This week, GoDataFeed examines best affiliate practices and looks at ShareASale's innovative affiliate social network, "Aquarium." To explain it, we're pleased to host our guest blogger, Carolyn Tang, Director of Client Services for ShareASale's award-winning affiliate network, who will share ShareASale's best affiliate marketing practices and introduce ShareASale's new "Affiliate Aquarium" social network.
Greetings GoDataFeed Merchants! Product datafeeds are a great way to maximize your affiliate marketing channel. They enable your affiliates to better merchandise their sites to meet specific consumer demographics, and they allow affiliates to drive shoppers deeper into your site.
Here are a few key best practices to implement:
- Product Categorization. Designate a few fields in your datafeed to product categorization. Providing product categories helps affiliates slice and dice your data to best fit their needs. ShareASale offers five custom fields that are perfect for including product data such as: category, sub-category, sale, bestseller, etc. For example, a shopping portal affiliate would get the most out of product categories, while a coupons/deals affiliate would find greater benefit pulling out sale items.
- Include a SKU or ISBN. When possible, include the product SKU and ISBN number. This is critical for affiliates with product comparison sites.
- List In-Stock Products. Be sure that your product datafeed is up-to-date with in-stock items. If an affiliate finds too many dead links in your datafeed, the easiest solution for them is to drop your feed.
- No Direct Links. Don't include any direct links in your product copy.
Affiliates view direct links in datafeeds as free traffic for merchants, and thus direct links in a datafeed are considered an unethical business practice. If the affiliate uses your datafeed to refresh their site, and after refreshing sees a direct link from their site to yours, with no affiliate tracking in place, they will likely drop your feed. (Note: Direct product links in the product URL field are necessary, as affiliate networks will automatically convert this field to tracking links. Direct links in any other field are not desirable.)
- Include Image Links. If you have the option, provide the affiliate with both a thumbnail and a large image. Some affiliates are able to auto-resize larger images to meet their site needs, and providing them with a larger image gives them more to work with.
ShareASale's Affiliate Aquarium
ShareASale just launched its Affiliate Aquarium, a social community within the ShareASale network where merchants and affiliates can communicate freely. Merchants and affiliates can create profiles, blogs, groups, events and update their status. Aquarium users are also able to search for other users by keyword or function, making it easy to reach out to merchants and affiliates with mutual interests.
If you're already on ShareASale, and want to check out the Affiliate Aquarium, just login to your account and see the link for “Affiliate Aquarium” and the bottom right side of the main menu.
If you're not on ShareASale and are interested in expanding your visibility through affiliate marketing, take advantage of ShareASale's introductory offer for new GoDataFeed merchants-- Contact Us to learn more.
As the director of Client Services for ShareASale.com, Carolyn Tang is responsible for building solid relationships between affiliates and merchants within the network, and for ensuring that the needs of all shareholders are communicated and resolved.