Back in the day, networks had all the power, but that doesn’t happen anymore and now they too have to stay competitive with direct offers. As a result, the question of going direct keeps on popping up. Should you give it a try? Here’s our take on it.
At some point you’ll need help. Would you prefer to handle everything via one network representative or through a long list of contacts depending on the number of offers your working? There are exceptions, but in most cases advertisers like to focus on having a simple and direct communication channel. Affiliate managers get paid to provide the best possible support to any of the affiliates in their portfolio. Hands down, when it comes to ease of use, you can’t beat having that single point of contact.
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.
A networks business model is based on taking a percentage of the original payout. There’s lots competition between networks, so If you decide to go with a network – 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. As far as direct offers, the rate can be higher, so is the expected delivery conditions. The amount paid may potently be higher, but they may also be looking for more conditions to insure the LTV of the customer, they are not willing to pay you more for no reason.
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. Both points should be considered when deciding a strategy.
Finding the Offers
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 can vary a lot per vertical and market type, how easy it is to find the advertiser behind your money making offer. It will involve checking 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 direct offers 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 built might not have even hit that threshold. This can be annoying (to say the least!) because you’ve just spent all that time and money for something you’ll never be compensated for. However, running those offers via an affiliate network, would have given you the money you’d earned already. The key is, you need to consider what works best for the kind of setup you have and are comfortable with.