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Affiliate Fraud, affiliate marketing

Affiliate Network Monitoring - 5 Reasons Why Brands Need to Ensure Compliance

Affiliate marketing fosters relationships between brands and publishers and provides value to the buyers, such as a coupon, a special offer, cashback, or product advice. The affiliate channel offers advertisers some of the best opportunities to reach their customers in a unique environment. Still, it is critical to understand the boundaries within which affiliate marketing operates.

With the exponential growth in the affiliate marketing industry, the possibility of fraudulent activities is only expected to grow. Forrester found that 69% of brands spending $1 million per month reported that at least 20% of their budget is lost to digital ad fraud. And that's a considerable amount! 

The focus of brands and advertisers is now getting in providing a safe and distraction-free experience to their customers. Digital marketing experts worldwide advise that brands should also spend their marketing budgets on network monitoring and performance tracking services. 

In this article, you will find what affiliate network monitoring is and a list of six significant reasons brands need to monitor the promotional activities of their affiliate networks and keep track of their publishers.

What is Affiliate Network Monitoring?

The name suggests that affiliate network monitoring keeps track of the publisher's activities for the brand's associated affiliate networks. The post covid era has got almost everything online, and digital marketing is the only way of attracting buyers. Affiliate monitoring is one of the important ways brands adopt to get visitors to their websites.

Affiliate marketing involves collaboration with multiple networks and hundreds of affiliates, which makes it imperative for advertisers to build a mechanism to monitor the activities of these networks and affiliates. The monitoring includes keeping track of each affiliate's methods of promotions, increasing or decreasing affiliates' earnings, ensuring compliance with brand guidelines and general laws, analyzing & tracking historical data, and more.   

There are five main reasons why each advertiser or affiliate network should be monitoring its affiliate activities.

1. Protecting the Brand Image

It takes a lot of effort and time to build a brand name, and customers are the prime sources of creating a brand's image. The marketing teams only work towards developing their brand's reputation. Along with increasing the customer base to boost sales, the marketing teams are also responsible for protecting their brand image. The malicious affiliates often redirect the users and inject cookies into their browser or system to monetize the sales. They steal users' personal information and compromise their machines to become more vulnerable to malware. Such acts hamper the brand's image, and customers eventually lose their trust in the brand.

2. Adhering to Brand Compliances and Government Regulations

Advertisers want their products and services to be promoted in a certain defined way, and they issue their set of guidelines for affiliates. Certain countries impose policies to protect end-users from online fraud. Brands need to monitor their network to ensure that they are compliant with their internal and government guidelines. The most popular ones in the affiliate marketing industry are:

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 

The FTC enforces federal consumer protection laws that prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices. The Commission also imposes federal antitrust rules prohibiting anticompetitive mergers and other business practices leading to higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation.

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR governs how companies use, process, and store personal data (information about an identifiable, living person). It applies to all companies within Europe and those supplying goods or services to Europe. 

  • Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

COPPA regulates the site operators to allow parents to review all the information collected from their children. Practically this means that any relevant site has to provide access to all user records and log-in information when a parent requests it.

3. Preventing Customer's Journeys from being Hijacked

The malicious affiliate who intends to deceive advertisers and their customers to make money try to interrupt the ideal customer journey by injecting ads and diverting users to competitor websites. 

While the customer goes through various stages of their online purchase journey, the threat actors take advantage of the vulnerability of the user's system and browsers due to access given to the affiliates via cookies. The affiliates can hijack a user session at any stage to inject the affiliate cookies and monetize the sales in turn.

Brands should monitor their networks and keep track of the activities of their affiliates to prevent their customer's journey hijacking.

4. Saving the Advertisors Marketing Budget

According to a study by the University of Baltimore, the total ad fraud in 2020 was 23 billion dollars. Out of which, 1.4 billion dollars was due to affiliate marketing frauds. Advertisers are losing their marketing budget on affiliate frauds, and there is a dire need for them to monitor their affiliate networks. The marketing teams invest money to attract more customers, while malicious affiliates use illegitimate techniques to deceive advertisers and earn commissions without getting traffic for their websites. 

5. Protecting the Legitimate Affiliates

Advertisers pay affiliates for driving traffic and contributing to increasing sales. They use cookies to track the details of the affiliates and pay for each completed sale. The malicious affiliates inject their affiliate cookies in the user's browser/system and then monetize sales from the traffic driven by legitimate affiliates. This makes the affiliates driving the traffic to advertisers' websites lose their commissions and, eventually, their interest in getting business for the particular brand. 

Virus Positive Technologies (VPT) is pioneering the market of Affiliate Fraud Management & Brand Protection. VPT's disruptive methodology identifies non-compliant behaviors that divert customers to competitor offerings, hurting conversion rates and damaging brand reputation.

By eliminating these invasive promotions, VPT consistently recovers advertisers' revenue and brand value; companies can win back more than 90% of their stolen revenue. The world's largest retailers rely on VPT's solutions to eliminate invasive promotions, preserve the online customer experience, and consistently recover advertiser revenue.

Read more:

What is Affiliate Fraud?

Know all about Cookie Hijacking and its Impact on your Brand

What are Misleading Deals?


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Gaurav Sethi | Co-Founder & CEO

Gaurav is a passionate people man who has worked on delivering business solutions and unlocking business value for a wide array of clients across different industry verticals and across different geographies. He has been an esteemed speaker at various Ad tech events for many years. With his pedigree rich in technology and business management, he has been an entrepreneur for over 15 years.

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