I was just reading up on a really interesting panel discussion from Shop.org discussing whether it makes sense to launch affiliate initiatives across multiple affiliate and Cost Per Action network platforms. The panel featured many friends of GTO including Jonathan Miller, Carolyn Tang, Jamie Birch, Chris Sanderson and Jeff Molander (who moderated) discussing the pluses and minuses of the multi-network approach.
What is the GTO Management position on the issue?
We’re for leveraging all of the platforms that make sense for your brand. Being in multiple networks just to say that you are makes little or no sense, but launching your program in a variety of platforms that you know can add value to your bottom line makes a lot of sense. Think of it this way – what does each network party add to the “stew” of your affiliate program.
Maybe you like working with a major network like Commission Junction to get access to a huge affiliate base to grow your program initially, but you notice your competitors are all firing up programs in AvantLink. Why – maybe your vertical market has a concentration of affiliates there who really like their advanced feed marketing tools. In this case, a dual network program probably makes a lot of sense.
On the flip side, if you just decide to make your imprint on the industry wide by launching with every low cost network you can find, your results will probably reflect the quality of the partners you choose.
A couple of other considerations to ponder: Do you have bandwidth to manage additional platforms and do it well? What will you do in the event of duplicate transaction reporting? The more networks you operate in, the greater the chance that this may be an issue for you. What if a transaction triggers 4 pixels and you are on the hook for paying 4x your commission? Who gets credit for the order?
The best answer here I think is to really think carefully about the benefits of multi-network launches as well as the risks. If you are just getting started and are not sure what all this entails, you could also sign on with an experienced management company like GTO that can steer you in the right direction.