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Best Practices Series: Affiliate Application Review

As you see affiliate applications roll in, merchants may be left wondering – “What should I be looking for?”

Combing through these applications and deciding which affiliates are the best fit for your program might seem a bit overwhelming at times, especially considering that new programs may receive, on average, 80 new applications a month! To help ease this task, I’ve provided a few tips on things to look for when reviewing your affiliate applications.

Best Practices: Affiliate Application Review

Best Practices – Affiliate Application Review

Rule #1, be sure to review your affiliate applications on a regular basis. Affiliates will be applying for your program when they have an interest or an inspiration to promote your product. If their application sits for days or weeks, that interest is likely going to wane by the time the program approval comes through. Also, quick response will leave a good first impression with your applicants and let them know that you and the program will be responsive going forward. So be sure to take some time to address your applications daily.

First Considerations:

  • Do they have a live/active site?
  • Does the site have working links?
  • Do they have a clean site void of any subject matter you may disprove of?
  • Do they fit the criteria of your program agreement?

Also For Consideration:

  • Current status – Limited vs. Fullo Full status = Affiliate has generated at least $50 in commissions from the merchant programs they are signed up with and have received at least one check from ShareASale. If an affiliate is at a Full status, you know that they have done at least some activity with the network.o Limited = Affiliate has not yet generated a minimum of $50 in commissions. Could be an indication that they are either just starting out or not very active. An application with a limited status might warrant a more comprehensive review.
  • Affiliate’s Feedback. Be sure to look at the feedback that other merchants have left for a particular affiliate. There are often responses back from the affiliate so you can see if the situation was resolved. Often times a negative feedback report will stem from an affiliate that was in violation of a merchant’s terms of use. And just as often the affiliate acts quickly to fix the issue. Feedback records can be found on the affiliate’s detail page.

Things to Remember – FYI:

  1. The country listed is the affiliate’s place of origin and not necessarily where the affiliate is marketing to. Affiliates are registered from countries all around the world and many are building sites for the U.S. consumer. So for example, if an affiliate is from France it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be sending you traffic from France. If you have restrictions on where your product or service can be shipped internationally, check the affiliate’s site to see what the target audience is for their site.
  2. Often times affiliates build huge networks of sites and only list a handful of those sites in their account information. This is especially the case with affiliates that build niche sites. They may have hundreds of websites, but the merchant only sees one or two examples listed in the affiliate’s detail. If an affiliate’s site seems totally unrelated to what your product is, this is likely the case. They may have an idea for a new site or have another site they have in mind for marketing your product.
  3. Don’t be shy about contacting the affiliate and inquiring further if you have any questions about your two sites might work together. It’s not unusual for merchants to ask an affiliate about how they are intending to promote their product or service.
  4. When you change an affiliate’s status, there are auto reply emails which you can populate that will be sent out when an affiliate applies, is approved or declined. Be sure to check out your current reply emails in your Edit Settings to ensure you have an effective message. Looking for some tips on how to create a strong reply email? Click HERE
  5. Should you decide that you would like to change the status of your affiliate down the road you can do so from the affiliate’s detail page. The only time you are unable to change an affiliate’s status is if they are removed from the program.
  6. You may decide that there are certain affiliate criteria that will prompt you to always take a specific action. If you haven’t done so already, you may want to check out our Custom Affiliate Approval Rules tool which allows merchants to set up specific parameters and action to take. This can be a real time saver for program management.

In A Nutshell:

If you decide an affiliate is not a good fit for your program, it is totally within your right to decline that application. In your account there is space to include an automated email response to declined applications. Just like the reply email for approved and pending affiliates, you can supply an automated email for declines. Or you are able to email the affiliate directly one by one if you want to provide further explanation about their specific application.

See Past Merchant Best Practices:
Best Practices for Affiliate Recruitment
Best Practices for Creating a Featured Placement

Sarah Beeskow Blay

By Sarah Beeskow Blay

Hi! I'm Sarah, the Director of Client Services for I came to ShareASale in 2005 and am responsible for providing strategic guidance and educational resources to Merchants & Affiliates that can be used to grow their accounts. My favorite thing in the world, aside from affiliate marketing of course, is traveling. Random fact: my first concert ever was Neil Diamond when I was 4. As a result, I know an alarmingly large number of Neil Diamond songs. Don’t be a hater.

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