5 Tips For Advertisers Choosing a Performance Network


As an advertiser, you come in contact with a lot of publishers anxious to promote your offer.  And if you have ever been to an affiliate marketing conference, you know it can be overwhelming.   There are lots of reputable publishers out there of every size and in every vertical.  And then there are lots of others who talk a good game, but may not have the ability to deliver what they promise.  Everyone seems to believe that they alone can help you achieve great success and wealth beyond your wildest dreams.

But you’ve been around long enough to know that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  So how do you weed through this sea of confusion and find the right network for you and — more importantly – for your offer?  Keep these 5 things in mind when selecting whom to entrust your offer to…

1)  Start Small. When you first get started, there is no need to make a big investment upfront until sales have been proven by the publisher or network.  Cap sales and institute a small test budget, but do be sure you have an adequate budget set aside for media so there is no interruption of sales.  Starting small will also allow you to gauge results and make sure your offer works for everyone.  At this stage, communication with your program manager is crucial.  They should be monitoring your offer to see what types of publishers are having the most success.   Don’t invest more dollars until you taken the time to understand how your offer is being promoted and determined which traffic sources — email, display, banners, SEO, incentivized vs. non-incentivized, etc. – are working best for you.  An honest network will tell you that they do not have all the answers upfront, and starting small is an important part of the process.

2)  Know the Terms.  Only 53% of advertisers say they read the affiliate agreement before signing.  READ IT CAREFULLY.  You want to understand the payment policies, and be certain the terms work for you – not solely for the publisher or the network.  For many verticals, CPA is the best way to go.  Just make sure you understand fully what you are agreeing to and invest in a program that will work for you.

3)  Look for a “Hands On” Approach.  When it comes to selecting a performance network, bigger is not always better.  Make sure your account manager is in regular communication with both you and the publisher to ensure that your offer is getting the proper attention.  The best performance networks contact their publishers with offers, rather than waiting to hear from them.  Unfortunately many affiliate managers have quotas to meet, and some of the larger networks will lump your offer in with dozens of others.  Choose a network that makes you feel like you are their most important client.  Your continued business should be a top priority to them and their reward is your offer or product.

4)  Set Your Offer Up to Succeed.  The success of your offer depends largely on the quality of the relationships your network maintains with the best publishers in your vertical.  Choose to work with a network that gives the publishers what they need.  Payout increases and bonuses should be set — but with realistic goals for the publishers to reach.   Quality traffic – not only quantity traffic — should be rewarded.  Set both a Network Payout and a Street Payout to ensure that your offer is competitive throughout the industry and prevents bidding wars.  Publishers want to work with affiliates who do right by them, and you will reap the benefit of that.

5) Prepay is a Good Thing.  Any good prepay will include a clause stating the time period over which the sales will be delivered.  A true performance network will not take your money if they cannot deliver on that.  They should only do business with you if they have existing, strong relationships with publishers in your specific vertical.

No matter which performance network you choose, keep this in mind…  Performance Networks are relationship based – so choose someone you can trust.  Select a performance network that will give both you and your offer the time, attention and respect that is required.   Make sure they ask you as many questions as you ask them – because they need to understand your business before they know if they can be successful.  Remember, if a network does not have relationships in your specific vertical, they will not be able to deliver and they should walk away.  If they don’t walk away you shouldn’t either… you should run.

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