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Affiliate Landscape 2023

Jan 19, 2023 by Adam Weiss

What types of publishers make up a portfolio for affiliate marketers: an outline of publisher types and functions.


There’s one piece of advice I’ve repeated often throughout my career: Treat your affiliate program like a portfolio. You want the right blend of publishers who can drive value while balancing volume and risk. What that means and what it looks like will vary depending on the program and the budget. But what’s too often missing is that common baseline of who these publishers are and how to strategically manage them in your portfolio.

Categorizing publishers can be tricky. They often fit into multiple categories depending on how they drive traffic, create consumer value or demonstrate expertise in a particular vertical.

With the right framework, an affiliate manager can take a more holistic view of their publisher mix and better align them to their goals. But that’s not a one-size-fits-all model. As the category grows in volume and the publishers grow in size and reach, it’s essential to start thinking strategically about aligning goals and objectives especially when it comes to optimization. And it’s crucial to map out how best to structure the right partnerships. The first step is establishing a solid understanding of the partners and defining the framework to view them through.

Below is a list of types of publishers I considered. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but it can help you start thinking about the types of partners that are available and how they might best fit your needs.

What it is: When the user earns a reward for taking an action.
Consider: Not all loyalty sites are created equal and different types of rewards drive different actions, basket sizes, and/or consumer types.

What it is: A discount to the user given in the form of an end consumer offer, such as 20% off or free shipping.
Consider: A coupon site can support conversion, but it can also drive improved brand awareness. Consumers have come to expect this, and in some cases, by not having this risk losing consumers to a competitor.

Coupon White Label
What it is: B2B companies that provide other sites with a solution to offer their users access to coupons.
Consider: These pages often perform well in search and give additional reach for a brand as well as an off the shelf monetization solution for some traditional publishers.

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