What is the Best Affiliate Network?

As affiliate marketing has an extremely low cost of entry, the best affiliate marketing network for any advertiser is unlikely to be the cheapest one. Of course, affiliate networks do complete on price – for example, charging varying setup fees and/or recurring membership fees – but it’s areas such as technology, customer service and network size that differentiate them.

Unsurprisingly, the best network for one advertiser might be completely different than it would be for another. Some affiliate networks, for example, are small and vertical-specific while others cover a wide variety of verticals and publisher types.

Let’s take a look at a few key areas to consider when choosing an affiliate network.

Publisher Variety
Effective publishers come in all shapes and sizes. Successful programmes work with a variety of publishers and may have differing expectations for each. Look to join a network where the types of publishers you’d like to work with are already connected. For example, if you think cashback is going to be an important driver for your business, ensure that the biggest cashback affiliates such as Quidco and TopCashback are available to partner with.

From cashback giants like Quidco and TopCashback to single-purpose discount sites like Blue Light Card, Webgains is home to over 250,000 publishers of all varieties in markets all over the world from the following categories:

  • Email and newsletter
  • Social media
  • Employee benefits
  • Price comparison
  • Email and newsletter
  • Social media
  • Employee benefits
  • Price comparison

Platform UI and UX
There’s little point having great technology if it’s difficult to use. When choosing your affiliate network the usability, look and feel are all well worth considering. It goes without saying that, at Webgains, we take this side of things extremely serious to ensure our customers can easily navigate around our system.

Claire Beaumont, Marketing Other networks were very data driven, a bit glitchy, a bit figure-outy and [Webgains] was so much easier to use… that’s really where it came in much stronger than anyone else.”

Claire Beaumont, Marketing Manager at Condor Cycles – a merchant advertiser on Webgains.

Proven Track Record and Robust Systems
Webgains was established in 2004 and in this time, we’ve built a robust platform that can stand up against any other. For instance, in 2019, Webgains only lost one single minute of platform availability during the whole year!

Comprehensive and customisable reporting functionality is an extremely important aspect of any good affiliate network. It’s how merchants and publishers alike can analyse swathes of data to help them make decisions to optimise their programmes.

On Webgains’ reporting features – Claire Beaumont, Marketing Manager at Condor Cycles – a merchant advertiser on Webgains – comments:

“The Webgains platform is easy to pull reports from to visually see successes as well as where we’re going wrong… and that’s easier for people further up the business who don’t need to know the nitty gritty of an affiliate, but they need to see the numbers easily displayed in a nice chart.”

Claire Beaumont, Marketing Manager at Condor Cycles – a merchant advertiser on Webgains.

Platform Features
Affiliate networks differ in the features and technology they offer. For instance, Webgains recently launched “Affiliate Discovery”. This enables advertisers on our network to proactively seek out personalised opportunities to work with affiliates that fit their profile. Affiliate Discovery completely transforms the discovery process by directly recommending the publishers who will grow advertisers’ programs.

Our unique AI and ML technology will analyse over a hundred data points, between you and every single publisher, to select the ones working harder to find you customers.

You can find out more about Affiliate Discovery here.

GDPR and Compliance
The best affiliate networks will have clear and available privacy policies and data security statements that are in line with the latest regulations. If your network and the technology is kept up to date with the law, then you as a user of that network, will be too.

Training and Support
The vast majority of successful affiliate programmes are those of advertisers that take the time to understand the channel in general as well as the tactics and strategies available to succeed within it.

As affiliate is a pure performance channel, a network benefits directly from every sale made by each connected merchant. At Webgains, we understand this, and it guides our dedication to client support and lead to the creation of Webgains Academy – an e-learning and resource centre, not only for Webgains clients, but for anybody interested in affiliate marketing and wanting to launch a program of their own. Aside from hosting content including webinars, events, eBooks and exclusive industry reports, the Academy provides members with comprehensive courses, training you from the ground up. From the basic concepts to the latest innovation, we take you from being an affiliate marketing novice to an expert with our step-by-step learning material.

“We’ve had a lot of support in terms of how to use the Webgains portal. What to get from it, what to look out for, how to invite people to your programme, as well as really, really interesting information about how the affiliate world is structured.”

Charles Instone, CMO at The Drug.Store – a merchant advertiser on the Webgains network.