of a fast payment scheme – a direct debit setup which enables Awin to pay publishers quickly on behalf of advertisers instead of waiting on the invoice payment to be validated. 79% of the aforementioned publishers highlighted an interest in being paid earlier. 

Furthermore, advertisers could consider treating Transaction Queries differently by including them within regular validations. Transaction queries are claims that publishers upload to have their commissions manually added if they originally failed to track or tracked at the incorrect rate. On average, these will take longer to be paid than regular transactions and places pressure on programme managers to validate them before they auto-approve, often leading to errors or investigation time. 

Misleading communication

Short notice

Last minute programme changes are not ideal for an advertiser or publisher and can vary from account terms being updated to commission reversals. However, it is worth reinforcing that changes announced towards the end of the working week can lead to mistakes and damage relationships. 

Often messages can be missed or delayed by a saturated message system, or emails might not be opened until the following week commences. By shortening the amount of time for publishers to react to updates, this could include distributing new or correcting old codes, implementing campaigns or altering creative, it could tarnish both publisher and customer relationships.

With so much to look forward to within the dynamic affiliate marketing space, make sure your publisher relationships remain a key priority. Do not let late payments, last minute notices and unclear communications become bad habits leading to a loss in traffic, decline in clicks and depleted revenue.