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Affiliate Marketing Mishaps

Posted on 8.11.2011

Affiliate Marketing is based on trial and error and given that errors can also mean the loss of big bucks, affiliates need to steer clear of some key, but common, mistakes. When the inevitable occurs, a quick remedy can prevent additional losses.

1. Biting off more than you can chew
Don’t be greedy and take on more than you can handle. This can be a costly error. Research the offers you wish to promote and drill down deep with testing and modifications rather than pushing multiple campaigns at once, and risk spreading yourself too thin.

It takes time and effort to manage offers successfully, and the return may not be worth the stress and energy it took to juggle more than you could handle. Focus on a few offers, optimize those perfectly and then move on to the next round.

2. Boxing yourself in
Find a happy medium between over-commitment and focusing on just one campaign or particular vertical. Mix up your offers to learn more about your audience and uncover new and successful categories that will resonate well with them. Test out new offers and do not be deterred by any initial setbacks. Open your mind, think outside the box a little and run a campaign that could have a broad appeal to your audience. Leverage your AM for ideas, and in the case of Adknowledge, look at the recommendations in your interface to see what might be good to test.

3. Believing past successes will lead to future ones
Too much of a good thing can be exhausting. Although an offer may be churning out great results, in the long run audience fatigue may eventually set in. Keep things fresh and vary your campaign selection and creatives in order to optimize your efforts. Remember that variety is the spice of life; sticking with a specific campaign/creative and ignoring other offers could lead to staleness and missed opportunities.

4. Jumping on the bandwagon
Although an affiliate offer may seem to be hot and doing well for others, this is no reason for you to jump on the bandwagon too. Before you go chasing the next big “cash cow,” you should always test the product or service you wish to promote and evaluate whether it is a good fit for your audience. Remember, your offers should be relevant, targeted and compatible with the other programs you are already promoting.

5. Following the masses rather than your targets
Another common concern is the channel selection to promote an affiliate program. While mobile and social media are the channels du jour, it is important to consider your target audience when deciding how to promote an offer. If your target demographic is not using that channel, all your hard work, time and money will be in vain. Many affiliates choose to embrace a channel simply because it has become a hot trend, when they should really be keeping close tabs on their audience and their preferred sources for data collection. By all means take risks and hunt for new opportunities, but let the data rule your decisions. Make sure you create goals and measurements of success before you invest too much in a media buying opportunity.

6. Losing track of time
Mark your calendars so you can preempt your audience and their requirements. Consumer needs change with the season and so should your offers. Be it a public holiday, back-to-school, or vacation planning time, it is important to make your offers relevant in order to appeal to your audience and boost your revenues. Seasonality is never out of season. At Adknowledge, we see the CPC “Uggs” category soar in the winter months and “Air Conditioner” do well in the summer. Some are more obvious such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, but others are more obscure and based upon world events or seasons.

7. Going it alone
Many affiliates do not exploit their affiliate managers (AM) and the insight they can provide. However, working with an AM can significantly improve your campaign performance. AMs can assess your current strategy and provide recommendations based on their network performance and publishers similar to yourselves. Keep an open line of communication with your AM so you can discuss your needs and concerns and receive advice on how to achieve your goals.

8. Forgoing compliance practices
With the FTC and industry organizations cracking down on non-compliant affiliates, it is even more important now to keep up-to-date with regulatory guidelines. Advertisers continuously look to partner with affiliates who will protect their brand image and reputation, and will take their business away from any non-compliant affiliates. So to keep the money flowing in, make sure you stay on the right side of compliance.

Remember, mistakes do happen and there are no guarantees in affiliate marketing. By knowing the biggest issues other affiliates face, you can be prepared and hopefully avoid the pitfalls to safeguard your profits.

About the Author: Greg Bayer, VP Product & Strategy, Adknowledge Affiliate

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