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Affiliate Marketing & Mobile - How to Make It Work for Everybody

Posted on 9.03.2014

:: By Jason Hulott, Speedie Consultants Ltd. ::


Mobile advertising and traffic seems to be all the rage, or as Mugatu (in the film Zoolander) would say “that mobile traffic, it’s so hot right now." With a million and one ways to generate traffic from mobile, rather than reaching out to new techniques, people may wonder whether there is a way of leveraging the traffic sources they have access to.

For those running any kind of affiliate marketing program, they might be able to engage with those affiliates that have suggested they can drive mobile traffic. 

But there are a few things that need consideration before implementing this to make sure it works for all concerned – and by “works” read “converts traffic into revenue.”

Mobile friendly website?

Firstly, does the site work on a mobile device? Is it responsive? Does it work on multiple mobile devices? It may render okay on an iPad, but what about an iPhone or Blackberry? 

Does the site still actually work? Is it transactional? Has it been tested?

Website owners need to make sure their IT department or Web guys/gals have checked to see whether the site works or not, or if there are changes that need to be made to a mobile journey.

If the site doesn’t currently work on a mobile device, that’s not the end of the world. Business owners may just need to think of different ways to monetize the traffic. (More on this further down this article).

If the site does work, then check that the creative elements also work on mobile. Banner sizes will be different, so SMS template options may be needed. Does the email creative work on a mobile device? Here are the IAB Mobile creative guidelines which may help.

Again, anyone looking to have a mobile-friendly website will need to thoroughly check what does and what doesn’t work on mobile platforms.

Once this has been done, they may want to create a mobile friendly section of their affiliate program, have a mobile folder for all banners and creative.  They need to make sure they highlight mobile as a source of traffic that is accepted. Broadcasting it out to the affiliate network of via the network platform the program is using will help.

If the program is on a network, Web owners may need to seek out the mobile specific affiliates they may not have reached out to before or might have been ignored by because the program wasn’t specifically mobile friendly. Sites such as TapJoy or Linking Mobile could be great additional affiliates to work with to drive sales.

Not mobile friendly?

Site owners don’t necessarily need to completely redevelop their sites at this stage to take advantage of mobile ad traffic.

They could build a small mobile friendly site or a number of static pages with a set page width of say 450 pixels so they render properly on a mobile device. Then upload them to a subfolder called m.domain.com or mobile.domain.com – a device sniffer script such as Mobile Sniffer Pro can then be added.

Or, the site's content management system (CMS) might have its own plugin or extension that can be downloaded and installed to redirect users based on the device they are using.

These pages might not have the full transactional facilities of the main desktop site but they could either have:

Call buttons – using a click to call mechanism – which can be used to remunerate the affiliate for any tracked calls via their site on a cost per call over x number of minutes to weed out the hangups, spoof calls.

Lead Enquiry Form – The site could have a short contact form so the user fills in the form and an enquiry is emailed to the website. This could be paid on a cost per valid lead basis.

So even without a fully transactional mobile site, it is fairly simple to take advantage of mobile traffic if the site makes sure it is trackable to attribute leads/sales to the right affiliate.  

This means site owners don’t have to wait for a fully optimized mobile site to be deployed before taking advantage of all the mobile site traffic that is being used by the competition. It might even help them make a decision whether to push on with a fully functional mobile site or simply use a smaller hybrid site to track and reward traffic sources.


Jason Hulott is co-founder at Speedie Consultants Ltd., a full service Internet marketing agency who specialise in insurance and finance companies. Jason writes for a number of publications about various marketing strategies and new developments.

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