Affiliate marketing in India is on the rise. And for good reason. In a recent survey, about 90 percent of the advertisers in India stated that affiliate programs were important to their overall marketing strategy, contributing to almost 20 percent of their annual revenue.
So, how do advertisers and networks stay ahead and continue growing in this expanding market?
To get a better understanding of how to sharpen your competitive edge, let’s first take a quick look back at the evolution of affiliate marketing in India. Then dive into what’s next, including how to unlock the advertiser/network relationship for advancing affiliate marketing programs even further.
Sources: Internet World Stats, Similar Web, BBC, WSJ, mThink
With all the proven benefits that come with affiliate marketing, it’s not surprising that the industry continues to evolve and trend upwards. In fact, a survey commissioned by Rakuten Affiliate Network found that affiliate marketing in India is set to reach $6.8 billion by 2020.
The next significant step for continued success is realizing and harnessing the value of the advertiser/network relationship. Below are three essential ingredients to nurture these prosperous partnerships.
A top priority for advertisers is to identify reputable, experienced networks. Not only do networks provide industry knowledge, they also act as an important partner to effectively and efficiently connect advertisers with the most profitable affiliates and publishers.
Affiliate networks deliver services and benefits for advertisers, such as advanced measurement technology, ad campaign reporting tools, and access to a valuable database of publishers or affiliates.
In other mature markets, affiliate networks have proven to fill a critical role in the success and profitability of affiliate marketing programs. For example, the U.S. has the highest affiliate marketing worth from a global perspective and spend is growing at 10 percent CAGR from 2015 to 2020. In this established market, 83 percent of advertisers partner with affiliate networks. The reason? U.S. advertisers know that networks help fuel their profitability by acting as a trusted advisor and facilitator.
Actively seeking out partnerships, the U.S. advertisers are the ‘pursuers’ who rely on the expertise of affiliate networks to extend the reach of campaigns into new audiences, increase conversion rates, and generate revenue for advertisers, with minimal risk.
Switch to India and the tables are turned.
Here India affiliate networks are the ‘pursuers’ that need to win over the attention of advertisers. Networks currently attempt to insert themselves in the process, which is controlled by advertisers that are mainly focused on media buys around Facebook and Google. These platforms are perceived to deliver a higher sense of trust, premium audiences, and higher ROI for adspend.
Affiliate networks in India can gain a larger share of advertiser’s overall spend by leveraging trusted and actionable insights that enhance performance marketing partnerships where all partners win.
Quality of traffic
Affiliate networks succeed based on their ability to drive high-quality traffic on behalf of their advertiser clients. Two key factors affect the quality of traffic.
The first is technology. In the early days of affiliate marketing, a simple spreadsheet could be used to track the limited data points available. However, today more scalable and sophisticated solutions are required to manage and measure all the actions or events generated from the proliferation of internet usage, mobile-connected devices, and online marketing channels.
A reliable way to measure steps within a funnel, free trial sign-ups, in-app purchases, returning customers, and much more, events can be leveraged for gaining insights into questions such as:
- What are the click-through, app downloads, impression and/or conversion rates?
- Which ads, offers, and channels are driving the most profitable results?
- How do type of device used and the geographic area correlate to campaign performance?
The second factor is branding. Affiliate marketing helps advertisers extend their brands by reaching segments of audiences that can be a challenge to tap into with other digital marketing channels. Networks connect advertisers with affiliates that bring in high-converting traffic, plus adds value by enforcing the brand reputation.
Today’s advertisers want and need to control their branding, and that requires transparency into their affiliate marketing campaign. For instance, take the case of India-based CashKaro. Serving as an affiliate partner to a number of ecommerce providers – including sites such as Amazon.in, Flipkart, and Myntra – CashKaro earns commissions in exchange for promoting offers and products. With the use of CAKE’s performance marketing platform, the team can quickly assess what’s happening with the campaigns that are running on the CashKaro site, and make adjustments if necessary. This real-time, transparent window into performance ultimately helps ensure more profitable transactions for CashKaro’s advertiser clients.
Ad fraud is one of the biggest concerns in the India digital marketing industry. In fact, at $1.63 billion, India accounted for 8.7 percent of global digital ad fraud in 2018. Fraud protection is huge for advertisers at every level and affiliate networks can provide the data to pinpoint good and fraudulent traffic.
Networks are diligent about affiliate program management and put safeguards in place that arm advertisers with the protection to avoid losing money to fraudulent traffic. Networks utilize advanced technology that enables advertisers to quickly gain clearer insights into which are legitimate leads.
For example, India-based ecommerce pioneer GrabOn, an InspireLabs Solutions Private Limited company, has deployed a cloud-based solution to measure and manage its affiliate marketing campaigns to attract valuable traffic.
“As a performance-focused business, our company needs to ensure that we are delivering maximum return on adspend for our clients,” said Sahil Singhani, Vice President of Affiliate Marketing for Inspirelabs Solutions. “CAKE empowers us to track campaigns and address issues in real-time, plus ensure that we are targeting the right traffic sources in the right geo-locations. In terms of tracking, accessibility, user interface, and 24×7 dedicated support, the CAKE platform is simply better than the other solutions on the market.”
When a performance marketing platform captures, manages, and measures affiliate marketing campaign data, it’s easier to spot potential red flags. For example:
- Are conversion rates for a handful of affiliates surprisingly high? It may be worth investigating their traffic further to ensure legitimacy.
- Are high click counts paired with low conversions? This could indicate poor-quality, questionable traffic.
- Are referring URLs all coming from the same address? If so, it’s either a high-performing affiliate or potentially a bot.
As affiliate marketing in India continues to mature and grow, it’s crucial to nurture the advertiser/network relationships. By understanding these dynamics, both parties gain a sharper competitive edge with more complete insights and capabilities which in turn maximizes return on adspend (ROAS) for their affiliate marketing programs.
Other content you might be interested in:
- Blog: How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Program
- Whitepaper: Better Together – Adding Value to Your Affiliate Program with Lead Distribution
- Blog: Three Ways to Leverage Technology to Grow Your Affiliate Program