James Woods: Monetise your site now
Head of Affiliates for bet365 James Woods tells you why you should join the affiliate revolution and how to start making some serious cash
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular forms of internet advertising. It is the process of a third party (the affiliate), promoting a particular brand or product that has an affiliate programme, in exchange for commissions which are dictated by the affiliate agreement. Traditionally, these commissions are for the most part performance based. For example, the preferred revenue share system, whereby affiliates receive a cut of the total net revenue apportioned to the customers they have referred. Taking a share of the ongoing revenue is a popular means of payment for online advertising, because it provides the affiliate with returns to scale. The level of commissions earned by an affiliate on a revenue share deal will be proportional to the level of traffic the affiliate sends to the advertiser.
Affiliate schemes are extremely easy to get involved in. So long as the affiliate’s website is attractive and serves a function, in all likelihood it will be a welcome affiliation for the advertiser. Often there will be a dedicated team to support new affiliates, who will offer all manner of instructional materials and content in order to optimise the earning potential of a site as quickly as possible. Once the relationship has been established, affiliates may be passed on to a more specialised manager who will be able to build on the solid foundations of the relationship in order to maximise affiliate earnings for the longer term. Affiliate managers are well placed to advise on all aspects of attracting website traffic, such as SEO, PPC, social media and more specifically the best converting means of pushing the brands that they represent.
The beauty of these affiliate schemes is their open-endedness and flexibility. There are no limitations to how many programmes the affiliate can sign up to and most schemes offer creative means of integrating their affiliate brand into the advertiser’s platform.
Most advertisers offer reams of creative content such as banners and editorials, which an affiliate can place within their site – and the advantages of this content are twofold. One, the affiliate website then has the opportunity to add with self-tracking, self-updating content which serves to promote an advertiser once the code is implemented. Most affiliates add true value by creating their own content using information readily available online for inspiration. Two, the presence of a well-known brand within the affiliate’s pages serves to enhance the affiliate’s website by association; that is to say, as well as the tangible benefit of the commissions, affiliate schemes offer affiliates the opportunity to establish themselves and earn a reputation with their visitors in order to nurture a platform which will attract repeat custom from the site’s visitors.
Some affiliate schemes offer the opportunity for deeper integration with resources for the more technically inclined, such as XML feeds and application programming interfaces (APIs). These tools allow for impressive features to be built into affiliate’s sites that are capable of processing large amounts of valuable information in an engaging, interactive way tailored to individual users’ preferences. For example, travel merchants offer API’s pertaining to hotel and flight services, allowing the affiliate to integrate their sites into the travel offering, so that users can search flights and hotels from the affiliate’s website.
Bet365, a worldwide online sports-betting and gaming platform, is another prime example of this deep level of integration, offering some of their affiliates added value with various feeds and schedules that allow for exciting integration possibilities for the affiliate. These add real value to the affiliate’s business to consumer offering, through enhancing the user experience, and the objective here is to positively affect the affiliate commissions as a result of an increased click to new customer conversion rate.
Many affiliates programmes also offer a host of tools in their back-end to help webmasters monitor their progress in great detail with breakdowns of key performance indicators such as clicks, sign ups and net revenue across all verticals. Schemes with several verticals will often provide a single-wallet system, which means that affiliates will earn commissions across all products, regardless of which product they initially referred the lead to. There is no doubt that affiliate marketing is a lucrative, scalable means of monetising advertising space on your portal. It gives you as webmasters a chance to establish additional revenue streams from your web development and design capabilities, while offering you the potential to develop your own customer-facing brands in exciting and fast-paced industries.