Affiliate Program Management: In-House vs. Outsourced, Which is Better?

Affiliate Program Management

Affiliate marketing enables merchants and publishers to develop a mutually beneficial relationship, in which the publisher helps the merchant by promoting their products and services. In return, the merchant pays a commission on sales and leads.

Affiliate Program Management Infographic

Affiliate Program Management Infographic

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

  1. A merchant wants to promote its product or service through various websites.
  2. An affiliate network connects the retailer with a large base of publishers looking to monetize their traffic.
  3. Publishers promote the merchant with banners, links, product feeds and other advertising.
  4. A potential customer finds advertisement, clicks on it and makes a purchase.
  5. The merchant makes a sale.
  6. The publishers earn a commission.

Roles of An Affiliate Manager

  • Develops marketing strategies to attract new affiliates
  • Finds new affiliates
  • Nurtures relationships between merchant and affiliates
  • Leverages personal relationships with affiliates for the benefit of the merchant
  • Manages the payment process of the affiliate program


In-House Affiliate Manager (AM)

Outsourced Program Manager (OPM)

Connections may be limited and finding new affiliates might prove to be a challenge.Experienced OPMs have already established an extensive network of affiliates.
It is risky to hire an inexperienced affiliate manager who needs training and guidance.Experienced OPMs know what works and what doesn’t.
This is not a one person job. It requires networking and people skills, technical expertise, graphic design and newsletter management.Established OPMs will have a team of experts to handle all facets of affiliate program management.
Often, program management is a secondary task for in-house managers as other responsibilities take priority.The OPM’s focus is on managing your affiliate program with few outside distractions.
Many in-house managers have an employee mentality, requiring direction and permission on even the smallest decisions.OPMs are business owners. Their income is based on performance, giving them incentive to do good work.
Affiliates need to deal with several AMs for several different companies, complicating things in the long run.Often the OPM acts as one point of contact for multiple merchants, making it easier for the affiliate to promote several programs at once.


The benefits of outsourcing affiliate management are clear: fast growth and sustainability by leveraging the experience of a professional service provider. Be sure to weigh the options when comparing an in-house affiliate manager to a company that can grow your business while saving you the overhead.

Get a Quote on Outsourced Program Management

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  • By Dennis Consorte
  • Published on July 20th, 2012