Affiliate Program Statistics and Their Importance to Publishers

Affiliate Program Statistics and Their Importance to Publishers

If you’ve ever wondered how publishers choose which merchants to promote or how you could appeal to more of them, it’s high time you learned about the importance of affiliate program statistics. What are these? They are the numbers publishers look at in order to assess whether a program is worth joining or not. They are your chance to stand out among competitors and should be a priority if you’re serious about building a successful affiliate program.

Sure, there are those sweet stories with influencers who buy a product, fall in love with it, and decide to let the world know. It would be ideal to have celebrities pay for your product and love it so much as to spread the word about it. Unfortunately, it rarely happens in real life. Most of the time, established reviewers and influencers choose which products to endorse based on their earning perspectives.

Instead of waiting for a miracle, you need to market your affiliate program and make it more appealing to publishers. The latter part involves getting your affiliate program statistics up. These heavily influence publishers’ decision of whether to join the program and start promoting your products or services. They also play a role in their decision of whether to continue to promote you and expand their promotions.

affiliate program statisticsWe’ll cover the most important affiliate program statistics and how you can improve them in the following lines. As you get to it, remember to always take into account what your competitors are doing. Publishers will compare you to them. It is in your best interest to have similar or even better program stats and offers. You cannot do that if you don’t know what their program stats and offers are. Therefore, always take the time to analyze competing affiliate programs.

Now let’s dive into the top 5 affiliate program statistics, also discussing ways how to improve yours.

1. Commission Rate and Average Commission

Affiliate program statistics referring to commissions tell publishers how much money they can earn per sale or lead by promoting you. Whether you’re paying them a percentage or a flat amount, you want to stay competitive. Our post on How to Calculate Affiliate Commission Rates should help you set appealing commissions while also keeping costs under control.

Publishers will always check your commission rates and average commissions. If you analyze competing affiliate programs, you will notice a discrepancy between the standard commission some of your competitors claim to pay and their average commissions. The discrepancy could have several causes, such as:

  • VIP commissions paid to select affiliates – A merchant listing a standard commission of 5% may pay 15 or even 20% to their top affiliates.
  • Bonuses and incentives – Tiered commission increases, temporary commission bumps, flat amount, or percentage bonuses can add up to a standard commission and increase the commission average.
  • Different commission rates for different products – Whether because of profit margin differences or stock clearance goals, merchants may choose to pay different commissions for different products. These differences may not be reflected in the displayed program commission rates but they will surely be reflected in the average commission.
  • Different commissions for different affiliate categories and levels of involvement – Many merchants nowadays decide to reward affiliates based on the value they bring and on their involvement in the sales funnel. Thus, some will pay different commissions for the first, middle, and/or final touch. Others will pay lower commissions to discount-oriented affiliates. It always makes sense to pay higher commissions to reviewers, influencers, and content affiliates.

The advertised commission rate represents the merchant’s promise or guarantee. The average commission rate shows how much the average affiliate earns with the respective merchant. Affiliates look at both because it helps them set realistic expectations. Sometimes, it also gives them the upper hand during negotiations.

2. Average Order Value

Whether you’re calculating commissions as percentages or flat amounts, publishers will also want to know your average order value (AOV). That is because earning 10% of $100 will never be the same as earning 10% of $1000. Also, for some publishers, it may be much easier to sell low-priced products than high-priced ones (think budget-oriented vs. luxury-focused publishers).

A higher average order value benefits both you and your affiliates, so it makes sense to try to improve yours. Here are a couple of ways to do that:

  • Large inventory: offer products or services that complete one another and cater to several needs of a large audience
  • Tiered discounts: the more buyers spend, the higher discounts or the more perks they should receive
  • Upsells:  suggest matching products and upgrades to your customers whenever and wherever possible
  • Financing options: split payments are a great way to make more expensive products affordable to anyone

The AOV can also represent an excellent key performance indicator for your affiliates’ activity, as Awin highlights here. An affiliate driving a lower volume of sales but having a high AOV could be as valuable as one driving a larger volume of sales but with a lower AOV. For some merchants, it even makes sense to create AOV-based commission tiers.

Just keep in mind that the AOV should be sustainable, justified. Buyers need to feel that they’re getting their money’s worth and even more. Otherwise, you could end up with returns, complaints, and a bad reputation. In turn, all these will negatively impact your affiliate program. Affiliates will think twice before promoting prohibitively expensive products, especially when quality, presentation, and/or customer service are subpar.

3. Conversion Rate

This is one of the most important affiliate program statistics publishers check. It tells them how many sales and commissions they can expect for every 100 visitors they send to your website. Unfortunately, although publishers often fail to understand that, the conversion rate depends on more than just your website’s ability to convert visitors into paying customers.

Thus, a merchant with a high-converting website could end up with a low conversion rate if the affiliates they work with drive untargeted traffic or publish inaccurate or outdated information. Similarly, a merchant with a low-quality website could see high conversion rates if they work with affiliates whose audiences trust their recommendations enough to overlook small website flaws. Also, display advertising usually converts at a lower rate than content and, especially, reviews.

It goes without saying that, as a merchant, you should do everything possible to ensure high-conversion. Some strategies worth considering are:

  • Website optimization: fast-loading easy-to-navigate website, attractive graphics and images, high-quality content, impeccable customer service, etc.
  • Attractive offer: competitive prices, attractive discounts and freebies, free shipping, loyalty program, hassle-free returns, extensive warranties, etc.
  • High-converting affiliate creatives: banners, videos, deals and coupons, datafeeds, etc.
  • Conversion optimization measures: upsells, opt-in push notifications, overlays to prevent visitors from leaving the website, shopping cart recovery emails, etc.

4. EPC (Earnings per 100 Clicks)

Affiliates are in it for the money. Of all affiliate program statistics, the EPC tells them exactly how much money they can expect to make on every 100 clicks they drive to your website. Most of them already know how much driving those 100 clicks will cost them, or what it could require in terms of effort. This metric allows them to calculate their return on investment.

The EPC is influenced by the commission and conversion rates. It will vary from one affiliate to the next, so the metric displayed in your affiliate program’s summary is the average of all your active affiliates’ EPC. Many affiliates use the EPC to decide how to rank merchants in their roundups and which offers to promote, so you want your EPC to be as high as possible. You can increase it by:

    • Paying higher affiliate commissions
    • Improving conversion
    • Offering higher buyer discounts
    • Recruiting more high-converting affiliates

5. Network Rank

Many affiliate networks rank merchants according to their affiliate programs’ performance within the network (ShareASale has its PowerRank, CJ, Pepperjam, and AvantLink give each program a ranking on a 4-5-bar scale, and so on). When choosing which merchants to promote, publishers even have the option of sorting through them by rank. As a merchant, you want the highest rank possible.

This is also one of the most relevant affiliate program statistics when it comes to measuring program performance, especially by comparison with competitors. While the algorithms that networks use to calculate the rank remain a mystery, the following metrics definitely play an important role:

  • Sales volume
  • Conversion
  • Commissions
  • Affiliate interest
  • EPC
  • Refunds rate
  • Active vs. inactive affiliates

Other Important Statistics and Details

The above are the most important metrics publishers check when deciding whether a merchant is worth promoting or not. However, depending on their experience with various merchants and their promotional methods, they will consider other details as well:

Low Funds and/or Auto-Deposit ON/Off 

Publishers prefer merchants who have activated auto-deposits for their accounts or at least do not go into low-fund status because it gives them confidence that they won’t be left with unpaid commissions if the funds in the merchant’s network account run out. Therefore, if the network where you host your affiliate program allows it, turn on the auto-deposit feature and set generous triggers, to make sure you will never run out of funds or enter the low funds status.

Offline History

The fact that an affiliate program often goes offline means that the merchant either runs out of funds or they make frequent changes to how they work with affiliates. Although changes are often good, publishers appreciate stability. Try to stay online for as long as possible by making sure that you never run out of funds and by planning major changes in advance and implementing them with as few disruptions as possible.

PPC Policy

Some publishers prey on merchants’ trademarks and check PPC policies to get an idea of how far they can go. Other publishers are worried that their cookies could be overwritten by unscrupulous affiliates or want to see how deeply merchants care about their brand and reputation. It helps to have a clear PPC policy in place so as to provide answers to both categories.

Affiliate Program Management

Unscrupulous publishers love unmanaged affiliate programs because they can promote the respective merchants as they please, without worrying about being removed, having commissions reversed, or receiving negative feedback. Truly valuable affiliates will stay away from programs that don’t have an active affiliate manager at the helm, because they know these usually fall prey to affiliate marketing parasitism and their chances of getting credit for the sales they may drive are slim.

Data/Product Feed

Some publishers, like PriceGrabber and Wish simply import the data feeds of the merchants they work with. Some affiliate networks, like ShareASale, allow publishers to filter data feed merchants. This creative is also a great way to showcase your products, so don’t hesitate to make it available to your affiliates.

Desktop vs. Mobile

Some publishers (apps & social media, for example) send a lot of mobile traffic. Others focus more on desktop traffic. When choosing which merchants to promote, publishers will ensure that those merchant websites have the ability to engage and convert the type of traffic they send. If 90% of your traffic and sales come from desktop devices, mobile-oriented affiliates may think twice before promoting you.

It is therefore important to ensure that your website is responsive and visitors will have a great experience on any device. Then, you can further influence these affiliate program statistics. One solution would be to recruit and engage more mobile-oriented affiliates. Another solution would be to invest more in mobile and social media marketing.

Final Advice on Improving Your Affiliate Program Statistics

As explained above, your goal as a merchant should be to build the best affiliate program statistics possible. This will help you appeal to all (desirable) publishers. If you’re just starting in affiliate marketing, it will take some time and effort, commitment, and perseverance.

It is important to note that this investment needs to be made on all fronts. The affiliate program is not a standalone part of your business. It cannot function in the long run if it’s not supported by a great merchant website, excellent products, impeccable customer service, and a consistent and coherent branding strategy.

As for the affiliate program, statistics don’t appear overnight. They are built through hard work, connections, and smart recruitment and activation campaigns by dedicated and reputable affiliate program managers. If you have trouble getting your affiliate program off the ground or you feel that its stats could be improved but you don’t know how to do it, we can help.

We have years of experience in building successful affiliate program statistics and driving performance, and we will gladly put our experience in your service. All you have to do is contact us and give us a few details about your brand and the problems you’re facing. The first consultation is on us — so you have nothing to lose!

How To Make Money with the WP Engine Affiliate Program

How To Make Money with the WP Engine Affiliate Program

Web hosting is one of the most competitive markets online. Since every web site and blog has their own hosting, there is plenty of customers to go around. The type of hosting that you choose for your site will not only determine how much you pay, but it will also reflect on how fast and secure your site is. With that being said, not all web hosting services are the same. While most ‘shared’ hosting plans are fine for newbie bloggers and site owners, there are many advanced hosting services and dedicated server options to explore when you are pushing a lot of traffic through your site and simple can’t afford to have it go down — not even for a second.

One of these such option is WP Engine, a premier hosting service that specializes in WordPress hosted sites. In this article we aren’t going to focus on the WP Engine hosting service so much, but instead how users of WP Engine can earn money by recommending their own web hosting service to others through their affiliate program.

There are a many benefits to using WP Engine as your web host—they offer incredible security, scale, support, and more — which means it should be even easier for you to recommend them to your audience as well.

WP Engine Affiliate Program — What You Get

Likely nearly all affiliate programs, you are paid when someone signs up for a service or completes an action. The same holds true for the WP Engine affiliate program. WP Engine has made sure that if you put in the effort of being an affiliate for them that it will definitely be worth your time.

When you’re an affiliate for WP Engine, you get the following benefits:

  • $200 per sale commission for all accounts under $200 per month
  • 100% commission on the first month on self sign-up accounts over $200 per month
  • $249 per sale in commission for business accounts
  • Tracking cookies make sure you’re getting credit (and getting paid)
  • Commissions paid out monthly
  • Bonus Commissions are available if you make multiple monthly sales, with the tiers and bonuses increasing
  • Commissions are triggered and registered after 45 days
  • Get paid for bringing on new affiliates. For each customer referral your affiliate referral makes, you get $50

Keep in mind that all sales have to maintain service for 45 days in order for you to get your commission.

To see more reasons why you should sign up to be a WP Engine affiliate, you can click here.

How To Sign Up as a WP Engine Affiliate

To sign-up to be an affiliate for WP Engine, all you have to do is go to their site and sign up.

rsz_wp_engine_wordpress_hosting_affiliate_program

Since their affiliate program is run through ShareASale, you can trust that all stats and campaign tracking are reported accordingly and that payments are always sent out on time. Once you are all setup, you can login to your Shareasale account, grab your links and start promoting WP Engine to your audience.

Tips For Success as a WP Engine Affiliate

With WP Engine already having a lot of experience and thousands of customers, it should be an easy sell for anyone with a web hosting or blogging related site — especially if you are already using WP Engine as your current web host. However, that doesn’t mean that you can bring in fat paychecks without doing any work. To be successful and make money as a WP Engine affiliate, you can follow a few easy tips.

Write an Honest Review About Your Web Host

The best way to make money with WP Engine, is to have them as your existing web host, then writing a review about why you are using them as your hosting company and giving a detailed review of why others should use them as well. The best way to convince your audience to act upon something, is to show them the value and that you are currently using that same product.

Need some advice on how to get the most out of your review articles? Read this guide on writing killer review posts.

Put Time in the Promote Your Content

Don’t just post your affiliate links all over the internet and expect users to just take your word for it (or even expect them to click it). When you’re promoting WP Engine, make sure you put in the time and effort to create engaging and quality content around your message and call to action.

In addition to building out your own content, you can also view the many different types of ad creative that WP Engine offers to their affiliates through Shareasale.

ShareASale_-_WP_Engine_Affiliate_Banners

No matter how you are going to create your content or promote WP Engine, the most common and best way to do this is to talk about why you honestly believe it’s a great investment. Which brings us to the next tip…

Utilize Features and Benefits

Talking about features and benefits of a service or product is an age-old sales technique, and it’s highly efficient in both print, online, and in person. It’s not enough to tell someone you think that they should buy something; you have to tell them why.

Explain that faster support (something WP Engine is great at) means that you’ll get issues on your site fixed before you risk losing customers because of it (benefit). People start listening (and purchasing) a lot faster when they start hearing what’s in it for them.

In short, tell your audience why WP Engine is the best solution for them.

Be Patient

Spamming your affiliate links all over the internet repeatedly and aggressively isn’t going to bring you any sales. If anything, it will turn people off and drive them away. You need to be patient as an affiliate—sales will come in over time.

This doesn’t mean to sit back and not do anything (unless you’re just counting on the affiliates you got to sign up to bring in sales), but you shouldn’t be impatient to see a lot of income come quickly.

Though WP Engine brings in large amounts of commission, sales often come in slowly and overtime. It’s an investment—it may take some time, but you’ll surely reap the benefits—and profit—over time.

Stay Up To Date

In the world of web hosting and technology, everything changes very fast. What was hot last month, might not be so hot today.

WP Engine is one of the top hosting sites, largely because they constantly stay on top of their game and are offering new tools, services, and patches to their users. Just as they stay up to date, you need to stay up to date, too.

Every time they offer a big upgrade that would inspire either customers or new affiliates to sign up (like the current bonus comimssions for multiple sales), you want to be the first to know about it. It’s a new selling tool that can bring in entirely new sales, as well as push a few over the edge who were thinking about purchasing but hadn’t yet.

Changes they make also gives you an extra chance to talk about WP Engine and why it’s so amazing, which is a great opportunity to re-open the conversation to interested potential customers.

Always Have a Call to Action

Your Call to Action is important any time you’re running an ad campaign or trying to sell something. It tells users exactly what you want them to do.

When you’re promoting WP Engine, whether it’s in a blog post or your Facebook or a newsletter or an ad campaign, you need to have a clear call to action like “see more” or “sign up today,” hyperlinked with your affiliate link that sends them right to the landing page or sales page.

No matter where you’re posting your affiliate link for WP Engine, it should always be accompanied with (or hyperlinked in) a very clear and concise call to action.

Recruit New Affiliates

Unlike other web hosting affiliate programs, WP Engine also offers the benefit of not only getting paid for every customer you refer to their service, but also any active affiliates you can send their way as well. This is a great way to make some really nice income—and it’s income that will come in automatically.The more affiliates you sign up, the better off you are, and the more money in your pocket, all with little to no extra work on your part after you get those affiliates to join. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?

Special Bonus Commissions!

For a limited time, WP Engine is offering special bonus commissions on your sales! You’ll earn a cash bonus as you reach each tier. For example if you send 10 sales, you’ll get a bonus commission of $100 (5 sale tier) + $250 (10 sale tier) in addition to your normal commissions!

WP-Engine-Affiliate-Program

Are you an affiliate for WP Engine yet? Have you thought about signing up? If you’re interested, click here to get the process started and to become an affiliate for WP Engine.

7 Things Successful Affiliate Program Managers Do

7 Things Successful Affiliate Program Managers Do

Your affiliate marketing program is a serious marketing campaign that requires diligent ongoing involvement. Unlike some may think, affiliate program management is a full-time job; and within its framework the affiliate (program) manager should be taking care of seven very specific things which I’d like to cover for you in this blog post. There are five that correspond to the key responsibilities that every affiliate manager has, and two that ensure the solidity of the base on which the five stand. It is helpful to visualize affiliate program management as a façade of a building that rests on five pillars which, in turn, rest on a foundation and a footer (as exemplified below).

affiliate-management

Education

There are a few good courses and books devoted to affiliate management education and training out there (including a few authored by yours truly); and while they are definitely worth delving into, the education that should be the undergirding basis of everything that you do in affiliate marketing, is your ongoing self-education. By its very nature, affiliate marketing touches every possible online marketing channel. This makes it an extremely dynamic and quickly developing industry which, in turn, calls for daily time spent on self-education.

Networking

To paraphrase the famous saying, what you know will give you direction, but it is who you know that make things moving. Too many a time we have witnessed what a difference a direct connection means (especially when it comes to the first two of the five responsibilities described below). You will hear it time and again that affiliate marketing is a business model that is founded on the idea of an ongoing relationship. Believe it; and spend time creating new connections, developing those that require nurturing, and cementing old ones.

Moving on to affiliate manager’s duties, every manager should be expected to actively attend to the following five tasks: recruitment, activation, policing, communication, and optimization.

Affiliate Recruitment

An affiliate program manager is responsible for identifying and recruiting new affiliates. Affiliate recruitment should take anywhere between 70 percent and 85 percent of the affiliate manager’s time and is one of the most important parts of the program manager’s work. After all, affiliates are the main driving force of every affiliate program.

Affiliate Activation

Affiliate activation is one of the most frequently overlooked components of affiliate program management. Activation is a step between affiliate recruitment and conversion of the recruited affiliates into producing ones. I believe that activation should be practiced in three phases: the recruitment phase (where you motivate affiliates not only to join your program but also to put up your links and refer their first orders/leads), the welcoming phase (where you motivate affiliates to get active in the very text of the application approval email), and the routine phase (where you run aggressive monthly activation campaigns to move those who are already in your program but not yet active).

Compliance Policing

Next in importance to recruiting and activating affiliates is the policing of inappropriate affiliate behavior. Whatever you prohibit in your affiliate program’s terms of service (TOS) — be it cookie-stuffing software, typosquatting, paid search bidding on your trademarks, URL, or any variations of misspellings of these — you want to constantly police affiliate compliance with these rules. Rules and TOS do not ensure compliance, but give you grounds to police and enforce it.

Communication

An affiliate manager should also be expected to support a two-way communication channel with affiliates. I believe this responsibility is threefold: maintaining stimulating relationships with the current affiliates and continually motivating them to perform better, keeping affiliates up-to-date on new products and any affiliate program enhancements, and handling ongoing communication campaigns and all affiliate correspondence.

Optimization

Continuous affiliate program optimization is the final area of responsibility worth underscoring. Every affiliate manager is to be identifying and implementing opportunities to enhance your affiliate program, developing and monitoring affiliate-centered promotions (do not confuse these with promos directed at customers), reporting for affiliate marketing promotions and activity, monitoring competitors’ affiliate campaigns and promotions, and uncovering what actionable knowledge can be deduced from this data.

 

All of the above will be covered at great extent during my upcoming Affiliate Management Days conference, the only show dedicated specifically to affiliate management, which is set to take place on April 3-5, 2016 in San Francisco. Use code ZAC to get 25% off any full pass. I hope to shake your hand there.

 

This article was contributed by Geno Prussakov, who call be followed on Twitter at @eprussakov.