A Look Into The World Of Large Affiliate Networks

Mar 8, 2021

Screenshot 2021-03-08 at 16.24.06.png

In this article we catch up with Alex Higson and Karol Kelner from CJ Affiliate to do a deep dive into the world of large affiliate networks and see how those guys do lead generation for some huge brands.

We try and get you answers to the following questions:

  • How does a large affiliate network ensure transparency in all they do?
  • What are the benefits and opportunities that using an affiliate network represents to brands, versus other channels?
  • What’s the process for taking on new publishers? How does a large affiliate network maintain a close eye on their performance and what they’re doing
  • How does an affiliate network work with brands after the point of giving them the leads?

And as always, a lot more.

Check out some key extracts and ideas below, or subscribe to the podcast for access to the full conversation.

An emerging theme of this podcast has been Transparency. How is a company of your size able to ensure transparency when operating on such a large scale?

Alex Higson: Transparency in lead generation is definitely a huge topic. Historically we’ve been very careful about being transparent, only because we’ve been burnt in that past with advertisers cutting us out, etc., but I’ve realised that if I owned a company or if I owned a brand I would want to know exactly what was going on. We’ve definitely shifted slightly as a company and tried to be a bit more transparent with data, but the reason we can do that is because we’ve strengthen our publisher relationships. That side of things is so much stronger than it was that we are more trusting.

I think shifting the whole rhetoric at the moment with certain brands is that transparency piece. I don’t know if you remember but the CEO of P&G came out a couple of years ago and said “We’re doing a complete review of all of our activity and we want to know exactly what is going on in the group” and that obviously affected on our side what we were doing with the agency and with the client as well.

Karol Kelner: Obviously Transparency is very important as we want to know where the money is being spent. But one things clients want is not typically about the publisher or where the ads are, it’s about the quality and what safeguards we have in place about the data generated. We have a strong validation service, we have a good process of getting lead and the channels are clear, and when you have that the transparency reservation falls by the wayside.

If you can show quality, if you can show the show the final product, and that the lead is validated and genuine, the nitty gritty of who the publisher is and where the ad is places kind of falls by the wayside as well. You can manage that barrier of transparency by simply showing a good result.

But obviously, if transparency is important to you we will tell you the publisher names. We have very good relationships with our publishers and they know they are in a better position working with us in the long run.

One unique thing you guys do too is you offer the service of building the landing pages for clients. That gives you the ability to control the lead generation better and gives an extra layer of security and transparency, right? But, also, when working with large brands it gives them an extra protection in terms of being sure the leads are all GDPR compliant too?

Karol Kelner: The first layer of protection is the CJ Network. For Publishers to even join the CJ Network you need to have a valid company, GDPR, a privacy policy, that sort of thing. That’s to just join the network. Then, to work with us on the lead gen side you have to speak to me and Alex and we have to suss you out, where you’re coming from, how you build your data etc. Then if they do run a campaign there is the that validation towards the end of the campaign, the Databowl validation service, which ensures the data is real. So there are three layers of control to ensure a publisher can work with us.

Alex Higson: I think the main thing I go to clients with is that compliance piece. Certainly, for lead generation, the quality side is so important. If you’re getting crap data then you’re gonna get crap results. You’re not gonna see ROI, so try and focus on that and that compliance team that we’ve got in the US are so good. They’re basically policing the network for us, so instead of the client having to do their own due diligence and potentially missing something, they can rely on us to get past that and really secure them.

Karol Kelner: I think the first one would be scale. Let’s say a client has a Head of Marketing and then maybe one two people underneath them, and they are responsible for running a campaign, right? So what we can offer is scale, because that team would have to contact say 20 publishers, craft an offer with them, send them the assets, figure out tracking for these 20 different publishers, versus coming to us and letting us handle all that. We have all the tools to contact publishers at mass, it’s that ease and scale and all the brand has to worry about is crafting their brand message. So yeah, simplicity and scaling up easily.

For the rest of the conversation you can listen to the whole podcast on Apple, Spotify or watch the video version on YouTube.

Like what you see?

You focus on the campaign creativity, and we do the rest. You won’t be disappointed.