Five Areas to Innovate Your Affiliate Program

26 Apr, 2021
Written by Sarah Howes

A lot goes into managing an affiliate program and the opportunities for growth can feel endless. 

To zoom in on the best ways to move the needle, we recently hosted a webinar to cover the five areas you should focus on to take your affiliate program to the next level in 2021. Here, we’ll cover key takeaways with questions to ask yourself as you review your program.

Note: Some links throughout this article go to the CJ Support Center and will ask you to log-in to view.

1. Maximising Your Affiliate Program

Finding opportunities outside of your current affiliate program setup ensures you’re promoting and tracking anything and everything that drives value for your business.

  • Do you have a new website, app, product/service or other commissionable action that you can add to your CJ program? Adding additional actions to your program is free and easy.
  • Are you able to track affiliate conversions in store? Incentivise publishers to drive in store/curbside pickup growth through Site to Store offers.
  • Is your program full of traditional content, voucher/coupon, and loyalty partners? Consider adding non-traditional publishers like search, cart optimisation, display, mobile, etc... to your program.

2. Continuous Recruitment

The number one contributor to long-term affiliate success is continued recruitment efforts. Our network data shows that at the end of a five-year growth plan newly recruited publishers will represent sixty percent of program revenue. Recruiting new partners should be an ongoing process on a regular basis.

  • Have you used our new partner discovery tool, Recruit Partners, in the CJ Account Manager to find recruitment opportunities?
  • Are you are opted in to receive new publisher opportunities? Check your communication settings on the Account > Users page to ensure you’re opted in to receive partner opportunities.

3. Optimising Your Investment

One of the major benefits of affiliate is that it's a pay-for-performance channel where you can see a guaranteed return on investment. However, a guaranteed ROI does not equate to a set it and forget it situation - for optimum success, you still need to actively manage your investment. Checking in on your program terms, reporting, and setting up strategic commissioning models can give you more control over your investment.

4. Program Health Monitoring

One of the most important things that you can do for your program is to monitor transactions on a regular basis to ensure that everything is tracking as expected, that you only pay commissions on valid transactions, and that you monitor the performance of your partners.

  • Are you reviewing transactions every month to validate orders? Don’t forget to submit corrections for invalid transactions that shouldn’t be commissioned.
  • Are you reviewing your program’s performance for any anomalies? If a publisher violates your Program Terms or you suspect fraudulent activity. Report suspicious behaviour to Network Quality.
  • Do you audit publishers and selectively accept new publishers into the program?

5. Operational Efficiencies

These are areas where you can save yourself time by utilising the available solutions to create efficiencies and best practices.

  • Are you taking advantage of enhanced tracking? Check out all the new parameters you can now add to your CJ tracking to build in more robust data through enhanced vertical attributes.
  • Are you bulk uploading and editing links? Save time using our templates!
  • Do you allow deep linking on the Account > Deep Links page so your publishers can drive traffic to specific product or category pages on your website? Our research shows that advertisers that allow deep linking average 20 - 50% more sales on deep links because they drive customers closer to the point of conversion.
  • Have you accepted coupon feed publishers into the program? Let your partners do the work for you! Publishers like Coupilia (CID 3803684) and FMTC (CID 3874069) can help you with your offer distribution to partners in your program and don’t take a commission to do so.
  • Are you using publisher groups to keep organised? Publisher Groups make it easier to run reports, push program terms, and even send newsletters!
  • Do you send regular newsletters to update your publishers about changes to the program, new products, services, offers, links, etc...? Here’s our list of email campaign best practices.


We hope this list helps you get focused on affiliate program success!

Situational Commissioning

Situational Commissioning is a powerful, rule-based commissioning solution that allows advertisers to build and reward on high-value commissioning scenarios based on order attributes unique to their business.


Insights provides actionable data on demand in an intuitive, streamlined and easy-to-use platform to help you identify where to take action for your program.

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