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Affiliate Network Vs. Affiliate Partnership Agency

Affiliate Network Vs. Affiliate Partnership Agency

Affiliate, or partnership, marketing is an effective strategy for brands to reach new markets and increase conversion rates by leveraging the trust and targeting insights that supply partners have built with their audiences.

However, running a successful affiliate program requires specific expertise and industry knowledge. Not to mention, the ability to identify and connect with the right publishers can greatly impact the success of a campaign.

Working with an affiliate network or an affiliate partnership agency can give you access to the right resources to increase the effectiveness of your program and maximize your ROI.

Which option is best for you?

Here are the pros and cons of both approaches:

The Pros and Cons Of Using an Affiliate Network

An affiliate network serves both brands and publishers, by connecting the right pieces and sitting in the middle, managing interests of both sides.


  • There’s no retainer so you only pay a commission to the publisher and a fee to the network after a sale is made.
  • You can use the network’s tracking platform and don’t have to invest in your own affiliate tracking solution.


  • The network owns the affiliate relationship. There’s often a 12-month non-circumvention clause in the service agreement so you can’t work with the network’s affiliate directly after you leave the network.
  • The network owns the tracking and therefore, the data. Even if you get some data fed upstream, you can rarely access affiliate-level insights.
  • Network fees are obscured, making it difficult to understand the true cost per acquisition.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring an Affiliate Partnership Agency

An affiliate partnership agency helps brands create and manage their affiliate programs. An agency is a partner to the brand first, and only.


  • The agency is dedicated to representing your brand and will develop partnerships with top affiliates and other brands on your behalf.
  • The agency can help set up your own tracking software and recruit affiliates directly onto your platform.
  • You own all the data and affiliate relationships so you’re in complete control of the information.
  • An agency may offer access to in-house assets and resources – such as an affiliate network or publishing property – at a favorable rate.
  • Your marketing team can focus more energy on Facebook and Google, while leaving the complex world of partner management to experts.
  • Managing all your affiliate programs in one place is often more efficient and less costly than working with individual networks.
  • The agency includes a team of people at your disposal, more affordably than the alternative of hiring dedicated employees and requiring valuable resources from other teams like engineering or analytics.


  • Agency partnerships are term commitments, typically 12 months, and require a monthly retainer.
  • You may not have the opportunity to develop affiliate program management expertise in-house and become dependent on outsourcing.

Choosing the Right Support For Your Affiliate Program

There are many factors affecting the choice of support for your affiliate program, such as annual sales and brand recognition.

Some brands can take advantage of the lower commitment of an affiliate network while others can benefit immensely by outsourcing to the expertise, experience, and comprehensive services offered by an affiliate partnership agency.

Is working with an agency right for you? Contact us today to schedule a consultation to explore its benefits.

Complimentary Affiliate Program Evaluation

Schedule a time for a free grading report on an existing program or get a consultation on a new one.


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