Silos have always been an issue in digital marketing, preventing marketers from fully understanding the customer journey. So companies are investing in omnichannel to better understand how marketing channels interact and contribute to overall performance.
But most companies always leave out affiliate marketing. It’s one of the few online channels still seen as unique, with management often delegated to untrustworthy third parties or low-level internal employees.
Affiliate programs are intertwined with your other digital marketing efforts. In fact, a healthy affiliate program may improve SEO and PPC ROI. How?
It’s all about content
It’s no secret that content is king these days. Google now favors useful, engaging content, and brands that produce a lot of it stand a better chance of being discovered.
Sadly, many in-house teams find this a daunting task. Writing content takes time and talent. Affiliate marketing can help here.
A quality affiliate program targets quality content sites and bloggers. Most of them are experienced writers who are passionate about your field. It will encourage them to write about your brand, products and promotions. Assist them in writing brand-consistent content by providing them with relevant content and ideas.
To clarify, affiliate marketing won’t improve your site’s SEO; all affiliate links should be no follow. You’ll be creating more content, and your organic reach will expand to include all of these affiliate sites. You now have content on affiliate sites for keywords that your own site may not rank for. Because this content is all relevant and accurate, it helps convert visitors on your site.
PPC: Better ROI
A healthy affiliate program improves both SEO and PPC campaign ROI. This is due to affiliate sites bidding on branded keywords.
Branded search campaigns should be a no-brainer. The competition is low, and people searching for branded terms are likely to have interest in buying.
To capture some of that traffic, many of the larger affiliate sites bid on branded terms. They re-direct people to the merchant’s site after they click on their ad and visit their site. The merchant must then pay affiliates for customers who were already trying to find the merchant’s website.
The merchant pays twice for these conversions. They are not only paying unnecessary affiliate commissions, but also increased bids for their branded keywords. For keywords that include their own trademarked terms, they must pay more or risk losing traffic to affiliate sites. Needless to say, this can negatively impact a campaign’s ROI.
For companies that use last-in attribution, this can distort the performance of PPC and affiliate channels. The affiliate will get full credit for a conversion it didn’t earn. And the PPC will be undervalued because it would have gotten that conversion anyway.
Affiliates must follow the brand’s trademarked names and phrases if they are to be accepted into the affiliate program. Affiliate programs can prevent affiliates from bidding on these terms. Active program management will monitor affiliates daily to prevent any violations.
A poor affiliate management strategy or failure to integrate affiliate marketing with other channels can result in a loss of these two benefits. Since there are so many channels and touchpoints before conversion, merchants can’t afford to have their affiliate programs live in isolation.