A Guide to Affiliate Program Competitive Intelligence Research

When introducing an affiliate program to your marketing mix it is essential to treat it the same as your other channels (i.e. search, paid search, email, retargeting, etc.) because it is just as important, and in some cases the most important piece to a company’s marketing mix.  Why do I say that? Simple, I have seen many occasions where a company will just throw an affiliate program up on a network without doing any competitive research and they hope for the best. An affiliate program can be a very profitable avenue if set up and managed correctly. Conducting a comprehensive competitive intelligence review is vital and should be done when starting (it should also be done periodically once the program is live)a new affiliate program so that you are competitive and attract the desired affiliates. There are eight (8) main components to a competitive intelligence report and they include: competitor’s name, affiliate platform, CPA, incentives, cookie life, action locking period, ranking, and EPC. I will go over each component in detail to ensure you capture all the necessary information.

#1 – Competitor’s Name

This may seem pretty obvious, but you may discover that they operate under multiple names or have multiple affiliate programs, so getting their name and the URL’s they use for any and all affiliate programs.

#2 – Affiliate Platform

Once you gather the competitors name (s) the next step is to see what platforms or affiliate networks they currently run their affiliate programs on. They may run their program on a major network (CJ Affiliate, ShareASale, Rakuten LinkShare, etc.), but they may also run it on a private software (CAKE, Post Affiliate Pro, HasOffers). A major affiliate network may not be the best place for every merchant, so finding where your competition operates helps in making a platform decision.

#3 – CPA (Cost Per Action)

This is an important component of the intelligence gathering. As a merchant you want to make sure your CPA (or Cost per Lead) is competitive with the competition because affiliates take payout into consideration when promoting merchants and if you are totally off line with the competition it is less likely you will have high quality affiliates promoting your product/service. With that being said, determining the CPA must also make sense financially, not just because the competition is doing it.  Remember if you are on a major network they take a percentage of every sale too, so keep that in the back of your mind when determining payouts.

#4 – Incentives Offered

Does your competition offer incentives to affiliates? If so, take note of them and try and incorporate them into the affiliate strategy. For example, a merchant is offering a $50 first sale bonus, or a tiered commission structure (default is 10%, but based on sales it can increase to 15%). The examples mentioned will also help in determining the CPA for the program, but also helps to increase affiliate activation once approved.

#5 – Cookie Life

Affiliates like to see a longer cookie life, but in reality a majority of affiliate sales occur within the first couple days. If the competition has a 30 day cookie the best bet is to have your cookie length at least 30 days, but can be higher. For an activation tip you can offer select affiliates a cookie life increase if they perform a certain action (i.e. 2 sales in the next 7 days and their cookie will be bumped two-fold ).

#6 – Action Locking Period

This is important for the fact that product returns happen and merchants want to protect themselves from paying commissions on returned merchandise.  ShareASale’ s default locking period is the 20th of the following month in which the transaction took place, where CJ Affiliate’s default is the 10th of the month. However, the locking period can be customized to a merchants return policy. If a private label platform is chosen then the merchant selects the day transactions lock and payments are made.

#7 – Program Ranking

Checking how your competition ranks on a particular networks will show you the amount of success they are having (or not) and if they have an affiliate base that will be substantial in promoting your products/services. As examples, CJ Affiliate uses a 1 – 5 bar system. 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, whereas ShareASale ranks their top 100 merchants.

#8 – EPC (Earnings per 100 Clicks)

This metric is important because it shows merchants if affiliates are actually making money promoting the competitors’ products/services. Merchants with a high EPC shows that affiliates are making money and its offers are effective. On the other hand, merchants with low or no EPC numbers show the offers and program are not performing well and affiliates are not making money. These numbers will help aid in the decision of what platform to choose. One network may have high EPC numbers, and the other may have lower numbers, which means the network with the high numbers has affiliates that cater to that specific market and should be considered.

Creating and managing an affiliate program takes deep competitive intelligence in order to be successful. The eight components of a competitive intelligence report should be compiled and reviewed intensively and then based on the data create an attractive, yet competitive affiliate program that has the chance to be successful for years to come.

Creating Publisher Groups in CJ Affiliate Network

Do you have trouble communicating with your affiliates? Do you have messages for different types of affiliates? Are you unsure of how to send different messages to different affiliates? If you answered yes to any of the three questions I am here to help. I have seen it numerous times when we take over management of affiliate programs for clients and their affiliate database is a complete mess, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are a merchant with your affiliate program on CJ Affiliate I am going to show you how to create groups for your affiliates and how to put them in the appropriate group(s). After you read this article you will have one of the most organized affiliate databases out there.

Step # 1 – Go to “Groups” tab

CJ 1

After you are logged in to your CJ Affiliate account click the “Publishers” tab and then click the “Groups” tab. This will take you to the page where you will create groups to place your affiliates in.

Step # 2 – Create Affiliate Group

There will be groups already created, but they were done so by CJ Affiliate. To create a new group click the “Create Publisher Group” button to the far right of the screen. A pop-up box will appear next.

CJ 2

Step # 3 – Name your new publisher group

This is where you name the group. You want to be as clear as possible so in the future you know exactly who is in the group. Once you complete inputting the name click “Save”. Your new group has been created and the next step is filling it with affiliates.

CJ 3

Step # 4 – Add affiliate to a group

Go to your affiliate list (through “Publishers” – Manage by Program Terms”) and check affiliates that you want to include in your newly created group and then click “Add to Group”.

CJ 4

After you click “Add to Group” a pop-up window will appear and you will select the group to place the affiliate in from the drop down box. After the group is selected click “Add” and then you are finished.

CJ 5

That is it. Instead of sending all your affiliates the same message, this functionality allows you to now segment message to specific affiliates. You may have a bonus opportunity for content affiliates, but do not want coupon/deal affiliates to see this, so having groups set up will allow you to send to the audience you want.

Setting Up Affiliate Bonus Campaigns in ShareASale

Are you looking to jump start your affiliate program? Is it new or just not producing the results you want? You are not alone; there are many affiliate programs (new and established) that are looking for ways to increase sales through their affiliate program. It takes a lot of hard work to grow an affiliate program, but if you are a ShareASale merchant they make it easy for you to arm affiliates with the tools they need to be successful.  A popular way to get traction with an affiliate program is offer bonus promotional campaigns. ShareASale offers a simplistic way to set up bonuses (recurring or one-time) with affiliates so you can concentrate on continuing to grow the program. Here is a step-by-step guide to setting up bonus promotional campaigns in ShareASale

Step #1 – Navigate to the Bonus Promotional Campaigns Page

After you logged in to the ShareASale merchant interface, go to “Tools” then go to “More” and click “Setup Bonus Campaigns”. It will take you to – https://account.shareasale.com/m-transactionrules.cfm

Step #2 – Define Your Rules for Bonus Payments

As I mentioned previously, this is a very simple process, but you have to make sure you are careful and review your choices. The first half of the page is where you want to name the rule (so you can identify it), what the threshold is (amount of commissions in a month, sales or clicks), whether it will be a flat dollar amount of a percentage, recurring bonus or one-time, what affiliates are to be included.  This is what makes this tool great, you can include or exclude whoever you want. If you do not want to include coupon affiliates in the bonus, simply do not add them.  A quick tip: if paying bonuses by group or types of affiliates make sure you have groups set up so you do not have to go in and manually remove/add affiliates.

ScreenHunter_707 Mar. 31 09.40

ScreenHunter_709 Mar. 31 09.41

Step #2 (cont.) – Define Your Rules for Bonus Payments

Continuing down the page and finishing up the set up process, next choose the date you wish to start (and end) the campaign. This is important because the bonuses will only be paid within the period you select and it cannot go back in time and credit affiliates. If you do wish to go back and credit affiliates you can “Post a Manual Transaction”, but that is a topic for a different day.  You can restrict affiliates based on their join date (when they were approved in the program) or you can simply select their affiliate ID from the box and they will be excluded. There are multiple ways to customize this tool to ensure you have the best bonus campaign available with who you want to participate.

Once all the fields are complete, hit the “Set Commission Rules” box and it will be saved and activated on the date you input as the start date.

ScreenHunter_708 Mar. 31 09.41

Activating affiliates in your affiliate program is a must (new or existing program). With ShareASale’ s “Bonus Promotional Campaigns” tool it allows you to fully customize an activation campaign based on the metrics you choose, and they best part of it is that ShareASale handles everything. With all the time you will save you now can focus on recruiting new affiliates and growing the program to new levels.

Top 5 ShareASale Affiliate Program Setup Mistakes

As an Outsourced Program Manager (OPM), I manage accounts in a variety of verticals and on all the major affiliate networks, but merchants seem to encounter the same issues when setting up their affiliate program on their own. Whenever we (AM Navigator) get a new client (with an affiliate program) we perform an audit to determine what needs to be fixed in order promote the affiliate program in the proper light and there seems to be the same items most (not all) merchants either neglect or complete partially. This post will cover the top 5 items merchants on the ShareASale affiliate network neglect to include or complete partially when setting up their affiliate program.

#1 – Program Agreement (AKA Terms of Serivce)

This document is probably the most important as it is the “rules” by which affiliates need to follow. Important points to include are:

  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) guidelines – Be specific on what words are off limits and what words can be used.
  • FTC policy
  • Coupon policy (if applicable)
  • Fraud policy

#2 – Emails sent to affiliates during the sign-up process

This is another piece that many merchants do not capitalize on. The 3 emails affiliates receive from ShareASale on the merchant’s behalf are:

  • Apply Email – This is sent to an affiliate once they apply to join a merchants affiliate program. This should tell the affiliate that their application is being reviewed and they will be contacted within 24 hours with a decision.
  • Decline Email – This is similar to the apply email. It only gets sent to affiliates that merchants reject from their program, but in fairness to the affiliate it should include reasons why they may have been declined and give them an opportunity to contact the program manager and/or re-apply .
  • Approval Email – Merchants get this one wrong the most of the three (3). This email should include information about the program (description of the company and main selling points of the affiliate program), PPC guidelines (like outlined in the program agreement), links for them to use immediately (have the code available for them to simply copy and paste), and contact information for the affiliate manager.

#3 – 88×31 Logo

You may be asking yourself, a logo? The 88×31 button banner is important because it is one of the most popiular sizes affiliates use, but it also provides additional exposure when affiliates are looking for merchants to promote. In the merchant search section affiliates view potential matches and a logo is included with many of them and it helps to “convert” the prospect into an affiliate. A simple logo can be the difference.

#4 – Banners

I have seen merchants have over 50 banners available and then I have seen a few that have 5. There is no “magic number” for banners, but having the most popular sizes available is critical. Merchants need to provide sizes that affiliates can use. I have seen obscure sizes and then the most popular sizes are missing and I scratch my head, but here is a link to the most popular banner sizes.

#5 – Newsletters

Last, but certainly not least, newsletters. A good majority of merchants I have done audits for either send newsletters out infrequently or not at all. The latter is most common. How are merchants supposed to communicate with affiliates? The newsletters should be sent out bi-weekly, but at the very least monthly. They should include any news about the program, coupons/deals, links to creatives, and contact information.

I could have gone on forever, but I gave the top 5 items many merchants either neglect or do halfhearted when setting up their affiliate programs. Every aspect of an affiliate program should be completed fully, no matter how relevant a merchant thinks it is. Affiliate managers jobs are to “WOW” affiliates and get them to promote their products/services and having a fully integrated and set up program is the first impression to all.

How to Use the ShareASale’s “Group Affiliates” Tool

Your affiliate recruitment efforts are yielding fruit and your program is doing well, but you are having trouble managing your growing affiliate list. What do you do? As an affiliate manager you may want to send a specific group of affiliates a message, but do not want to include all your affiliates, or you want to try and activate your stagnant affiliates, but are not sure how to do this. In this post I am going to show you how to group your affiliates using the tool in ShareASale (next post will cover CJ Affiliate). This step-by-step guide will make it easy for you to group your affiliates however you want.

Step # 1 – Navigate to “Group Affiliates”

Once you have logged in to your ShareASale merchant account you will go to the “Affiliates” tab and then click the “Group Affiliates” sub tab. This will take you to the screen where you can start creating, modifying, and even deleting existing groups (if you have any, of course).

Step # 2 – View, Create, or Delete Groups

Once on the affiliate groups page you will see first the option to view any current groups created. To view any group, hit the drop down arrow and select the group and hit “view”.  The next section is creating a new group. Here you will name the group (i.e. Sales in last 30 days, No sales ever, Coupon Affiliates, etc.), then briefly describe the group. Next you are going to select the commission rate for each group (per sale and/or per lead). You may want to pay certain groups a different commission, so this is the place to implement that. Every time you add an affiliate to a group they will be paid the commission for that group.

SaS 1

Step # 3 – Adding Affiliate to Groups

Now that the groups are now created and ready to be utilized, you have to add affiliates to them. You will go to the “Affiliates” tab and then click “Your Affiliate List”. This will bring you to your list of affiliates (starting from top performers and working backwards). Under the affiliates information you will see a drop down box titled “Affiliate Group”, select the appropriate group and then there will be a pop up to “save all”. Click “save all” and then that affiliate will be included in that group.

Grouping affiliates is a great way to manage the hundreds (even thousands) of affiliates that may be in your program. As I mentioned earlier, grouping affiliates may be necessary for a variety of reasons. It could be you want to send a certain deal to a certain group of top performers or you want to get your inactive affiliates active and referring traffic. Whatever it may be, grouping them and messaging them accordingly will help keep your program organized and save you a great deal of time in the long run.

3 Types of Affiliates to Add to Your Affiliate Program

The question I am asked too frequently is: Where can I find quality affiliates that will grow my affiliate program? Merchants are always looking to recruit quality affiliates into their programs, but that task is easier said than done. Recruiting is a task that should consume a majority of the time by the affiliate manager. Many merchants see affiliates (or publishers) as bloggers, coupon/deal sites, loyalty/cash back sites, etc., but there are companies that offer digital marketing services, but act as an affiliate. For example, shopping cart abandonment, remarketing/retargeting and paid search are key components to any successful digital marketing campaign and are offered through an affiliate relationship. What does this mean? I will discuss and highlight 3 affiliates (of various types; though with some similarities) that merchants should consider to partner with through their affiliate program.

  1. UpSellit

UpSellit is a shopping cart abandonment solution that is offered on a CPA (click per acquisition) basis. There are no monthly fees or set up costs associated with doing business with them. However, depending on the size of the merchant they may require a monthly minimum in the first few months, but that is for the new and/or smaller merchants. The minimum disappears once the program ramps up.

They join a merchant’s affiliate program and accept the terms and conditions as any other affiliate would, plus they get paid the same commission as other affiliates (there may be instances where they get more). They use their affiliate link each time their solution is enabled and conversions are tracked through whatever affiliate network interface a merchant is using (i.e. ShareASale, CJ Affiliate).

They offer merchants 3 different solutions:

  1. Targeted Offer

Targeted offers increase conversions and average order value by offering abandoning visitors a personalized incentive to convert. They fully customize campaigns to align with the visitor’s behavior. The personalized offer only engages at the time of abandonment, and not every visitor will be offered the same deal.

  1. Chat

Abandonment Chat increases conversions with a live chat simulation that assists visitors the instant they abandon. Chat is powered by a sophisticated automated chat engine called SmartAgent and analyzes sentence structure, conversation history and session data to understand both what a customer said.

  1. Email ReMarketing

The Email ReMarketing solution increases conversions with two lead recovery technologies that fuel a real-time email remarketing platform. It is fully customized to collect new leads and recover lost conversions.

  1. VE Interactive

Similar to UpSellit, but VE Interactive offers a few different solutions. They work through an affiliate relationship except through their VEAds solution, which requires upfront ad spend and they factor in certain site metric to come up with a competitive rate (may be higher than the default affiliate commission rate) to charge the merchant. There are no set up costs or monthly fees and they only get paid on a CPA basis (or CPL).

They are not integrated with ShareASale, but are with CJ Affiliate and other affiliate networks. If a ShareASale merchant wishes to partner with them they can be invoiced monthly as opposed to using the affiliate network interface.

They are meant to help increase the reach of a merchants remarketing/retargeting campaigns and use more than just the Google ad network. They have a vast network that allows them to reach a greater audience than that of Google (which is approximately 40% of the net).

Their ReMarketing/ReTargeting services that include:

  • VEAssist

Its main job is to increase a merchant’s customer acquisition from search traffic by reducing the overall bounce rate of the site.

  • VEChat

The purpose is to assist when customers have questions about a product and are about to leave the site. The VEChat solution will be enabled and assist in increasing conversion rates and customer service.

  • VEContact

This is for visitors who abandon their transaction during the payment process; it brings them back to the site in hopes to complete their purchase. This is done through email reminders which may or may not contain a discount.

  • VEAds

They use a sophisticated DSP to access online ad space, purchased in real-time and via ad Exchanges. The ads can be either static or dynamic, using a data feed from the merchant.

  1. Imwave

Imwave is a performance search engine marketing agency. They can work independent of a merchant’s paid search team or in conjunction. It is completely up to the merchant. They pay for the ads and only get paid when a sale or lead is generated. They truly have skin in the game!

They along with UpSellit and VE Interactive integrate into a merchants affiliate program and abide by the program terms listed. When they place their ads they use their affiliate links, which will then be tracked through the affiliate network.

In many cases they do require a higher commission than the default rate (unless the default is enough for them to start and grow a campaign).  What is great about them is that they play by the rules of the merchant. They may require the ability to bid on trademarked/branded terms and must have the ability to directly link to the merchants site. Not all merchants allow this, but if they work closely with the paid search team in place the relationship can be fruitful for both parties.

Partnering with the typical affiliates (i.e. bloggers and coupon/deal sites) is great, but using solutions like UpSellit, VE Interactive and a service like imwave can grow (significantly) a merchant’s affiliate program. We (AM Navigator) have been using all three for years now and recommend them highly to all of our clients (if there is a fit of course). I have seen them come in and grow affiliate programs in a few short weeks and help companies in their other digital marketing campaigns as well. Thinking outside the box and recruiting affiliates is essential to growth, but knowing who to partner with is just as important.

I highly recommend the three (3) companies mentioned and if you have any questions about them, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. You can email me or just post a comment below.

ShareASale Holiday Central Placements for Merchants

ScreenHunter_554 Jul. 23 21.03

In my last post I outlined the different placement opportunities available within ShareASale for their merchants. Having additional exposure for an affiliate program can help the overall brand, but can yield positive affiliate recruitment statistics. I want to detail one final placement opportunity and it is called ShareASale’s Holiday Central.

Holidays can turn the internet into complete mayhem and affiliates (and merchants too) love it. People love shopping online and there is no better opportunity for merchants and for affiliates to capitalize than holidays. ShareASale Holiday Central allows merchants to promote individual products that fall within specific holidays. For example, a weight loss merchant might want to target customers at the beginning of the New Year. With this opportunity the merchant can select “New Year’s Eve” holiday and they will be featured during the time period allotted. Affiliates are presented with all the upcoming holidays approximately 2 -3 months in advance so they can prepare their marketing materials/promotions.

The cost of the holiday placements are relatively inexpensive. It costs $100 for the first category. If a merchant wishes to be included during other holidays they are welcome and the cost for 2 holiday placements is $175, 3 holiday placements $225 and each additional placement after 3 is $75. What is unique about this type of placement is that is good for one (1) year from purchase.

What does the placement look like? It is similar to a Feature Program of Your Category placement. Merchants can load an image (of their logo or specific product being promoted) and a description of the program or product. When recommending placement opportunities for clients we always steer them to the Holiday Center.

ShareASale also does a good job in providing a lengthy list of holidays merchants can promote for. Some of the holidays include: Mardi Gras, Halloween, April Fool’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Winter Season, Valentine’s Day, Fall Season, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and many more.

ScreenHunter_552 Jul. 23 21.02

As mentioned earlier I recommend looking into holiday placements. They target affiliates looking for specific brands and/or products during holidays and finding a programs top performing affiliate is only a few clicks away.

Combining the list of placement opportunities outlined in my last post and the ShareASale Holiday Central there are enough options to get your affiliate program out in front of the top affiliates in the industry. Along with the prices that will not break the bank a holiday placement can yield fruitful partnerships for years to come.

7 ShareASale Featured Program Options for Merchants

Are you a ShareASale merchant looking to acquire new and quality affiliates into your program? If yes (and I hope so), then I have some exciting information to share with you. ShareASale offers their merchant’s ways to “boost” their programs exposure and be directly in front of affiliates that can help grow their programs. There are seven (7) options that can increase the exposure of an affiliate program. In the following paragraphs I will detail each one to help determine if it makes sense for merchants to undertake and invest further into their affiliate programs.

Option # 1

The first placement option (and most popular) is the Featured Program of the Week. A merchant will get their logo and a description of their affiliate program displayed on the opening of the affiliate homepage. This is a competitive placement because there are only 2 merchants per week allowed to be placed. The current cost is $450 per week. Below is a screenshot of what the Featured Program of the Week looks like.

ScreenHunter_545 Jul. 09 10.30

Option # 2

The next option is the Featured Program of Your Category. It is similar to the Featured Program of the Week (includes logo and description) except the placement will be within your category only. This placement is a one (1) month deal and at the time of this post it costs $300. For example, if a merchant is in the Art/Music/Photography category it will be placed at the top of the search results for that category only.

ScreenHunter_547 Jul. 09 10.37

Option # 3

The third placement option is the New Programs in the last 20 days. This is one of the most popular places for affiliates to look for new merchants to promote. It is a “directory” of all the merchants that have launched on the ShareASale network in the last 20 days. This allows merchants to list their ad at the top of the new program category and increase exposure for a new and growing program. This (presently) is a $400 per month placement and the affiliate program must be “new”.

Option # 4

Option # 4 is for merchants who have data feeds. Not all merchants have data feeds, but the ones that do should seriously look at this as an option to increase their programs exposure. The merchant’s graphic will be placed in a rotation along with five (5) others. ShareASale recommends mentioning the data feed within the graphic to enhance visibility. This will cost merchants $550 per month.

ScreenHunter_550 Jul. 09 10.49

Option # 5

Program Directory Listing is another solid option for merchants to consider. For $650 per month a merchant’s graphic will be listed along with 5 others on the directory page that lists all merchants in the ShareASale network.

Option # 6

Not satisfied with only one (1) category listing? Some merchants operate and can be categorized in more than one category, so ShareASale gives merchants the option to be place in another related category. For $350 per additional category a merchant can be added to additional categories.

Option # 7

The final option for merchants to expand their programs reach is through Affiliate Invitations. For $200 per two weeks ShareASale will send top performing affiliates in a category invitations to join the merchant’s program.

There are seven (7) viable options for merchants to increase their affiliate programs exposure to prospective affiliates. Not all options will be suitable for all merchants, but there are a two specifically (Featured Program of the Week and Featured Program of Your Category) that can significantly increase a merchants pool of quality affiliates and drive growth for the future of the affiliate program.

How to Give an Affiliate a Bonus Using ShareASale

A few weeks ago I wrote a post that showed advertisers that operate their affiliate program on CJ Affiliate how to provide their affiliates a bonus. In today’s post I am going to show merchants how to manually bonus their affiliates that operate on the ShareASale affiliate network. I will provide a step – by – step guide to follow during the process.

Step 1 – Log in to Merchant Account and Click “Affiliate List” under the tab of “Affiliates”

After logging into your ShareASale merchant account you want to hover over the “Affiliates” tab in the main navigation and click “Affiliate List.” The affiliate list will show you all your current affiliates in order of performance to date. The top performers will be at the top of the list.SaS 1

Step 2 – Locate Affiliate You Want to Bonus

Once you are in your affiliate list scroll down the list until you locate the one to manual bonus. Once located click the “Details” link under their name. It will take you to their individual affiliate page where the bonus activity will take place.

SaS 2

Step 3 – Submit the Bonus

Once you are on the affiliates ShareASale page you will need to scroll down until you get to the section titled “Affiliate Actions”. From there you will put the desired bonus amount and the type of transaction. You will fill in the field “Specific Amount to Give Affiliate” (i.e. the dollar amount) and change the drop down box to “Bonus”. Once complete you must hit “Submit Transaction” for it to be complete.

Please note: Even though it is not a sale/lead tracked through ShareASale there will still be a 20% fee charged to you for the manual bonus transaction.

SaS 3

Using the manual bonus feature in ShareASale is straight forward process and necessary for rewarding performance, paying for placements with affiliates, and even correcting transactions (I will dive into this next week).

How to Give an Affiliate a “Bonus” in CJ Affiliate

Affiliate marketing is simple to understand, when an affiliate (or sometimes called a publisher) refers a sale to a merchant they receive a commission. The payment can be in the form of a percentage of the sale or a flat dollar amount. There are occasions when affiliates will get paid a “bonus”. The reasons an affiliate may receive a bonus include: being a top performer and the merchant is showing their appreciation, hitting a specific goal outlined by the merchant, paying for placements on affiliates sites, or for some reason their sales not getting tracked and the merchant is manually crediting them their earned commissions.  With that being said I will show you how to manually credit a bonus to an affiliate within CJ Affiliate.

Step 1 – Click the “Reports” Tab

Once you log in to you CJ Affiliate merchant account you will want to click the “Reports” tab.

CJ 1

Step 2 – Navigate to the “Transaction” tab under the Main Navigation

Here you can review program performance, affiliate performance, promo codes, but we are going to focus on the “Transaction” tab. Once you click on the “Transaction” tab you will be directed to a screen where you can review all transactions that have taken place over the life of the affiliate program.

CJ 2

Step 3 – Click “Create Commission”

After clicking on the “Transaction” tab you need to scroll all the way to the bottom and click the “Create Commission” button. This is where you will officially pay the bonus to the affiliate. Once the button is clicked a pop-up will appear and will need to be filled out.

CJ 3

Step 4 – Pay the Bonus

You want to make sure the “Action Name” drop down box is filled in with “Bonus”.  When filling the “Website ID” make sure you are using the affiliates PID and not CID. If you use a CID it will not work. After entering the “Website ID” enter an order number, it can be an internal one or one specifically for CJ, but it is required. Once that is complete you need to fill in the exact amount you are going to “Bonus” the affiliate. Once all four sections are complete, hit “SAVE”. You will then get a message saying the transaction was successful.

CJ 4

This action is not used on a daily basis, but should be understood. It is important for affiliate managers to know how to maneuver the network and credit affiliates when necessary. As I mentioned above there are various reasons this action can/should be used, but knowing how and why to use it is equally as important.