An affiliate network is a marketing system that links providers of advertising space (called affiliates hereinafter) with advertisers (called merchants hereinafter). Affiliate networks are thus an interface between merchants and affiliates.
To become a partner of an affiliate network, both the merchants and the affiliates must first register with the selected network. Especially for merchants, acceptance of their advertising program is usually subject to special conditions because an affiliate network is usually funded by commissions on sales and set-up fees or monthly fees.
Any online shop or company can set up its own affiliate program through which advertising companies can issue commissions to selected affiliates. However, the success of this method mostly depends on the number and quality of the advertising space provided by the affiliates. Many big brands can rely on a broad network of potential advertisers. However, the search of relevant topics would involve great effort and cost for a newly launched online store. Therefore, such companies would benefit from inclusion in an affiliate network.
Such a network provides a large number of potential advertisers and uncomplicated contact options with all affiliates. Moreover, the networks handle all technical aspects and support the advertising company with its own marketing activities. Every seller or company should establish a cost-benefit calculation in advance and consider whether it is worth to invest in a private marketing program versus joining an affiliate network.
Another advantage for merchants: affiliate networks can check the quality of the ad publishers with the registration procedure. That way, merchants have some guarantee that their ads or links will be placed on trusted websites and the quality of these sites is checked regularly.
Support is another key reason in favor of using an affiliate network. Merchants are usually cared for by account managers who help in case of problems or with the planning of promotional programs in order to keep efficiency as high as possible.
In terms of campaign tracking, affiliate networks are likewise beneficial. Clicks and impressions can be measured for each campaign code. Members of a network will receive regular reports on program performance.
Payment of commissions and the correct compensation of the affiliates is usually also taken care of by affiliate networks. Merchants are additionally protected against fraud and abuse of the campaigns.
If a merchant utilizes the enormous increase in reach through affiliate networks, they won’t be able to influence their ranking directly, however, it can be assumed that in the long term more visitors will come to their website through an increase of traffic caused by the campaign because the website is more generally known.
One might conclude that the brand will be strengthened since a website could receive more direct type-ins. One might also expect CTR increases. Due to the additional attention it is further possible that a Web project or an online shop will receive backlinks because other sites report on individual products or the brand.