Manage Contracts Effectively.
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to ensure that you manage the contracts correctly between the two networks. Firstly, check the term and renew conditions on the current network, ensuring there is no auto-renew for another fixed term. If there is, ensure you have this clearly marked out on your calendar. Secondly, ensure you strategically plan the notification period for a network cancellation. It would not be appropriate to close one network on the day of a new one launching, for example, as this wouldn’t allow time for publisher migration. It’s best to leave time in-between the new network opening to giving the old network notice, as you never know how long publishers will take to migrate.
Technical Set Up.
Joining a new network is an important stage for a client at Silverbean, and this gives us an opportunity to strategically review the account for the next two-three year period, and ensure the tracking capability is set up correctly.
When setting up the tracking pixels for a new network, it is imperative that you consider the long-term future of the account. For example, it’s important to review the commission structure and payment methods to ensure the tracking set-up offers the merchant the flexibility to manage the account strategically.
Work with your tech team to see what information is available on the confirmation page, what isn’t available but you would like to be parsed, and don’t be afraid to use custom fields within the tracking code for additional information. This can help to optimise performance at a later date.
Offer An Incentive.
We recommend offering an incentive to publishers in order to migrate them as quickly as possible. Depending on the network, look to utilise the new tools available as soon as you can. For example, if you migrate onto a network with payment-by-assist capabilities, then look to offer this to content publishers from day one.
Starting to work with a new network also links into reviewing commission structure and the foundations the account is set on, as we’ve talked about previously in regards in maximising your budgets.
It’s vital to offer an incentive to a publisher, as a migration for an affiliate could be hard work. Take this into consideration, and offer a lucrative short term offer or competition. For example you could increase CPA, offer a competition to win a £100 spend onsite, or even to be invited to a concert or event. Occasionally, publishers might have reintegration fees, so make sure to keep some budget aside for this.
Review Content and Long tail Publishers.
It’s important not to lose old revenue sources during a migration. For example, an article a publisher created three years ago for a Silverbean client is still a high revenue-driving article, thanks to its appearance in long tail search queries.
With the growth of content, more and more programs have a high content offering, however migrating networks is not a simple process for content publishers. To support publishers with this, look for a referral URL report in the old network. Download this for a one to two year period on the account, and run a pivot table on the top referral URLs. You can then support individual publishers by giving them a list of URLs to update new tracking links within.
In addition to this, social publishers are unlikely to be able to quickly migrate links on old trending articles. For example, we often see fashion publishers generating sales for a long period of time post-migration, due to their reach and image search visibility.
It is important to support in migrating content publishers as much as possible. If not, the user journey to the brand site could be disrupted once the old network is closed. There are tools that can be used to help with this, such as Publisher Discovery, which can run reports on both sale and click active historic publishers. Even if you migrated the account two years ago, they can still do a review for you (or review competitor programs for quick wins).
Migration Management Platform.
When migrating networks, make sure you have a platform or document to help you track the success of the migration. Silverbean have our own bespoke network tracker to help support the migration, and we recommend making sure that this is done in advance of the migration starting. There is nothing worse than an unorganised migration and the account manager not knowing the status of publishers!
Prior to the migration, ensure communications are planned, publishers are placed into tiers to address their needs, and enough resource is put into the migration to conveniently support publishers. Silverbean often put a lot of resource into publishers and assign additional team members to the account due to the high amount of demands from publishers at this time. When migrating, this is a perfect opportunity to review the affiliate mix. If you have taken over management from another party, now is another opportunity to review and remove publishers who may not be on brand.
Review Performance outside of the channel.
Depending on the merchant, there should be a third party tracking source such as Google Analytics (GA). Ensure both networks have the correct UTM appends on links so you can clearly see affiliate performance on GA through to a campaign level. You can then utilise this to review performance, week on week and month on month, during the transition, to easily keep track of any changes.
Here at Silverbean, we work closely with Affluent, a third party analytics solution who utilise API technology from networks to bring together publisher and agency performance into one platform. We find this to be a valuable tool in bringing together network data into one platform to see in a single view. This means that the account manager’s view of the account and day to day management is not hindered during the migration.