When you first join a new affiliate network, one of the first things you probably look at are their cpa rates and payouts. If you are a member of many affiliate networks, you are already too aware that different networks offer different rates… why might this be? In most cases, the difference in commission payouts to users are one of the following:
1.) Profit Share for the Network
Depending on the network, they may just be taking a bigger profit margin for themselves and passing less commission off to their affiliates.
2.) Volume & Poor Sales Team
Another major factor in pricing, is how much volume the affiliate network can deliver. Usually, the more volume an affiliate or affiliate network can deliver, the better payouts they receive. Nearly as important as volume, is how well the affiliate network’s sales team works. I’ve talked with many affiliate networks over the years that weren’t aware other networks were paying more, their usual response is that they will contact sales to re-negotiate a better rate. (Shouldn’t this have been done in the first place?)
3.) Offer Type
Some affiliate networks are able to negotiate their own deals based on landing pages or processes for accepting leads. In most cases, a network accepting “incentived” leads, will pay less than an offer accepting “non-incentived” leads. Some networks also have the leway to create their own landing pages or be the only ones to offer “search” marketing.
Different Affiliate Networks, Different Payouts
Nothing speaks volumes like real life examples. The best way to do this is by giving you an actual case study on many well known networks and an offer all of them share. BlockBuster has one of the largest advertising campaigns around, and they have the ad dollars to back them up… no wonder their offer is on nearly every affiliate network out there. If you head over to BlockBuster.com, you can join their affiliate program directly through CJ.com and earn $33 per signup, or you can earn more or less with the affiliate networks below.
From the chart above, you can see there is quite a difference in cpa payouts among the networks. It is also important to note that many of the affiliate networks have different guidelines as to how you can promote the Blockbuster affiliate program. Rextopia for example has their standard Blockbuster offer available at $41.50 cpa, then another (email only) free trial version for $19.20. AzoogleAds has the lowest payout on the chart, but they also have a different landing page from the other networks. CPAEmpire only allows you to promote the program through banner placement. The rest of the networks have their own guidelines as well, whether it be if search is allowed or if they accept incentives leads. All of these guidelines will affect your bottom line as to how you promote an affiliate offer.
As an affiliate, it is YOUR job to find the best affiliate network and offer that performs best with your marketing strategies and efforts. As you may have already noticed from past advertising, going with the highest payouts isn’t the best solution. Make sure you test your advertising across all networks and compare your numbers.
The Power of Negotiation
I can tell you right now… if you are running the Blockbuster offer on RocketProfit or Hydra Network (or any network) and you are getting a lower payout than the $41.50 that Rextopia and NeverBlueAds are paying… the network will likely do everything they can to boost your payment up and at the least MATCH their rate. If in the worst case scenario, you can leave your current network and start testing (or split test) the offer else where.
EPC – Network Earnings Per Click
A feature available on many of the many of the affiliate networks, is the ability to search all offers by their EPC. While this may seem like a great idea for some, many successful affiliates already know it’s best to not judge an offer by it’s EPC ranking on affiliate networks. When you look at EPC averages from a network wide average, you are getting very general numbers, and usually very wrong. Imagine how many people on the network are running the offer to targeted traffic, but at the same time, how many are also promoting the offer to general traffic. Another way to look at is, if it’s a new offer and the person bringing in the most volume is a very targeted pay per click affiliate. If you only have basic traffic, your numbers aren’t going to be anywhere near what the network epc is showing. You must test your own affiliate offers and numbers and not rely on network wide epc charts.
Now that you understand the important of being an affiliate with as many networks as possible (to view all offers and payout rates), make sure you take advantage of your ability to split test your campaigns across other networks, negotiate better payout rates, and don’t rely too heavily on network epc averages.
[This post is covering part one of the “Five Reasons Your Affiliate Program Sucks” series, and is focusing on “Low Public Payout Rates“.]