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The words Super Affiliates make every affiliate managers heads perk up and stand attention.  I was lucky enough to sit in on a session at AM Days with a panel of top affiliates in the industry. On the panel were Tony Pantano of IM Wave, Shiva Kumar of The Find and Mike Allen of  The panel was skillfully modertated by Angel Djambazov, a successful OPM.  They shared your pet peeves, successes and predictions for the future.

Pet Peeves the Super Affiliates Have

Communication Is Key

  • Always include contact information on sign up page. We want to know who to call, or at the very least a person’s real name. Need to know someone is behind the program
  • If the information impacts the program, the affiliate needs to know..  Be more proactive.  Needs to be more than just the newsletter.  There are too many newsletter in the newsletter
  • It’s about the relationship. At the end of the day, the better relationship you have with the affiliate, the better your program is going to run.  Have a relationship with your top 20 affiliates.  If you can’t contact one of your top affiliates, that is a sign of a bigger problem.  If something is urgent call, IM or text me.  I need to know
  • Don’t use Stock Terms and conditions. It is permissible and acceptable to have set affiliates have different terms and conditions that are different than everyone else.  Be sure to update your terms and conditions with mobile since this is a changing marketplace.


  • If your site has been redesigned make sure all your affiliate links still work. This applies to datafeeds as well as links


  • The datafeed is up to date with no errors.  It has a huge impact on the affiliate and your customer.
  • Be sure coupon codes are tested before they are sent out.
  • Would be nice to know the exclusions so they can message that to the shopper.  It will help the affiliate pre sell the shopper.
  • Make sure all your images are updated.
  • Be specific in your datafeed.  Make sure it is easy to search
  • Make sure price, landing page  url, product is available and image url is correct are the key components.  These must be right to be successful.
  • Make sure the brand and qualifier is in the title.
  •  Most affiliates use the title as the link so keep that in consideration.
  • Most brands forget that their brand is important to include in the data feed. This also applies to keywords for example sneakers on a shoe site.  Look at it from the affiliate perspective.

Fight for your affiliate program

An affiliate wants a manager who is willing to fight for the program and the affiliate.  You need to stand up.  Affiliates are willing to come in to help but usually doesn’t get taken up on it. If you know your partners and will vouch for them, you can get them in to help you.

Whose customer is it?

These affiliates were more than willing to have customer data go in both directions.  Once again it is about relatiosnhips and showing value.

What merchants have you seen who do it right?

  • Sierra Trading Club through their shopping cart, affiliate support, email
  • Tommy Hilfiger  – often gives exclusive trackable even if there is no click
  • A good affiliate is one that can have a dialogue.  Provides notice of promotions.

Did you get a lot of impact from Panda and Penguin

Mike:  The original Panda update was positive but subsequently it has been up and down.  They have refocused what is on a search results page.  It has been more challenging over the past few years but there are lots of other areas to innovate.  This is where the relationship side of affiliate marketing is even more important

Siva:  There was a great impact. All traffic comes from SEO.  As a result they were hit hard.  It took 12 months to recover.   He had to provide more added value.  It was a dramatic change.  Coupon sites don’t see it as much because Google

It is going to be harder since the screen size smaller now.  Organic traffic is only showing 2 results.  There is more emphasis on


Mobile was the top trend on all the affiliates’ minds. Shopping is moving to other devices.  35% of traffic is coming from a device.  Tablet is the highest percentage.  One problem is the website is not set up to handle devices.  Buttons is not set up for fingers versus mice.  Retailers should be prepared to  see 50% or more traffic coming devices over the holiday.  Is your site ready?  Do you track mobile sales? Unfortunately 20-25% of affiliate programs do not.

Adding to this complexity is the New Adwords Enhanced that does not differentiate between tablet and computers.  Your search engine marketing affiliates will not be able to differentiate between tablet and desktop traffic.  It will increase their traffic but not conversions.  As a result their budget will go down and so will your search engine presence.  Combine this with the fact that these devices only show 2 organic search results and retailers could be in trouble.

We need to lobby for the networks to improve their technology to keep up with the latest trends from Mozilla changes to consumers on mobile.


This panel was chocked full of great information.  I hope you found it as interesting and informative as I did.


Stephanie Robbins

Robbins Interactive, Inc