Fall is upon us, which means the leaves are turning, the air is cooler and football season is in full force. And while many have anxiously awaited the arrival of football Sundays, it’s easy to overlook the role analytics and systematic rankings play in a coach’s playbook and roster.

Football coaches have to utilize each of their players’ strengths and compensate for their weaknesses in order to draft the plays that will allow the team to collectively achieve their goals. Every player has a critical role to play to ensure the team performs and meets expectations.

While it may seem like a Hail Mary (pun intended), the strategies affiliate managers use to determine which publishers are best qualified for a campaign or seasonal promotion is quite similar to the actions taken by football coaches in selecting their team lineups.

But how do affiliate managers determine who to play in order to hit their goals? Here are three reasons affiliate managers should be utilizing a scorecard system to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the publishers in their program.

Gain a Full Field Perspective

A coach doesn’t miraculously know the history, performance and skill set of every player, they have to consult with scouts, trainers, assistant coaches and teammates to piece together a player’s profile. The same can be said for affiliate program managers.

An affiliate manager will have to partner with other departments within their organization in order to identify which metrics are important for measuring success. After the information is gathered and a template is created, the affiliate manager will have a fully populated scorecard to review when determining which publishers to include in specific programs.

If an affiliate manager is tasked with increasing overall profitability, one quick look at the scorecard can allow the manager to reach out to partners driving higher quality revenue. If profitability is the goal, it may be time to increase the publisher’s commission rate (even by 1%) to incentivize increased performance and help the program hit its profitability goals.

The Right Metrics for the Right Moment

Your team just lost a big game by 3 points.  Usually, the coach can pinpoint specific plays or factors that contributed to the loss such as, “we missed a few field goals” or “Our cornerbacks missed coverage.” Either way, the mistakes of just a few players can influence and lead to a loss.

Affiliate programs include hundreds if not thousands of publishers and it’s important to know which factors are most likely to contribute to success. For a traditional online retailer, a few common key metrics may include:

  • Net Sales
  • Margin/Margin Percentage
  • Contribution Margin
  • Gross Profit
  • New Customers
  • Repeat Customers
  • Media Spend
  • Lifetime Value

Success metrics will vary depending on the main KPI’s of each program. However, utilizing an affiliate scorecard to identify a program’s highest performers (as well as its lowest performers) will save the affiliate manager time and resources and ultimately set the program and publishers up for long term success.

Teamwork and Transparency

Although some program data is available in affiliate networks, it can be challenging for publishers to grasp the full picture of their overall performance.

The choice to share scorecard data, as well as the way in which that information is communicated, is up to the affiliate manager’s discretion. However, many publishers desire increased transparency from their program managers and appreciate knowing what performance will be measured on. Therefore, having scorecard data at the ready is beneficial for both sides and promotes a fruitful, trustworthy partnership.

With football season well underway and the holidays right around the corner, now is a great time to review your affiliate program metrics and determine if your team has the data it needs to meet program goals and take home that W by the end of the year.

Interested to see how Acceleration Partners can elevate your affiliate marketing strategy? Learn more about our Affiliate Program Management capabilities.

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