17 May 2018 20:29 IST

How brands can rope in affiliates to effect positive change

In tying up with influencers, companies need to ensure that monies are spent prudently

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing which rewards ‘affiliates’ — say, influencers — for each customer brought by their marketing efforts. For instance, if a beauty blogger mentions the brands she uses and recommends it to her followers, the blogger will earn a percentage of the profits the brand makes off her recommendation.

Today, affiliate marketing is growing into a system of high-value associations, rather than just an add-on for marketing organisations. With influencer marketing emerging as a potential revenue stream, traditional relationships are paving the way for more nuanced endeavours. As data becomes more connected and accessible across teams, it’s easier to attribute credit where it’s due.

When you expand the idea of what affiliate marketing is, the sky is the limit. Let’s look at how brands are innovating when it comes to their influencer marketing programmes.

Reformulating the ‘affiliate’

Affiliates now come in various shapes and sizes. Brands are experimenting with different channels to find new revenue streams. For example, Levi Strauss & Co. works with several influencers to obtain both paid and earned media opportunities on social media platforms. It’s not surprising that people want to work with such big names. Such brands give influencers some level of flexibility with when and how they promote a label.

Uber built its business on strong partner relationships. Affiliate recruitment and management behaves much like a sales funnel and should be promoted the same way. Companies should look at the number of new partners they get and track how many of those turn into conversions, and how many become commissions.

Dynamic attribution

In marketing, attribution involves identifying a set of user actions (‘events’ or ‘touchpoints’) that contribute to a desired outcome, and assigning a value to each of these events. Attribution models show which media are driving purchases. For affiliate marketing projects, attribution models cannot be of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ variety because different campaigns have different goals.

Therefore, the way they are accounted for should fit the scope of the project in order to accurately measure the results. The attribution ought to be dynamic enough for it to be adaptable for the organisation as well as the campaign.

It is important to build a system that works for your organisation. It requires testing to figure out what sticks, and where you can save money. Identifying points of value can help trim campaign budgets and enable teams to concentrate on areas that reap the best return on investment. Hence, marketers need to put processes in place that will eliminate reckless spending.

Eliminate ad frauds

Ad fraud is getting more sophisticated and is a seemingly unavoidable burden for affiliate marketers and their partners.

Companies need to be accountable and ensure that monies are spent prudently. To combat ad fraud is a multi-organisational effort; brands and their partners need to work in tandem to identify and rectify incidents of fraud. Additionally, companies should make sure they corroborate with their partners to ensure that they are taking the right steps to protect the brand well.

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