It gives me great pleasure to be able to write this post at this major milestone in our history. I’ve been involved with the Avangate Affiliate Network since 2009 and am proud to have helped it grow into the mature and widely recognized #1 digital goods network that it is today.
Of course, all the success is thanks to our beloved clients – both advertisers and affiliates – who trusted the network, helped it gain momentum and sustained its growth over time.
A few lessons from our history
Let me turn back the pages of the Avangate history book a litle bit to share a few milestones that we’ve experienced over these last 10 years and what we’ve learned from them: one history lesson for every year we’ve been around.
- June 2006 -> We launched the Avangate Affiliate Network. Back then, the network was described as ”a sales and marketing tool benefiting shareware and software authors and publishers looking to expand their online sales and take advantage of new markets. For affiliates, the program is a good way to make a website profitable as they earn commissions for referring sales to vendors’ websites.” We’ve definitely come a long way since then.
- May 2007 -> We published our first piece of CONTENT about affiliate marketing. This article was our first educational resource for affiliate marketers. As pioneers in the industry, we take our leadership role seriously, and we care about helping people do affiliate marketing right. Throughout the years, we’ve developed a consistent content marketing flow, rolling out hundreds of content pieces related to affiliates, from blog posts to webinars, case studies and even eBooks. Our clients, affiliates and partners have all played an important role in this work, helping educate the market by sharing their best practices for affiliate marketing and expectations are for an affiliate network.
History lesson: Content is a great way to convert prospects, educate affiliates for a specific niche and raise brand awareness.
***Visit our Resources section and the Avangate blog and browse the affiliate articles for more helpful tips.
- April 2008 -> We reached $1,000,000 worth of transactions through the Avangate Affiliate Network. From this point on, growth continued exponentially.
History lesson: Just like they say, the first million is the hardest.
- June 2008 -> We interviewed our first AFFILIATE: Nico Westerdale from BitsDuJour, who’s one of our top long-term partners. One of the most interesting and successful campaigns we ran together, back in December 2010, was a massive software bundle with 10 apps.
History lesson: Affiliates are people, too, and they like to have fun. Face-to-face interaction with affiliates will help you create a more productive relationship.
- December 2008 -> We approved our 1,000th affiliate in the network. Just six years later, we hit the 50,000 milestone.
History lesson: Advertisers’ information pages for affiliates are the best source of new, qualified affiliates. Even though not all of these affiliates will actively sell at the same time, it’s easier to activate an affiliate than to recruit one.
- July 2009 -> We interviewed our first affiliate marketing INFLUENCER: Geno Prussakov. Since that first interview, Geno has remained very close to Avangate. We’ve done a lot of content pieces together, presented at events, worked together on mutual clients and, most importantly, had a ton of fun. Throughout the years we’ve also received a lot of support from other industry influencers, including Missy Ward and Shawn Collins from the Affiliate Summit, as well as Zac Johnson. We appreciate their involvement immensely.
History lessons: Influencers are a great source of feedback, guidance and support in educating the market, especially if your solution is innovative and addresses a specific niche.
- October 2009 -> We gained our first major ADVERTISER (over 1,000 orders per month via affiliates): Bitdefender. They chose to use the Avangate Affiliate Network exclusively at that time. Since then, we’ve had many others join us, and you can find them by browsing the affiliate network catalog available in your Avangate affiliate account.
History lesson: Pitch the best selling products to affiliates according to their traffic levels in order to help them grow faster. Sometimes, larger affiliates prefer to focus on alternative titles for the most saturated niches, just to avoid competition. As an advertiser, be sure to monitor your competitors’ offers for affiliates.
- May 2010 -> We attended our first affiliate EVENT: A4U Expo Europe in Munich. There, we connected with some of the world’s top influencers in performance marketing and saw the latest trends in the industry. Since then, we’ve become a constant presence at the PMI Expo and Affiliate Summit conferences. The first presentation we did on affiliates was in 2011 at Affiliate Summit East, where we also began our series of software networking dinners at affiliate events (thumbs up if you liked Del Frisco’s in NYC!).
History lesson: Dedicated networking events are the way to go at industry conferences. Don’t rely on the ”official” parties, where there’s a lot of noise and you can’t talk business. Run your own events, where you’ll get the chance to gather qualified people from your industry and drive the conversations on your own terms.
- March 2011 -> We held our first affiliate CONTEST: Avangate Affiliate Network’s Five-Year Anniversary. We’ve had one or two big contests per year ever since. In 2015, we gave away a Zero Bike, and this year we’ve just ended our Heroes of Digital Marketing contest.
History lesson: When you want to run a contest, consider offering a cash alternative for prizes, as most affiliates prefer that.
- August 2011 -> We launched Avangate Managed Affiliate Services (MAS), a line of services that helps software advertisers grow their affiliate program. At first, the management was done in-house with Avangate resources. Then, in 2013, we outsourced the activities to external partners (iAffiliate Management and then Schaaf-PartnerCentric) to better accommodate the demand for these services, which have proven to be very successful.
History lesson: Set the correct expectations from the beginning with both clients and partners, since we’re talking about a paid service. Then, you’ll be on the way to accelerated growth for your affiliate program.
- January 2015 -> We were RANKED #1 for the first time, as the #1 affiliate network in the digital goods space (#4 overall). This ranking came after three years of a more prominent affiliate presence and a nomination in the AffStat survey as well. (Oh, and by the way, we’re still ranked #1 in digital goods in 2016.)
History lesson: Recognition can increase conversions for both advertiser and affiliate prospects.
I have to say a big ”Thank You” if you made it through all these milestones, and I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane as much as I did. I’d love to hear your take on the above, and any favorite affiliate marketing memories you may have (of Avangate or otherwise).
Also – I apologise for not mentioning all of our 2,500+ advertisers and 50,000+ affiliates, but the fact is that without all of you we wouldn’t be where we are today. Thank you all, very much.
Big thanks to the team
You may wonder about the dedicated team behind the scenes that does the affiliate marketing ”magic” that you see every day. Wonder no more. They are:
Along with Teodora and Monica, we have affiliate support and vendor support departments that work around the clock to answer any questions from advertisers and affiliates; the product team, which assists with the platform development of the network; and the growth services & alliances team, which helps create content and manage the affiliate services our partners provide for our advertisers. They all play a big role in the affilliate network’s success.
Going forward, our main goal is to continue growing the Avangate Affiliate Network into the #1 preferred quality software & digital goods network. This growth will be closely tied to the evolution of the complete eCommerce solution that we offer.
How do you see Avangate? Where do you think we should go next? What’s been great about the network so far? We always welcome your feedback – feel free to leave us a comment below, and share a favorite affiliate marketing memory from the past 10 years!