A great accomplishment for any performance marketing network is securing a position on Blue Book’s Best CPS Networks list. Consisting of the trusted Awin and ShareASale platforms, the Awin Group has achieved a combined #2 ranking for almost five years. We would love to secure the #1 spot in 2021 and need your support as our merchants and partners to achieve this.
2020 saw the 20th anniversaries for Awin and ShareASale. However, our plans to celebrate and reflect on how the businesses have contributed to the development of the affiliate industry over the last two decades evaporated in the face of a global pandemic. Rather than remain stagnant or stuck in the past, we used this time to effectively pivot to the immediate needs of our clients - responding rapidly and transparently in the face of a big unknown.
From providing clarity on ever changing commission rates and no-notice program pauses for publishers to in-depth guidance and support through our dedicated coronavirus hub, the Awin Group has firmly solidified its credentials as the industry’s foremost CPS network.
Here’s three reasons why we feel you should vote for us as Best CPS network:
1. We put expert, strategic resources at your fingertips
The COVID-19 outbreak resulted in uncertain times, with many of our partners reaching out for guidance. To ease their uncertainty, Awin and ShareASale launched a COVID-19 content hub with educational webinars, optimization guides, partnership recommendations, thought pieces and financial support resources for small businesses to help our clients navigate this crisis, ultimately publishing more than 50 special content pieces for our 211,000 publishers and 15,200 advertisers.
On ShareASale, we released new getting started resources for affiliates, well as our merchant Program Academy Training portal. This previously paid-for training course, developed by recommendations from industry experts and experiences of ShareASale clients, was made readily available for merchants – covering a wide range of trainings from the basics of setting up an account, to the best ways to communicate with publishers, guides for using ShareASale’s tools and technologies, and the expectations of maintaining a successful program. Additionally, we unlocked ShareASale’s Recruitment Tool for all brand programs to ease partner discovery and activation during the pandemic and beyond.
To ensure optimal agency support and success across the Awin and ShareASale platforms, we launched our Agency Resource Center mid-year, providing exclusive access to publisher opportunities, strategic insights, training materials and platform certification, coronavirus resources, and much more.
When asked about the Agency Resource Center, Acceleration Partners’ Chief Client Officer Sarah Johnson Dayes said: “Brands are increasingly seeking more advanced expertise from agencies as they navigate the ever evolving affiliate and partner marketing landscape. Awin and ShareASale’s new Agency Resource Center elevates our client services team’s ability to guide these brands, strengthen their relationships with partners, and scale their affiliate and partner programs around the world.”
2. We protected your income
Obviously the biggest disruption to the affiliate industry, and the world, in 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Awin’s proactive client payment support for handling program closure requests enabled us to offer merchants flexible solutions geared towards recovery that resolved nearly 70% of all requests - thereby limiting publisher earning disruptions as a result of coronavirus. Furthermore, we have utilized trade insurance to advance payment when feasible while giving full transparency to partners regarding a client’s ability to pay commissions via Awin's traffic light system in the UI. Ultimately we saw that guiding program partnerships based on a brand's payment strength proved to be critical insight during the pandemic.
Additionally, Amazon sharing in April that they were slashing commissions by up to 50% and removing key partners for Associates further disrupted the industry, leaving thousands of partners with revenue gaps to fill at the worst possible time. As a response, we created ‘Amazon Attacks’ - an initiative that fast tracked affiliate applications, prioritized onboarding support, and made our getting started educational resources easily accessible for all Awin and ShareASale partners.
In support of this overall need for new partner activation, we drove awareness for advertisers who offered continued channel investment and performance (high publisher commissions and strong conversion rates) admist the crisis. Furthermore, we released a new product discovery tool on Awin for publishers looking to quickly find and swap promotion of specific products for those sold by our clients. Built by the Business Intelligence team, this was instrumental in helping affiliates focus on niches to seamlessly replace listings that had been hit by Amazon and coronavirus commission cuts and presented our retailer partners as a more viable and safer option.
As noted by one of our publishers on TrustPilot: “A great alternative to Amazon and most of their advertisers pay much better rates than Amazon too.”
3. We continued to innovate
While the pandemic required the Awin Group to double down on the day to day, it didn’t stop us from continuing to launch new products and partnership solutions for our clients.
As an industry, we know that every new Apple and Google update it becomes more difficult to track online. Third-party cookies are almost obsolete. At the very end of 2019, we released Awin’s Bounceless Tracking solution, an exclusive new tracking method that eliminates untracked transactions and ensures publishers are unaffected by future internet browser updates. Bounceless Tracking removes the need for a redirect and adapts to browsers’ privacy settings while improving load times that fast track consumer journeys for higher conversion rates and more revenue for advertisers / higher commission payments for publishers. Better still, it requires no additional integration by Awin advertisers, and publishers can easily activate it inside the MasterTag.
Bounceless is just one solution available through Awin’s MasterTag. Think of it as a plug-and-play dashboard where publishers and advertisers can switch different tech on and off based on their needs. It is changing how we talk about affiliate marketing. Rather than focus on just the conversion, we’re able to offer solutions like Trackonomics (which identifies broken publisher links) and SingleView (which provides our advertisers with a non-biased, multi-touch attribution solution.)
2020 also saw the benefits and innovation afforded by Awin’s MasterTag become available to our partners on ShareASale. The platform’s tracking now uses MasterTag’s innovative technology to protect affiliate sales against hostile browser conditions like ITP, and gives our merchant partners access to some of the same technology solutions like RevLifter (a real-time personalization software that delivers incentives and content to users.) Additionally, ShareASale released a more complex password policy and address verification process to protect our user accounts from malicious activity, as well as encoded IP addresses tracked via our ad server so that no personally identifiable shopper data could be at risk or exposed.
Across the Awin Group, we take our market commitments seriously. Responding to pressure from industry regulators like the FTC in the US and the UK’s ASA, we launched the publisher disclosure tool adMission on Awin – the industry’s first affiliate disclosure tool that helps publishers adhere to their regulatory obligations to consumers and ensures our advertisers are holding up their end of the disclosure bargain too. Appending affiliate links and pages with ad disclosure notifiers, it is platform agnostic and works for all commercial links, including Awin’s competitors. It also sits within our MasterTag as another plug in for publishers.
On the ‘Awin for Bloggers’ Facebook group a publisher commented: “I need this! I still forget to add disclosure on some posts... Thank you, I'm going to try it!”
The affiliate industry is all about building partnerships and growing a strong network. In a world where events suddenly seemed overwhelming, we believe our actions across 2020 fostered and maintained the relationships that bind our industry together. We would be honored to receive your continued support by nominating and voting for the Awin Group as Best CPS Network.