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The importance of affiliate marketing as a marketing channel is palpable; it is one of the most effective channels for advertisers, along with paid search and e-mail, and offers a guaranteed return on advertising spend.

To successfully take advantage of affiliate marketing, however, advertisers need to discover the best partners for their programs. Here are 3 steps to take when seeking great affiliate marketing partners:

Step 1: Identify the Metrics That Matter

Engagement metrics such as page views, pages per visit and average time on site can provide an effective means of qualifying a great affiliate marketing partner.

Analyzing performance metrics to measure the quality of traffic that an affiliate sends is a great way to identify a valuable affiliate partner. Not only will affiliate partners who send productive traffic positively impact affiliate program metrics and push EPC (earnings per click) up, but will increase revenue.

Using a technology like Impact Radius, you can access essential metric and even pull SKU-level reports to see which partners drive conversions on high-margin products, check out whether a partner influences a sale (if not directly driving them) and determine which partners bring new vs. existing customers.

Step 2: Spot the Forward Thinkers

Large or small, innovations can simplify processes, solve problems and improve user experience, adding value to customers and your business. A great affiliate marketing partner will be forward thinking and innovative in their actions, offering content and/or resources that are unique and valuable.

Stylinity is a prime example of forward thinking from an affiliate. Their mobile app embraces one of biggest phenomenons in recent times, the selfie, and makes them shoppable by embedding “I want that” buttons within the shared photos that link directly to e-commerce sites. Great idea, right?

Step 3: Determine Incremental Value

Incrementality is determined by the sales revenue derived from an affiliate partner that wouldn’t have been received if it weren’t for that partner’s sole contribution. Understanding the incremental revenue an affiliate drives is an effective means of determining whether they’re a great partner. To accurately measure incrementality, marketers require a singular view of all marketing channels as well as deep insight into each customer journey.

The Bottom Line:

On a whole, determining the value of an affiliate is a process that requires attention to detail and adequate research. Each of the steps above provide a base for finding a great affiliate partner for your program. However, the most important thing is to have a clear understanding of your program objectives and goals and use them to create an ideal partner persona. This will ensure consistency and provide a reliable benchmark for success.

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