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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager CreditFirm's Avatar
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    Affiliates: What's more important Commission Rate or EPC?
    As a former affiliate, I remember looking for merchants with high EPCs, long cookie life, high comissions, and low reversal rates. But I'm not an affiliate anymore and would like to ask those of you who are, what are the most important factors you look at when considering applying to an affiliate program?

    Just for Fun, here are 6 programs (3 from CJ and 3 from SAS).

    Which programs would you apply to (strictly based on the numbers), and how would you rank the the programs from best to worst (in terms of affiliate profitability)?

    CJ
    Program # 1
    Commission $70(sale)
    3mo EPC $35.39
    7day EPC $40.33

    Program # 2
    Commission $45(sale)
    3mo EPC $17.21
    7day EPC $39.62

    Program # 3
    Commission $5(lead)
    3mo EPC $11.86
    7day EPC $18.24

    SAS
    Program # 4
    Commission $85(sale) $1.25(lead)
    30 day EPC $2.32
    7day EPC $5.75
    Average Commission - $1.25
    Cookies 365 days
    Auto Approve ON
    Auto Deposit OFF

    Program # 5
    Commission $10(sale)
    30 day EPC $55.94
    7day EPC $43.48
    Average Commission - $10
    Cookies 180 days
    Auto Approve OFF
    Auto Deposit ON

    Program # 6
    Commission $55(sale)
    30 day EPC $183.81
    7day EPC $90.00
    Average Commission - $180(7day), $123.40(30 day)
    Cookies 30 days
    Auto Approve OFF
    Auto Deposit ON
    Michael Abramsky :usaflag:
    Affiliate Manager for [URL="http://www.creditfirm.net"]CreditFirm.Net[/URL]
    Email: [email]Affiliate@CreditFirm.net[/email] | Phone: 800-750-1416 x 901 | [URL="http://www.creditfirm.net/affiliates"]Affiliate Program Info[/URL]

  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    All the same category and type of products sold?

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager CreditFirm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    All the same category and type of products sold?
    Yes, same category and same product/service.
    Michael Abramsky :usaflag:
    Affiliate Manager for [URL="http://www.creditfirm.net"]CreditFirm.Net[/URL]
    Email: [email]Affiliate@CreditFirm.net[/email] | Phone: 800-750-1416 x 901 | [URL="http://www.creditfirm.net/affiliates"]Affiliate Program Info[/URL]

  4. #4
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Auto approve = red flag.

    #1 and #6 look best.

    But it's all about conversion.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager CreditFirm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akagorilla View Post
    Auto approve = red flag.

    #1 and #6 look best.

    But it's all about conversion.
    Why 1?

    6 I understand, $55 commission, highest EPC, but why choose #1 over #5. Are commission rates more important than EPC?
    Michael Abramsky :usaflag:
    Affiliate Manager for [URL="http://www.creditfirm.net"]CreditFirm.Net[/URL]
    Email: [email]Affiliate@CreditFirm.net[/email] | Phone: 800-750-1416 x 901 | [URL="http://www.creditfirm.net/affiliates"]Affiliate Program Info[/URL]

  6. #6
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    November 20th, 2005
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    EPC can be a poor indicator of overall performance. There may be a slew of affiliates that send "related" traffic with a low conversion rate and others that send highly targeted traffic with a high conversion rate. EPC will can vary depending on the "proportions" of those affiliates that may be in a program.

    My main concerns are commission, conversion rate, lack of "leaks" and knowing whether or not there are bad players in the program. However, that is all dependent on whether or not the program is a "fit" for one of our niches. We sell a LOT of checks and a lot of hospitality (hotel reservations) and a lot of other "stuff" - but there are a lot of verticals in which we are not involved.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager CreditFirm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    EPC can be a poor indicator of overall performance. There may be a slew of affiliates that send "related" traffic with a low conversion rate and others that send highly targeted traffic with a high conversion rate. EPC will can vary depending on the "proportions" of those affiliates that may be in a program.

    My main concerns are commission, conversion rate, lack of "leaks" and knowing whether or not there are bad players in the program. However, that is all dependent on whether or not the program is a "fit" for one of our niches. We sell a LOT of checks and a lot of hospitality (hotel reservations) and a lot of other "stuff" - but there are a lot of verticals in which we are not involved.
    Thanks for the input Bill. I understand your issue with using EPC as an indicator for performance. But, I just don't see a better one. Everything you mentioned "Commission, Conversion Rate, lack of leaks", are all all calculated in EPC. The higher the Commission, the higher the conversion rate, the lower the amount of leaks, the higher the EPC.

    I know it's not a perfect gauge of how well a program is doing, but it's the best one we currently have. :shrug:
    Michael Abramsky :usaflag:
    Affiliate Manager for [URL="http://www.creditfirm.net"]CreditFirm.Net[/URL]
    Email: [email]Affiliate@CreditFirm.net[/email] | Phone: 800-750-1416 x 901 | [URL="http://www.creditfirm.net/affiliates"]Affiliate Program Info[/URL]

  8. #8
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Like Bill said, EPC can be misleading. All affiliates care about is how much money will I make today and how much money will I make by the end of the year.

    It's up to the affiliate manager to run the numbers and convince affiliates whether or not they will make more money long term with them or the competitor.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

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  10. #9
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    I look at all the factors I can find through the peepholes available, then I experiment. Good fit, lack of leaks and reputation come first.

    I wouldn't apply to any of the programs on you list "strictly based on the numbers" any more than I'd keep or dump a spouse based strictly on the percent who admit to cheating (recently reported as 70%).

    Commission is important, but not alway in the way you might think. I know affiliates who make six figure incomes with $4 commissions, and others promoting $75/commission products still trying to convert a customer. Plus, sometimes a low-commission product that's a perfect fit can draw happy subscribers who come back again and again with wallets open for the bigger (but less searched for) products.

    As for cookie life: still sweet, but less helpful these days. Now I look at cookies as a trust issue. A stingy cookie can hint at a merchant's overall character or poor attitude toward affiliates. A super long cookie could show good faith OR be an excuse for a too low commission rate. I've worked with two merchants who actually admitted out loud that they were doing this. Not a fair trade, though.

  11. #10
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    EPC is a tool and one of the few we get from networks. That said its hard to argue with a $200 EPC for a $500 average sale with a merchant. Also affiliates that see an EPC of $0.00 for 7 Day and 3 Month can be pretty sure that program sucks.

    EPC can also tell seasonality if you look at the difference between 7 Day and 3 Month. Program # 2 looks like sales are up. Program # 6 like sales are down.

    It seems a common practice to slam on EPC by OPMs and some AMs. I find this because they try to hide poor program management from affiliates they are recruiting (present company excused).

    Affiliates need to look at as many factors as possible just as AMs need to look at more than one number when screening applications. Networks have long hidden chargeback but we have networks like Shareasale and AvantLink that openly publish that for affiliates. Another is conversion which AvantLink publishes. LinkShare doesn't offer either or EPC and focus only on brand.

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  13. #11
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    We look at epc, commission rate, conversion rate, epc, earnings, and an inverse relationship between clicks and sales, then come up with our own algorithm to determine the "weight" of a merchant. As you can see here: https://www.google.com/fusiontables/...#chartnew:id=3

    Any one metric is NOT a good indicator of overall earnings and performance. The above are ranked 1-15, left to right by our internal weight.

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