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Affiliate Networks 101
The Mobile Affiliate Networks section contains 70+ affiliate networks and Cost-Per-Action platforms that are primarily focused on mobile and app-related offers advertising. These companies support multiple commission types, payment method and terms, as well as types of offers.
An intermediary between publishers (affiliates) and merchant affiliate programs.
Types of Affiliate Network
There are two major types of affiliate networks, with the first type publishers (or affiliates) who are paid a certain share of the revenue generated by them for merchants and the second one involves paying publishers a fee, every time a visitor to a publisher’s website or a publisher’s mobile app user completes a specific action, commonly called CPA (stands for Call-Per-Action).
The affiliate program industry landscape is presented with a broad range of players, from big companies, such as Commission Junction, Tradedoubler to specialists that are focused on a specific marketing niche, such as mobile and apps. Thanks to the mobile app ecosystem exponential growth for the last 8+ years, the latter became the most dynamic and lucrative industry for affiliates.
The other differentiator for affiliate programs is a business model. On today’s affiliate networks market there are several major models, such as:
- PPS (pay-per-sale) – with this model publishers or affiliates are paid for each sale they generate for advertisers
- CPA (pay-per-action) – according to this model affiliates are paid for a specific action that
- CPC (pay-per-click) – this model involves affiliates get paid for each click on an ad that leads to an advertiser product page
- CPM (pay-per-mile, where a mile stands for 1,000 ad views) – the oldest business model that entails affiliates being paid for driving views for advertisers ads in their online inventory, such as a website or a mobile app.
Types of Affiliate Offers
The affiliate market has been instrumental for selling of many kinds of products and services and in particular helped businesses to gain new leads, offer coupons, get more subscribers and more. With the advance of mobile, new types of offers have been introduced, the most common are mobile content, mobile subscription, mobile games and app installs. Let’s take a closer look at each of these:
- Mobile content – with this type of offer affiliates help merchants to increase their sales with mobile channel. A few examples of popular digital content that affiliates help to sell are music, movies, books.
- Mobile subscription – businesses that operate on a subscription model are always on a hunt to increase their subscribers number to compensate their churn and to increase their revenue. Good examples of such offer would be music streaming services, TV, online radio, digital magazines.
- App Installs – with a wide range of affiliate programs that cover various demographics, app developers have a robust channel to acquire more app installs and build their app user base.
- Mobile games – games on mobile stand out of the rest mobile apps because of the significance mobile games have gained over the years. The competition is extremely high because the bulk of the industry revenue have been generated with a small number of players. In this environment affiliate programs are vital for game developers to reach more user base than marketing on the App Store / Google Play marketplace allows them to.
Affiliate Marketing Verticals
In recent years among many business verticals the following ones have experienced the most traction with an affiliate marketing:
- Nutra – this is a broad vertical that encompasses health, dietary supplements, weight loss, skin products and more. Companies that develop and sell products for this vertical used affiliate marketing before the Internet and with its advance they naturally adopted this new fast-developing channel.
- Gambling – this vertical covers sport bets and casino games
- Travel – for this vertical affiliate marketing allows to generate more hotel bookings, holiday vacation plans, transportation tickets and more.
- Dating – dating sites are in constant need for more subscribers and with affiliates help they aim to sell more of their subscription service to monetize their user base.
- Mainstream VOD – video on demand services are one of the most important distribution channels for movie and TV show makers. With this model they can serve so-called cord-cutters, people who’ve stopped watching regular TV and prefer to watch video content when they have time for it.
- eCommerce – this vertical covers a very broad range of companies, starting from giants such as Amazon to small eCommerce businesses that specializes on local markets or specific products.
- Finance – with this vertical affiliate marketers are involved in selling currency trading services such as Forex, insurance plans and loans.
Affiliate Marketing Payment Terms
One of the key factors for an affiliate is payment terms or how frequently he’s paid for revenue he generates for a merchant via an affiliate program. There are several industry-accepted payment terms such as Weekly, Semi-weekly, Monthly and Daily. Quote often these payment terms are referred as Net7, Net14, Net30.
Affiliate Payment Methods
Payment transaction gateways provide the technical infrastructure for the affiliate marketing industry. There is a number of ways affiliates get paid and the major ones are:
- Bank / Wire Transfer – the most popular method among affiliates but compared to other methods it’s slower, requires more manual actions to be made by affiliates.
- PayPal – the most widely used payment system globally, it offers affiliates a quick and convenient way of accepting payments.
- Payoneer – it covers more than 200 countries and over 100 currencies worldwide. It provides a good PayPay alternative to affiliates who need to transact large payments and conveniencee of withdrawing commissions they’ve earned from any MasterCard branded ATMs across the world.
- WebMoney – a Russia-based online payment solution and hence primarily used by affiliates located in Russia.
Affiliate Networks FAQ
How do I start affiliate marketing?
To start using affiliate marketing as either your additional or primary channel to generate an income, you need to come up with a strategy first.
Find a product(s) that resonate with your personally, something that you would either buy for yourself or just in general you feel positive about. Throughout your journey as an affiliate marketer, you’ll need to write lots of text creatives, decide on what photo or video creatives to choose for an ad. All these ad materials will have to be compelling enough for people to click on and purchase a product you’re offering. Otherwise it’ll be really hard in a long run to promote something that you don’t care about.
In terms of financial investments, the most affordable way to start will be to join an existing affiliate network. You need to be careful with your choice of a network to work with. Make sure you’ll able to get your earned commissions from that particular affiliate network smoothly. And whenever you’ll need any support from their end they’ll be capable to provide it.
For any kind of affiliate marketing to work, you need to have your website or a mobile app generating a significant and steady amount of traffic. The important decision for you to make, once you’ve picked up a network, will be what business model to choose. Read about business models here.
Last but not least, once you’ve started working with an affiliate network, make sure you keep your taps on the stats you’ll be accumulating on your ad campaigns performance to optimize it over time and grow your affiliate marketing business.
What is affiliate advertising?
In a nutshell, an affiliate advertising is an online marketing channel for businesses to sell their products or services via an affiliate (which are also called publisher) website or mobile app.
What is Affiliate Sales?
It’s a way for a company to sell its products or services by establishing a program for individuals or companies (called “affiliates”) to sign up and be paid a commission fee for generating leads or closing sales for that company.
What is an Affiliate Program?
It’s a program that is established by a company to help it to sell products or services. It regulates all relationships between the company and affiliates who are signed up to that program. It provides affiliates a dashboard to manage advertising campaigns they run, track commissions they earn and creatives they can use to advertise the company’s products or services.
How can I find an affiliate network that provides offers for a specific vertical?
There are several ways to find an affiliate program that provides offers for a specific business vertical. The key is to apply multiple techniques to eliminate any possible bias. The place to begin your research would be Affiliate Networks directories, such as the one that mobyaffiliates hosts. To evaluate multiple networks you may pick up from a directory, you need to find people’s feedback on these networks on places like Quora, online forums and LinkedIn. Make sure you tried multiple search queries on these resources to find as much feedback as possible, avoid comments that are strictly negative or positive, genuine feedback is usually in between these two extremes. On LinkedIn you can find both affiliate networks company employees to ask questions and groups dedicated to affiliate industry. But again – don’t expect an affiliate network employees to share with you any cons of the company they work for, approach these people to figure out in general – do they provide offers for a particular vertical or not.
How can I find affiliate networks that operate in a particular region?
Use above mentioned technique to find regional affiliate networks but make sure networks you find do work with affiliates from other countries. In many countries local affiliate industry market is presented with big international companies and local-based players. A good example would be India, where you can register as an affiliate to work with Amazon India Affiliate Program, as well as Flipkart Affiliate Program and SnapDeal Affiliate Program.
What affiliate networks are best for a startup to begin with?
There are number of challenges that make many startups growth difficult, such as lack of funding, an effective team building is still in progress and a product or service it’s trying to bring on a market may not be ready for its prime time. Therefore any extra source of income may help sush startup to fund its growth. For a startup to monetize an existing website or app traffic, initially it’s better to join an affiliate program from a company that has a well established brand, such as Amazon or Apple. Over time as a picture of what traffic your inventory is capable of generating emerges, you may consider signing up an affiliate network to broad the spectrum of offers to advertise.
What are the pros and cons of an affiliate network vs. an in-house affiliate program?
On the pros side of having an in-house affiliate program are such factors as having a control over the whole system, quality assurance and reducing costs if you manage to keep your affiliate program department small. On the cons side such things as it’ll take time to build a significant size affiliate base, advertising costs, potentially costly mistakes. Expect for a very few occasions when you’re launching a unique product or service and monetizing it with ads from an affiliate network may present a challenge, you better off to just sign up a reputable affiliate network.
What are the most profitable mobile offers?
There are several ways to search for offers, and mobile offers in particular. The first one is obvious – sign up for multiple affiliate networks and see what offers they have. Next up is searching on Twitter for top offers, top mobile offers to spot offers that affiliate networks may push on a specific day or week, LinkedIn Groups is another place for conducting a similar research.
It’s a wise approach for any business but it’s really important for affiliate marketing. You need to realize that offers value change over time, having said that it’s possible to list several types of offers that historically have a high value:
- Casinos and online gambling
- School and education in general
- Health supplements or so-called Nutra
- Loans and financial offers
- Dating sites
What business model is the most lucrative?
There are three dominating business models to compare to answer this question – CPM (Cost Per Thousand), CPC (Cost Per Click) and CPA (Cost Per Action). All three are different in what is the subject to pay affiliates for – an ad view, click on an ad or specific action people do on a website or inside an app – sign up, subscribe, buy something and so on. So what model will generate more revenue for you?
The short answer – it depends on your audience and how well you know it. The more in-depth one is the following.
For an affiliate or publisher point of view the CPM model advantage is that they get paid each time ads were shown in their inventory and it doesn’t matter if those ads lead to specific actions or not. But on the flip side this model doesn’t guarantee that you can make the most of your inventory, your audience may react better and take actions on some particular type of offers but you just don’t know what they are. In short it’s capable to generate for you a predictable income flow.
On the bright side of the CPC model is that if you, as a publisher, serve ads that you know for certain match your audience interests, you should expect high revenues. But the dark side is that advertisers you serve ads for don’t pay you for all ad views that haven’t resulted into a click. The worst case scenario – you may serve a big volume of ads and not getting any revenue at all, if you fail to match your audience interests with ads topic(s) you serve. To sums up – this model is lucrative for a target audience only.
Chronologically CPA model is the newest model and from an advertiser point of view it’s the one that makes the most sense – they pay only for specific action website visitors or mobile app users take. It means that they’re ready to pay a lot more for each action and it opens up the way for publishers to make much more money than with both CPM and CPC models. The downside of this model is that in practice you may end up in a situation when you don’t generate any revenue for days or more and then suddenly the offers you’ve been promoting begin to convert. Unfortunately there is no way of predicting in advance if and when you may get in such trouble. Last but not least, publishers don’t have a way of knowing for sure if website visitors or app users they send to advertisers have actually completed actions that advertisers claim they did. The bottom line is – it’s the most lucrative but highly unpredictable.
What affiliate payment method is the best?
This question can easily be rated on top of all abovementioned questions – at the end of the day models, types of offers and such wouldn’t matter if you don’t have a reliable channel to get your hard earned affiliate revenue. According to the recent stats, 41% of affiliates have abandoned an affiliate network because of their payments weren’t paid on time or at all. More than 65% of affiliates have explicitly stated that they would stop working with an affiliate network because of repeated payment issues.
There are several well established payment systems for affiliates to choose from – PayPal, Payoneer, Wire Transfer and WebMoney.
Above all others is PayPal, which is a payment system that all major affiliate networks support. To its cons we can attribute:
- it doesn’t support all currencies
- It has restrictions for payments and transactions for certain countries
- It charges relatively high commision fees for Cross-Transfers
- It doesn’t provide flat rates
- It supports MasterCard for US citizens only.
In most cases this is the payment method for any affiliate to work with, but to be on a safe side it’s better to clarify for yourself all abovementioned points.
Payoneer is the payment system that usually comes next popularity and adoption wise. Just as PayPal it’s an e-wallet platform. To its advantage, compared with PayPal, it wins on the number of countries and currencies it supports, 210+ and 150 respectively against 200 and 25. With $29.95 annual fee affiliates can get a physical Payoneer Master Debit Card to process transactions for any country where MasterCard is supported, which is virtually globally.
WebMoney is extremely popular among countries that used to be a part of the former Soviet Union. Compared to PayPal and Payoneer, it supports only 91 countries with local currencies. For global payments it supports only USD and EURO, it charges fees for wallet-to-wallet transactions.
To its pros side one would attribute low transaction fees – 0.8% of the amount being sent but no more than 50 euro, as well as easy registration and identification processes.
Wire Transfers is in fact the most popular payment method globally, but compared with above mentioned systems, it proceeds transactions slower and charges higher fees. The important part of the equation are intermediary banks that impose their own rules on translations. If you choose this option, you always need to check with your intermediary bank payments terms, fee and specific information it requires for your hard-earned affiliate commissions to be proceeded smoothly.