Affiliate Program and Technology Partners: What to Consider

We tend to associate technology partners with cart abandonment technologies and retargeting software. However, tech partners offer much more. Awin, one of the first affiliate networks to highlight these partners, classifies them into various categories, including mobile measurement, e-commerce, CSS, analytics, and tech partner plugins. This last category often requires the most attention and is particularly interesting to brands and retailers. But is partnering with these tech companies always beneficial, or could some partnerships compromise your affiliate program‘s good health?

In this post, we’ll explore the implications and nuances of collaborating with tech partners for your affiliate program. We will also discuss why a personalized, case-by-case approach is essential for success, providing insights into how to tailor your strategy for optimal results.

Understanding Technology Partners in Affiliate Marketing

Technology partners include a variety of service providers and technologies designed to optimize affiliate campaigns and achieve results. These partners often operate as affiliates and are integrated into a brand’s affiliate program being paid based on performance.

The solutions they provide typically include:

Cart Abandonment Solutions

Techniques like reminder emails, discount offerings, streamlined checkout processes, and additional payment options to convert abandoned carts into completed purchases.

Exit Intent Technology

Detects when a user is about to leave a website and prompts them with targeted messages or offers to retain them and increase conversions.

Product Recommendations and Bundling

Personalizes the shopping experience by showing relevant products at the right time or packaging related products together.

Email Remarketing & IP-based Retargeting

Sends personalized messages or offers to website visitor emails to convince them to resume shopping and check out.

Display Networks (Prospecting/Retargeting)

Use visual advertisements to reach specific audiences and re-engage visitors who did not complete a transaction.

Dynamic Couponing

Increases conversion rates by offering relevant deals and boosting the average order value.

Referral Marketing Solutions

Help you leverage your existing customers as brand ambassadors to acquire new customers.

Push Notifications

Sends clickable messages to devices, even when the consumer is not on the website, to maintain engagement and prompt actions.

Look-alike Audience Tools

Create existing customer profiles to help you identify and target similar audiences to increase website traffic and sales.

Incorporating technology partners into your affiliate program can significantly enhance its effectiveness, offering such benefits as increased conversions, reduced cart abandonment, boosted average order value (AOV), and increased customer spend. However, a strategic approach is essential to safely integrate these solutions and achieve optimal results. While the potential benefits are highly attractive, they can also come with challenges and costs. 

Costs and Payment Models

While many successful tech partners operate on a performance-based payment model, others charge an integration fee. A good tech partner should ideally work on a CPA basis. They should conduct a thorough forecast using the brand’s metrics, such as conversion rate and monthly unique visitors, to estimate the number of additional sales they can generate. If the partnership does not prove sustainable based on these projections, it may not be worth implementing.

Potential Loss of Content Partners

Working with a tech affiliate can initially boost your sales. However, if their efforts overwrite those of a major content affiliate, this can create problems. The content affiliate, noticing a drop in their earnings, may decide to stop promoting your brand. This results in a double loss: the sales from the content affiliate and reduced effectiveness of the tech partner due to less traffic for retargeting.

Furthermore, if other affiliates see the tech partner’s links in popups or during shopping cart recovery, they may raise concerns in affiliate groups. This can lead to existing affiliates withdrawing their support and potential affiliates being discouraged from partnering with your brand.

Implementation Considerations

To test these strategies, brands need to integrate the tech partner’s tag on their site. Many tech partners are already integrated with major networks, allowing the tech partner tag to be placed without any additional development work from the brand. When this integration is not available, some extra effort is required. While most brands don’t see this as a disadvantage, some may worry about the additional effort and costs.

Further Risks and Possible Conflicts

In some rare cases, conflicts between the tech partners’ code and existing code, apps, and integrations appear and affect various functionalities. For example, bundling and payment integrations may impact tracking. Exit intent popups may slow down the website. 

There are also cases when tech affiliates don’t disclose everything about their services and the tags or code the brand has to install passes on more information than required or agreed.

Final Tips on Evaluating & Selecting the Best Tech Partners

Tech partners can make or break a brand’s affiliate program. That’s why there’s no universal agreement on whether they should or should not be integrated. The best solution is for every brand to assess its own needs and capabilities to implement the above-mentioned tech solutions. 

Converting website visitors should be a priority for every merchant, and that’s what most tech partners provide: conversion optimization solutions, be it through display and email retargeting, personalized buyer journeys, exit intent popups, and shopping cart recovery. 

Brands that can’t implement such solutions on their own or that don’t see results with their in-house campaigns will benefit the most from partnering with a tech affiliate. However, not all tech affiliates are created equal, and not all tech partnerships will prove beneficial in the long term. 

It’s important to: 

  • Choose tech partners with proven expertise and experience in working with similar brands. 
  • Work together to create and personalize the campaigns, not just implement standard, impersonal solutions.
  • Ensure that your costs (through affiliate commissions) are acceptable and in line with the value of the provided services.
  • Test integrations and campaigns before they go live, assessing functionality, compliance with the brand’s guidelines, and shoppers’ experience.

Once the decision to work with a tech partner has been made, it is extremely important to monitor how the actual partnership unfolds:

  • How does the affiliate live up to its claims and promises? 
  • What is the actual increase in sales? 
  • Do the benefits justify the costs? 
  • How does the new partnership affect existing affiliates and their earnings? 
  • What further improvements/optimizations can be made?

In other words, approaching these partnerships with a clear strategy and understanding of the potential challenges is vital.  Only by carefully considering all the above aspects or working with an experienced affiliate program manager, you can make informed decisions that enhance your program’s effectiveness and ensure long-term sustainable growth.

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