Even though 2020’s pandemic has somewhat subsided, not all regions were equally lucky. Safety measures and social distancing remain prevalent in many major cities around the globe, and demand for quarantine-related goods is high too. We’re talking games, food delivery, online education, streaming services and VPN. Many of these industries are mobile – or gradually shifting that way due to the pandemic.
Affiliate networks can help businesses multiply and control their demand by tracking online actions from any sites and apps, as well as between multiple browsers and devices.
Trying another affiliate network
The crisis has not been too kind towards the mobility market, but many brands were able to keep afloat partly thanks to the cost-per-action model – cutting on regular ads and turning to performance marketing. But does it mean your brand has to work with only a single affiliate network? Surely not! The more publishers from different platforms you enlist, the sooner and more inevitably new sales will show up.
Exclusive contracts might be a good way to wrap your head around things, but if you seek to conquer new markets and audiences, you have to trust new channels, new publishers and new tools. Then again, if you are starting to feel overwhelmed, there are subnetworks that aggregate affiliate programmes (and publishers) from dozens of networks, making the whole CPA business a one-entry point experience.
The conservative attribution of orders (i.e. “last-cookie-win”) is far from perfect, and everyone knows it. This is why both affiliate networks and advertisers have been seeking – and finding – other solutions to offer.
Chinese marketplaces, for instance, turned to the “first cookie” model, which is a blast when it comes to an army of social media influencers. Yet another option is the multi-channel attribution that awards both “openers” (aka social media, blogs, etc.) and “closers” (cashback and coupons). Finally, the omnichannel attribution model suggests rewarding all publishers who delivered customers to the conversion – depending on how much value your brand puts in each channel.
The catch? Pretty much the same for any attribution: it requires preparing your website – in some cases even rebuilding your marketing funnel, and reviewing strategy. Not an easy task for a business of any scale.
Service for all
Speaking of the survival of the fittest, we have to mention that affiliate tools have not yet been accessible to everyone. Whereas corporations have enjoyed the privilege for years (some 80% of brands, according to rough estimates), more humble businesses were left aside and hardly had a glimpse of proper performance marketing.
Well, things are starting to change. Now, even a tiny merchant can have their share – there are platforms that specialise in solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). However, they require that you manage your own affiliate programme, which can be tricky unless you have no specialists in online marketing. Luckily, there are more than enough guides and webinars, even affiliate academies.
The keys to your future are jingling, but are you ready to drive?
Hunger for Innovation
We have watched the affiliate market for over a decade and the problem is obvious – lack of flexibility. Large brands tend to stick to the old ways: same tools, same networks, predictable spending and moderate growth. Enterprises don’t need boosts, they seek transparency and control. No experiments, no new paths – and in extreme cases even shutting down CPA programmes.
Wise? Not really. Risky? Definitely. As you disappear from the media and cut on both classic marketing and affiliate tools, customers might prefer another, more vital brand. Ever heard of China’s SHEIN? Last year, it took on Europe’s most popular stores, including Zara and H&M. Other online fashion retailers such as Asos and Zalando enjoyed the same offline-vanquishing effects.
CPA is a crisis-proof solution for most companies, even more so if you don’t rely solely on one affiliate network. So if you ache for a gulp of fresh air, hire another affiliate manager or try some fresh publishers. Remember the Opera browser? They have a cashback service now, which makes them a publisher, able to make use of first-party data they collect.
There will be unexpected challenges along the way, and performance marketing is there to give you a helping hand to overcome them. Take time to optimise your programme, offer promotional materials and adequate rewards to empower new traffic sources, and you won’t have to wait long.
Take care, stay affiliated, and may the force be with you!