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5 Best Practices for Onboarding New Advertisers

new advertisers

Onboarding is a critical step in establishing a long-term relationship with new advertisers. You’re still working on earning their trust, business, and even potentially exclusivity at some point down the road. So put your best foot forward: show what you’re capable of, minimize potential hiccups, and create a positive onboarding experience that will set the stage for lasting success.

Below are five best practices to help you streamline the onboarding process and get to revenue faster.


1. Clearly communicate T&Cs and offer restrictions

Brand integrity is a top priority for your new advertiser — which means it needs to be a top priority for you too. Right from the start, ensure your advertising partners are clear on the affiliate program terms and conditions. This means agreeing on:

  • Who you want to target and what type of traffic you will accept to your offer, e.g. Is the offer only available to consumers over the age of 18?
  • What types of media are acceptable, e.g. banner, social, and email
  • Any other specific requests or requirements from the advertiser, e.g. PPC campaigns are permitted but a specific list of keywords are prohibited


2. Get aligned on your new advertiser’s compliance requirements

Advertisers have various methods for handling vast amounts of personally identifiable information (PII) for consumers, making consumer privacy a top priority.

To ensure you’re aligned with your advertiser’s requirements, take the following steps:

  • At a minimum, loop in your compliance officer or data protection officer early in the onboarding process. (If you don’t have one, consider appointing someone to oversee your data privacy and security processes.)
  • Establish and communicate use policy for collecting and sharing PII. Every partner in your affiliate marketing ecosystem will be responsible for how they handle PII and manage their own compliance.
  • Regularly audit your system to stay updated with all regulations—CANSPAM for email, GDPR, CCPA, and others—as they are constantly evolving.

Taking these steps early will build trust within and establish a high standard within your marketing ecosystem that will drive success.


3. Identify affiliate partners that are the right fit for your new advertiser

After you’ve taken the steps to understand your new advertiser’s requirements, it’s time to identify the affiliate partners that are the right fit and only approve campaigns from those affiliates.

During this phase, closely monitor traffic from your affiliates to new advertisers. High conversion rates, high click-thru rates, and no fraud all indicate high-quality traffic and help to validate that the audience your affiliates are targeting is resonating with the advertiser.

You can also use tools such as click and conversion caps to help prevent fraud and manage the budget with your advertiser.


4. Minimize and address tracking discrepancies

When you’re working with numerous partners all of which have various technologies and software, you’re bound to have discrepancies in measuring campaign performance.

To reduce the risk of discrepancies as much as possible, work with the new advertiser to agree on what tracking methods, attribution methods, and timeframes you’ll use:

  • Will you use last-touch attribution or first-touch attribution?
  • Will you have a 30-day attribution window?
  • Will you use server-to-server tracking or cookie-based tracking?
  • If you’re using a cookie-based conversion pixel, will it be placed directly on the Thank You page or within a tag management system?

Also, be sure to decide upfront how you will handle discrepancies if they occur. Will you always use the advertiser’s numbers or your own numbers? Will you reconcile monthly?


5. Standardize offer and campaign configurations with your new advertiser

The questions you cover to reduce discrepancies will also inform how you standardize offer and campaign configurations. Work with your new advertisers to agree on the following, which will ensure a quick and easy setup for future offers:

  • What are the tracking parameters you will use? (e.g. Source ID, SubAffiliate ID, Creative ID, Placement)
  • Will you be using server-to-server tracking or cookie-based tracking?
  • Will all campaigns use the same attribution model and window?

Taking the time to agree on these decisions early on in the relationship will reduce the back-and-forth questions typical of new advertiser relationships and accelerate the entire process. You’ll go live with new campaigns faster so you can get to revenue faster.


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