On Tuesday 13th May, our very own Johan Zammit presented at Affiliate Management Days, London. The topic : Should merchants work with affiliate networks or with in-house affiliate platforms such as NetRefer?

Johan promoted the fact that as long as it is financially feasible, merchants should do both – have an in-house affiliate program as well as work with as many networks as possible.

In-house affiliate programs are becoming more popular with time. The fact that both Apple and Groupon now have an in-house affiliate program since August 2013 sent shockwaves in the performance marketing industry. Same as the emergence of companies like NetRefer in 2005, Cake in 2007, Impact Radius in 2008, HasOffers in 2009 and PHG in 2010 which all provide the technology and platforms that enable merchants to have their own in-house affiliate program.

Good affiliate networks such as Commission Juntion, Tradeboubler, Affiliate Window  (Zanox), Linkshare and Affilinet all provide a super framework that acts as a trusted middleman between thousands of affiliates and thousands of merchants. Such source of affiliate traffic cannot be ignored.

On the other hand an in-house affiliate program enables you to have a direct relationship with your affiliates, especially your top affiliates. 5% of the affiliates refer 95% of the revenue so it is critical to put your top affiliates in your in-house affiliate program and give them all the direct attention they need to ensure their business. An in-house affiliate program also enables you to have more control and more freedom on your campaigns, your T&Cs and your rewards to affiliates. It also enables you to have a better integration to your business systems – thus you can offer more granular rewards to affiliates.

Johan explained that the technologies and functionality to do this dual approach exists in tag management, pixel tracking, S2S callback URL and data export APIs. These enable shared real-time tracking for both the networks and the in-house affiliate platform.

To capture good traffic from as many affiliates as possible doing it just in-house or just with a network is not enough. A dual approach is required.

Affiliate Management Days organised by Geno Prussakov, now in its sixth edition, is a conference that discusses the latest hot topics in the performance marketing industry. The hot topics of this last conference were multi-channel (omni-channel), attribution, post-click analysis, retargeting, mobile and of course in-house affiliate programs. The next AM Days will be in San Francisco in the 31st March and 1st April 2015.