Mobile Mania: Differences in Affiliate Management for Mobile, Desktop

Stefan Mühlbauer

If you think affiliate management is the same matter with every device, you better think again. Let’s take a look at the work day of a cams account manager.

The affiliate needs regular updates about great landers, new banner sets and assistance with any issue at all possible times. It’s a tough job, but in the end you have hundreds of active affiliates that you handle like this.

Mobile poses several challenges in terms of affiliate management. Media buyers and performance networks are much more demanding, the markets and carrier regulations are unstable and the competition is fierce.

Once the banners, pop-ups and the rest of the promo tools are included, you don’t have to contact every affiliate on a daily basis to send traffic. It’s the same if you work in dating, adult toys or with membership Sites. Mobile, on the other hand, is remarkably different in terms of affiliate management. Moreover, it poses several challenges.

First of all, there is no one program that can convert everything well enough. If you work with a dating program, you know that dating traffic will convert. Whoever can send you dedicated traffic will invariably make sales.

With mobile, things are different. You’ll usually find your program is very strong in certain markets and not really performing great in others. The biggest problem with this is that there’s nothing you can do about it because a mobile program can focus on certain markets. All you can do is accept it.

Your affiliates need to understand this as well. You can’t give them the old “we can convert anything” approach when you know for a fact that certain markets are your downfall. You need to be honest with your affiliates and tell them both about your strengths and your weaknesses. It’s the only way you will have a long-term collaboration that is profitable for both parties.

If you keep this information away from them, you could make their total eCPM drop and lose a business partner. Don’t get zealous about those 10 clicks from Bangladesh or Tuvalu!

Secondly, offers will skyrocket and crash within a week. With desktop you can rely on a stable performance of your products over months, even years. With mobile, well, nothing lasts forever.

Today’s top performers can and most likely will crash by tomorrow. The main reason behind this instability are the different carrier regulations. The ones that allow an aggressive payment flow are very attractive for the players of the mobile game.

However, such aggressive offers usually lead to a high complaint rate from the carrier’s customers. To make sure their clients don’t go nuts and terminate their contracts, the services become restricted and performance invariably drops. This can happen from one day to the other.

You need to inform your partners whenever something crashes. It will build trust. Whenever possible, offer alternatives. You might not be able to control an offer’s longevity, but you should be able to find solutions.

Thirdly, affiliates themselves are a different kettle of fish. Mobile attracts more and more media buyers and performance networks than site owners. The reason is quite simple: the markets are changing so fast and no website can react quickly enough the way a network or a media buyer can. These guys also have different needs.

A site owner will ask you for banners and scripts, but a network or a media buyer will always be interested in the hottest offers, easy ways to set up tracking and help with ad networks when they think your offer is not compliant. You have to be at the top of your game on a daily basis.

Not necessarily a challenge, but rather a difference is the payment model as well. In desktop, the most common payout model is revshare or PPL, whereas in mobile it’s usually 90 percent CPA, precisely because most affiliates are media buyers or performance networks. They want their earnings quickly so that they can continue to invest in new traffic sources.

You can use this to your advantage by convincing new affiliates who have not yet jumped on the mobile bandwagon to get started and earn high CPA payouts. The big numbers can be a very huge motivating factor to move into it. Another big plus is that, contrary to revshare, there is no risk of not receiving your money when the service shuts down for whatever reason.

What should you take out of all of this? Well, in one of my first articles I wrote that nobody is a rock star in every market. What this means is that all your competitors have traffic that they are not converting well, but where you are king.

Get a piece of the cake and monetize it for them. Even if you’re fighting over the same affiliates, everybody wants to make money at the end of the day and everybody will be open to sending you traffic whenever you have a good offer.

Mobile poses several challenges in terms of affiliate management. Media buyers and performance networks are much more demanding, the markets and carrier regulations are unstable and the competition is fierce.

The great part about it is that you’re forced to always be on your tip-toes and find ingenious solutions. You’ll never be bored with mobile affiliate management that’s for sure, and the money in this market is bigger than anything else.

Stefan Mühlbauer is director of marketing and sales at BrokerBabe.com. If you are interested in the mobile world, contact him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/s.muehli.