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A Case Study from SEMrush

The largest affiliate networks receive hundreds of thousands of requests per day. Automation of entrances for them is an indisputable need.

In-house affiliate programs found at many SaaS companies manage the daily flow of hundreds to thousands of inbound requests. Handling them manually is a huge challenge for a manager, but businesses are often slow to consider alternatives.

Many doubts arise regarding possible optimization. Will automation devote much of the affiliate team’s productive time? Will the system guarantee the quality of the selected requests? Will the business pay off?

We have addressed the same concerns in SEMrush’s affiliate program and we can definitely answer “yes” to each of these questions. Our automation solution is based on website traffic analysis. Let me explain this to you in detail.

In-house affiliate program that processes incoming requests: “First” experience

SEMrush is an all-in-one digital marketing suite that provides competitive intelligence for the entire team. We manage our affiliate marketing in-house with the special BeRush program. Over the years, BeRush has built strong brand awareness, which has led us to 150 new registrations one day in the affiliate program.

Qualifying these records manually for a manager requires two hours of work per day. And that’s not even counting the number of affiliates whose links are already in our database. That’s 30,000 potential partners waiting for the right moment to renew their contracts. Thousands of valuable opportunities that can be profitable for the business.

Fortunately, as part of SEMrush we are no strangers to data technology. After acknowledging the problem, we started looking for a solution internally.

How did we present traffic analytics as the viable solution to an affiliate?

Step 1. Specify metrics for scoring all incoming posts

We reviewed the workflow followed by our affiliate managers and decided on the appropriate metrics. The first criterion for us is the amount of traffic a website receives.

A large number of visits to a website is a sign of a high chance of reaching a sufficient audience there and attracting new users to SEMrush. Traffic volume also reflects the website owner’s investment in marketing, so highly reliable potential partner.

Step 2. Create a workflow to collect these metrics

We used SEMrush Traffic Analytics, the tool of the SEMrush suite, to collect data about the website traffic of our potential candidates. The interface showed us statistics suitable for comparison and drew clear graphs that immediately showed the website was growing or losing visitors.

Our primary metric was Traffic Volume. The key for us was to look at the potential affiliate’s performance in dynamics. We weren’t going to have an affair with an expired partner.

We were completely satisfied with the data contained in the tool, but realized we were still collecting it manually, and that meant a lot of work. We had to take one more step.

Step 3: Automate data collection with aggregated analysis of websites

We moved on to Aggregate Analysis of all requests. Previously, we could only get traffic data for five websites side by side in the interface. We can now enter a list of up to 200 domains and export them to a .csv table.

Depending on the number of incoming applications, we can dedicate daily or weekly time to this procedure.

At that point, we already felt relief from the workload. because the process was now 10 times faster.

However, we weren’t entirely happy yet, and we’ve gone even further with the optimization of the affiliate qualification.

Step 4: Integrate the API into the existing affiliate scoring and tracking system

The key to our success was: full automation process by connecting SEMrush Traffic Analytics to the internal BeRush data system via API.

From then on, we didn’t have to commute to the vehicle to export traffic data. With seamless integration, as soon as the new record is posted to BeRush, all the necessary statistics are submitted to our pages. We can quickly check the Traffic Volume and go into more details if needed (such as comparing the Bounce Rate and Traffic Sources of websites). All we had to do was set up alerts and custom triggers.

This way, hundreds of new requests flow into a priority wish list. most valuable possible affiliates.

In addition to scoring new submissions, we’ve also increased the speed of reviewing pre-registered users. Some got into our affiliate program a year ago and now needed to be reactivated. Others have signed on who were eager to promote SEMrush but were unsuccessful, so we may want to reconsider our partnership with them.

It has become more efficient than ever, with extra filters that separate program participants by location and registration date.

What did we gain from automatic affiliate scoring?

As a result, we have processed the entire affiliate base, 30,000 partnersand identified the most (potentially) profitable among them.

BeRush administrators no longer spend more than 30 minutes a day sorting requests compared to the previous two hours. People will always use human intelligence to achieve their business goals, but technology can be of great help in routine tasks.

are you ready to start? Learn more about Tapfiliate’s automations and additional features here.

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