Affiliate networks often struggle to find the best traffic sources to generate more conversions and increase their revenues. The search for new publishers with suitable traffic is constant and never ends. Despite networks having numerous publishers, the biggest part of their revenues is generated by a select few who know the industry very well and thus know how to generate revenues.
Does this mean that a network should only focus on finding “big fishes”?
The answer is no! A bigger publisher requires more attention and support. A super affiliate (as big publishers are also called) knows his power and is using it to get better payouts, top offers, and dedicated support. On the other hand, smaller publishers are more open to testing new offers and features, because they are keen to learn more about how they can generate revenues. These differences explain why networks need both types of publishers and all types should be given the chance to prove their capability to grow into the affiliate marketing business.
Should all publishers that sign up on a network be eligible to promote offers?
The answer is yet again, no. It’s the responsibility of the affiliate network to check the profile of each publisher and ensure that the traffic that he is going to send to the offers will be according to the requirements of the advertisers. As a network owner, you don’t want to make your advertisers unhappy because some publisher has spammed his offer or tried to generate leads in a tricky way. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all publishers using fraudulent methods should be rejected. As long as the advertiser is aware of such types of activities and he is accepting this tactic to generate leads (some advertisers even request it), these publishers are also eligible to promote those offers, keeping in mind the risk between any fraudulent campaign. Transparency between all parties (publishers – networks – advertisers) is important and needed, to avoid disputes and communicate effectively.
How can a network check the “quality” of a publisher?
The first way to determine the reliability of a publisher is through their sign-up form. If someone signs up without providing full details (address, VAT number, professional email, etc..), then most probably he is not serious about conducting business. Some publishers do not have companies and are engaging in Affiliate Marketing as their second job, or they are in it as freelancers. However, as soon as someone provides details that indicate he/she is trying to hide his/her identity, the affiliate manager should be alarmed that something is wrong.
Another point that helps a network to pre-screen a publisher is by sending them a questionnaire, prompted the moment publishers first sign up. This questionnaire aims to give you more insight into the publishers’ inventory and thus allow you to better determine if he can bring value to your network. The questions within the questionnaire can contain topics that describe the publishers’ previous affiliate marketing experience e.g. referrals (other networks he is working with), traffic sources (social media, media buying, websites, etc..) and verticals (gaming, Nutra, casino, apps, etc..). Keep in mind that not all affiliates fit all networks. If your networks’ verticals (e.g. Nutra offers) differ vastly from that of the publisher’s inventory (e.g. dating traffic), your Affiliate will most likely struggle to generate conversions with his traffic. He could give it a try, however, most probably the attempt would end up in disappointment. A questionnaire is an excellent way to better assess the fit between a network and a publisher.
Ultimately, it is recommended to communicate directly with the publisher to find out how this publisher has found out about your network. Being referred by another publisher who is familiar with the business is a good indicator that this publisher is aware of the business. If they have found your network on blogs, affiliate forums, or by other affiliates offers, it shows that this publisher knows how to get the information he needs to grow his business.
On the other hand, if someone registers “coincidentally” because he has seen your network promoted somewhere, and has no experience in the business, then approving his account will most probably lead to having to train this new publisher without a guarantee that he will finally manage to generate revenues. Therefore, it’s not recommended to accept beginners, because you will have to invest more time in teaching how affiliate marketing is performed, than doing actual business.
To conclude, we suggest that you invest enough time to gather information on a new publisher before approval and providing him access to your platform, business, and offers. If this is not possible due to the current workload, at least create a good questionnaire that will help you to understand how familiar this affiliate is with the business, and if indeed he knows how to run affiliate campaigns. Doing a proper pre–screening will not only help you avoid having a lot of inactive affiliate accounts on your end, but it will also help you create a premium network, offering reliable traffic, that your advertisers will appreciate.
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