Below are some of the most common new joiner, affiliate-specific questions that our team receives.
What is the main difference between working with an affiliate network like ShareASale or Awin and the Amazon Associates Program?
With over 260 new merchants launching each month, affiliates can find every type of brand from household brands to niche retailers. This means that affiliates have a lot of options as to who they want to work with and are given the flexibility to choose what brands and products they want to promote, specifically finding those that best resonate with their follower base. Unlike Amazon Associate Program, each brand on ShareASale dictates their own commission rates. This diversified partnership approach mitigates the risk of all network affiliate efforts and commissions being cut at once. On ShareASale, if a merchant chooses to cut commission rates, an affiliate can move on and find another partner on the network that better rewards their efforts. Additionally, this loss of income from a single partnership is not as devastating as if it were to happen to all partnerships at once.
For the most part, the same or virtually similar products available on Amazon are likely to be sold in a store outside of Amazon. There is great opportunity for publishers to still generate substantial income with affiliate marketing and promote the same or similar products by working directly with the merchant via a different affiliate network like Awin or ShareASale, which in most instances can offer longer cookie lengths and higher commission rates.
Read more about our response to the recent Amazon announcement.
What type of services does ShareASale offer as a platform?
ShareASale provides assistance with the tools and features within our platform that you will need to be successful with your affiliate channel efforts. Our client services are free of cost and provide proper guidance and support to help you navigate the interface. While we are happy to answer your questions about your account, we cannot execute your affiliate channel efforts such as grabbing affiliate links, adding a banner to your website, or providing a marketing strategy for your account. Each affiliate is responsible for the day-to-day operations and decision-making for their affiliate marketing activity.
I don’t have a website. Can I apply with a social media account?
Yes, you are more than welcome to apply with your social media account. To do so, simply enter the URL for your social media account when you are prompted for a website in the signup process.
Some social media platforms may not offer the option to grab the URL for your account directly through the app. For example, if you plan to use your Instagram account, you will need to open up your Instagram account via a web browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.) in order to copy the URL for your account.
Why can’t I move past Step 4 in the affiliate signup process?
If you are experiencing this issue, please go back and make sure you have entered a website or social platform URL during Step 2 or the application process. You can do so by clicking the “Edit” link in the ACCOUNT DETAILS box on the left side of the page. ShareASale requires all affiliates to have a live, content-rich website or social media page written free of hate speech and adult content. You must also own and control the website you apply with.
How do I update my program profile’s description?
You can update the description of your affiliate program by going to ACCOUNT > ACCOUNT SETTINGS > ACCOUNT PROFILE (the ID badge under Manage Features). In this section, affiliates can enter in a description of your site and include marketing plans to let merchants know how you plan to promote their program. This is one of many things that merchants can review when affiliates apply to their program.
How do I get affiliate links?
We can provide you with the tools and resources to promote your merchants; however, we do not offer you any marketing advice because you know your audience best. To get links go to LINKS (at the top of the homepage) > GET A LINK / BANNER. Once you are on this page click Get Links under the merchant program you would like to promote. This will bring you to a page with all the creatives this merchant has to offer.
For text links click on ‘Get HTML Code’. You will use the first code and copy it exactly as it appears into the area of your website that accepts HTML code. There will be an option to ‘Select URL Only’ and this is a direct link that can be used on your website, social media page, emails, etc.
For banners, click on the banner once and the HTML code will pop up. You will copy the first code exactly as it appears into your website.
For Custom Links or Deep links, go to LINKS > CREATE A CUSTOM LINK TO A PAGE. Here you can place in the desired URL of the merchants website that wish to direct your users to. Once you select a URL, paste that into the Custom Link Generator and click ‘Create a Custom Link.’
For short links, create a custom link and choose the option to ‘Get Short Link.’ Please keep in mind that ShareASale never recommends the use of third party link shorteners such as bit.ly.
How and when do I get paid for my promotional efforts?
Payments are sent out on the 20th of every month for all locked transactions. If the 20th falls on a weekend, payments will be sent out the following Monday. Affiliates are eligible to receive payments once their account reaches $50 or more in locked transactions. A “Lock Date” is the moment in time that a merchant can no longer edit or void an affiliate transaction. Generally, all transactions “lock” on the 20th of the month and include transactions from the month prior, however, the lock date is customized for each program and determined by the merchant. From the Merchant’s point-of-view, the period between the sale/lead transaction and the lock date gives them time to review and validate each transaction, voiding any returns or making any necessary edits. Once the transaction hits the lock date, however, the affiliate’s commission is also locked in.
Taxes: how do I submit a tax form electronically?
ShareASale offers affiliates the option to easily submit their tax forms electronically directly within their account. You can do so by simply clicking on your home page alert or by going to ACCOUNT > ACCOUNT SETTINGS > TAX ID. While we provide you with the available tax form options, we are not able to advise you on questions related to which form and what information to use. We suggest you to consult a tax professional for any questions related to your tax form. When you reach the section requiring a signature, simply type your name into the space provided as this will qualify as a verified digital signature – a hand-written signature is not necessary.
How can I read and understand Invalid Link Reports?
There are different reasons why an affiliate link can be invalid and they are listed in your Invalid Links Report, which you can find by going to REPORTS > INVALID LINKS. Typically, there are two types of reasons you’ll see in this report next to each invalid link listed.
Not Active: links are reporting “Not Active,” which generally means that the merchant has either gone offline or closed their account. You can determine which is the case by going to MERCHANTS > MERCHANT STATUS and finding the relevant merchant program.
If a merchant doesn’t properly fund their ShareASale account to pay their affiliates, their account goes temporarily offline until they deposit more funds into their account. This is far and away the most common cause for invalid links. You can reach out to any merchant to see if they plan to bring the account back online. Contact your merchant partners by going to ACCOUNT > MANAGE/LEAVE PROGRAMS > CONTACT or by watching our tutorial.
Link Code Error: links are reporting “Link Code Error”, which generally means that there is a parameter missing in your link. Since this isn’t the format of the actual affiliate links you’d get from the ShareASale interface, our guess is that it was not a true click by a real user. Sometimes clicks can happen when a bot or web crawler visits your site to index it, or even when you add a link to social media that previews it by following the URL. In these cases, the links may be mangled, causing ShareASale to record an invalid link. In other words, these are most likely false alarms. If you don’t see a link you recognize putting on your site, and there’s no referrer (i.e. the page it was clicked from by a user) we would recommend ignoring the entry. Rest assured, we are actively working on removing a lot of the “noise” from the Invalid Links report.
How do I contact the merchants I am working with?
ShareASale merchants have full control over their program activities, rules, approval strategy, and even their commission structure. If you have questions regarding a specific payout, it is best to contact them directly. You can contact merchants from within your account by going to ACCOUNT > MANAGE/LEAVE PROGRAMS > CONTACT.
If your program got declined by a merchant, you can also reach out to them to request more insight into why your application was declined. Since they make the final decision as to who they want to work with and accept into their program, it is best to contact the merchant directly. You can do this by going to REPORTS > MERCHANT SUMMARY >CONTACT or click here to watch our short tutorial on how to contact your merchant partners.
You can also obtain the all your merchants’ contact information by selecting MERCHANTS > DOWNLOAD YOUR MERCHANT LIST.
How do I make sure my links are tracking properly?
In order to verify that your links are working correctly please follow the below steps:
- Copy the desired link you wish to test.
- Go to REPORTS > TODAY AT A GLANCE. Under ‘Account Activity’ will be your total number of raw clicks for today.
- Open up a new tab and paste the link into your browser. You may notice a sudden redirect, this is a good sign that the link is working properly as ShareASale uses this redirect to drop our tracking cookie.
- Go to your Today At a Glance report and click refresh. You should notice the total number of clicks at the top of your report go up by one. This would indicate that the link is working properly as clicks are being recorded. Very rarely will clicks track and not sales.
What is the difference between Raw vs. Unique clicks?
Different platforms count “hits” differently – meaning how it accounts for multiple requests from a single user and how it accounts for bot traffic in the reporting and performance data. The ShareASale platform tracks “unique” hits, where a single user who clicks the same link in a several-hour timespan is counted as 1 hit instead of multiple. In comparison, raw clicks are tracked every time the link is clicked, even if the same user clicks the links multiple times within a short period. Almost all the ShareASale reports will display unique hits unless otherwise noted. The Today at a Glancereport, however, will show you both unique and raw clicks as raw clicks can be helpful when confirming that your links work. Raw clicks will be recorded at the top of the Today At a Glance report while unique clicks are shown at the bottom.
We hope you will find this information valuable. We would also like to encourage you to subscribe to our newsletters to ensure you don’t miss out on any further tips and updates. For any account based questions, please contact our publisher management team and they’d be happy to assist.