Affiliate management companies are very similar to SEO companies. Our channel is 100% out of our control, we can only do our best based on experience to drive results, and you need to be very cautious of who you choose to manage your program. When talking to potential clients, something that has been coming up a lot more than normal is “but XYZ company guaranteed XXX% growth or results” or “XYZ company said it will be XY% of our total sales”.
If someone said one of the above things to you, you’re probably talking to a scammer since nobody can guarantee results or predict performance with an affiliate program.
The short answer is that you do not own the affiliates’ websites, you do not own the search engines, you cannot control what social media channels share, etc… Because you cannot control any of the traffic sources, you cannot guarantee exposure, traffic or sales. Since since are 100% out of your control, no one can actually promise you will have sales or forecast the performance of an affiliate program, with one exception.
This post is meant to help you explain this to your boss, your clients and to future clients that hire our company. It will help to explain why any affiliate manager or management company that actually knows the channel will never make guarantees on an affiliate program’s performance and why you may want to look elsewhere for management if someone does.
With that said, there is one scenario where you CAN absolutely guarantee, forecast and predict results from an affiliate program. However, if this is happening with your program, you may want to consider buying a proper attribution system and learning about what adds value and what doesn’t. I listed the exception first so that if you don’t want to read the rest of the post, you can at least gain something from it.