Affiliate Banner Ads: Requirements, Sizes, Examples

Banners are an integral part of any affiliate program, but in some instances merchants do not understand how important they really are. Banners and text links make up an affiliate programs creative inventory that affiliates used to promote merchants products or services. Affiliates use them in a variety of ways and require them in multiple sizes.

When we at AM Navigator either take over management of an existing affiliate program or start one from scratch banners are among the most popular issues/topics we discuss with clients. In a few instances I have seen banners not include a sales message or a call to action; so what is the visitor supposed to do? The key is to make the banners entice the visitor to click and buy. Many merchants are unsure of the protocol for creating affiliate banners, including the key elements to an effective affiliate banner and the sizes they should create. Examples of quality affiliates banners can be found by clicking here.

I will go over the 3 main elements an affiliate banner requires and provide a list of banner sizes (and quantities) that we recommended when running an affiliate program.

All affiliate banners require three elements:

1.       Clear Visual Elements

2.       Concise Message

3.       Call to Action

Without the three above elements the banners will not be attractive to affiliates and they will not convert.

Affiliate banner size recommendations (with recommended quantities):

88×31 px button – 2-5
468×60 px – 2-5
125×125 px – 2-5
120×600 px – 2-5

160×600 px – 2-3
120×240 px – 2-3
234×60 px – 2-3
254×331 px – 2-3
728×90 px – 2-3
250×250 px – 2-3

720×300 px – 1-2
300×100 – 1-2
300×250 px – 1-2
180×150 – 1-2

The banner sizes above are broken into 3 groups based on demand from affiliates. Even though the list includes all the most popular sizes, affiliates may still have special requests for custom sizes, so you must be ready to create additional ones that may include different color schemes and images.

The 88×31 is by far the most popular size among affiliates because it can be used in different ways. It is the most popular with coupon/deal oriented affiliates. We recommend having at least 2 created in different styles.

Affiliate banner creation should be taken seriously and include the 3 elements outlined above and most of the sizes discussed. Without quality banners available to affiliates, the less likely they may be to promote your product/service. Next week I will discuss mistakes to avoid when creating affiliate banners.

How To Start an Affiliate Program on CJ Affiliate Network

On November 21st I wrote a post on setting up an affiliate program on ShareASale, now today I am going to walk you through setting up an affiliate program on CJ Affiliate By Conversant. Over my time managing affiliate programs I have seen the set-up process not complete or the merchant decided to shortcut the process. The set-up process should be done with careful precision to ensure you are presenting your affiliate program in the best possible light upon launch. The following guide will go step–by-step in setting up your CJ affiliate program. In total there are seven (7) steps that you must follow.

Step 1 – Technical/Tracking Implementation

Once the contract is signed it’s time to start getting your site ready to handle the affiliate traffic and sales.  CJ will send you a tracking integration questionnaire to complete and once complete they will create and send you all the conversion tags needed for your site.

The next step in the technical/tracking implementation process is to install the conversion tags provided. You will need to tag all pages of your site and all conversion pages. Once tracking implementation is complete then you must test to ensure everything is working properly.

Testing the tacking pixel involves 4 test purchases:

  • Test # 1 is without a discount
  • Test # 2 is with a discount (both whole order and item level)
  • Test # 3 is with discount (whole order)
  • Test # 4 is with a discount (item level)

Once all four tests have been complete next step is to confirm tests worked, cookie information and site tagging are functional.  Now you can move on to completing the program settings.

Step 2 – Program Settings

There are six pieces that need to be complete and they include:

  • Upload a logo (150×40)
  • Set up publisher accept/decline criteria

This is where you determine how you are going to manage affiliates that apply to your program. I recommend not auto-approving any affiliate, but manually reviewing each application. You can also add specific countries to the auto-decline and manually approve lists.

  • Enter Search Keywords

Add keywords related to your brand. This is what affiliates use to find programs to partner with

  • State Serviceable/Shipping Areas

Where do you ship your products to? What countries do you currently service?

  • Confirm category

CJ has a plethora of categories to choose, but make sure it is relevant to your business

  • Draft and upload Program Description

This should describe your company and the products/service being offered, the commission being offered, and any other details that affiliates will need to know prior to joining.

Step 3 – Branded Sign up Settings

This phase of the process involves three (3) aspects:

  •  Introductory Message

This should be crafted in a similar way to your program description

  • Application Response

This should be a short message to affiliates once they apply to inform them that their application is under review and a decision will be made shortly on their status.

  • Header graphic should be added: Size should be 468×60

Step 4 – Program Terms

This is where you determine your program policies and search guidelines. This is important because the information loaded will tell affiliates the “rules” they must play by. Also included here is the commission to be paid out, cookie life, and any other terms that affiliate partners should be aware of.

Creating customized program terms is also an option here. For example, if you partner with an affiliate that you are going to pay a different commission rate to they must be on their own program terms and not included in the “default” terms.

Step 5 – Add New Links

This step is where you upload all your freshly created banners and text links. Use the “links” tab to upload banners and text links.

Step 6 – New Publisher Email

This is where you create the email that is sent to affiliates upon acceptance. It should include information on your company, products/services, paid search guidelines, links to creatives to get them started with, and most important, contact information.

Step 7 – Request Activation

Once the six steps above have been complete you can request your affiliate program to live.

You go to: Support Center>The Basics / Getting Started

Whether you are launching an affiliate program on ShareASale or CJ, there are steps that need to be carefully completed in order to successfully launch.  Follow the above seven steps and you will have an affiliate program you can be proud of on CJ Affiliate By Conversant.

Key Affiliate Manager Responsibilities and Time Allocation

A good question came to me from a reader of my “Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day” book. He wrote:

Do you have any page in your book or in your blog where you elaborate on the necessary hours and manpower per task e.g. search, recruit affiliates etc.?

Having thought about it, I realized that even though I have talked about this in my conference presentations, I have never looked at things through this angle in anything that I have written to date. Hence, this blog post.

There are different tasks and activities that affiliate managers are involved in on a daily basis. I like to think of them as 5 pillars of affiliate program management: affiliate recruitment, activation, compliance policing, communication, and program optimization. More in this brief video of mine:

Now “what percentage of time should affiliate managers spend on each of their key responsibilities?” is a question that is worth a delve of its own.

With affiliate programs that AM Navigator manages, we spend between 30 and 60 hours a month on a program. I have done my math and here is how the rough spread of the time devoted to each affiliate program looks:

  • 40% of time is spent on affiliate recruitment;
  • 35% of time – on affiliate activation, education, and support of communication channel (both one-on-one and newsletters);
  • 10% of time – on compliance policing and enforcement;
  • 10% of time – on competitive intelligence and affiliate program optimization (based on what we learn from the intelligence as well as our own successes);
  • 5% of time – on reports.

You may also learn more about the key affiliate program manager responsibilities in/through the following slidedeck (of my presentation at  Affiliate Summit East 2014):