The process of switching affiliate networks

The process of switching affiliate networks

At some point during the life of your affiliate program, you might consider moving to a different affiliate network. Your current technology partner isn't meeting your needs and a switch could unlock new features or growth potential. The prospect of making the shift can be intimidating. The fear of losing partners, performance dropping, a loss in momentum — all reasonable concerns. Luckily by following a couple of best practices, you'll be able to set yourself up for success.

Planning the Switch

Before you initiate the migration, there must be a clear plan of attack.  Here's a quick checklist to run through with your team as you prepare for the move:

  • Work with your agency and other key stakeholders throughout the evaluation and decision process. They may have unique perspectives that'll help you make a final determination
  • Once you've signed with a new affiliate network, notify the existing network of the intended switch
  • Ensure the new program is set up exactly how you intended. This includes publisher terms, tracking integration, creative, etc.
  • Create a hitlist of current, top partners. This is where you'll want to focus your efforts & communication
  • Establish clear goals for the move, including the target end date for the transition

Timing your Migration

When is the best time to make the switch? As with any affiliate program activity, timing matters. You'll want to consider seasonality and upcoming holidays. The last thing you want to do is miss out on peak sales volume. For that reason, we recommend targeting a “slower” time of year. Maybe that's the summer, maybe it's right after the new year - you know your business best.

The amount of time needed to make a complete switch also has several considerations. The larger the program, the more partners you have, the more time we'd recommend. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend allotting 2-3 months to make the full transition. During this period, it's important to be clear and deliberate with your communication.  

Communication to your Affiliate Partners

Affiliates want to know about any changes that will affect them. So be sure to communicate early and often. We recommend sending out a dedicated newsletter with an overview of the transition. Be specific. Address the following details, at a minimum:

  • When and how can a partner join the new network?
  • When will the existing (soon-to-be old) network shut down?
  • What, if anything, will be different about the program as it transitions?
  • Who can the partner direct questions to?

You'll also want to consider individual emails, or phone calls, for your top-producing partners. Once your initial outreach goes out, be sure to follow up every couple of weeks with notable updates. The more guidance you're able to provide, the fewer headaches you can expect.


Once you begin partner communication, it's advisable to track progress and set specific action items for each week. Looking at the number of joined and active partners will give you a pretty good indication of how the migration is going. If numbers are lower than expected, or your target end date is approaching, you might want to incentive partners to make the shift. This could include a higher commission rate or stronger promotion, only available in the new network.

By following a deliberate and structured approach, you'll be able to make the transition efficiently and with minimal disruption. It's still going to take effort, but by employing best practices from the start, you'll reap the rewards of your hard work. Best of luck!