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In part one we looked at how and why the engagement of an affiliate programme’s ‘Long Tail’ is pertinent to advertisers today.
This second part will look at specific techniques and ‘quick wins’ which have proven successful for other advertisers.
This is the first of two articles about how to engage and optimise the Long Tail of your affiliate programme.
Whilst the term has its origins in statistical sciences as early as 1946, it was popularised 60 years later with the publication of Chris Anderson’s book of the same name.
So how does this apply to affiliate marketing?
Not all affiliate activity is the same.
Any single affiliate programme is as likely to include behavioural re-targeting, site abandonment-triggered emails or downloadable software as it is to number ‘traditional’ affiliate stalwarts such as blogs and incentive-based sites.
This is a good thing. Affiliate marketing should be as focused on targeting as any other online marketing channel and it is a sign of the health of the industry that new methods can find a place in an environment where the focus has always been on customer acquisition.
The issue of the reliability of cookie-based tracking is perhaps one of the most important issues for affiliates and always has been.
Affiliate marketing operates on the basic assumption that the sales affiliates refer to advertisers are tracked and reported correctly.
If you are an affiliate manager you face something of a dilemma: how to attract a range of good quality affiliates to your programme without becoming bogged down in managing the issues that this multitude of relationships may present?
Affiliate marketing is something of a bottomless pit: it is not a question of performing a set number of tasks; there is always more you can do, which can very quickly swallow up a large amount of your time.
What do advertisers want to see from their affiliate programmes?
Generally speaking, they ask two things: firstly, that the largest possible proportion of their affiliate base is active in driving sales revenue; secondly, that there be a constant feed of good quality new affiliates coming onto the programme to actively promote them.
Who overwrites who in the affiliate channel? This question has been at the heart of some hotly-debated issues in affiliate marketing over the last few years, but little research has been done to answer the question directly.
When we scrutinise the value of incentivised traffic, question whether or not voucher code sites are ‘stealing’ sales that would otherwise have been credited to content sites, or wonder how different models of multi-attribution might work, the ability to inform these debates with insights in to what extent cookie writing is occurring, and amongst which affiliates, is surely vital.
As we approach the pre-Christmas rush many advertisers will be looking to launch affiliate incentives as part of their fourth quarter marketing campaigns.
But with affiliate marketing continuing to show strong growth, advertisers can expect increased competition for exposure on the best affiliates’ sites. So what makes an affiliate incentive successful and what ideas might advertisers want to avoid?