Is the network “stealing” my campaigns?
Katrina L

“Are traffic sources stealing our campaigns?” we came across such a discussion on the affLIFT forum.

It’s no secret that some networks have their own media buying departments, and therefore have access to a lot of different data on active campaigns.

It is natural that an affiliate may have a question: “Are advertising networks copying my successful campaigns for their own needs”?

By googling this topic, it turned out that it is much less popular than the discussion of “green” cases. To be honest, we didn’t find anything and certainly no comments from ad networks.

Therefore, we wanted to answer some popular and exciting questions by discussing this topic in more detail.

Media buying team
Why are there internal buying departments inside grids? Among the general mass of affiliates, there is a very strong bias towards the most profitable GEOs, verticals and advertising formats. Because of this, some part of the traffic provided by publishers may not be filled with offers, i.e. missing fillrate. This, in turn, reduces the CPM that site owners receive. It turns out to be a vicious circle - no offers - no traffic, and no traffic - no affiliates who need this traffic.  Also, honestly, let's admit that the average affiliate has all the qualities of an ordinary person - laziness, forgetfulness, sloppiness and caution. Therefore, he forgets to replenish the balance, does not launch new campaigns, sets limits, and in 90% of cases acts as carefully as possible.  
The advertising network in this case is between hammer and anvil - on the one hand, it needs to give publishers a competitive CPM in the market, and on the other hand, there is an unstable flow of affiliates. It is important to note that this is less true for large networks that have passed this stage of development.
If there are media buyers within the network, isn't it logical that they would borrow my campaigns?  No, it's not logical. Stealing work bundles is a bad idea. In fact, at a long distance, you are shooting yourself in the foot. All offers sooner or later leave the market. The job of an affiliate is to search and test new bundles. The job of the network is to sell this traffic. By stealing bundles you lose customers and this is the way to nowhere.
Postback - harm or benefit?
Could it be that the postback is needed to "steal" my data? No. Networks that value their customer base use postback to assess the quality of traffic and create optimization tools. You can read more about postback and its benefits here.
How to protect yourself if you are worried about the dishonesty of the network?
  • Choose proven partners that you trust. You can always find background information in our industry. Make personal acquaintances with representatives of networks.
  • You should protect your bundles not only from advertising networks, but also from competitors. Use cloaking, don't pass conversions to the grid if you don't need it.
  • Don't be paranoid. There are enough fish in the ocean for everyone. Sometimes a performance fluctuation is just a fluctuation, and not someone's malicious intent. The traffic market is very lively and unpredictable. There are a lot of unknowns in this situation, but it is often easier for our brain to justify the drawdown by some kind of conspiracy or dishonest actions.
As representatives of the advertising network, we can safely say that those people who really make large volumes do not care at all about cloaking, pasd conversions and creatives. Moreover, very often they themselves share information with others.The main enemy of an affiliate is laziness and insufficient testing.
Yes, the presence of media buying teams in advertising networks is not a secret. So what? Now give up and stop working? Ultimately, this is not the problem (if this is a problem at all, because it can be defended against) that prevents the affiliate from achieving success.
Much more influence is exerted by strong players on the market, which can actually squeeze out individual affiliates with budgets.
We hope that the article was interesting for you and gave answers to your questions. At Vimmy we have an open and trusting policy with all our clients! And feedback is always welcome. Do you secure your work bundles?