How to Establish and Maintain Brand Safety in the Affiliate Channel

Your brand’s safety and reputation are among your company’s most valuable attributes. More than a third of consumers believe that trustworthiness is the most important aspect of a brand, and losing consumer trust could result in lost revenue. Some marketers feel intimidated by affiliate marketing – and we understand! It can feel scary to promote your brand in any digital environment that is public, always changing, and susceptible to fraudulent or malicious activity. An estimated 80% of brands currently use affiliate programs to grow sales and conversions, but what are they doing to keep their brand name and values safe while letting external outlets promote their products and services? Managing an affiliate program means prioritizing marketing compliance, deeply vetting your partnerships, and more.

What About Ad Fraud?

There are many different types of ad fraud, and it can seem daunting to combat them all when establishing your affiliate program. Utilizing tracking platforms to stay on top of your campaigns’ progress and flag suspicious activity is a simple way to mitigate the risk of fraud. Detailed campaign tracking and predetermined KPIs can provide valuable insights that will help you optimize and scale your affiliate program such as affiliate conversion rates, cost per conversion, and program ROI. 

When choosing a third-party partner to manage your affiliate program, it’s important to team up with an affiliate marketing agency that understands the importance of handling your brand’s safety. For example, Perform[cb]’s proprietary anti-fraud software, PerformSHIELD, works behind the scenes to proactively protect marketers’ campaigns from fraudulent activity. Technology like PerformSHIELD helps marketers focus on analyzing campaign results and optimizing for maximum ROI without fear of their ad spend being manipulated or stolen. Learn more about how your brand can enforce strong anti-fraud practices in the Performance Marketer’s Guide to Ad Fraud & Compliance

How To Ensure Marketing Compliance

A key element of maintaining brand safety is establishing strong marketing compliance standards. These standards are created to ensure you are meeting legal and regulatory requirements to protect your brand and its consumers. There are many guidelines and regulations put in place locally and nationally to protect brands and consumers from fraud, false advertising, and more. Many marketers also choose to develop their own set of guidelines for their brand’s third-party partners to follow. Marketing compliance guidelines usually include regulations from the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) as well as industry-specific requirements; for example, finance marketers need to comply with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) guidelines. To ensure ongoing compliance, Perform[cb] has an in-house Compliance team to ensure marketers’ campaigns are monitored 24/7 for suspicious activity. Get in touch with our team of marketing compliance experts now to develop and enforce your brand’s marketing compliance guidelines.

Manage & Communicate Expectations

Loosening your grip on the reins and allowing a third-party to promote your brand can feel nerve-wracking, but by creating and enforcing detailed marketing guidelines, you can seamlessly and safely manage your affiliate partnerships. Set clear expectations for how you want affiliates to promote your brand and stick to them. If there is something you don’t want included in your brand’s promotion, be sure to state that explicitly so partners are aware – they don’t know what you don’t tell them! Outline a list of dos and don’ts, provide a brand overview, or compile answers to commonly asked questions (FAQs) about your brand to easily communicate your marketing guidelines to affiliates. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when creating your marketing guidelines: 

  • Do we have coupon codes or promotions that are date-specific? 
  • Are there any terms or phrases we do not want affiliates to use in their messaging? 
  • What CTAs do we want partners to promote? 
  • What differentiates our product or service from competitors? 

Share your brand standards with affiliates as well, including any promotional assets that will be valuable to them, such as example style guides, copy, and relevant creative. Regularly monitor your partners for compliance – keep an eye on where and how they are advertising your brand to ensure accurate information is being communicated to consumers. By setting clear expectations and regularly checking the content affiliates are using to promote your brand, you’ll be able to maintain a strong sense of brand safety and marketing compliance. 

Keep Safety a Top Priority

Safeguarding your brand’s reputation while promoting your products in the affiliate channel doesn’t have to be intimidating. By actively enforcing your marketing guidelines and monitoring what your affiliates are sharing, you can ensure your brand’s safety. Interested in learning more about how Perform[cb] can help you protect your brand and scale your affiliate program? Reach out to our team of affiliate marketing experts today to get started.

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