Best Affiliate Marketing Networks For Your Brand

Best Affiliate Marketing Networks For Your Brand

What is an Affiliate Network?

Affiliate networks are a marketplace for affiliate programs. Merchants market and manage their affiliate programs within the network. Meanwhile, publishers apply to affiliate programs within the network and utilize the tools provided to create affiliate links and other assets to promote the brand and products. Each affiliate network has its pros, cons, and depending on your brand’s target audience and preferences you’ll find certain networks are better aligned with your unique needs.

AvantLink Overview:

Founded in 2005, AvantLink has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing entrepreneurial businesses in its field. Since then, it has become the premiere affiliate referral tracking, analytics, and technology platform for web retailers. AvantLink offers an array of industry-leading Affiliate tools and scripts that are integrated into the network free of charge. They also maintain a zero-tolerance policy for fraud or other rogue practices.

Always striving to better the client and publisher experience, AvantLink has developed the highly anticipated Arches platform. AvantLink CEO, Scott Kalbach, explains “The new platform brings the next generation of data architecture, tracking, UI/UX, and performance marketing technology to those in the AvantLink network.”

Popular Verticals Within The Network:

AvantLink is a popular choice among outdoor-focused brands such as Pure Fishing, Stio, and Outdoor Master. This network is appropriate for both large and small merchants but is especially popular amongst direct-to-consumer retailers. 

Network Critiques

AvantLink provides robust, real-time reporting. But, based on client feedback, their reporting tools lack customization options and they could improve on their email marketing tools.

Ascend by Partnerize Overview:

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Ascend by Partnerize, once known as Pepperjam, is a global provider with offices in London, New York, Philadelphia, Santa Cruz, Sydney, Tempe, and Toronto. Founded in 1999, Ascend by Partnerize is known in the industry for having brought together some of the greatest minds and technology in performance marketing while maintaining a boutique feel. They do this by taking a cross-channel approach to portfolio management allowing for maximum ROAS and facilitating one to personalize the impersonal.

The Ascend platform delivers a fully integrated suite of discovery, recruitment, optimization, payment, and brand safety capabilities. In other words, Ascend by Partnerize allows one to control the entire affiliate partnership marketing lifecycle—on a single platform.

Popular Verticals Within The Network:

Ascend by Partnerize is vastly popular amongst digital service retailers, kid’s brands, and subscription-based brands such as Toca Life Box and Legal Zoom.

Network Critiques

Ascend by Partnerize is said to be the only platform that delivers a fully integrated, comprehensive suite of discovery, recruitment, and optimization. This is a great platform for programs looking to scale the affiliate program to their primary marketing channel. With that said, some people find the platform to be rigid and, in some ways lacking customization.

Impact Overview:

Formerly known as Impact Radius, Impact was founded in 2008 in Santa Barbara, California. Since its conception, it has grown to over 750 employees and twelve offices across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Impact is a global leader in Affiliate Marketing, allowing brands to scale their marketing strategy.

Impact’s Partnership Cloud automates each stage of the partnership lifecycle from discovery, recruitment, onboarding, engagement, and optimization of all types of partnerships. Impact Partnership Cloud comes with an application programming interface (API), which facilitates integration with third-party platforms, such as Salesforce, Shopify, Google Shopping, Twilio, WooCommerce, Facebook, Instagram, and more. And in April of 2021, Impact acquired Affluent, furthering their analytics & reporting capabilities.

Popular Verticals Within The Network:

This network has been chosen by brands like Walmart, Uber, Shopify, Lenovo, L’Oreal, Fanatics, and Levi’s.

Network Critiques

For better or worse Impact is known for having a rigorous selection process resulting in many affiliates being rejected from the platform. Happily, it has been noted that the Impact team will work with prospective affiliates in this scenario, often allowing them to reapply. However, the friction accumulated during the application process could pose an issue if you intend to carry out out-of-network affiliate recruitment.

Rakuten Advertising Overview:

What was formally a Japanese e-commerce brand called Linkshare, Rakuten Advertising is now home to one of the top affiliate marketing networks. With over 20 years of experience in Affiliate and Performance Marketing, Rakuten Advertising is an innovative platform with an award-winning solution that connects advertisers with valuable audiences and helps publishers monetize their content. Rakuten Advertising states that its mission is to make the internet a better place. “A place that brings relevance, value, and enjoyment to everyone involved – advertisers, publishers, and consumers alike.” They achieve this goal by committing to constant innovation and implementing “game-changing strategies” informed by decades of learning.

Popular Verticals Within The Network:

Rakuten offers a myriad of useful tools for online merchants thus it is no wonder the Rakuten Advertising network is popular amongst large organizations like Wells Fargo and Virgin Holidays. Smaller retailers and direct-to-consumer brands, particularly in the finance and travel industries, have found success in this network too.

Network Critiques

The ability to import and export data from this network needs improvement. Additionally, Rakuten Advertising provides few reporting customization options.

ShareASale Overview:

ShareASale is a Chicago-based affiliate network that has spent over 20 years growing its network. By 2017 ShareASale became one of North America’s largest affiliate management platforms. ShareASale aims to guide merchants and publishers to success through nurturing relationships and delivering cutting-edge technology. ShareASale provides real-time insights into performance data, affiliate partner activity, and personalized program diagnostics.

In January 2017, a large part of ShareASale’s affiliate operations had been acquired by Awin, a global affiliate network. With over 20 years of experience in Affiliate Marketing for both ShareASale and Awin, they set forth to build a platform that provides solutions to drive sustainable growth for merchants worldwide. Since the merger ShareASale has increased its reach, providing international opportunities even to more affiliates across the globe.

Popular Verticals Within The Network:

ShareASale is particularly popular amongst home & garden, fashion, and eco-friendly brands. In addition, the majority of affiliate programs in this network cater to North American clients.

Network Critiques

The dashboard is clunky and the reporting tools leave much to be desired, especially if you are concerned about the customer journey.

We would be happy to discuss the affiliate networks with you further. Contact Clique today to start the conversation.