No matter what our role is within the industry,  we all rely on affiliates.  Most of us fail to understand the vital role affiliates play in the grand scheme of things, the rest of us take it for granted.

Most network employees, (Biz Devs, Affiliate Managers, Techs and Accounting) understand the role of affiliates to the extent that they ” Run Traffic” BUT do they really understand what is going on behind the scenes and how much work and effort is required to “Run Traffic”?

I mean it can’t be that hard, right?  They take some offer links and plug them into their current website and Voila!  In other cases they setup an email creative, turn on their mail client and BOOM!  Media buying is by far the most simple, they just make up an ad, throw in some offer links and buy traffic.. How hard can it be?

WRONG, WRONG and WRONG! –  Yes in theory that is the way it goes down but there are many other factors that come into play.

Affiliates wear many hats!

Affiliates often design their own websites, create their own graphics, design their own ad copies, locate their own offers, manage their own accounting, ensure their own quality assurance, and when everything fails, they pick up the pieces.  There is no one overseeing their work habits, taking responsibility for their errors or handing them a pay check.  Affiliates never get too comfortable or satisfied because anything can change at any moment and nothing is static when running traffic.

Let’s use the metaphor of owning an offline business.  The business owner is more concerned about the over all success of the company.  They benefit when the company does well as a whole and suffer when things begin to fall into the wrong direction.  In contrast, the cashier or stock clerk doesn’t care if people are not buying products or become unhappy with current prices or product quality.  The employees care directly about their role and unplug the moment their shift ends.  At the end of the day, they will get their hourly wage.

Affiliates are much like business owners.  Their minds never rest, even on vacation.  Weekends don’t exist, they wake up multiple times each night to check their stats.  “There’s no rest for the Affiliate”.

Affiliates take huge risks.

It’s not cheap to become a successful affiliate.  It costs money for hosting/domains, essential tools and media buying.  Not to mention,  Affiliates don’t have “go to” training systems in place to learn how to run traffic. In some cases there exists communities and training courses they can buy that will give them insight on procedures.  In most cases, this is just generic information and is almost ALWAYS more about strategy and not a “How to” or “Hands on”.  Many courses will take your money without delivering, leaving you high and dry.

Affiliates always have to put money on the line to get access to information.

Imagine you are learning how to place pixels as an new AM.  Now imagine paying money out of your pocket to get instructions to do your job.  What if the information you paid for isn’t anything that you thought it would be?

The worst part about all of this?  

Information constantly changes and becomes irrelevant.  Time is always a factor. Implementing information outlined in an E-Book from 2015 will likely be in vain. The industry is always changing. Nothing is static, everything is dynamic and WILL ALWAYS change because of the nature of online markets.

What happens if a method doesn’t work?  

Most people, outside of affiliates, have a pay check coming either way.  “If this doesn’t work by 6pm on a Friday, we can sort it out this week coming.  Enjoy your weekend!”  If there is an issue that is preventing an affiliate from running traffic, they can’t afford to take the weekend off in most cases.  No Traffic = No Paycheck. This is why affiliates work close to 18 hours a day on average, some stay up for 2-3 days at a time grinding to ensure campaigns are functioning and profiting.  Affiliates expect to fail 9 times out of 10 but still work diligently to hit that winning campaign.

Without Affiliates, the industry would fall apart!  If there were no affiliates to run traffic, CPA networks wouldn’t have a purpose and advertisers would have to promote their own products.  In many cases, advertisers have some internal source of traffic to promote their products.  How successful would they be if this was their only online source of sales?

It’s for these reasons that I make the claim that Affiliates work harder than 90% of other people in the industry.  Until you have run traffic and have experienced the many stresses first hand, you have no idea what these guys go through in order to be successful.  This should give us all some insight when dealing with affiliates and truly appreciate their role in this industry.  That’s why it’s crucial to work with a network that has a knowledgeable staff and all the resources you would need to help take on some of the work load.  This way affiliates can focus on optimization, profitability and innovation!