15 Factors That Influence Affiliate Choice in Picking a Program

DecisionsThere’s no merchant that hasn’t ever wondered what makes an affiliate pick one program over another. Is it commission rate, conversion, EPC, or a combination of all these? Or maybe there’s a significantly larger number factors? There is.

I believe that there is a set of 15 factors all of which are closely intertwined and interdependent; and since an affiliate’s performance with a affiliate program is always dependent on a bouquet of all these variables, a smart affiliates analyzes the whole set.

I’ve highlighted the top 5 of them in my recent post at Econsultancy, but haven’t spoken much about definitions, or explanations… These may be found in my “15 Guidelines to Choosing an Affiliate Program” which is featured in the September 2010 issue of Website Magazine which is already hitting its subscribers’ mailboxes [for those not subscribed to it, here’s a PDF for you].

15 Guidelines to Choosing an Affiliate Program

Based on a poll I have conducted among affiliates, the prioritization of these factors is distributed as follows:

  1. Commission amount (47%)
  2. Website usability, leaks, etc (37%)
  3. Merchant’s reputation / reliability (36%)
  4. Conversion rate (27%)
  5. Tracking / reporting platform used (26%)
  6. Cookie life (23%)
  7. Prices / competitiveness (23%)
  8. Market saturation (19%)
  9. EPC (18%)
  10. Creatives (18%)
  11. Tools (16%)
  12. Commission recurrence (13%)
  13. Management & approachability (14%)
  14. Terms of service (11%)
  15. Reversal rate (7%)

I hope this information gives good food for thought both to affiliates and merchants.

If you’re an affiliate that hasn’t cast your vote yet, please do so here. And, as always, your comments will be appreciated.

2 thoughts on “15 Factors That Influence Affiliate Choice in Picking a Program”

  1. Sabrina O'Malone

    Geno, you are spot-on with regards to the factors an affiliate considers. I also examine the saturation of the current market. Even a merchant with three strikes against it such as:

    -a low commission rate,
    -with a fair amount of bleeds
    -and only a moderate volume of products

    would still be likely to get my attention if I discover it’s an untapped and growing market. Sometimes the X factor comes down to either being “Best in it’s class or First in it’s class.”

  2. Good point (and reasoning behind it), Sabrina.

    Market Saturation is a crucial factor to consider. I am surprised that it ranked only #8 on the list of the top criteria affiliates consider while picking up an affiliate program.

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