Affiliate Marketing Software: Everything You Need To Know

Contents

Affiliate marketing software is an essential part of every affiliate business, especially in the B2B sector. Today, we will cover what it is, what to look for, and how to choose the right solution for your business model.

What is affiliate marketing software?

Affiliate software helps companies control end-to-end affiliate marketing processes, from the on-boarding of new affiliates to the reporting of product and service revenue commissions. It enables companies to build an effective affiliate marketing campaign by automating processes such as revenue conversion and fee monitoring, lead generation, payment processing, and reporting.

The affiliate marketing software ensures compliance with regional relevant legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Some affiliate marketing software solutions also offer advertising tools such as shareable messages, personalized banners, branded links, and social media plug-ins to help drive customer interaction.

Why do you need affiliate marketing software?

Affiliate marketing software can automate and perform all marketing-related tasks for you. It provides everything you need to monitor, track, evaluate and optimize your online advertising campaigns in real-time. 

You will be able to use it for:

  • Monitor the performance of your campaigns with embedded analytical tools.
  • Manage offers, creatives, affiliates, and promotions.
  • Set the geo-targeting for advertisement campaigns.
  • Manage your partners and payments.
  • Keep records of all promotional campaigns in one place.

What should an Affiliate Marketing Software Measure?

Here are a few things that you may want to track, evaluate and optimize in your affiliate marketing program:

  • Clicks: An interaction with an affiliate tracking link that triggers a click.
  • Sales of affiliates: income generated by affiliates.
  • Total company revenue: which includes all income earned by the brand from all sources.
  • Cost per click: How much it costs a consumer to click on an affiliate link charged at a flat rate.
  • Cost per sale: the % of the total amount of purchase earned by the affiliate to make the sale (it’s good to measure when multiple items may be added to a shopping cart by one referred customer).
  • Cost per lead: how much it would cost to buy a prospective client, charged as a flat sum.
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of the number of clicks that convert into completed acts.
  • Return on advertising expense: how many sales result from the total advertising money budget, which shows how much revenue is generated (or lost) per every dollar spent.
  • Top affiliates: An advertiser needs to know their top-performing partners and affiliates so that they can devote more advertising and resources to them.
  • Affiliate referrals: incentives for existing affiliates to recruit new affiliates to the program (2nd tier referrals);

Who are the parties that use affiliate marketing software?

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The Advertiser: is the business that is selling or offers items for sale. The team is searching for customers and traffic specific to their products and services, which will result in leads or sales.

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The Affiliate: Also called publisher or partner, the affiliate is involved in every step of a project’s creation. The keywords, websites, and traffic sources have to be relevant to a specific target audience and serve as a revenue generator for advertisers by promoting their products and services while getting paid either flat fees or a cut of revenue for each conversion.

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The Affiliate Network: acts as a broker for the Advertiser, serving as the connecting link between advertisers and affiliates. Affiliate networks often recruit affiliates to promote various products and/or services. The network helps advertisers and affiliates concentrate on their product and service needs by providing a better advertising platform for both, freeing advertisers to focus on their products/services and allowing affiliates to concentrate on promoting offers.

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The Affiliate Marketing Software: is also known as the performance marketing platform, partner marketing platform, affiliate software, affiliate tracking software, or affiliate program software. This software allows businesses to manage and measure their performance-based partnerships directly through one unified dashboard.

Why is affiliate marketing software important?

Choosing a reliable approach to track affiliate sales is one of the milestones of performance marketing. 

In reality, however, affiliate marketing software functionality is much more comprehensive and fulfills its task as a tracker and a complete affiliate management system.

When searching for affiliate marketing software, the first question that comes to mind is outsourcing a SaaS marketing platform or providing an in-house affiliate network platform. 

But what are the other things you need to pay attention to? 

To select the right affiliate marketing software for your business, you need to bear in mind the key functions that it needs to provide: 

  • kick-start and run the affiliate campaign, 
  • control the number of affiliates and deals, 
  • evaluate and maximize performance for better returns. 

Also, affiliate marketing software takes care of the general workflow that every online business has: automation of routine work and customizing pages to fit your branding. 

This means, affiliate marketing software must be capable of:

  • handling, 
  • evaluating, 
  • optimizing, and 
  • customizing affiliate campaigns.

Let’s take a closer look at the main features that are responsible for handling, evaluating, optimizing, and customizing your campaigns.

Managing the process of running an affiliate program

Managing affiliate campaigns is a large feature that includes all of the sub-functions: 

  • setting up ad campaigns
  • managing ad campaigns
  • tracking ad campaigns performance 

You need to pay attention to advanced monitoring, image dashboards, smart targeting and cap management, or payment models.

Configurable and easy for use with dashboards

Dashboards are used to manage and track both the interim and the final performance. You can find general details such as key performance metrics, requests from affiliates, each deals’ status, earnings from affiliates, all recent updates, etc.

Look at the dashboards from the perspective of whether it’s going to be easy for you to handle your affiliates. 

Also, remember the affiliate’s point of view: they need quick access to their stats, payouts, creatives, and other affiliate marketing tools for a great user experience. Simple, user-friendly interface and custom widgets make it easy for affiliates to understand the device layout and use the different features and functions.

Smart targeting and cap systems

Smart targeting helps you to reach a more specific audience and increase the Click-Through-Rate. 

With Smartlinks, the dynamic process of analyzing user data is automated to select which offers to be sent to the most interested users so that the conversion chances are much higher.

In order not to think about spending more than you can afford on paid advertisements, make sure you use the cap system. It will stop sending traffic to those deals until the lead or budget limit has been reached.

Versatile Models of Payout in Affiliate Marketing Software

One of the current needs of every foreign company is to be able to tailor different commission plans, which often requires flexibility in changing currencies.

Affiliate campaigns vary from one another; this is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. 

You would also need various payout models, such as CPI, CPA, CPS & CPC. With a versatile commission facility, you can develop a commission plan to suit your requirements. 

However, the most demanded right now is a pay-per-conversion (or CPA – cost per action) scheme, whereby you only pay for a final conversion without losing money on meaningless impressions or clicks.

Define which payment models are important to you, and pay attention to the fact that your affiliate network software supports certain payment types or better enables all possible payment models.

Rich analysis for data-driven decision-making business

You need to be able to assess the performance of promotions, forecast future outcomes, and change them for higher income. By studying your results, you can now learn what sort of traffic the ad converts to. The next step is to evaluate the statistical data in real-time, allowing direct feedback and quicker adaptation of the campaign. 

The more data breakdowns available on the affiliate marketing software, the stronger and more reliable data-driven predictions for future campaigns’ performance can be made.

Optimization of the campaign

In addition to optimizing CR via Smartlinks, choose a platform that can also optimize your company’s sections. Pay attention to whether the affiliate management system is developer-friendly via a feature-rich API. This is an essential integration to bear in mind since you will still need to integrate with some other systems in the future.

In certain cases, affiliates may want to synchronize with billing systems, fraud detection, bid-checking, BI event streaming, lead generation, and more. You may use the affiliate API to incorporate some custom integration and make their life easier. 

Currently, major affiliate marketing software vendors (including Scaleo) have their marketplaces where those services are already incorporated, and you’re only a few clicks away from getting to work on them. 

If your solution is not there, you can still have it via a smooth integration through the API software tracking framework.

White hat solution, ready to be customized

Everyone wants to stand out, to have their brand recognized in every detail, and to be able to make the necessary changes easily. Make sure your affiliate marketing software is customizable enough to make any potential adjustments that affiliates may wish to make. 

Customization features that clients often look for include: 

  • design environment
  • landing pages
  • sign-in forms
  • logos
  • shape-shifting layers
  • icons
  • system settings
  • notification methods
  • navigation
  • statistics
  • legal details

In-house and SaaS Solutions

When choosing an affiliate marketing software, the most fundamental is the type of technology itself. You can either create your own in-house solutions or use a SaaS platform that is already in place.

An in-house approach is appealing when it comes to implementing your own server and your own database. You will not store any data or statistics on the (third party) servers of the affiliate software provider. It’s all under your fingertips. Nevertheless, at the same time, it’s pretty painful because you’re responsible for all changes, settings, bugs, downtimes, and other problems that may occur.

The second alternative is the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, which is installed and hosted on the software’s servers. There’s no complex software installation and implementation on your server, just a quick and easy start – in the case of Scaleo’s affiliate software – it’s actually an instant setup. 

SaaS platforms are subscription-based, which means lower initial investments. 

Instead of directing money to create something from scratch, you focus on developing partnerships with affiliates and marketing your products. SaaS provider is handling all the updates and improvements, and for any technical support you may need.

The number of issues to be considered in advance may sound troubling, particularly for those who are just about to begin. But if you approach this responsibly and select a reputable software provider, you don’t have anything to worry about.

At Scaleo, we have a very diverse background working with various clients, from small to large businesses. We can say that we know how to help our clients grow fast. We know the concerns and needs of newcomers in this sector, and we know how to change our settings in order to meet them.

Don’t be afraid of the complexity of the system – Scaleo is extremely intuitive. Affiliate marketing software is commonly designed with all business needs in mind.

At least, Scaleo has been designed this way.

How to Pick Best Affiliate Marketing Software?

Best affiliate marketing software can monitor and report results from any affiliate network and have the ability to receive any form of conversion data.

You also want to be able to send your conversion data to your PPC channels to automate your campaign optimization. You may also want to create custom audience settings from your Facebook and Google Analytics conversion results.

The best affiliate monitoring software should also be user-friendly. User-friendly software is all the more important if you’re just getting started with your affiliate marketing. If the learning curve is high, you could end up wasting time learning how to use the software. 

And, for entrepreneurs like you, wasting time is like losing money.

Integration is also essential. If your affiliate marketing software can easily integrate with other applications such as email marketing or on-site apps, it helps your entire marketing system to operate more efficiently.

Postbacks in affiliate marketing software

Postback functionality is often underestimated, but it is highly helpful. This allows you to monitor conversions without having to put a tracking pixel on the “thank you” page. In reality, cookieless tracking is increasingly necessary due to browser tracking protections and has also been widely embraced by top affiliate networks.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing software, such as Scaleo, allows you to manage, track, analyze and optimize online advertising campaigns in real-time. Suppose you need to find affiliate marketing software to power your business. In that case, you have to look for several aspects that your business requires, such as security, a wide range of features, and app integrations via API. Finally, the affiliate marketing software needs to be affordable. That’s a lot to ask of any tool, yet, that’s what you’re certainly looking for.

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Elizabeth Sramek
Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.
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