5 frustrations as a publisher on an affiliate program

by Marcel Chaudron
5 publisher frustrations

Being in the affiliate business since 2002, I have been talking to thousands of publishers and partners. Since 2018 I’ve been running some publisher sites myself and there are a couple of frustrations I have working with affiliate programs. I think a lot of other publishers can relate to these frustrations. In this post you can find them in random order. 

Long approval time

When applying to an affiliate program, we want to start as soon as possible with the promotion because we see a good fit with the content and audience of our sites and the advertiser’s affiliate program. In order to keep the momentum I think an advertiser should at least go over all the program applications ones per 24 hours. I understand that when a program just started that you might have hundreds of partners to go through but when a program is up and running I think it is vital to approve or deny publisher applications within 24 hours. 

In some cases it takes months to get an approval from the advertiser. The sooner advertisers check their program applications the sooner the publishers can start driving sales for them!

Late payment

Publishers and partners are (small) businesses so they need to understand that payments have terms & conditions and can take a while but some advertisers are making it too bad with their payment terms. Since most of our commission is based on conversions (sales or a lead) I understand that there needs to be a pending period that is in line with the returning policy of the advertiser. Advertisers don’t want to pay commission for an order or order item that is returned by the consumer.

But once the order is approved in the system the commission payment should be done within 30 days. With all new payment providers it should make the payment process much smoother than back in the days.

I would like to suggest having auto sales approval on all programs with the days of the returning policy and make sure the program has a sales API to avoid as much manual work as possible when approving the pending sales.

Outdated product feed and assets 

Our site audience wants to see the most accurate product information, including the price and promotion. The number one conversion killer is that the product information on our publisher website is not inline with the information on the advertisers landing page. We need real time product and price information in the product feed, including out of stock because it is frustrating for a site visitor to finally find the product they want and realize that it is out of stock.

Same goes for the banners and promotion assets. When downloading a promotion banner from an affiliate platform it should be the advertisers job to have a fall back banner when the promotion is over. When you browse to a couple of partner sites I still see some black friday banners online……

Slow or no support from an advertiser

This one is a bit in line with the slow payment, but for me the same goes with requesting program support. In my world feedback should be within 24 hours to again keep the promotion momentum going with the publishers who are driving revenue for the brand. For technical questions I understand that a solution might take some time, but at least give the partner feedback that you are working on it. Sending a link to the FAQ is NOT the right support! At least read the question and guide the partner to the section in the FAQ that is related to that question.

Great and fast support is the basis for building partnerships with your publishers on your affiliate program.

Tracking outage

The core of affiliate marketing is the conversion tracking of a program. This is the backbone of our business model as publisher and partner. We only work with the well known affiliate networks and platforms that use the latest tracking technology, like cookieless, Fingerprint,  cross device, in-app & mobile tracking. 

It is vital for a program to be open in the communication when a tracking issue or outage occurred and at all times compensate the publishers for the missing sales. In most cases this can be done based on historical data or checking data from for example Google analytics.

The good thing about these frustrations is that all of them are easy to fix and improve for most advertisers. So please improve them so that the focus can be on growing the revenue and performance of the affiliate programs.

Keep rocking Performance Rockstars! 

Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels

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