For Brands: Affiliate Networks or Self-Hosted Programs? (which one to choose)

Last Modified: June 20, 2023


If you’re a brand looking to break into the Affiliate realm, you’ve likely done some research into whether or not a network (like, CJ, AWIN) or a self hosted program (TUNE, Everflow, Cake) is the better option.

There’s no clear answer as both have their benefits, but for me, as an experienced manager, it makes more sense to belong to a network for one simple reason: inbound recruits.

Sure you have control with a self hosted program, and you don’t have to have your brand diluted amongst other brands in your category, but having the ability for publishers and Affiliates to see your brand is a major force in driving potential new business to your brand. 

I always say, it can sometimes take just one Affiliate to change your Affiliate performance.

However, there are several reasons why one might choose affiliate tracking software over an affiliate network. Here are a few considerations:

Independence and Control: Using affiliate tracking software gives you more control over your affiliate program. You have the freedom to set up and manage your program independently without relying on a third-party network. This allows you to customize your program to meet your specific needs and goals.

Cost-effectiveness: Affiliate networks often charge fees for their services, typically a percentage of the affiliate commission or a flat fee. By using affiliate tracking software, you can avoid these fees and potentially save money in the long run, especially if you have a large number of affiliates or high sales volume.

Direct Relationship with Affiliates: With affiliate tracking software, you have a direct relationship with your affiliates. You can communicate with them directly, build personal connections, and establish stronger partnerships. This can lead to better collaboration, increased loyalty, and improved performance.

Flexibility and Customization: Affiliate tracking software allows you to customize your program according to your unique business needs. You can define commission structures, set up specific rules and conditions, and implement various marketing strategies. This flexibility enables you to experiment and optimize your program to maximize results.

Data Ownership and Analytics: When using an affiliate network, you may have limited access to the data and analytics related to your affiliate program. With affiliate tracking software, you have complete ownership and control over your program's data, including performance metrics, conversion rates, and customer insights. This information is valuable for making data-driven decisions and optimizing your affiliate marketing efforts.

It's important to note that the choice between affiliate tracking software and an affiliate network depends on various factors, such as the size of your program, your resources, and your specific business requirements. Assessing your needs and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each option will help you determine the best approach for your affiliate marketing strategy. 

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