Building An Effective Affiliate Network: Step by Step

What is this article about?

  1. What is an affiliate network?
  2. Affiliate network or program – what is better?
  3. Saturation on the market – is it a problem?
  4. Affiliate network setup – what do you need to start
  5. Where to find a good advertiser for your affiliate network
  6. How to choose the right GEO
  7. How to choose the main vertical to work with
  8. Do you want to learn more? Watch the video about how to build a CPA network
  9. Final thoughts

Have you ever wondered: what does it take to start an affiliate network or affiliate program? What challenges must you face if you want to develop into a trustworthy and fruitful partner?

We’ve talked with 2 market experts who have extensive experience in this field – Anastasia Titova, head of Yellana, and Stefan Muehlbauer from Masters in Cash and here are the key points they shared with us!

What is an affiliate network?

Affiliate network (or CPA network) is a website where advertisers and webmasters agree to work together. The former wants new visitors to their product to take a certain action, such as submit a form, leave an application, or make a purchase. The second aids in attracting these visitors. 

On the website, there are 3 parties interacting:

  • Advertiser. He places an offer on the website;
  • Webmaster (affiliate). He considers the offers, chooses the best one, and responds to the request;
  • Affiliate network. This is an intermediary that ensures that the participants uphold the agreements’ conditions and work honestly.
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In contrast to affiliate programs, which have their own internal offers, affiliate networks primarily focus on offers from third parties. Additionally, they choose which webmaster to cooperate with and offer affiliates higher rates.

Affiliate network or program – what is better?

As previously noted, affiliate networks work with outside offers. Affiliate programs, on the other hand, are solely focused on in-house offers. The question is, which one should you pick?

The main difference is that setting up an affiliate program requires a lot more work, thus it’s important to encourage big investments. In addition, hiring staff is necessary for developing and managing your program, a difficult but achievable task.

Anastasia Titova pointed out that there is a remedy that, when used, will put you in the king’s shoes:

Numerous networks have already discovered that combining internal and external offers within your CPA network is the ideal strategy. You will achieve great success with this combo, propelling you to the top of the affiliate marketing industry.

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Saturation on the market – is it a problem?

You might initially believe that creating an affiliate network is not worth the money given the number of competitors already in place. Is everything in this case really so clear-cut? Let’s go over several characteristics that will set you apart from other market players.

  1. Lucrative offer
    One big offer will make a significant difference and draw many webmasters to test it if an advertiser you work with has a strong link to you. As a result, you’ll lay a solid foundation from the very start even if you lack service.
  2. Affiliate managers
    These are the people who work with affiliates and fulfill their needs by giving useful tips on how to get the most out of a particular offer. Additionally, their continuous communication improves webmasters’ skills, particularly for novices. For instance, many affiliates work with the sole offer they are familiar with; managers can improve this condition. Long-term, it provides a solid base for expansion.
  3. Service
    Many CPA networks offer fantastic deals, but they don’t give the affiliates all they require for a flawless workflow, which is where you will stand out. As previously indicated, if you have a great offer your can lack service, but if you combine the two, you will be unstoppable because in an established network, the service is what counts most.

As an extra advice for owners of the offer, Stefan Muehlbauer has pointed out:

Choosing a GEO where you speak the language is another important factor. Some advertisers fail to localize the language and payment options, which gives you an excellent opportunity to differentiate yourself in terms of user experience. It is also important to get affiliate marketing slang properly in translation; however, not everyone can pull it off.

Affiliate network setup – what do you need to start

Fortunately, building a tech infrastructure is the first and most straightforward step on your path to developing a network. It is not as challenging as it was years ago, you don’t even need a CTO!

These are the top 4 things you need:

1. Affiliate software solution

Your affiliate network must be using top-notch tools in order to operate as intended. Utilizing the most advanced and user-friendly technologies for managing affiliate networks is required for this. You’ll have a lot of restrictions to follow and a lot of data to properly and accurately track among all of your clients and affiliates.

Using affiliate tracking software can enable you to accomplish more in less time. As a result, you and your team can focus on expanding other areas of your business. You do not want software that only tracks clicks. Choose a software instead that will help you manage your money, automate time-consuming tasks, and improve affiliate and ad success.

2. CRM system

A customer relationship management (CRM) system gives organizations the ability to control their interactions with both current clients and potential new clients. The most crucial feature within the affiliate network is the ability to track payouts and the number of leads a webmaster generates. Thus, CRM software employs a data-driven methodology to assist staff in keeping track of leads and important client data, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and past contacts, in one single area.

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You have two options: select a third-party CRM system or create your own. If you decide to use a third-party solution, Pipedrive is now one of the most-preferred CRMs for affiliate marketers globally.

3. Anti-fraud system

There is no way to completely prevent fraud when doing business online. Consequently, you need to take measures to protect your business and your advertisers against fraud if you want to succeed in this field.

But before choosing a tech solution, it is crucial to pay attention to human factors. Here’s what Anastasia Titova thinks about it:

Experienced market players act as the network’s gatekeepers, selecting who gets access. A video conversation with an affiliate who wants to work for your network is an example of pre-moderation in action. By adopting this, future issues like fraudulent traffic, poor-quality traffic, etc. will be greatly reduced.

As for the tech side of things, you have 2 options too: choose a third-party provider like 24metrics, or create your own anti-fraud solution. The best course of action, though, is to build up your own system.

4. Payment solutions

Last but not least, you must provide affiliates a range of payment choices. It also relies on GEOs; for example, many affiliates in the CIS countries view Capitalist as the greatest option. In general, crypto payments are becoming more and more popular, particularly if you work with GEOs that have weak banking infrastructure and volatile currencies.

Where to find a good advertiser for your affiliate network

Let’s say we managed to gather all of the aforementioned tools, but the most crucial problem remained unresolved: finding a trustworthy advertiser.

You have three options to choose from:

  1. Personal connections.
    By the time you decide to start creating an affiliate network you’ve probably already had experience working as an affiliate. That being said, if your networking skills were good enough through your career, this is the best choice.
  2. Build trust.
    If the first way is not an option, you’ll need more time to find the advertiser that suits you and vice versa. Attend conferences, engage in conversation with as many participants as you can, and don’t be hesitant to express your needs honestly. Finding a trustworthy partner who will get to know you better and eventually provide you with more lucrative offers is highly likely. Don’t forget: it is always about personal touch.
  3. Work with referrals.
    If you’re not a great networker, working with referrals is the best way to go. It is a very common rookie error when someone wants to collaborate with those with whom he can have direct communication only.

How to choose the right GEO

Here are Anastasia Titova’s thoughts on it:

If we’re talking about broad patterns, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America are some GEOs to keep an eye on for traffic monetization. Although Latin America gets more competitive and its traffic costs rise, these are areas where competition is not as intense. The US and Western Europe are currently the hardest markets to enter as a new CPA network.

There are a number of additional considerations, though, that may influence your decision. For instance, you should work with a specific market if you have a relationship with a certain advertiser or have a unique billing solution for this region.

How to choose the main vertical to work with

When it comes to deciding on a niche you want to work with, you can focus on the following things:

  • Feedback from affiliates
    You may find out what they want and need, then base your strategy on their responses. 
  • Trends on the market and regulations
    Some recently popular verticals might now be heavily controlled by the government. It follows that you don’t need to think of them as your preferred course of action.
  • Advertiser you have
    That is a pretty simple justification for picking a vertical based on the offers an advertiser can provide.

Important note! Notwithstanding the above, your network should be attracting affiliates with offers that are always in high demand in niches like Dating, Gambling, Betting, Lead Generation etc.

Do you want to learn more? Watch the video about how to build a CPA network

If you want to know more about building an affiliate network, check out the full interview with Anastasia Titova and Stefan Muehlbauer:

This video is posted on our channel that was created to provide the affiliates the most useful information possible. You will find there webinars, interviews with industry leaders and many more. Subscribe in order not to miss anything sweet, new content releases almost every week!

Final thoughts

It takes the necessary expertise, experience, and resolve to launch an affiliate network. Even though the industry seems oversaturated, offering the greatest managers, offers, and service can help you become a great player and make a steady revenue. It benefits all of your brand’s partners and affiliates as well as your company.

We at Yellana make every effort to provide our affiliates and advertisers with the best solutions possible. Go see for yourself why Yellana is your best choice on the way to success!

Daniil Kolesnikov is the author powering the content on the Yellana blog. Having written captivating articles on Web3 and Forex trading subjects in the past, his current area of expertise is affiliate marketing. Even when exploring many different niches for two years, the passion for iGaming is where his skills and creativity are currently directed. Follow Daniil for expert insights and fresh perspectives on affiliate marketing strategies in the vibrant iGaming landscape.