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How Affiliate Transparency Is Changing Digital Marketing

Published: July 8, 2016

Author: Kevin Harper

When you think of Affiliate, you usually think of a small channel separate from Paid Search, Social, or Display. Until recently, affiliate monitoring software was outdated and couldn’t track the customer’s complete journey. But as we all know, the digital age evolves faster than a New York minute, and it’s hard to stay on top of all the new things happening. As Bilbo Baggins said: “You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to” (Tolkien). And this is surprisingly true for the affiliate channel, which is changing internally as well as affecting digital marketing as a whole.
There’s one affiliate network that’s mixing things up, not following the usual trends, and taking the industry by storm. It’s called Impact Radius. You might have heard of them as a major affiliate network, but with an aggressive and innovative growth strategy from co-founder Todd Crawford. They’ve made a number of recent acquisitions and developed their own software that has quickly put them at the front of conversion attribution technology that reaches beyond the Affiliate channel and more broadly into digital marketing. (Note: I’m not employed by or affiliated with Impact Radius.)
One of the major innovations they’ve brought is the Media Manager software kit. This tool tracks attribution across your company’s entire conversion funnel; you can see all the clicks your customer took before converting. And it doesn’t track just affiliates: you can track internal company cookies, Social and Display clicks, or even multiple attribution types. We actually had one of our biggest clients here at 3Q switch their entire conversion tracking system to Impact Radius, which was quite a bold move and a sure sign of how important this software has become.
The key is in Media Manager’s unique attribution tracking. In the past, you couldn’t see all the clicks that came in between the initial click and the conversion. With Media Manager you can track all the stops along the way your customer took. Did they stop at a coupon site? Did a rogue affiliate swoop in and plant their cookie? Now you can reward the proper affiliate, or you have evidence for not giving them credit at all – and this level of transparency (which we mimic at 3Q) is a radical development in affiliate marketing.
The software is used by affiliate managers, but it’s actually is most useful to senior marketing managers who oversee multiple channels like SEM, Social, Display, Affiliates, etc. The Media Manager actually brings your SEM and Affiliate channels closer together, giving you more power to manage them independently and see how they are affecting each other. And aside from the benefits of attribution tracking, it’s a great tool for simply optimizing and organizing your accounts.
Paired with their powerful affiliate tools, as well as recent acquisitions in the fraud prevention department, Impact Radius is quickly becoming a power player in not just affiliate marketing, but digital marketing in general. If you’re interested in testing or building out affiliate campaigns, I strongly recommend that you check them out.

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