How to Make Mobile Affiliate Marketing Work

By Tim Ming | October 17, 2016

Performance marketers of mobile non-gaming apps typically have mixed feelings when it comes to affiliate marketing.  The channel is based on the relationships between the advertiser and a publisher/affiliate. At times, this relationship is compromised with low quality, high volume traffic, but in other cases, there is a mutually beneficial exchange of quality users for revenue that allows both parties to grow with one another.

There are typically two buckets of affiliates:

  1. Publishers with site content that is highly synergistic to an advertisers’ product, or;
  2. Publishers with available on-site inventory but with a loose affiliation to an advertisers’ product

Performance marketers have the challenge of balancing where to acquire quality users, at cost and at scale – and acquiring users from partnered affiliates can fall on a wide spectrum of quality, cost and scale.

The potential upside is that some affiliates have the capacity of driving large volumes of quality users at cost. The potential downside is the initial investment that it may require to onboard and activate new affiliates. That said, there are two suggested recommendations to help generate long-term dividends from one’s affiliate marketing channel.

  1. Lowering the hurdles to onboarding quality affiliates

More strategic affiliates typically have a few very strong assets to leverage in a marketing relationship – [1] high volume of traffic to their pages, [2] unique, highly curated content, [3] strong and continued growth over time.  To stand-out from a crowd of advertisers all offering a similar, market-rate bounty or revenue share, advertisers can differentiate in the following ways:

  1. Clear product differentiation and leadership in the market place,
  2. Demonstrating strong product adoption and full-funnel conversion rates, and
  3. Offering easy-to-use and out-of-the-box tools for publishers to track and optimize campaign performance
  1. Viewing affiliates as strategic marketing partners

Affiliates are marketing partners that are looking to grow in revenue and in traffic. Partnering with highly synergistic and relevant advertisers not only adds value to their user base but in doing so, adds notable value to their on-site stickiness and overall SEO efforts.  

Performance marketing relationships are often times the best initial entry point to engage with new, relatively smaller (but fast-growing), and potentially strategic partners. Viewing affiliates as the doorway into a more deeply integrated partnership over time can help provide perspective into a multi-faceted approach to growing the relationship in phases, with each phase investing more technical resources to integrate products and streamline the onboarding of new users.