Affiliate Marketing Case Study: From Plateau to 1,600% YoY Growth

Having just submitted a monthly affiliate marketing program performance report to one of our clients, I’ve felt strongly compelled to turn our experience into a case study.

It is my hope that this case study will inspire others to grow their existing affiliate programs beyond their current levels. After all, too many face the exact same problem that this advertiser had.

With the program in question (and the name of the advertiser will need to remain anonymous) within eight months of managing it we brought its performance from a four-figure amount in monthly affiliate sales to nearly six figures (within the same 30-days’ period, as compared year-over-year).


In the spring of 2016, AM Navigator was contracted to manage a well-aged affiliate program based on Rakuten Affiliate Network. At that time, the program was already over 15 years old.


The key concern (that the client clearly articulated when hiring us) was that the program’s performance hit the proverbial plateau, whereby affiliate-referred sales would not grow beyond the level reached more than two years ago.


To get this affiliate program revitalized, we tackled the following five areas:

1. Removal of Violators

From affiliates bidding on (prohibited) trademarks via paid search to coupon code violators (those using unauthorized coupons), we cleaned this affiliate program’s base of all violators; ensuring that ongoing monitoring of new violations was set in place and happened daily.

2. Heavy Onboarding

Being strong believers in targeted affiliate recruitment, after cleaning the program up, we focused nearly 75% of our time on getting new affiliates aboard this marketing program.

3. Leveraging of Connections

Tapping into our existing relationships with power affiliates, we were able to get numerous “super affiliates” become active with this program as well.

4. Activation of Non-Producers

We also spent plenty of time focusing on affiliate activation, motivating stagnant (yet, already-onboarded) affiliates to start referring traffic and conversions.

5. Marketing Synchronization

Finally, we ensured that the advertiser’s promotional calendar was planned out and communicated to affiliates well in advance, giving the latter at least a 30-days’ notice (on the advertiser’s marketing initiatives) so that they have ample time to synchronize their promotional efforts with the advertiser’s plans.


Besides the already-quoted (a) substantial increase in affiliate-referred business (1,609% YoY increase in monetary sales volume, and 3,525% YoY increase in the number of items sold), the program now has (b) a well-diversified and active affiliate base, and (c) due to the proactive compliance policing and prompt removal of violators, it is now more attractive for new affiliates to join.


If you are an affiliate interested in joining the programs that we manage, you may view them all here. If you are an advertiser looking for help in breathing new life into an existing affiliate program, email us today for your free quote.

4 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing Case Study: From Plateau to 1,600% YoY Growth”

  1. Hi Geno,
    It’s good to hear of your achievement in helping to turn around the fortunes of the said affiliate program. A lot of companies and web owners face similar problems where they get to their diminishing point and they are stuck. To make matters worse, there might not be enough money to hire professionals like you to help them out.

    Sometimes when under such circumstance, the affected persons may not even be able to trace the root cause of the problem. Only a professional knows how to troubleshoot the system to know what is wrong. But staying without carrying out an action because there is no money might also just signal the end of such business.

  2. Pingback: Marketing Day: Driving mobile purchases, Facebook measurement errors FAQ & more

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