Affiliate marketing networks allow both merchants and affiliates to experience the proverbial "one stop shop" variety and convenience mixed into one.
The idea is simple enough, these affiliate networks gather together merchants who are willing to pay affiliate marketing commissions with affiliates who are seeking to promote products and collect the resulting commissions.
Affiliate networks, then, are a sort of meeting ground for both groups: "advertisers" who have products to sell, and "publishers" (affiliates) who want to get paid to promote people's products.
However, you shouldn't be deceived by the seeming simplicity of the affiliate network concept. In reality, there are many different affiliate networks, some of them stronger than others, others with strengths in one area but weaknesses in others, and myriad other factors.
In short, one size definitely does not fit all when it comes to affiliate networks. You will want to choose your affiliate network(s) wisely.
At Ace Affiliates, our goal is to give you accurate and reliable information that can help you choose which affiliate networks you should join and which aren't a good fit for your needs.
Our reviews of affiliate marketing networks address the major questions that all affiliates face when choosing an affiliate marketing network. And there are many questions you will have, especially when you are joining that first network or two, here is a partial list of concerns you might have:
- What kind of products / services does the affiliate network have available or you to promote?
- What are the commission rates? Does the affiliate network pay on time?
- What are the minimum payout amounts?
- If you're a high-performing affiliate, can you demand higher commission?
- Who is the affiliate manager at the network and how can you contact them?
- How long has the network been in operation?
- How big is the network, i.e. if you're a smaller affiliate, will you get any attention?
- Does the affiliate network offer cutting edge mobile affiliate marketing and social media tools?
- Are the merchants that sign up with the network "exclusive" to that network, or could you contract directly through the merchant and get a better commission rate? (Remember that the networks take a percentage of sales, too, so this can in some cases result in lower commissions at networks than directly with merchants.)
How transparent is the affiliate network? Do you get access to all the pertinent information about your affiliate marketing campaigns? Is the tracking dashboard easy to understand and functional?
What's the hottest offer at this affiliate network? Are there multiple merchants worth promoting who work with this network, or am I just chasing one merchant and going to work only with that one?
When strategizing about the best ways to take advantage of the power of affiliate networks, it's important to understand that variety is at the heart of the affiliate network value proposition. Affiliate networks, that is, are not allied to any single merchant, and can give you many different choices of merchants, offers, and commission structures.
For this reason, it can be crucial to choose an affiliate network that is working with multiple vendors that you want to promote. Too often, newer affiliates join an affiliate network just to work with one vendor, and then join another one to work with another vendor, and then another one...
Just the administrative headaches of taking this approach can be a time-crusher. It is the old rule about trying to do too many things, and not doing any of them well--it's like that with affiliate networks.
Better, almost always, at least when you're starting out, to put down roots with one or two choice affiliate networks and milk those babies for months, years, and/or decades.