It's important to be actively and purposefully reviewing affiliates' applications prior to approving them. Taking the time to consider an affiliate's application prior to approval will help reduce fraud and maintain a quality base of affiliates promoting your brand. Taking an active approach to reviewing an affiliate's application includes, but is not limited to: reviewing their website, reviewing their feedback score and merchants' specific comments, establishing direct contact to discuss the potential partnership, and disabling auto approval. See below for more details on these best practices.
An affiliate's web presence is extremely important, as this is where your brand will be promoted to their audience. Be sure to thoroughly review an affiliate's website prior to approval to determine if you'd be comfortable with your brand being on their site. Is the affiliate's website content-rich and aesthetically pleasing? Is there consistent content creation? Does their content align with the information in their Account Profile? Does their listed email domain match their website domain? These are all important points to consider prior to approving an affiliate's application. If you're not clear on exactly where your brand may appear on their website, and how it will be portrayed, do not hesitate to reach out to the affiliate directly for clarification.
An affiliate's feedback score is based on feedback left by merchants they're currently working with or have previously worked with on the network. Each affiliate starts with a feedback score of 0 when they join the network, and as merchants leave feedback for an affiliate their feedback score will adjust accordingly. Positive feedback results in a +1 and negative feedback results in a -1 for their overall feedback score. Affiliates that have received a lot of positive feedback from their merchant partners will generally have higher feedback scores.
There is no benchmark score that we consider an affiliate to be fully active or experienced. Typically, if an affiliate has a high feedback score they're likely working with, or have worked with merchants on the network with success. It's also possible that an affiliate may be an experienced partner, however, they may be newer to the platform or merchants may have decided not to leave feedback for the affiliate, so their feedback score may not be as high.
While an affiliate's feedback score itself is important, the individual comments being left by merchants is just as important, if not more so. Be sure to review the individual feedback notes left by merchants to get a sense of their relationships and experiences with the affiliate.
An affiliate's feedback score does not directly correlate to how well they'll perform in your program, but it does provide a quick glance into their relationships with merchants on the network. If you have any specific questions about an affiliate it's best to contact them directly to discuss your potential partnership further.
Establish Direct Contact
If you're unsure where or how a potential partner will promote your brand, it's extremely important to establish direct contact before approval to learn more about their marketing plan. Don't be afraid to inquire prior to approval! Most affiliates will understand and expect that this outreach may be necessary to gather more details prior to approval. If you're not comfortable with an affiliate's response, or if you don't get a response at all, it may be a sign that it's not the right partnership for you.
Each affiliate's promotional strategy is different, and their audience may not always be the best fit based on your products or service. For example, if you don't offer coupons on your website for customers to use at checkout, it will not be beneficial to partner with an affiliate that is mainly promoting merchants' coupons on their website. Similarly, if the content being created by an affiliate does not coincide with your target audience, the traffic they send to your website may not convert well. It's important to consider if an affiliate's traffic and marketing plan resonate with your audience and offerings. If so, the affiliate may well be a quality partner with converting traffic. If not, it's completely fine to pass on the partnership.
Disable Auto Approval
If you choose to approve all applications by default, you run the risk of exposing your affiliate program to fraudulent activity, and it may result in a low quality and irrelevant affiliate base. We highly recommend disabling the auto approval feature to ensure you can diligently review incoming affiliate applications prior to approval. You can disable the auto approval feature in your merchant account by following these steps:
1. Go to MY ACCOUNT > Account Details
2. Click Affiliate Approval under the Manage Features section
3. Check the box next to No
4. Click Update
Once you've followed these steps you can go to the Approval Rules page to confirm that this feature has been disabled (the Default Approval Status should be listed as - Pending).
We hope this information is helpful as you're reviewing and approving affiliates for your program. Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.