Founder and President, MediaWhiz
When online advertisers think about affiliate marketing, they frequently think of the larger affiliate programs such as Linkshare or Commission Junction. These programs typically act like application service providers (ASPs), where the advertiser interfaces with and motivates affiliates.
In recent years, a plethora of cost-per-action (CPA) affiliate networks have evolved. CPA networks place the burden of managing affiliates and driving traffic squarely in the hands of dedicated affiliate managers. This approach enables advertisers to leverage the expertise, relationships, and resources of their CPA partner.
Since CPA networks are closed networks, advertisers do not directly communicate with their affiliates. If you select more than a single network partner, it is important to understand that affiliates — even underperforming ones — may appear more than once during a campaign without you knowing about it. This is due to the fact that affiliates frequently join multiple CPA networks at a time, each of which identifies that affiliate in a different manner. Selecting one partner will enable you to permanently remove affiliates driving lower quality customers or sales.
If you cannot decide between CPA networks you like, identify a key strength for each. Some programs have very strong distribution through e-mail, while other programs work very closely with search publishers. Test firms by giving each a piece of your affiliate program, so that one partner manages search, while the other manages e-mail, for example.
Remember to establish different price points for different forms of traffic, as all sales are not created equal. See which firm does a better job with reporting, optimization of underperforming affiliates, and, most importantly, servicing you as a client. With all of this in mind, you will be well on your way to finding a quality long-term CPA network partner and embarking on some great affiliate marketing.
See this artilce in DMNews: http://www.dmnews.com/Mix-it-up-with-affiliate-marketing/article/108633/