The Versa Blog

Selecting an Affiliate Network or Tracking Platform

July 5, 2012

Selecting a tracking platform is one of the first tasks in launching an affiliate program.  There are multiple options available to advertisers based on the type of affiliate program.  The two main options are a direct/internal program or a third-party affiliate network.  Below is a brief description of these.

Internal or Direct Affiliate Program

An internal or direct program is run on affiliate tracking software that is purchased by the advertiser.  Advertisers can recruit and approve affiliates directly without needing the network to approve the affiliate first.
Fee Structure
Generally an advertiser will pay a flat monthly fee for the use of the affiliate tracking software.
Tracking Platform Examples

  • HasOffers
  • Direct Track
  • Impact RadiusAffiliate Tracking Platforms

Many shopping carts also have affiliate tracking capabilities built into them.

Third-Party Affiliate Network

This type of program is run on an affiliate platform that is part of a larger affiliate network.  An affiliate network will have hundreds of advertisers and thousands of affiliates utilizing the platform thus creating the “network”.
Free Structure
The following fees are assessed by affiliate networks for the use of their platform.
Launch fee
Monthly minimum fees
Network access fees (charged as a percentage of sales generated or percentage of affiliate commissions paid)
Fees for additional network capabilities (product data feed, additional media, item-based commissions, etc.)
Affiliate Network Examples

  • Commission Junction
  • AvantLink
  • ShareaSale
  • LinkShare
  • Buyat
  • Google Affiliate Network

Affiliate Neworks

When Versa Marketing begins working with a client we review the goals, strategy and positioning of the program to make the proper affiliate tracking platform selection.  Once the review is complete we select an internal/direct platform, a third-party affiliate network or both.  More often than not, our recommendation is to launch in a third-party network.  The reason is because third-party networks are known entities which affiliates trust and are accustomed to working with.  A direct program presents another sign-up process for the affiliate and new platform to learn.  Those additional steps create a barrier to affiliate recruiting.  On the flip-side we do recommend running a direct program in tandem with a network program for many of our clients.
Below are a few pros and cons for the network platforms.

Direct Affiliate Program

Lower cost for the advertiser
No need for an affiliate to be approved by a network to work with your program
Good for cultivating non-affiliate partner relationships into formalized affiliate relationships
Low adoption from professional affiliates
Harder to recruit affiliates

Affiliate Network Program

Trusted network
Network already houses thousands of affiliates ready to work with your program
Easier recruiting
Slightly higher cost
Affiliates need to be approved by the network prior to working with your program
Versa Marketing is very adept at selecting the right affiliate track platform for each advertiser in order to create a successful program.  We have years of experience working with both direct platform and third-party networks.  Contact us if you need assistance in the launch of your affiliate program.
Posted By

Contact us for a free evaluation & proposal

Related Articles

publisher or merchant affiliate marketing

Publisher or Merchant: Who Gets The Most Out Of Affiliate Marketing?

If you’re reading this, you probably have at least a working idea of how...
Evolution of Affiliate Marketing 2016

How Did Affiliate Marketing Evolve in 2016?

Affiliate marketing continues to grow each year and is now a 4.5 billion...
Evolution of Attribution

The Evolution of Attribution: Are You Doing It Right?

Through the last 20 years, affiliate marketing companies have been a part of...
5 Assets for Your Affiliates

5 Assets You Need to Equip Your Affiliates with This Holiday Season

Partnering with the right influencers and affiliates is just the first step of...
Does Your Brand Need Affiliate Program Management

Does Your Brand Need Affiliate Program Management?

If you’re reading this, you’re already well acquainted with what a powerful...
affiliate program management and football

What do affiliate program management and football have in common?

You wouldn’t send your athletes out onto the field without any footballs,...

Mobile Affiliate Sales Reach All-Time High

As expected, mobile sales are on a steady incline in affiliate networks....
Dog Social Media Campaign Affiliate

The Perfect Dog Social Media Campaign

Ever wonder what your perfect dog might look like? Versa Marketing Inc.'s...
Cold Laser Therapies Affiliate Marketing Company

Cold Laser Therapies Selects Affiliate Marketing Company, Versa Marketing Inc.

Cold Laser Therapies, an online laser and light therapy retailer, has selected...
affiliate application vetting

Affiliate Management – Publisher Application Vetting

During the management of an affiliate program the marketing manager will...

Recent Articles

Let's Chat

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.