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Dashboard Affiliate Program Management

Posted on 6.30.2009

Better Stats, Higher Profits

By Randy Mitchelson

Good affiliates know that marketing efforts are futile without detailed reporting. Products with the highest margin to ad spend ratio, ads with the best click-through and conversion rates, and keyword-level return on investment are just a few of the metrics that can mean the difference between success and wasted time. Successful affiliates are also aware that using more networks often leads to more sales. But that creates a significant problem: Multiple networks create multiple reports and require separate accounts.

For example, assume it takes two minutes to log in and generate a report from one network. Also assume you belong to eight networks and perform hourly checks on those reports. You could spend more than two hours per day or 10-plus hours per week generating and examining reports. This is valuable time that could be spent making performance-enhancing adjustments to your campaigns.

Key Elements
A real-time, dashboard reporting solution is the key to maintaining effective campaigns. These systems allow marketers to immediately recognize and compensate for real-time trends and changes in the marketplace. They can react immediately — ultimately leading to better and more profitable offers.

When you decide to harness the power of real time, dashboard reporting as an affiliate, consider these important traits before selecting a solution:

  • Real-time: Select a reporting tool that enables the user to react to changing market conditions and minimize reliance upon static or day-old reports.
  • Web-based: Leverage the existing Web-based culture to cut costs of development, support and maintenance.
  • Intelligent: The ideal reporting system offers interactive features allowing users to manipulate data. It will also create alerts that tell users when metrics fall outside user-defined thresholds.
  • Simple: A solution needs to have an intuitive user interface and should not require additional training.
  • Secure: Seek a company with at least 10 years of experience designing systems that require protection of sensitive data.

Custom Report Development
Tools that streamline workflow and have the potential to affect bottom lines have a way of becoming sticky. A good example is found in the banking industry. Because consumers are reliant on direct deposit and online bill payment, you would be hard-pressed to find a successful bank that doesn’t offer either.

As affiliates learn to use dashboard reporting solutions to their benefit, it is critical that affiliate managers ensure their programs properly integrate. Providing real-time dashboard reporting across multiple ad networks is a way to add value to existing affiliate relationships. It will also attract new affiliates and provide a system in which each party maximizes revenue.

Many dashboard systems can be white-labeled, avoiding the problems associated with homegrown solutions — the need for support staff, development costs and maintenance. To help offset the cost of white-label solutions, consider building a monthly subscription fee into your affiliate program. Also explore a revenue share with the company from which the software is licensed. In the end, better tools for affiliates mean higher profits for merchants, affiliates and program managers alike.

About the Author: Randy Mitchelson owns National Web Leads in Estero, Fla., an Internet lead-generation company. Through its network of partners, National Web Leads delivers innovative Web 2.0 solutions including real-time desktop and mobile reporting tools for online advertisers and publishers.

DASHBOARD REPORTING - Listed here are a few dashboard reporting options for any-sized Web business or affiliate program manager.

acxFusion: AcxFusion is a real-time dashboard powered by Applied Cognetics. Earnings Per Click (EPC) and revenue results are delivered via desktop widget, Web interface and Web-enabled mobile phone. Ad networks can white label acxFusion as a value-added service to their publishers. A free trial is available and basic monthly subscriptions begin at approximately $50.00. ADVANTAGES: price, mobile, white label AffiliateReporting is an affiliate marketing reporting tool by Move Software. This end-to-end SEM software platform offers much more than basic reporting. For example, users can create campaigns on multiple search engines at once. It includes a minimum licensing fee of $500.00 per month. ADVANTAGES: features, reports

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