Affiliate fraud is a serious threat to your business. We'd prefer not to say this, but it's a fact of online marketing that should be dealt with instead of simply ignored. Why is it such a threat?
If a business or individual can use their technology and brain power to fool advertisers and make money, they will. Every time. The only sure defense is to gain full visibility into an affiliate program and identify the affiliates that are trying to make money for them, and not for you. And just to be clear, the percentage of affiliates that are the trouble makers is a small minority, but a vocal one. The first step in your monitoring plan is to find a tool that can detect affiliate abuses and notify you--or the right parties--so the abuses can be halted. Sounds easy to do, right? Well, the landscape of these tools is a vast and varied one. It can definitely be overwhelming for both newcomers and experienced affiliate managers. So The Search Monitor created the following list of questions to ask when evaluating and selecting an affiliate monitoring tool.
8 Questions to Ask When Selecting an Affiliate Monitoring Tool
1. How often is affiliate activity monitored?
You want coverage multiple times per day in order to catch affiliates abuses that might only happen for quick periods during the day.
2. Is coverage worldwide and in the countries' native languages?
Affiliates go where your ads are, and that doesn't stop at political borders. Make sure you monitor every country where your ads appear, in both English and the native language.
3. Can you schedule affiliate activity reports to be sent on a regular basis?
You're too busy to be logging in regularly to see what the tool finds. Make sure the tool includes a powerful scheduling tool for your weekly affiliate activity reports. Also, make sure the rules in the reports can be customized
to your specific business needs. Too often, monitoring tools provide standard monitoring rules that don't work for how an advertiser created their program.
4. Does it automatically notify you, your agency, or the engines of abuses?
Affiliate abuses can happen in between regular reports, so make sure your affiliate monitoring tool includes automatic alerts to whoever you designate. The best tools have built-in email templates to make it even easier to fire off abuses--with screenshots--to the right people.
5. Does it track affiliates across multiple networks to build a rich profiles?
It better. You can learn a lot about individual affiliates by seeing how they behave across the many networks they belong to. This data, over months and sometimes years, helps you determine when it's time to ask them to go find another advertiser to work with
6. Does it help you identify new affiliates to add to your program?
It should. While it is monitoring for affiliate abuses it should also be collecting profiles of other affiliates to add to your program. For example, it should be able to find those working with a competitor or industry leader. Look for a tool that can provide at least 20,000 affiliate profiles to choose from, if possible. Yes, there really are that many!
7. Is the monitoring data easy to export into other programs for analysis?
We hear about many monitoring tools that have good data but were not designed to make that data easy to crunch, export, and use in other programs. Hard-to-use data is hardly used data.
8. Is monitoring affiliates a major part of the company's business?
This has become an important question in the past 3-5 years or so. The growing trend among agencies and other marketing solution companies is to say they offer every marketing service you need even if they then need to go learn it or outsource it. While one-stop-shops are good in theory, the most essential question should always be: How good are they at monitoring your affiliates? Did we forget any?
Leave a comment below if there are other questions our readers should know about. Interested in learning more?
Learn about our affiliate monitoring service
or use the links below. The Search Monitor would be proud to be on your list of considered tools for affiliate monitoring. [demobutton] [link url="https://www.thesearchmonitor.com/contact-us/"]Contact Us For Data On Your Affiliates[/link]