Mistakes to Avoid in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows operators to promote their products through affiliate partners for a commission. Today, the affiliate industry is set to be worth around $17B and is widely used by iGaming operators because of the scale of products and services that can be promoted. As with all areas of the online channel, a degree of risk comes with affiliate marketing, although many operators still don’t appreciate that fact and make mistakes.

Affilka is an award-winning iGaming affiliate software for tracking your partners that can help you avoid many of the mistakes we talk about below. Let’s dive into the worst and the most common affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid and then figure out how to circumvent them.

Worst Affiliate Marketing Mistakes

Let’s begin with the top worst affiliate marketing mistakes that operators can or sometimes tend to make, but in fact should avoid:

Late payouts

Affiliate marketing can be an effective promotional tool for your company, but you must treat affiliates fairly. Prompt payment of affiliate commissions demonstrates respect for the time and effort they spend promoting your business.

If you fail to pay on time, affiliates may feel that you are not honouring your end of the deal and they may become disgruntled, question your legitimacy and credibility, lose motivation, or even eventually quit working with you.

Limited flexibility

Having just one or two commission types may not be enough for a successful partner program. Ultimately, you may end up paying too much to some affiliates or too little to others. Even worse, your brand may never acquire a potentially great affiliate because they will not find the conditions they seek among your single commission type.

Not enough information

Lack of information that you provide your partners with can raise doubts and concerns about your affiliate program and brand as a whole. Affiliates will not know which of the players they bring in are more profitable and in which direction they can best direct their efforts to promote your brand most effectively.

Unfriendly software

Software is an essential part of modern affiliate marketing. This is where your partners can analyse their performance in order to better understand which path to follow. In today’s world, affiliates are unlikely to join your partner program if you have a suspicious and incomprehensible software platform.

Neglecting own conditions

Having terms and conditions for your partner program is essential. This is the main thing that determines the obligations and responsibilities of both parties. Without that, your affiliate program and your brand can come across as unreliable to an affiliate.

But what is also crucial is for operators to follow their own T&Cs. Some operators tend to ignore the core principals or change the rules without warning the participants of the partner program. Needless to say, this is completely unacceptable.

Lack of sub-affiliates

Today, the idea of sub-affiliates is simple: each time an affiliate marketer brings another partner to the partner program, the affiliate gets a reward. Operators get the new affiliates they would have spent time and resources on finding, hence additional promotion and new potential customers, and affiliates get additional income by expanding their revenue streams.

Negative carryover

Not necessarily one of the worst mistakes but it is essential that an affiliate and an operator are on the same page and have a prior agreement on the subject. Otherwise, consider that many affiliates are discouraged by the prospect of having a substantial negative carryover. That means that if some player (or players) wins big, the affiliate’s balance at the end of the month can turn out to be negative and that negative value will be carried over to the next month. Sometimes operators nullify the negative after several months, though sometimes they do not.

Lack of CPA

Cost-per-Acquisition, or Cost-per-Action, is a very common commission type across the affiliate marketing sphere. Nevertheless, not all the partner programs have it as an option, simply because some operators think that CPA principles can be violated, or ‘hacked’, and they will incur large expenses without expanding their customer base.

High minimum withdrawal limits

Typically, affiliate programs have a condition that forbids affiliates from withdrawing their remuneration until it reaches a certain minimum. That is a very common condition that affiliates mostly don’t mind. Yet, sometimes this minimum threshold is exploited by unruly operators and set unreasonably high, leading to dissatisfaction for affiliates.

Developing poor-quality iGaming websites

One of those cases where the problem is literally on the surface. No affiliate would want to be a part of your partner program if your main product is of low quality and inferior to competing brands. And nothing screams of that more than a poor website, be it design-wise or content-wise.

It may be lack of gaming content, including tournaments, loyalty points, achievements, and jackpots, shortage of payment systems for the current GEOs, an ill-conceived retention strategy, or even poor customer service.

Overlooking website speed

In today’s competitive iGaming world with hundreds if not thousands of iGaming brands players can turn to, people are very impatient. Statistics show that people are 50% more likely to leave a website if it takes more than two seconds to load. So an extra second or two that your site is going to load can play a key role in whether an affiliate or a player will side with you or look elsewhere.

Not knowing your product

It is doubtful that anyone would be able to create a successful iGaming brand with an online casino, sportsbook, or poker site they know little about. Sooner or later, this is going to cost you something, like your reputation and reluctance of affiliates to join your partner program. It is very hard to promote your casino when you don’t know its strengths, weaknesses, and key metrics.

Not knowing your GEOs

You may have chosen an amazing niche but do you know your target GEOs? Every part of the world, every region has a different culture, different language, different currency, and different laws after all. Some operators make the mistake of ignoring these differences.

Neglecting other niches

The most efficient affiliate marketers are indeed the ones that share your brand’s niche. However, to focus only on your niche and ignore all other adjacent ones would be a mistake you don’t want to make. Partners from similar or related niches still have a great capability to bring you exposure and increase your revenue.

How To Avoid Affiliate Marketing Mistakes

The good news is that you don’t have to make all the common affiliate marketing mistakes to learn from them. Here is how:

Always pay on time

There are different ways of dealing with this. For example, affiliate software like Affilka features built-in payment processing and an option for setting automatic payouts to affiliate partners. If forgetfulness is not the issue then you need to plan your expenses and top up your bankroll so that you always have money to pay your partners.

Additional affiliate rewards for bringing sub-affiliates

As we have mentioned, use every opportunity to expand your online presence, especially if it’s a good one. Give your existing affiliates motivation to earn more by helping your brand.

Have reasonable conditions

Understandably, you may want to earn as much as you can, but it will not be possible if no affiliate joins your partner program. And for that, you have to make sure your program has adequate conditions, like no negative carryover and a reasonable minimum withdrawal amount.

Most of the progressive partner programs got rid of negative carryovers a long time ago. It does little good and only discourages partners. The same goes for a high minimum withdrawal threshold. Do not make it any higher than it needs to be. And definitely never shave your affiliates and scrub their leads.

Be flexible

It is always good to have a variety of commission types for affiliates. But that should not exclude the individual approach and different instruments for affiliate motivation. Build commissions for your affiliates, don’t try to stuff your affiliates into the commissions you already happen to have.

Also, having CPA on your list – arguably the most popular commission type in iGaming – may bring more partners to your affiliate program.

Invest in a good software

This applies to both affiliate tracking software and your iGaming brand website characteristics like design, usability, and speed. By investing in the software and the website you improve your brand perception and reputation, increase the level of convenience for customers and affiliates, and also make it easy for partners to get all the information they need regarding their performance.

Know your audience

Knowing the main audience or which region you want to conquer determines the direction that your partner program will take. Each region requires a different approach, different language, different currency. So, if you want your partner program to get top exposure, you need to consider the GEOs, offer a variety of languages and currencies, including crypto, and make changes accordingly.

Be fair and respect your own terms

By ignoring the conditions on which you hired your affiliates and altering them without warning, you can earn yourself a reputation as an unreliable brand. This will make it much harder for you to find good partners who want to work with you in the long term. Abide by the rules you set out and keep your affiliate partners in the loop on any updates or changes.

Know your product

It is always better for your business if you are immersed in it and aware of the advantages and disadvantages of your iGaming project, be it an online casino, a sportsbook, or a poker site. This will allow you to understand more about the market, the place of your product in it, and how to plan your marketing campaign in the long term.

Consider other niches

Try to go beyond your niche in your search for affiliates. It is not necessary to focus on just one if partners from similar niches can also bring you great results by promoting your brand and bringing you players from related niches or even industries. Good examples would be technology, gaming, lifestyle & leisure, finance, and so on.


Surely, not all common affiliate marketing mistakes are easily avoided. Yet, it is never too late to learn from them and move on. Look for new opportunities, wherever they may be. And remember, that affiliate marketing is all about building relationships. That is what’s important.


What commission types should a partner program have?

We would recommend at least having types like CPA, Hybrid, and RevShare. But don’t forget about the individual approach either.

What kind of software is the best for affiliate tracking?

There are a lot of great software platforms out there! You might want to check Affilka — a comprehensive affiliate management software platform with built-in payment methods and a commission constructor.

What are sub-affiliates?

Sub-affiliates are the affiliates that your partners bring to your partner program and get additionally rewarded for.

What is affiliate shaving?

Affiliate shaving is an illegal reduction by an operator of the number of leads brought to him by an affiliate in order to save on payments.