If you are in charge of managing an Affiliate Program, you are most likely familiar with some of our most common tools for engaging and communicating with Affiliates. We often talk about the power of the reply emails and the importance of sending monthly newsletters. When we talk about common reasons when a Merchant might reach out to their Affiliates, some of the most popular examples may include:
- Affiliate agreement updates
- Sales incentives / bonuses
- Program violations
- Product announcements
- Consumer coupons
- Creative updates
Today I wanted to talk a little about some of the best lesser known occasions when a Merchant may want to reach out to Affiliates in order to keep those lines of communication open and keep the Affiliates engaged in the program.
Affiliate Comparison Report
Located: Reports > More Reports > “Affiliate Comparison”
This is a great report we added a few years back that allows Merchants to view specific Affiliate performance for a set period of time. This is always my go to report when a Merchant mentions a significant change in program performance. For example, if a Merchant says they have been experiencing a decline in sales year over year, I will walk them through using this report to try to see if perhaps the change can be tied back to one or a handful of Affiliates.
I think this report is great to bookmark every month to compare Affiliate performance for one month relative to the previous month or previous year. If there is an Affiliate you notice has dropped significantly, that’s a great reason to reach out to them to see how you might be able to help them increase sales. There might be a reason such as program agreement updates (maybe you don’t work with PPC or coupon Affiliates anymore) that explain the decrease. But assuming there hasn’t been any changes in the program, this is a great opportunity to look deeper into the Affiliate’s activity and contact them to see how you might be able to work together to grow conversions.
Likewise, another great reason to reach out to a specific Affiliate would be for anyone who has seen some great increase in activity in your comparison report. Perhaps this is an Affiliate you want to tag as VIP, or shoot them a quick thank you email acknowledging their efforts and growth.
Affiliate First Transaction Report
Located: Reports > More Reports > “Affiliate First Transaction”
While we are on the topic of good performance, another favorite of mine is the Affiliate First Transaction report. This is another hidden gem that provides Merchants with a feel good reason to reach out to their Affiliates. Use this report at the beginning of each month to see which Affiliates had their first sale for the program during the previous month. The report will pull data such as the number of clicks, sales, commission earned and gross sales generated during the previous month. These are all great pieces of information to pass along to the Affiliate in a little thank you note. If you’re feeling extra generous you could even tack on a nice promotion, such as increased commission for all sales generated by that Affiliate for the next month.
Banner Performance Report
Located : Reports > “Banner Performance”
The Banner Performance report will show activity details for specific creative for a selected period of time. This is great for trying to determine which creatives are most effective and also for analyzing if there are Affiliates using creatives that might need to be updated. For example, you could take a note of the banner ID numbers for some of the banners in your creative library that are marked as defunct. Then run the Banner Performance report specifically for the creative type “banner/text link” and look for those ID numbers. If you click on a creative ID number in the report, you will be shown the individual Affiliates who are making up that activity for the creative. Then go one step further, click on the Affiliate ID number to see the page where the banner was clicked from. With this data you can then reach out to an Affiliate to say something like, “I noticed you have one our outdated banners listed on this page. Our new banner has our most current imagery and links to a page with better conversion”.
This report is also great for spot checking out of stock or discontinued products. When inventory is updated, you can use this report to check for specific product IDs for items that are no longer carried on your site. This is another great opportunity to reach out to Affiliates with product substitutions that are compatible and in stock.
These are three of my favorite reports that give Merchants great data and information which can be used to reach out to and engage Affiliates – and the more engaged the Affiliates are, the stronger the program will be.