Affiliate marketing is a great way to gain new, targeted consumers for premium SMS services. Service providers are able to reap the benefits of marketing tools they may otherwise not have access to and pay only for results. However, recent regulatory issues in the UK have highlighted the need to follow best practice when using this form of marketing.
Confusion around affiliate marketing has risen among many UK-based service providers this year with the UK regulator, PhonepayPlus and AIME both releasing guidance due to increased regulatory breaches within the industry.
Increased regulatory interest arose after services were marketed through smaller affiliates and individuals who used techniques that are both regulatory and morally questionable. Many of these “blind affiliates” used social media as a mechanism for driving this traffic. Many times the route of this traffic was kept from the Level 2 providers.
To clear up the confusion, txtNation’s compliance officer, Adam Rolston offers his advice, taken from both PhonepayPlus and AIME, to service providers using affiliate marketing in the UK:
- Use well known and respected advertising networks.
- Avoid companies that don’t allow you to trace the route of your traffic. You need to keep in control of your affiliate marketing.
- When setting up with an affiliate network, you need to have pre-agreed formats for advertising and methods of advertising with them.
- Make sure you have strong contracts between yourselves and the affiliate networks. Some of our clients have specifically written their own contracts and have forwarded them to our compliance team to check over.
- Within the contracts, outline that the affiliate network shouldn’t be using malicious techniques, banners or advertising hasn’t been pre-agreed and specified (in the contract).
- Stick to the guidance the PhonepayPlus and Aime have released. You can find a summary here.
- Make sure the people you are contracting with are only doing what you are asking them to do and not any more.
- Document everything and be transparent with your Level 1 provider. As a compliance team we are here to help protect you by offering industry specific advice based on best practise.
txtNation has a vast amount of experience in dealing with clients using affiliate marketing along with premium SMS. The benefits of it are clear, however, it is important to keep a tight grip on everything that is bringing traffic to your service.