Publisher recruitment: Finding partners to grow your programme

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How to recruit publishers for your Awin affiliate programme.

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One thing that all advertisers on the Awin network have in common is the desire and need for good publishers, for it is these partners that will ultimately determine the success or failure of an affiliate programme as they send the hungry consumers to your site. Finding the right publishers can be tricky, and over the years Awin has brought various innovations to market to make that process a little easier: 

The Publisher Directory – the cornerstone of recruitment 

The Publisher Directory is the first stop for recruitment. Our recent release of Publisher Recommendations now takes priority in the directory as the first tab but you can also switch to ‘All’ (the whole directory), ‘Not Invited’ and ‘Invited’. 

A great place to start your recruitment is with the recommendations. Selected by our algorithm, these publishers should be a good fit based on what we know about your programme. If you find one you like, rate them using the stars and invite them to your programme. If you don’t think they will be a good fit then rate them accordingly. Once a publisher has been rated it will be removed from your potential pool of recommended publishers on our next daily refresh of your recommended list. Ratings are private and used solely to improve the recommendations algorithm so don’t be shy about giving a bad rating, it will only help you in the long run. 

You may also have some specific publishers in mind that you want to work with and the ‘All’ or ‘Not Invited’ tabs will let you search for specific publishers or you can filter to drill down across specific publisher types, sectors and regions. The directory gives you the number of partnerships a publisher currently has and offers quick links to their profile, to their websites or to message and invite them on to your programme. You can also get an overview of a publisher’s performance on the network by looking at the ‘Performance’ tab of their profile and viewing the Awin Index Ranking by the sectors they work in. Publishers need to be active in a sector for a minimum of three months before a sector rank can be generated so new publishers will not have any performance data. 

Opportunity Marketplace – let the publishers come to you 

The Opportunity Marketplace puts the spin on the traditional affiliate approach and lets the publishers pitch their services to advertisers. Like a job noticeboard, publishers can post opportunities they currently have such as a placement in a seasonal newsletter, a sponsored post or a home page takeover. There is little restriction in what publishers can post – they offer their services and price, you can make them an offer and start a dialogue. An open approach for publishers encourages creativity with their promotions ensuring a constant, broad stream of unique publisher opportunities. 

Opportunities can be filtered by the publishers requested payment model and opportunity type as well as sector and region, making it easy to find partners and active promotions that work for your budget. 

Tech Partners – powerful plug and play technology 

There are a wealth of tech partners offering sophisticated tools and services that can seriously boost your affiliate performance. Partnering is simple as all our tech partners are thoroughly vetted, security checked and integrated as a plugin within the Advertiser MasterTag which you use for tracking. This gives you access to best in class third party technology without any technical integration or complex code to understand. Once a tech partnership is created, you have full control and can turn the plugins on and off as you see fit. 

Our growing list of tech partners are categorised around the types of solutions they offer. This makes it easy to filter and find the right partner for your specific needs whether that is increasing conversion rate, order value, volume of new customers or if you’re looking for some tech to help with basket abandonment, retargeting or your voucher strategy. Each partner has a link to an online enquiry form so you can reach out and learn more about their offering. While some solutions may have certain restrictions on suitable partners, we have also added an ‘Awin Access Ready’ filter to highlight partners who are ready and willing to work with smaller advertisers. 

To browse the catalogue of Tech Partners, go the ‘Advertiser MasterTag’ page in the ‘Toolbox’ menu of the Awin UI and select the tab ‘Discover’. 

Brand Partnerships – grow with other advertisers 

Within the Publisher Directory you have the option to filter by Brand Partnership. Brand Partnerships are brand-to-brand collaborations that increase customer loyalty, partner diversity and programme growth. To work effectively there needs to be great affinity between the two advertisers with the products naturally complementing each other and enhancing the overall offering. A simple example could be a travel provider partnering with an airport parking or transfer firm, or a florist partnering with a chocolate brand. 

While these types of partnership can be exceptionally powerful, it can take time to find the right match and you may only have a few Brand Partnerships in total. You can filter the Publisher Directory by ‘Brand Partnership’ to find potential advertisers to partner with and if you want to be listed within the directory then get in touch at and let advertisers find you. 

Power 100 – our curated list of the best partners 

Profiled in this year’s Awin Report, the Power 100 showcases the most exciting partners across our platform. All 100 partners have been hand-picked by our publisher experts across the globe and contain a broad mix of proven technologies and propositions.  

Download Awin’s Power 100 here and get inspired. 

An open programme – the shortcut to publishers 

The final option is less of a recruitment tool and more of a setting that can be applied to your account. Becoming an open programme means that you remove any restrictions to publishers joining your account. While this may sound wild, you can still create terms for your account which all publishers will have to abide by, allowing you to retain a level of control. The big difference is that publishers will no longer need to request to join your programme and will be able to access your assets such as banners, links and product data. Of course, this is not right for everyone. Financial institutions, for example, have regulations their publishers must legally follow and as such vetting is very important. Likewise, some brands prefer to vet publishers to ensure brand synergy and that they will be represented in the right way. If you’re just after partners and take a ‘more the merrier’ approach, then this will remove any barriers to publishers who want to work with you. 

Using these tools, publisher recruitment should be much simpler and more efficient. Most of your ongoing recruitment time should be spent rating publisher recommendations in the Publisher Directory and inviting the best, browsing the Opportunity Marketplace for ad-hoc placements or campaign specific support, and keeping an eye on new publishers in the Directory, filtering on your sectors. You should also put aside some time to find some potential partners in the Power 100, review the Tech Partners and keep an eye out for that perfect fit Brand Partnership. 

With lots of invitations out, your next challenge will be keeping track of who has joined your programme and which invitations are still pending. The easiest way to do this is through the Invited tab of the Publisher Directory. The Partnership Status column will let you know if the invite is still pending, if it has been rejected or if the publisher has now joined, and you can also filter on the status to give a clearer picture of your publisher recruitment.

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