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What is capping and how it will affect your campaigns

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When people first start getting into affiliate marketing they find several words that they don’t really understand. Capping is one of them.

Capping is a complex word that doesn’t have just one single meaning in affiliate marketing. For media buyers and advertisers, for example, it can have a completely different meaning. For media buyers capping is the number of views that an IP user can see your ads in a specific period of time. But for advertisers the situation changes and it is a cap for the number of conversions a campaign can have.

On some networks you can see leads: 300. This is the capping, but some affiliate marketers are confused about whether this is a capping just for you, for all the affiliates promoting that offer combined or if they are on a single day, per month or per total campaign. There are many types of capping and many strategies that affiliate marketers use so let’s break things down.

On the BitterStrawberry platform we’ve seen that most of our platforms prefer to work with no capping, but it’s always great to have many options. This is why publishers can choose to use the Hybridlink and set it on a certain number of capping by clicks. Advertisers also have plenty of options for capping, even though most of them don’t often use it.

After you reach a certain level and know a lot about affiliate marketing and are pretty sure about what will happen with your campaigns you can afford to run them with no capping and deliver unlimited leads. But there are many reasons why people might want capping:

Control

Advertisers choose capping sometimes because they want to control the number of leads since their system can’t take more. This is because they might be a tiny company that has jut started and they need to try and play it smart, test everything and not go over their small budget. So because they can’t deal with too many conversions they will place a capping.

But budget restrictions aren’t just for those that just started working in affiliate marketing. Advertisers need to deal with costs and revenue just like any other company and paying the affiliate networks’ commissions is a cost they have to deal with. The users who subscribe to their services are their source of revenue, but the money that comes in and the money that goes out isn’t the same sum and doesn’t happen simultaneously. This means there could be a delay between getting paid and paying and they will need to have capping in place to make sure they control their budget.

Monitor

Capping is sometimes used to monitor if you are spending what you wanted on a campaign or if you are overspending and dragging in some negative ROI. The return on investment is an important metric for advertisers because they are investing money in the payouts for the network, but they don’t know for sure that this money will result in conversions. Until they have enough data to support the fact that it will work, advertisers might choose to place a cap.

Test

Testing is important no matter on which side of affiliate marketing you are, and everything should always be tested if you want to be as sure as possible that things will turn out ok. Advertisers can cap when they are testing the quality of traffic from affiliates before making everything available to everyone. A new product might not perform as well with different traffic sources, so they are playing the safe game by using capping. Others that have a lot of faith in their product, have a lot of experience or just have no fear might decide to go with no capping.

Communicate

Every network has a certain system or a certain way of seeing things. You might not understand it so whenever you decide to start working with someone you need to get in touch with them and answer specific questions to find out everything that’s important for you. For example, maybe they have a set capping of 100 leads per day. But does that mean you get 100 leads per day or that it’s for the other affiliates promoting the same offer.

Most commonly you will find daily caps and monthly caps but ask anyway. It doesn’t matter that you reach the number in the first 5 hours of the day, the capping won’t change to allow more leads until the full 24 hours have passed, and extrapolating it’s the same with the monthly cap, but you won’t be able to send more leads until a new month begins.

There are may types of capping in different affiliate networks, you can cap per user, per day, per month, per platform etc. If you want to have a carefree time while you are making money you can try BitterStrawberry’s Hybridlink that will help you find the best option for you. For any questions our dedicated account managers are there to answer at any hour of the day and night and help you get the best ROI. Capping or no capping, it’s revenue that’s important!

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