The role that affiliate networks play in online affiliate marketing

When people talk about online affiliate marketing, the fact is that during the conversation there is no doubt that the subject of affiliate networks will also be mentioned. Affiliate networks in reality are the crux of the affiliate marketing world in many ways. An affiliate marketing network provides a comprehensive range of useful facilities and facets that can aid a potential affiliate marketer, but the fact is that many people still are unaware or unsure about these organizations that have helped and continue to help affiliate marketers to be successful.

An affiliate network is a network of affiliate programs and affiliates which work towards a common goal. The merchants, or sellers are often compiled by the network themselves and then reviewed to ensure that they offer a sound product or service which is likely to be of value to the affiliates. The inherent benefit of a network is that it brings together sellers or merchants and affiliates, all within one umbrella.

As a seller or company offering an affiliate program, the obvious benefit is the fact that the network will often retain a large number of potential affiliates that are able to promote a product. From the affiliate’s point of view or perspective, a network provides a safety net in terms of ensuring payment and also providing useful information relating to the programs themselves. This can often include information such as how popular a particular product or service is, in terms of affiliate marketing, and also how many affiliates are currently promoting a particular product. Although there are a wide variety of affiliate networks available there are only a few that offer the full and comprehensive range of features that are generally required for an affiliate to make their own informed decision.

One of the key considerations that a potential affiliate needs to consider when using an affiliate network is the frequency of payments. Most networks will make payments on a monthly basis, which if the affiliate is spending money on promotional activities such as pay per click, can mean a reasonable time gap between expenditure and receiving their commission. In addition, in terms of payments, working with or through an affiliate network will often mean smaller commissions, due to the fact that affiliate networks tend to take a percentage of any payments themselves as an overriding commission. However for many this is a situation that they are more than happy to live with purely because of the additional safety and useful features that are available by being part of a network.

Often the most difficult part for any affiliate or potential affiliate is choosing which network is the most viable option for them. When it comes to deciding which affiliate network to join and work with, the key elements that should be considered are the amount of useful merchant and program information that is available, payment and accessibility. In terms of information this relates to the key details of merchants and programs that are retained and provided for affiliates, relating to the specific programs that are offered. This is extremely useful and a necessity for many affiliates as it provides useful information as to whether a particular program should be used or chosen and undertaken. The affiliate needs to ensure that their time is best or most effectively utilised in promoting a product or service that is both useful and will actually sell. Products and services that are difficult in terms of obtaining an action or a sale, are often those ones that should be avoided.

Another consideration is in terms of payment schedules. Most affiliate networks will tend to pay on a monthly basis. This is to enable the merchants or sellers to make sufficient reparations for any sales made and also to cater for the distance selling act which needs to be taken into account and which enables an individual purchaser to obtain a refund within a seven day cooling off period, for some products and services. In terms of accessibility, a user-friendly interface is essential. Many affiliate networks complicate matters by providing information in a form in which it is difficult to understand. The most popular affiliate networks will generally provide information that can be accessed simply and also be filtered to provide the exact detail that the affiliate marketer is looking for. As you would expect, certain types of information are crucial, such as how well a product or service is selling, its conversion rates etc, yet some networks, for some reason choose not to provide this information.

As discussed the fact is that affiliate networks provide a useful service. Choosing the right one for your own needs will depend on your own specific requirements. Choose wisely is the best advice that can be given.