What is the CAP Code for affiliate marketers? Well, some are provided by the FTC and other regulatory bodies, but others are simply learned from experience and heard on the wind. Some might even say they’re common sense, but the ones that don’t realise they’re common sense are the ones that need them most. We’ve put together a list of common CAP Code starting points to ensure that you’re running an ethical affiliate marketing campaign and program.
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to affiliate management. Make sure you are up front with commission rates, payment structures, tracking methods and what you expect to gain from the marketing campaign. A more informed affiliate is a better affiliate. You will not only keep your affiliates happy across the board with fair opportunities, but you will build and nurture relationships with your affiliate partners. With transparency, communication, and support, you will create trusting and mutually beneficial relationships with your affiliates.
The rule for short form video content and the rule for good marketing in general is to not market first. Point your creators towards showing your products in content that offers something more. Whether that’s education, entertainment, satisfaction, or any other external value, the point is to not just offer an elevator pitch in a video. Give the audience something more. Not only will this save you from being the annoying brand that is always answering when no one asked, but your brand and your content creators will gain from offering something more.
Fairness and ethics
You want to foster an ethical, win-win relationship with your affiliate partners in order to be a trustworthy partner. Review your commission rates and practices regularly to ensure that you are treating everyone with respect. According to a 2021 survey by Rakuten Advertising, over 65% of affiliates say finding profitable programs to promote is a challenge. Offer reasonable commission rates that don’t decrease without warning or without reason, and don’t play favourites with your affiliate partners to offer higher rates to others.
Encourage your affiliate partners and content creators to give honest reviews. Customers simply aren’t going to believe a review that’s over the top in its glowing reviews – in fact, it’s become something of a meme in the past few months. Encourage them to say anything they don’t like and trust your customers to decide if it’s a dealbreaker for them. Most likely it isn’t.
Aside from avoiding exaggerating and making false claims that will hurt your reputation down the line, customers will gain more affinity to the creator and the brand they are showing. Plus, these practices might be against regulations soon…
If you’re unsure of where you stand or what practical steps moving forward, make sure you are up-to-date with your advertising regulation compliance. In the US this is most likely to come in the form of following FTC guidelines, but even companies in the US with an EU market should heed the warnings of the EU. It’s important to keep up-to-date with the tech news as regulations are currently evolving rapidly. In other articles, we’ve covered Canada’s fight with journalism online, the UK’s Online Safety Bill, and the EU’s Digital Services Act. All of them were established this year and have far-reaching effects.
The key to the CAP Code is applying it fairly across the board. Apply your terms across the board with honesty and transparency, guide your affiliate partners where you can and you’ll find yourself running an ethical affiliate program.