A Data-Driven Look at the Impact of Continual Publisher Recruitment on Long-Term Growth

May 16, 2019
Written by CJ

As technology has gotten smarter over the years, the consumer has naturally followed suit. They now expect their needs to be met in a more immediate, relevant, and sophisticated way.

Publishers focus on providing value to consumers throughout the purchase life cycle, and as customer behavior shifts, publisher models emerge and evolve to continue to meet these needs. Some of these models meet a temporary need—driving growth for programs for a short period of time as a consumer purchasing fad arises and then fades. Others become mainstream and continue to drive long-term growth.

For example, influencers appeal to an audience that only more recently has started to rely on these influential individuals whose lifestyle and interests align with the consumers for their product/service recommendations. This, along with other publisher models, weren’t prevalent at the inception of affiliate marketing, yet over the last few years, they have evolved to become highly impactful affiliates.

In this ever-changing digital sphere, a set-it-and-forget-it approach with publisher partners leaves a lot on the table and stunts long-term, sustainable program growth. Network data demonstrates that many top-performing publisher models or publishers from 15 or even 10 years ago are no longer among the top players in the space—and some of them have gone out of business altogether.

While advertisers should continue to nurture existing publisher relationships that are adding value to their program, the recruitment of new publishers into an advertiser’s program is vital for keeping up with consumer demand and ultimately driving long-term growth. The big question remains—just how valuable is publisher recruitment and what’s the best approach to creating new and lasting relationships with the right publisher partners?

Network Recruitment Drives Growth


Recruiting new publishers is the lifeblood of long-term growth. The proof is in the numbers. We looked at network data over the last five years and found that on average, 60% of an advertiser’s program revenue came from publishers who were recruited into their program AFTER the first year. In other words, while publishers that were in the program in the first year still contributed a meaningful percentage of advertiser program revenue, most program revenue comes directly from newly recruited publisher partnerships.

Additionally, program growth is fueled by the addition of new publisher partnerships. Advertiser programs in our network that are actively recruiting publishers see an average of 2x the growth rate in a 5 year period. If strong, sustainable program growth is the goal, publisher recruitment needs to be a core investment within affiliate.

A Truly Personalized Approach to Recruitment

So, it’s clear that ongoing publisher recruitment is vital for success, but what is the best way to go about it? Make it personal! Plug and play drip campaigns can never replace the sentiment and success of personal networking, direct outreach, and partnerships with your publishers.

Publishers are bombarded with non-personal, generic messages asking them to join a myriad of advertiser programs across multiple platforms. While these may seem to help advertisers scale, it often misses the mark when taking into consideration that different publishers have different needs. It’s important to dedicate time to identifying key publisher prospective partners and business models and cater your outreach, program strategy, and positioning to meet their needs and ultimately, the needs of their audience.


Looking for best practices on how to communicate more effectively with publishers in the CJ network? Check out this Junction article or log-in to the Support Center to browse our library of step-by-step and how-to articles.

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