The Importance of Communicating Affiliate Payment Status
For networks to truly be of service to affiliates and gain their loyalty, they must go beyond achieving a high comScore. According to Tipalti’s “Performance Marketing Network Payment Satisfaction Survey,” considerable value is placed on communication with partners about affiliate payment status, which also extends to enabling self-service management.
75.7% of affiliates stated that when a payment status is changed, it was very important to get a notification email (an additional 20.1% of affiliates said it was important). Because many networks rely on manual processes to make payments, updating affiliates at every stage of the payment process (payment sent, issues with payments, payment failed, etc.) can be a major burden on their staff.
Communication is even more critical when affiliate payment issues occur. 82.3% of affiliates stated that it was very important to receive notification to help them resolve a payment issue and an additional 15.4% said it was important.
Proactive Payment Communications
Often, those facilitating affiliate payments respond to an error reactively and manually, requiring verification of the error, translating various bank or payment processing messages, investigating why the issue occurred, and then communicating with the affiliate on how to resolve the problem. Then they must cancel one payment and re-send it.
The most common scenario is that the network is unaware that there was a payment error and is only alerted to it when the affiliate complains about it. While proactively communicating issues is time-consuming, it is something that must be taken seriously by networks if they want to maintain their affiliate relationships.
Given that business transactions and activities happen around the clock, especially with affiliates in varying time zones and countries, the need for self-service is becoming nearly universal. 98.1% say the ability to select/update payment method preferences online is important or very important. The ability to view the payment status and payment history online was likewise important or very important according to 98.1% of affiliates.
One concerning finding was that nearly 40% of affiliates stated that they email their bank account details to their performance marketing networks for payments, while another 13% state that they provide account information over the phone. Not only are these methods of sharing this sensitive information not secure, but they are highly manual for both parties.
Affiliate Payment Tracking
Without a web portal of some kind, affiliate payment tracking can be a difficult and tedious task. With a self-service portal, affiliates are left to communicate directly with the network to understand payment status or to make simple changes to their banking details. This adds considerable friction and introduces a greater propensity for error, particularly if there are language differences or a lag between work hours due to varying time zones. Tracking the status of affiliate payments can be an issue for both the payee and the payer. The payee is left in the dark with regards to the status of their payment unless they call or email the payer. The payer then has to use precious time to communicate payment status detail, a process that can and should be automated. Without proactive payment communication or an affiliate payment portal, affiliate payment tracking is often non-existent.