There are many ways to go about international expansion within the affiliate channel. Which route to take is dependent on a number of variables based on the advertiser’s existing processes, infrastructure, and technical architecture.
I’ll explain the different scenarios and my recommendations for each on how to expand your affiliate programme globally.
Scenario 1: Definitely separate programmes
Let’s say an advertiser has multiple domains for each country/region they want to target. These sites may have different price points and inventory from their [U.S. / UK / European] site. They are displayed in the language of the country/region and pricing is in the relevant currency and they may also have separate shopping carts to their U.S. / UK / European] site. In addition, other online (and potentially offline) marketing channels are being effectively implemented for these countries/regions. In certain cases, there are also different business units in charge of the revenue from these different countries/regions (ie: domestic vs. international). In this scenario it typically makes very good sense to open separate affiliate programmes.
Scenario 2: Possibly separate programmes, it depends
Alternatively, an advertiser may run everything through their .com domain, but based on the IP address or manual selection by the visitor, the content is displayed in the language and/or currency of the country/region. Depending on how important things like separate reporting and tracking for sales through different countries/regions are to the advertiser, a new affiliate programme(s) may make sense. The potential revenue amount will also be a deciding factor.
Scenario 3: Stick with existing programme
Finally, let’s look at an advertiser who simply wants to grow the international exposure of their brand and increase international revenue. Everything comes through the .com domain and it may or may not have different language/currency capabilities, but international shipping is not only available, it is also competitively priced. Advertisers with this scenario are most often advised to work on growing international revenue through their existing affiliate program. The publisher recruitment tool is the best way to access and/or target particular publishers who are located in countries high on an advertiser’s priority list.
Lastly, consider the publisher distribution within CJ Affiliate’s network, for an advertiser’s target list of countries. This is another important component for whether or not separate programs would make sense. For example, e-commerce in Europe is very substantial. the same goes for the Asia-Pacific region, but only recent years have seen more of an increase in cross-border transactions, such as a consumer in China buying from a retailer in the US. Latin America only represents a low single-digit percentage of the global e-commerce market. The publisher distribution in the CJ Affiliate network to a large extent follows these trends.
If you are interested in going global, hopefully this has given you food for thought about when and when not to expand into separate affiliate programs. If you still have questions, please contact your account manager. If you don't have an account manager, please feel free to leave your questions in the comment section below.