How to Monitor Branded Keywords in ShareASale

A merchants brand and how it is perceived to consumers is paramount. Ensuring the brand is being promoted in a positive light is as important as anything else a company can do; but how do merchants with affiliate programs monitor their brand and its use? Sadly, many merchants do not monitor affiliate activity in terms of brand bidding and it costs them money (sometimes significant amounts).

The merchants that do not monitor their affiliates promotional methods sometimes end up paying commissions that should not be paid. When affiliates bid on merchants branded terms in PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns they may be intruding on the merchants own efforts and ultimately driving up the cost of the campaigns. You may ask, why would merchants not monitor this activity? It comes down to education. The merchants may not know enough about it and in turn do not have the tools to combat it. The tools used to detect this activity may not be in the budget or in some cases the merchant does not care, but ShareASale has two (2) tools to help merchants monitor their branded keywords and how they are being used by affiliates. Here are the two tools provided by ShareASale:

Step #1 – Set Up Branded Keyword Monitoring and Rules

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Under the “Tools” tab click “Monitor Search Keywords”.

Step #2 – Add Keywords for ShareASale to Monitor


This is where merchants will add keywords that ShareASale will monitor. They can add up to five (5) for them to monitor. Put the most important (or popular) branded keywords in and ShareASale will send alerts if violations occur.

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Step #3 – Set up Keyword Bidding Rules


Now we are getting to the nitty gritty. This step is where merchants provide rules that affiliates must obey when using PPC campaigns. Merchants can add a rule that affiliates cannot use PPC bidding at all, but if allowed to, then specific rules can be set. Adding keywords that are off limits to affiliates will be compiled to a list that will be available to all affiliates upon signing up for the program. Completing this section will tell the affiliates from the beginning the stance on PPC bidding.

Merchants should protect their brands by all means necessary. There are affiliates that abuse the PPC rules, but ShareASale has a nice tool to help monitor violations, but recommended to compliment this is signing up for a brand monitoring software (i.e BrandVerity). Merchants do not want to lose control of their brands, especially when there are ways to prevent it.

Booking Paid Placements Through CJ Affiliate

Getting additional exposure for your brand is the number one goal when employing various marketing strategies, but some work better than others. Affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy that has numerous ways to get your brand exposure, it could be through content, social media, and/or coupon deals. The three strategies mentioned are popular among affiliates, but there is one that is often over looked by advertisers and it is paid placements. Paid placements allow advertisers to become more visible on affiliate sites and assist in the brand reaching a wider audience. Paid placements can either be paid in a flat dollar amount, a commission increase, or a hybrid of both fee and commission increase.

Where do you go to get paid placements? In the past, you would have to look up the affiliate and their site, reach out to them and then ask them if they are accepting paid placements and get all the information that way. Recently, CJ Affiliate has added a tool to their merchant interface that will allow you (advertisers) to locate and book paid placements without leaving the merchant interface. This is truly an innovative move, which will make the lives of all affiliate managers easier. Please keep in mind that this is still a new tool/service, but I am going to show you how to use it to book future paid placements. You still may have to reach out to affiliates, but this new tool is to aid in booking placements.

Step #1 – Go to “Placements” Tab within the CJ Affiliate Interface

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Once you are logged in to your CJ Affiliate merchant account, click the “Placements” tab. A drop down menu will then appear and you will then select where to go next.

Step #2 – Select What Section of Placements to Visit

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This next step allows you to look up opportunities that affiliates are offering, review insertion orders from previously booked placements, and review reports from past placements (if any were booked).

Step #3 – Review Placement Opportunities Available

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Instead of contacting the affiliate directly to get all the information about the placement, it is all here is one place for an easy analysis. Not all affiliates use paid placements and even some of the larger affiliates have not participated yet, so you still may have to reach out to an affiliate if they are not listed.

As you can see, the available placements are listed with the amount of money it will cost, the start/end dates, and where it will be placed (mobile, email, social, etc.). On the left side there are filters to help find attractive placement opportunities. You can narrow it down to your publishers only, opportunity type, date range, promotions, price, and affiliate network earnings. I would strongly encourage using the filters, especially the affiliate network earnings because you want to be working with affiliate that have a following and have earned commission in the past.

Step #4 – Review Total Cost of Paid Placements

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Once the placements are booked and run you can you the “Reports” tab to view the exact cost of the placements. The placement has a fee and CJ also collects a fee as well. This is a good place to review your overall spend and determine if the placements yielded ROI.

Booking placements with affiliates just became easier. CJ Affiliate created a much needed tool ot help merchants book placements without a lot of the tedious work. All the available placements are now visible within the CJ Affiliate merchant account. I just have some words of wisdom, do not just book a placement on any affiliate site. Do research and ask questions, because the last thing you want to do is throw a significant amount of money away to an affiliate that has no real following or ability to produce and yield a positive ROI.