The Advertiser, The Publisher, and The Affiliate Network
We have previously talked about the key differences between Advertisers and Publishers. Regardless, we really wanted to revisit the topic and include a little bit more detail and discuss the differences anew as a refresher. Also, Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked havoc this year, we will be looking at the subject from an entirely new perspective.
Mobile Marketing jargon such as “high quality traffic” and “high LTV users” is used amongst all the players in the industry, however there are very important differences between these entities that are key. What we normally find in this “ecosystem” is three main groups: Advertisers, Affiliates, and Publishers. Each of them plays a key role in the industry, and there are at times some grey areas and overlaps so it can get a a little confusing at times.
So what are the roles that these three main players take on? Let’s take a closer look and shed some light on the nuances and differences between them. One thing worth noting is that all these entities are not directly competing against each other, but rather they rely on each other in a delicate balance.
In a nutshell, the Advertiser is the content provider the owner of the offer itself. They are the ones in search of users to access said content. Going into a bit more detail the the Advertiser is an organization that is providing a product or service, which is usually a CPA subscription, a sale offer, or a CPI app/game offer. This entity relies on an outside source to advertise their service of product and drive traffic to their offer — this source is known as the Publisher.
It’s worth noting that each offer has its own set of rules on how it can be promoted. This could include what type of traffic can be directed to the ad, the actual type of ads and creative bring used, where the ad can appear and so forth.
What Publishers do is provide (quality) traffic that is intented to eventually “convert” the offers advertised. Converting means generating meaningful action from mobile users. This could be the user installing the advertised app itself (in CPI campaigns) or alternatively, making a purchase in-app, subscribing to the app, or even creating a profile in the app (in CPA campaigns).
So, as the traffic provider, the Publisher is ultimately responsible for the ads. This means they are responsible for linking the end users with the Advertiser’s product or service. They must provide the best quality offers to ensure they can deliver the highest possible monetization rate for the traffic.
These traffic providers can be individuals working on their own, or could also be larger companies. There are media buyers who buy traffic on ad networks, webmasters who gain their own organic traffic from websites, and even social media marketers who acquire their traffic from social media networks.
This means that there are many different types of publishers and they can be categorized based on what they do, and how they gain their traffic. Additionally, different types of traffic have different performance levels on each existing offer.
The Affiliate Network
So then what is an Affiliate Network? Basically, it is an intermediary between the Advertiser and the Publisher. They can be categorized as “mediators”.
So why do Affiliate Networks exist? Well, Advertisers are always looking to get as much high-quality traffic for their products or services as possible of course, however, it’s not so easy when in order to do so you must manage a large number of Publishers at the same time. This is when the Affiliate Network comes into play. The Network can manage the pools of Publishers in the most efficient way possible, and this is how they provide value.
In this way, the “ecosystem” is well-balanced and efficient. The work is distributed amongst these entities (Advertisers, Publishers, and Affiliate Networks) in a way that allows each one to specialize in their own specific know-how and progressively improve performance overall.
The Bird’s-Eye View
Here is a diagram that synthesizes the relationships between Advertisers, Publishers and Networks in a straight-foward way. You can refer back to this chart whenever you need a quick reminder of what each does and how each entity (including the end user) relates to one another.
We hope that we were able to clarify the way the Mobile Advertising ecosystem works and we look forward to proving further details on our upcoming articles.
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