When starting out with a new client our company is often asked, “What types of media will Versa Marketing be developing for our affiliate program”. This question has many different answers and all of them are related to the type of advertiser and affiliate program being managed. Different programs require different types of media. For example; if an advertiser sells just two products, then a product data feed isn’t the most important media for the program. One the other side, if an advertiser has thousands of SKUs and is a reseller then a properly implemented product data feed is critical.
Based on our analysis of an affiliate program Versa Marketing will recommend the following media types.
These are contextual links, usually a short sentence or phrase, that affiliates can use to link to an advertiser’s website. In a text link it’s important to include; company name, offer statement if possible (i.e. coupon) and call to action (i.e. click here, shop now, etc.).
Along with the preset text links it’s also important to allow affiliates to create their own links which can direct to internal category or product pages. An example of this would be, “Clearance snowboard gear and accessories – shop today”, which would link to the clearance page for that category.
Text links are one of the most highly used media types in an affiliate program.
Banners are visual advertisements that generally include the following graphics and text; advertiser logo, offer statement, background imagery, tagline and a call to action button.
The standard affiliate banner sizes are (pixel width x pixel height):
Logo sizes – 120×60, 88×31,
Vertical – 120×600, 160×600, 120×240
Square – 125×125, 250×250, 300×250
Horizontal – 468×60, 728×90
There are different banner types that can be used in the affiliate channel. The most common are static jpgs and gifs, along with animated gifs. Versa Marketing recommends keeping animated gifs limited to a couple frames which rotate fairly quickly. It’s also recommended to keep banners under 64K in size. The other media type in this category is a flash banner. These are used sparingly in affiliate programs.
Product Data Feed
Product data feeds are used heavily in the affiliate channel for advertisers that sell a high quantity of products on their websites. A product data feed allows affiliates to display a merchants products on their website. The display usually includes the product image, name, description, retail price, discounted price and estimated shipping cost. Other items need to be included in product data feed which affiliates use to categorize their listings or compare like products.
With a product data feed it’s extremely important to create a clean and optimized feed that is uploaded to the affiliate network on a regular (daily, weekly) basis. Versa Marketing can assist with ensuring product data feeds are optimized for each affiliate marketing program.
Video is used in an affiliate program but not as extensively as text links, banners and product data feeds. There are fewer affiliates that have their websites catered for video and hence the demand is lower for this type of media. If video is created, Versa Marketing always recommends the inclusion of an “end frame” which displays a call to action and consumer offer. This end frame articulates the action that the video pushes the consumer to take (a click).
Mobile advertising is making its presence known in the affiliate channel. With the emergence of mobile affiliates it’s important to make this type of media available in an affiliate program. In advance of creating affiliate media, advertisers should work to implement a “mobile friendly” website that can be viewed easily on the various smart phone screens.
Making email creative available to affiliates can increase the chances of email marketers working with an affiliate program. Email affiliates are a strong force in affiliate marketing and many times the top performers in a program.
Many programs have a phone call aspect to their affiliate marketing campaign which tracks and rewards affiliates for calls their visitors make to the advertiser. If this type of campaign is included it’s required that pay-per-call media be introduced into the program. Pay-per-call media comes in the form of text links and banners. For banners, an area is left open on the media for the affiliate’s unique phone number to be inserted. This is how calls are tracked through the program.
As part of Versa Marketing’s affiliate program management service we navigate the media waters and implement the creative most appropriate for each affiliate program. We can create all the necessary media for a program or work with an advertiser’s internal staff to make recommendations. Either way, media is essential to all affiliate programs and should be created correctly.
Posted By Joel Wood