Affiliate marketing has come a long way since its early days. From just $2.5 billion in 2012, spending skyrocketed to an impressive figure of $8.2 billion by 2022, allowing advertisers and partners to reap the rewards that only this promotional strategy can bring them. As an affiliate marketer, you know success in the industry requires one key element — data. That's why leveraging advanced affiliate tracking software is essential to scaling your business up a notch. Whether it's determining which products are most profitable or getting timely insights on customer behavior and interests, this tool can give affiliate marketers all they need to foster business growth. After all, when knowledge meets action, results follow. Source: GIPHY But first, let's get back to basics for a second here before examining why implementing affiliate marketing software is exactly what every solopreneur and affiliate network needs. What Is an Affiliate Network? An affiliate network is an ultimate matchmaker, connecting those seeking to expand their reach and boost sales with those offering their marketing skills to promote a variety of products and services in specific affiliate marketing niches. Acting as an intermediary between publishers, influencers, merchants, and companies from multiple niches, an affiliate network streamlines connections while managing all elements of the process — from setting up terms and conditions to handling affiliate payments and providing partners with easy-access platforms for maximum efficiency. Affiliate networks are the cornerstone of success for many businesses, connecting merchants and publishers through specialized affiliate programs. Such programs can be incredibly beneficial due to their ability to improve sales figures, increase brand recognition, boost website traffic flow, and enhance conversion rates and email subscriptions — all leading toward tangible gains in efficiency and profitability. New to the industry and looking for tips on how to succeed in affiliate marketing? Check out our complete beginner guide and step up your performance marketing game. Are Affiliate Networks and Affiliate Programs Connected? Affiliate programs are powerful resources for companies looking to grow their customer base and increase sales. By creating an effective affiliate program, businesses can reach a larger audience, build brand awareness, generate more website traffic, and convert visitors through email sign-ups and other target actions. However, affiliate programs demand a substantial overhead to launch, as everything from marketing and recruitment processes must be established. But with an affiliate network, brands and merchants can cut out these hefty operation costs. Working with affiliate networks can be a great way for savvy marketers to boost exposure and control marketing costs. With the right network and affiliate management tools, you'll have access to numerous program options that enable easy campaign management plus hassle-free automation. Let’s examine how an affiliate program operates and illustrate each party typically involved in the process. Now, this could be confusing since the process might look a lot like the affiliate network's operation principle. But that’s not exactly the case. For instance, strategic affiliate partnerships built over a lustrum remain pivotal for future achievements. Affiliate programs create a win-win scenario for all the parties involved. Since it’s challenging to keep track of traffic quality, user behavior, visitor actions, and conversions, marketers require specific tools and solutions to ensure accurate attribution. In fact, around 62% of marketers measure conversion rates and track the number of purchases through affiliate link trackers, and 59% of brands monitor the performance of their affiliate programs based on clicks. By leveraging the martech stack and reach of an affiliate network — including review sites or social media accounts — advertisers can generate more leads by attracting their target audience through digital efforts. Here's how affiliate programs work in more detail: Affiliates find the best offers with the help of an affiliate network. Affiliates place advertisements on their websites, blogs, social networks, etc. The audience explores and clicks on advertisements. Prospects are directed to the advertiser's website or app, where they can make a purchase or perform other target actions. The affiliate system records this action. Affiliates' efforts are tracked and credited with the help of affiliate software programs. Advertisers and brands reward networks for delivering top-quality leads through publishers' efforts, and the network handles affiliate payments. But setting up an affiliate program is hardly enough for brands to ensure their efforts will yield the desired results. The success of the program mostly depends on effective affiliate program management. That's when affiliate marketing software comes into play. What Is Affiliate Marketing Software? Businesses and networks looking to capitalize on the potential of affiliate marketing should consider taking advantage of affiliate network software. With this tool, they can easily track, manage, and scale campaign performance and strengthen relationships with their affiliate partners, including publishers — all while managing it through one comprehensive platform. Affiliate marketing software is often a bundle of products designed to unlock the brands' potential for growth. From tracking the performance and effectiveness of campaigns to fully managing your program, these features are bundled in Phonexa's all-in-one affiliate marketing software allowing networks and businesses to accomplish more than ever. 83% of marketing professionals agree that tracking the total number of affiliate link clicks is one of the most crucial metrics. Staying on top of this allows experts to measure their efforts' success accurately. For instance, merchants need efficient link and click tracking software and a comprehensive lead management system to attribute sales and reward successful affiliates accurately. Without it, the effectiveness of marketing campaigns is impossible to measure, leaving merchants without a reliable way to incentivize their partners. Is your business making the most of affiliate link tracking, or do you feel left in the dark? Shed some light on the matter! Phonexa's all-encompassing affiliate marketing software provides everything networks and brands need for successful program management. It allows diving into data analytics, tracking performance in real-time with advanced modeling and reporting, and maintaining strong partnerships that ensure long-term growth. https://youtu.be/DXH3X3pXcLY Let's examine why Phonexa's affiliate marketing software is necessary to scale your marketing operations successfully. Why Does Your Network Need Phonexa's Affiliate Marketing Software? Our affiliate marketing software distinguishes itself from other platforms with comprehensive data consolidation, providing affiliates and merchants with unique dashboards to track all activity types. It is highlighted by cutting-edge products like Lynx for affiliate link tracking, LMS Sync for efficient lead management, Call Logic for caller journey control, HitMetrix for behavior analytics and conversion rate optimization, and other leading products within the performance marketing automation suite. Let's dive deeper and explore how Phonexa's affiliate management tools can help networks and brands deal with specific challenges. Problem #1 Attracting more affiliates and brands, building lasting affiliate partnerships to remain competitive Goal: Effective affiliate partner tracking and attribution Solution: Leveraging tools for affiliate marketing, as well as referral marketing and programs around the affiliate and brand networks created between existing partners, can help network owners scale their business and remain competitive. Referral marketing software and affiliate management tools enable researching how the referrals come to your business. This process involves sales, support, and marketing — all the departments responsible for the success of affiliate partnerships. https://youtu.be/8vMYmDY-w5c Affiliate networks can achieve the mission with automated tracking, reporting, and analytics tools. Networks can utilize Phonexa's all-in-one suite for affiliate marketing automation to learn which sales reps and affiliate managers are most effective and which approaches yield the best results. Problem #2 Manual processes and poor source attribution Goal: Implementing automation tools for data tracking and analysis, attributing web and call leads to sources and ad campaigns Solution: Starting to track and analyze lead sources and data with automated affiliate marketing software. Networks have a lot to gain from automated affiliate marketing, including the ability to give credit to specific campaigns, narrow down the top-performing channels in their lead generation efforts, and guide future campaigns. https://youtu.be/EszhhQsJZTw Every successful affiliate marketing strategy starts at the source. Phonexa's LMS Sync offers a way to access robust lead data, improve your lead's experience throughout the buyer journey, effectively nurture quality leads, and acquire the attribution you need for every lead’s source. When paired with Lynx — Phonexa's click tracking software — affiliate networks can get valuable insight into the success of their campaigns and get the most extensive data on click performance. https://youtu.be/kJvoNZdzpms Coded tracking links allow you to collect data on all marketing initiatives so that you're able to pinpoint which channels are most profitable and identify emerging trends. Problem #3 Maximizing affiliate payouts and helping them to optimize campaigns and drive volume Goal: Improve conversion flows while capturing user behavior data and improving outcomes of affiliate marketing campaigns Solution: Apart from A/B testing online forms, landing pages, and website elements, affiliate networks can offer partners a wholesome tool that allows identifying friction points, navigating extensive user behavior data, and helping figure out what changes can increase website conversions. https://youtu.be/U3ocwuvlTyY Phonexa's HitMetrix enables affiliate marketers and leadgen professionals to leverage in-depth data analytics while allowing them to identify pitfalls in the user journey and guide interactions like clicking, browsing, scrolling, and tapping into conversions. Problem #4 Ensuring higher lead-to-close rates for buyers Goal: Connect brands and advertisers with in-market consumer leads and gain control over the lifetime value and the quality of purchased leads Solution: For affiliate networks, businesses, and brands that rely on generating and distributing call leads, it's time to start looking into a comprehensive affiliate tracking software and utilizing a ping post calls feature. With automated inbound call distribution, businesses can easily connect with consumers, but that convenience doesn't always come without drawbacks. This lead acquisition method offers minimal insights and no chance to negotiate a higher price if there are particularly appealing data points associated with the buyer. But where there's a will, there's a way. https://youtu.be/lpc47wozeBA Phonexa’s Call Logic and Ping Post Calls 2.0 work hand in hand to provide affiliate networks with greater management capabilities, the ability to ping multiple lead buyers with customer information, and an understanding of lead generation strategies to help their affiliate partners reach maximum success potential. Equipped with comprehensive affiliate marketing software and Ping Post Calls 2.0 — Phonexa’s solution for real-time bidding and lead acquisition — affiliate networks can bid on the best call data attributes and deliver only high-quality leads to buyers at affordable cost. As a result, network owners can increase publisher and buyer satisfaction and significantly improve lead-to-close rates. Are you looking for more actionable insights into boosting your revenue per lead? Learn how to unlock your affiliate network’s potential and yield the desired results. Businesses and affiliate networks can unlock their growth potential with the right marketing strategy and affiliate software. It helps spread awareness, create engagement and trust with customers — all vital for any brand's success story. Finding an approach that works best for each business requires time-tested methods alongside innovative strategies, but traditional approaches such as print media should not be overlooked either. Read on to discover how automated affiliate marketing contrasts network marketing in further detail. Affiliate Marketing vs. Network Marketing Affiliate and network marketing are two distinct forms of digital promotional strategies. Affiliate marketing involves using affiliate tracking and universal and personalized approaches to online advertising to refine messages and reach a target audience. In contrast, network marketing focuses on more personalized sales techniques, such as customer-to-customer selling or door-to-door promotions to secure leads. Let’s compare both promotional marketing strategies to pinpoint the main differences. Characteristics Affiliate Marketing Network Marketing Description Affiliate marketing is a promotional strategy used by businesses of all stripes. Network marketing enables salespeople to promote products through direct reach through door-to-door and online contact. Scalability Affiliate marketers use numerous ad platforms and online media, like Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, or YouTube, to reach prospects and scale their campaigns. Network marketing allows scaling mainly by harnessing the power of strategic business alliances. Revenue Affiliate marketing allows businesses to leverage their online presence and generate revenue through social media, SEO, affiliate email marketing, and PPC ads, among other efforts. With a share of 53%, SEO remains a dominant source of web traffic for affiliate marketers. Network marketing generates revenue by selling products or services with the help of independent sales reps or distributors. Tracking Affiliate marketing software and specific affiliate tracking solutions allow capturing page views, behavior data, clicks, conversion data, and more. Like affiliate networks, publishers need a thorough understanding of how their campaigns perform and what channels and sources require additional investments. Companies utilize specific MLM affiliate software and platforms to optimize their sales and distribution process. They provide lead generation, customer management, and inventory tracking features. Furthermore, multi-level marketing software provides tailored e-commerce features such as payment processing and tax compliance. Attribution Tracking and monitoring customer journeys is paramount for successful affiliate marketing campaigns. When equipped with the right affiliate marketing software, networks and brands can gain valuable insights into where the customer journey intersects with their affiliate partners. Everyone from brand marketers to independent influencers benefits from accurate attribution, streamlined workflows, and accurate records the affiliate marketing software offers. MLM implies direct and online sales. With attribution software, companies can better understand the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives and utilize data visualizations. The latter provides an in-depth look at what activities worked best historically according to user-defined key performance indicators. Strategy Affiliate marketing is a strategic approach to promoting products and services through an interconnected network of marketers. With each successful referral and promotion, the rewards reach further into the chain, creating a cycle of mutual benefit for all participants. Network marketing utilizes a pyramid scheme as its core strategy. By leveraging the 'power of many,' this model enables businesses to maximize profits. Let’s break down another comparison to eliminate the confusion around dropshipping and affiliate marketing management. Dropshipping vs. Affiliate Marketing Affiliate marketing lets businesses use their influence to drive revenue for other companies and partners. At the same time, dropshipping allows them to build and market products under their name. Besides, affiliate marketers are rewarded with commission-based payments, whereas dropshippers directly profit from customers' purchases. If you are a marketer or business owner trying to decide between dropshipping and affiliate marketing, the answer isn't cut-and-dried. Each option has its pros and cons that need careful consideration. Luckily, we've put together a comparison table so you can make an informed decision. Pros Cons Affiliate marketing Requires minimum investment at the beginning The payouts and commissions can be low at the start Rich source of passive income Requires time, effort, and additional investment to scale Numerous affiliate marketing niches Affiliate links are often removed Flexibility and convenience when dealing with multiple campaigns Hurles and limitations associated with specific traffic sources Automation and optimization through affiliate marketing software Intense competition Dropshipping High margins and profit rates Requires high-quality customer support Ability to build your brand from scratch The quality of service can be questionable Instant payments Fierce competition There's no denying that successful affiliate marketing requires more than just building a network of contacts. It's about creating mutually beneficial relationships. Therefore, affiliate networks and brands must take the time to cultivate strong connections and communication with their partners and invest in high-quality affiliate marketing software, as that will impact their bottom line. But unlocking win-win affiliate partnerships is easier said than done. Here are some helpful tips for crafting successful business alliances and making the most of affiliate tracking software. How To Get Affiliates & Establish Strong Affiliate Partnerships Utilize Referral Marketing and Start a Program A referral program is a great way to bring in new leads, including publishers and businesses, who are well-suited for your network. It's all about encouraging existing partners to think of people within their network that would find value in what your affiliate network offers, turning happy affiliate partners into brand advocates. Let’s examine how a referral program works in more detail. In a nutshell, such a program allows affiliate networks to reward partners for their loyalty and enthusiasm. It amplifies your brand's reach and incentivizes publishers and businesses with a rewards system that keeps them returning. To make the most of referral marketing, every affiliate network owner must understand how referrals come to their business. Implementing affiliate marketing software is the way to go if you’re looking to track and manage your program and, ultimately, attribute new business opportunities. Here are some of the top three reasons to use referral marketing software: Reason #1. Referral campaigns are easily accessible with referral software, while affiliate marketing software makes it even simpler by automating affiliate tracking. Reason #2. Referral programs are easy to implement, manage, track, and scale when your efforts are backed by affiliate marketing software. Reason #3. A recent study by ThinkImpact shows that B2B referrals can dramatically impact customer retention, in some cases reaching as high as 37%. With affiliate management software, you can effectively nurture and reward your loyal partners for high-quality referral relationships. Create Affiliate Marketing Landing Pages If you're looking to engage in successful outreach and maximize the reach of your affiliate program, setting up an effective landing page for affiliate marketing is key. Here’s an example of a dedicated affiliate marketing landing page by HubSpot: Source: HubSpot A dedicated website or a landing page for affiliates, advertisers, and agencies offers them access to everything they need: from clearly outlined rules regarding commissions and expectations to information about how the system works. But creating a landing page is hardly enough to ensure it performs well and delivers measurable results. Affiliate networks need SEO research, effective copy, top-class website development, and accurate tracking through affiliate marketing software for maximum success with minimal hassle. Get To Know Your Competitors Take a page out of your larger, more successful competitor's book. Monitor their strategies and tactics to get ahead in the game, even if you have fewer resources or don't occupy as much market share. There's no reason to be afraid to learn from them — it could provide valuable insight into ways to help you gain the upper hand. How To Be a Successful Affiliate Marketer With affiliate marketing campaigns getting increasingly complex and reaching customers becoming a challenge, networks and businesses face an overload of work. Implementing automated affiliate marketing software is essential to stay ahead in this ever-evolving landscape and maximizing productivity. After all, affiliate marketing automation becomes indispensable for staying competitive. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what marketers worldwide have to say on the matter: Source: Statista Automating various processes your business has to handle offers the potential to free up valuable resources. By taking on tedious, mundane tasks that are prone to human error and freeing up your time, affiliate marketing software enables marketers and affiliate owners to focus more of their attention on critical value-adding activities while helping keep all their efforts in check and get maximum return from every hour invested. At the end of the day, progress makes perfect. If you’re looking to automate your affiliate tracking and payments, optimize your partners’ performance, ensure accurate attribution, scale your affiliate marketing business, and concentrate on strategic tasks, automated affiliate marketing software is exactly what you need. Get your custom affiliate marketing software suite today to ensure high-impact performance, or schedule a consultation to learn how Phonexa can help your affiliate business become more agile and efficient. Frequently Asked Questions What is EPC in affiliate marketing? As an affiliate marketer, it pays to stay in the know regarding earnings per click (EPC) – a metric that shows how much money your affiliate partners can generate on clicks sent through your program. Networks and publishers can track this metric through affiliate marketing software. It's especially helpful for affiliates who drive high traffic volumes and need insight into which products make sense to promote their strategies most effectively. How much does an affiliate marketer make? When it comes to affiliate marketing, earnings potential can vary greatly — from rookie affiliate marketers making just a few hundred dollars per month all the way up to super affiliates earning over $100k monthly. Understanding your skill level and experience and partnering with the right networks that utilize the best affiliate marketing software will help guide you toward which category is best suited for your ambitions. Is affiliate marketing a pyramid scheme? Unlike illegal pyramid schemes, affiliate marketing offers a legitimate and sustainable way to make money online. Through this marketing approach, networks and advertisers reward affiliates for successful referrals, downloads, sales, and other target actions they bring in while backing all the results with tracking data, analytics, and reports provided by their affiliate marketing software. What is automation in affiliate marketing? Affiliate marketing automation implies streamlining processes, safeguarding sales, and providing actionable insights that empower affiliate networks and businesses to make educated decisions. On top of that, affiliate marketing software maximizes efficiency and provides a layer of protection against fraudulent activities.