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  • Writer's pictureThe FF&M team

FF&M's affiliate marketing FAQs

This year, FF&M launched its affiliate marketing service to help clients achieve more editorial coverage as digital newspapers and magazines are rewarded for any successful sales of your products generated by their content. 

To help you learn more about how affiliate marketing works and can benefit your business, read our affiliate marketing FAQs below. 

Email for more information about our affiliate marketing service. 

I thought affiliate marketing was just for working with influencers? 

You can set up an affiliate link to work directly with an influencer so you can track their sales or offer their audiences a specific code. The principle is the same as affiliate marketing with traditional publishers like magazines and newspapers: it’s just that you’re working on their platform rather than purely social media. 

Do I need to be a big brand with proven traction to get started with affiliate marketing? 

No, a business of any size can start an affiliate marketing programme. Given you only pay a commission to a publisher for a successful sale driven by their content, it’s a cost-effective marketing channel for independent businesses. 

Can I end my affiliate marketing programme or am I locked in forever? 

Yes, you can end your affiliate marketing programme should you wish. However, if you do, publishers may link to your products via your retailer partners’ websites rather than your own website, potentially impacting your revenue. 

What are the most common mistakes?

Not working with a wide range of publishers can limit the effectiveness of an affiliate marketing programme. Also, not having strong and relevant imagery available can discourage publishers from featuring your content. 

Do I just join one network or many? 

You should only work with one affiliate marketing network at any one time. 

Why is Skimlinks different? 

Skimlinks is a subnetwork that partners with networks like Rakuten and WebGains. To access the full range of publishers, you need to work with larger networks like Rakuten and WebGains, which in turn work with Skimlinks. 

How does tracking work with affiliate marketing? 

While Apple and Google have reduced the ease with which to track users’ activity via cookies, there are other methods of affiliate tracking including pixel tracking and postback URL tracking. While these are not 100% accurate, they allow brands to track conversions with greater effectiveness. 

Can an affiliate marketing programme be global? 

Yes, operating your affiliate programme globally allows you to offer commission to publishers worldwide to help generate brand awareness in new markets. 

How do journalists know my brand has an affiliate marketing programme in place? 

FF&M would notify shopping, commerce and digital editors that your brand has implemented an affiliate programme and that their publications can earn commission on successful sales of your products driven by their editorial content. 

Do I have to work with all newspapers and magazines? 

No, you can choose which publications to offer affiliate commission to. Before launching your programme, FF&M will share a shortlist of relevant publications for your approval. This will guide FF&M in reviewing future applications from publishers who wish to join your programme. 

What happens if a commissionable purchase is returned? 

If an item eligible for commission is returned, you need to notify the network of this before you close out your monthly invoice. If your e-commerce store is powered by Shopify, some networks offer apps that integrate into your Shopify website to fully automate this reporting. 

What should I do if my retail partners run affiliate programmes? 

You could offer higher commissions to publishers. This means publishers will be more likely to link to your website than a retailer’s website. Ultimately, this means you’ll make a higher margin on your product through a direct sale, rather than diverting the sale through a retailer. 

Is affiliate marketing still worth continuing with if I don’t achieve lots of sales from it?  

Even if you don’t achieve lots of sales through your programme, maintaining your programme can improve your brand awareness. For instance, a journalist may place your product into a shopping roundup and even if people don’t click on the link and purchase, they will still have seen your product and brand in a roundup by a quality publication. 

Do I contract directly with the affiliate network or does FF&M contract on my behalf? 

We recommend that you contract directly with the affiliate network. You can then grant FF&M access to proactively manage your programme. 

What is a typical commission fee payable to publishers? 

Typical commission fees payable to publishers vary by category. In low margin categories such as electronics, commissions range between 1% and 3.5%. For higher margin categories such as fashion and beauty, commissions typically range between 5% and 20% for the right publisher or exposure opportunity. For fashion and beauty brands that work with a range of publisher models, the average commission paid is around 8% to 10% of the product’s RRP. 

How does the override commission work? 

For example, if a publisher is due £10 commission on a sale, the network would be paid 20% on top (£2), making the total commission pay-out on the sale £12 (£10 to the publisher and £2 to the network). However, the 20% override is only applicable if commissions due to the network exceed the monthly minimum service fee amount (£400 a month in year 1, £500 a month in year 2). Once the monthly minimum service fee amount is exceeded, the 20% override is the only payment that you would make to the network. All figures + VAT. 

How do VAT payments work? 

If you are a UK VAT registered business, VAT will be added to all invoices from the network. However, commissions due to publishers which are based outside of the UK and are not UK VAT registered will not incur a VAT charge. 

How can you tell which pieces of content and links are affiliate? 

Publishers are required to disclose whether their content contains affiliate links through which they could earn commission. Usually, publishers will include a statement at the top of their editorial content informing readers that while the products featured have been independently chosen by editors, they mean earn commission if you purchase one of the products. You can tell whether a link is an affiliate link by clicking on it and checking whether the URL is very long and contains code, or even the word ‘affiliate’.

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