Using the right affiliate technology is one of the key building blocks you need to get ”just right” when launching a new affiliate program. It’s often the common denominator we find stops programs from growing
Affiliate Techonolgy can cause low profit margins in programs and even hinder you from scaling to new markets. In over two decades of working on multiple affiliate programs, it’s the one thing that we get asked to fix and it’s imperative for ensuring a successful program launch.
I want you to think of your affiliate technology as the foundations upon which you build your “affiliate house”. The technology you choose to build your program is the bricks and mortar that holds it all together, can keep your profit margin lean and help you maximise your affiliate relationships. You’ll need it to be robust and feature rich and you’ll want it to last. Get it wrong and you’ll have a house nobody can live or work efficiently in. It will cost you money to fix and you’ll inevitably end up starting the entire build process all over again requiring a drain on resources and delays in meeting your sales targets.
So, how do you choose the right Tech?
If I had a dollar for every time I get asked this question…!! The truth is, there are so many great white label and 3rd party affiliate tech options out there that as an industry we are really quite spoiled for choice and this only serves to make it harder to begin your program launch on the right footing. I’ve pulled together a quick list of checkpoints that we use to help our clients make that all important first (or secondary - depending on where you’re at with your program) decision:
Budget - Always buy the best you can afford
Like when you buy a house, your affiliate tech should be the best that you can afford but always in the smartest neighbourhood. The more feature rich a platform is when it comes to commercials, reporting, and data analysis or automations - the better for you longer term. You want a very robust commercial modelling segment to enable you to manage your margins on cost and commercial pricing in a multitude of ways with various methodologies of credit. A CPA with the option of first deposit and wager as an example. A hybrid commission that offers trigger points before crediting and so on. Ideally, you want to be able to find one that can set up different geo-based offers depending on where you are located. If you have one program in the UK and another in Sweden, you are likely to need some very different offers for each one. The right platform will allow you to set them up and alter as needed. Most platforms charge in a similar fashion with an integration and set up fee along with monthly minimums. Your budget needs to be spent on tech that is robust, feature rich and offers you best in class reporting.
Detailed Reporting Suite
Data is key when it comes to building your affiliate program and partner relationships. The more in-depth data you can glean from your technology stack, the easier and faster you can review and optimise campaign deals and traffic sources. You need to make sure that you have access to a detailed reporting suite that provides affiliate level and player level data. You’ll want your reporting to also provide in depth media stats that can identify traffic sources that drive value customers. Looking for data across multiple different channels can quickly become a headache. It can be much easier to manage if you are able to bring all of your data into one place for easy analysis. This also allows you to effectively optimise your budget and affiliate campaign spend. From one place, you will be able to see which parts of the campaign are working well, and which are going to need some readjustments to best deliver results.
CRM and Marketing Automation features
Two crucial aspects of any online business or affiliate program is the ability to customize your affiliate relationship management and automate simple conversion and retention marketing functions. When you’re managing a program across multiple regions, all with different regulations, price points and offerings, you need to be able to manage this with a degree of automation in the backend. Simple CRM options like the ability to segment affiliates into groups and set simple lifecycle emails can save your team hours of time.
You need to make sure that you are able to find a platform that supports both of these functions. Even if they only have very limited capabilities, it will still make for a much more efficient member management overall. It is another area where you need to be able to gather important data that could help to shape the rest of your program delivery.
Another useful function to always have in your affiliate program platform are integrated payment processing options. Depending on how big your affiliate team is sometimes payments can take ages to verify and process and reconcile at month end if you don't have the right reports and systems in place. The faster you can payout your affiliates the better your relationships become. Payments are often the crux of an affiliate system, so it is important that you have an easy-to-use function that fits in at the heart of your own internal operations. If you can quickly reconcile and process affiliate commissions, you are going to be able to build a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy program overall. You also need to make sure that you have support for multiple currencies – especially if you have a multijurisdictional program. Being able to offer this level of support is always going to be a plus when attracting those searching for a new program.
SLA Service Times
Often this is forgotten when you’re excited about starting out. Let me tell you, when you are managing a global program with multiple brands, when the stats are offline and something has broken in the backend, having a human account manager who understands your program integration and can help fast track fixes with technical support teams becomes something you never want to live without. You need to ensure that the software provider you use, has adequate levels of support in place to help your program remain stable during tough times. Consider also that your program might work across several different time zones and this can prove to be problematic if part of the service goes down. You need to make sure that you have a set service agreement in place, so you know what to do in crisis situations. For example, you might want to ensure that you have customer and affiliate support assistants that are staggered so someone is always available within the working hours of one of your jurisdictions. You may not think this is important at the start but when it comes to scaling up your SLA becomes vital to the performance of your program and your reputation.
The affiliate marketing tech that you choose is going to either help or hinder you, so it is crucial that you find a technology that provides data rich information and support and that you can scale with and afford. Take the time to fully investigate some of the options out there before signing on the dotted line and if you still aren’t sure, ask an expert to help. On the flipside, the last thing you want to have is the unnecessary cost of a Rolls Royce model which means you have less to spend on your acquisition campaigns. Start by making a list of the key functions you need to have access to and benchmark suppliers against the five points of reference above - you’ll quickly see who is the right fit for your program and you’ll feel confident you’re making the right choice!
About SiGMA Europe:
SiGMA Europe will take place on February 16-18, 2021. Europe remains a leading market for gaming, making this the perfect opening gaming show for 2021. Join us for the 7th edition of SiGMA at the MFCC - Malta Fairs & Conventions Centre, and explore how you can benefit from being a delegate, a sponsor, an exhibitor or a keynote speaker.