Every year, we alert our customers and prospects that Q4 is when we see a significant uptick in non-compliant behavior from affiliates and partners. In some cases affiliates may not be aware of the various program rules of the various brands with which they work. In other cases, bad actors take advantage of the surge in online advertising in preparation for the holidays and the fact that brands are distracted and busy. For would-be fraudsters interested in making some easy commission income, the temptation to divert branded traffic is great.
But not this year!
These 5 tips will help you stop these bad actors in their tracks and ensure you have a successful holiday season.
Tip #1: Know what normal looks like
Know how your affiliates drive traffic and what “normal” looks like for them during the rest of the year but especially during Q4. Once you know what to expect, you are ready to detect anomalies such as higher than normal commission invoices or sudden spikes in conversion rates. Unusually high CPCs or lower than normal CTRs on branded keywords may also signal competitive or unauthorized brand bidding.
Tip #2: Review your affiliate agreements
Now is a good time to dust off the agreements you have in place with your affiliates and partners. Take a look and see if they are detailed enough and whether the language is clear on how you plan to enforce the agreement. For some ideas on how to write clear policies and what to include, read this blog post.
Tip #3: Remind partners of your brand-bidding policies
Reach out to your partners and remind them of the brand-bidding policies and enforcement rules outlined in their agreement. You can also give them a heads up that you’ll be actively monitoring your paid search and affiliate channels.
Tip #4: Actively monitor your paid search
Whether it is by conducting manual searches or using an automated tool, make sure to up the frequency of your monitoring efforts. If once a week works well the rest of the year, consider increasing your monitoring to twice or three times a week during Q4. An automated solution makes the process of monitoring much easier and more thorough. With BrandVerity’s paid search monitoring solution you can see who is bidding on your brand and how often they are advertising. You can also see the complete picture including headlines, ad copy, and the URLs they use.
Tip #5: React quickly and take action
And last but not least, make sure to follow through and reach out to partners when they violate the terms of their agreements and submit trademark infringing ads to the search engines when you find them.
Submitting trademark complaints to the search engines for review and takedown can take anywhere from a few days to several months depending on the search engine. But tightly managing your affiliates and enforcing your existing agreements can be done quickly and with immediate impact.
Ready to protect your hard-earned branded traffic this holiday season?