The Surge of Affiliate Networks Has Changed Affiliate Marketing
Now that technology companies have started offering affiliate network software, it seems new affiliate networks pop up each week, maybe even daily. In the past 12 months alone there have been over 200 new affiliate networks.
Like other online strategies such as search engine promotion, merchants should not limit themselves to the internal promotion available only through their immediate network. This would be like an SEO saying they want to be in just one search engine to attract visitors.
Naturally, this has changed the landscape of the affiliate space. Now merchants must look at running their offers in multiple affiliate networks and/or running their own private affiliate network.
A private network offers the ability to develop a real traffic annuity through the development of chosen partners with websites that do not compete, while multiple networks can offer exposure to a larger base of experienced affiliates. The combination of these two methods has created a new breed of affiliate program, the “multi-channel program”. The multi-channel program offers the best of both worlds. This approach has become a must as the pool of affiliates has been spread out between multiple networks, a process that is likely to accelerate in the future.
Promotion methods for this type of program are best implemented through combining affiliate network promotion with personalized affiliate recruitment and management efforts. The reason for this is that both forms of providers offer something that the other does not. Networks help to gain marketer affiliates and lots of them. Solution providers are able to attain more strategic business partners; these can be syndication partners, emails marketing companies, ad agencies and so on, adding large power affiliates to the their overall performance partner base.
The multi-channel program also helps merchants to achieve their program goals while remaining in control of their performance-based relationships and branding. It allows for promotion by marketing type affiliates and strategic high performing partners from many types of sites, such as email, Affiliate Network Promotion, Free Offer Sites, Informational/Content sites, E-Books/E-Zines, Coupons/Gift Cards/Sweepstakes, Shopping/Price Comparison, Newspapers/Classified and more.
In addition, this model helps to provide a long-term sustainable traffic annuity. This is something that virtually no other advertising method in the online space can do. With paid search, once payment stops, the traffic stops as well. With organic search, merchants must continually optimize their site to maintain top position. Most other strategies are “pay for play” as well. In contrast, the affiliate space will continually generate new traffic because the advertiser actually owns all of the power behind their program and can easily maintain lasting, lucrative relationships with affiliates.
The multi-channel affiliate marketing model helps to provide a united marketing front. By gaining large amounts of advertising on a pay-by-performance basis, and by gaining more control over branding, multi-channel affiliate marketing is the solution the online space has been waiting for. The shift to this model will prepare us for the influx of marketing dollars to come and help to provide advertisers with a pleasant transition in to the online world.