Back in the day, networks had all the power, but that doesn’t happen anymore and now they too have to stay competitive. As a result, in the market now, the question of going direct keeps on popping up. Should you give it a try? Here’s our take on it.
Imagine you are working for an advertiser; you have the big direct guys, the networks and all the small fish now. Would you prefer to manage all the smaller guys via one network representative or contact all of them separately all the time? There are exceptions of course, but in most cases advertisers like to focus on having minimal communication channels. In contrast to that, affiliate managers get paid to be the best possible support to any of the affiliates in their portfolio.
This one may be in the networks favor. As far as having a more frequent cash flow, it’s definitely better to work with a network. Networks know that gives them a unique selling position over advertisers. This is the calculated risk that networks want and need to take to ensure their position in the market. Conversely, the standard for most advertisers is almost always a monthly payment.
This again goes to the networks. Their business model is based on taking a percentage of the original payout. There’s lots competition between networks, so If you decide to go for networks – always split test. One network might have a higher payout, but if the EPC or CR is lower or similar to the network with the lower payout, you know who to pick.
Networks know they have to offer something not a lot of advertisers do and that’s to create a bond between affiliate manager and affiliate. If you attach any value to this, working with a network makes sense. I guarantee you; going to conferences with a network competing for your traffic will definitely upgrade your experience. Private parties and fancy dinners are only just a campaign away.
It is often said that networks are better at providing information, since they have insights in a bigger spread of the offers. That’s true, but direct advertisers can assist you on a deeper level which allows you to optimize backend performance as well; giving you better long term result.
Let’s say you’ve read through all of these points and have now decided you are ready to go direct. OK, but now how do you find the right advertisers? It varies a lot per, vertical market type, how easy it is to find the advertiser behind your money making offer. It involves checking in Facebook groups, talking to people and visiting conferences to hunt down the right contacts.
Affiliate networks give you the ability to test multiple offers simultaneously and get paid out for them at the same time. Keep in mind that most offer providing companies can have a high minimum threshold before they will payout. If you go direct and you realize it’s not working for you, the small outstanding balance you have might not hit the threshold. This can be annoying (to say the least!) because that can be a heavy loss of all of your efforts that will never be compensated. However, running those different offers under one roof, via an affiliate network, would have given you the money you’d earned already.