Suspending Inactive Affiliates – Is This a Good Strategy?


Affiliate managers and their approach also differ among affiliate managers, whether managed in-house, company, or network. A network of forums, blogs, influencers marketing clients on a risk-free, quality basis is the commonality between all affiliate programs.

A mechanism on the rise is the decision by program managers to remove publishers from a system once the inactivity period has passed. It means affiliates falling into this category are no longer allowed to track for the advertiser and will not be paying out once the suspension has been completed unless their monitoring links are used during a transaction.

There is very little logic in this approach from a practical point of view. The partner is also cost-neutral to the system due to the very essence of its inactivity. There is no expense or duty to work with them, but it is usually inefficient to allocate resources to go through the process and terminate this group of publishers.

Before the termination, the advertiser (or his agency) frequently made no attempt to contact the affiliate to negotiate a partnership’s opportunities. Actually, we consider the quality of face value as the full “opportunity.” In reality, the process of partnership is much more complex.

In some cases, affiliates have incorporation criteria and operate on a project-based basis (e.g., direct operation rather than an evergreen merchant page) and therefore merely inviting and accepting an invitation to join an affiliate program does not automatically amount to an affiliate actively promoting the advertiser. The publisher stays inactive faster than 6 months. Does that mean that they should be suspended?

The net result of streamlining an advertiser’s number of publishers ultimately results in a smaller pool of affiliates available to work with, which in turn increases dependency rates on those remaining affiliates. In one case where this was observed by our company, we started working with an advertiser who had only 48 partners on the platform, but suspended more than 3,000 others.

The solution – allocate the resource in a productive manner

Where there are a number of inactive partners, rather than allocating resources to “culling” the network, initially take steps to reach that section of the publisher. Take time to understand and give the publisher, and provide the publisher with an opportunity.

First, set up an interaction with the publisher; you will often find that just doing so generates some traffic and transaction activity and helps you to see the power of the publisher’s audience.

Once this is complete and the publisher remains inactive, concentrate on other publishers-especially recently active ones. There is no net benefit for the system to spend time on then remove them, so the time spent on it is actually a drain on resources.

A successful affiliate director or organization with a wide range of affiliates will often have relationships. ThoughtMix, for instance, has more than 24,000 actively active partners across all its clients and promotions. So while the software may be inactive for the publisher-for another it may well be a top performer.

Your plan for the future should be to increase the active number of affiliates in your system and to test new strategies and publishers regularly-you never know what growth this could achieve!


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