You’ve made a decision to start an affiliate program, decided on the tracking platform to use, and now you’re facing multiple questions, one of which may be worded this way: How do I put together best possible banners for affiliates to use for my program?
To a great extent, this question has already been answered in the following articles of mine:
- What Size Banners Should an Affiliate Program Have?
- 10 Mistakes to Avoid While Creating Affiliate Banners
- What Size Should Affiliate Banner Files Be?
- Examples of Affiliate Banners
However, there is one thing that I haven’t yet talked about. It’s a secret that affiliate program managers do not tend to share. I will, but let’s begin with a definition:
…competitive intelligence involves monitoring the company’s competitive environment, including customers, competitors, political and legal developments (regulations and laws), and social forces… The two main tasks are the collection and the analysis of intelligence. (Coombs, 2008, PSI Handbook of Business Security, pp. 217-218 / bold font and italics mine).
Employing the competitive intelligence approach is extremely helpful throughout the whole process of affiliate program management, and the affiliate program setup stage is a perfect time to start. It will help you build a competitive affiliate program, and one of the fronts on which you want to stay competitive is the creative front.
Open an affiliate account with the affiliate networks on which your competitors run their affiliate programs. Many affiliate networks allow affiliates to sort affiliate programs’ links by EPC (which normally stands for average affiliate earnings on 100 clicks on a link). Analyze the wording, and the design of your competitors’ best performing links, and when once you’ve gotten a clear idea of what works well for them, write down the text and design ideas you want to experiment with. This should give you good information to start with, but never stop experimenting (read: split-testing) and improving the quality of your affiliate creatives. This will be of benefit both to you as an advertiser, and to your affiliates.