If you are a Twist360 affiliate, it’s highly probable you’ve heard of our affiliate disclosure policy. But you might not really know what it’s for, or understand why we treat it with such significance.
Here’s everything you need to know about the affiliate disclosure and why it is so important you, to consumers, and to us as a network.
What is the affiliate disclosure and why do you need it?
If you are making sales within the UK you are required to display the affiliate disclosure on your website. The disclosure is there to inform consumers that they are on an affiliate website, and that you may be paid a commission for promoting products on that site.
The reason behind the disclosure is simple. By being open and honest about what type of website your customer is using, you are ensuring your customers are not being misled in any way by your marketing practices.
We introduced the mandatory affiliate disclosure policy back in 2012, but many affiliates are still apprehensive about adding to their websites. Why is this?
Perhaps they believe that revealing the truth will lead to less sales. But as you’ll find out later in this article, displaying a disclosure on your website can actually improve your conversion rate.
Consumer Protection Regulations – What they mean to you
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 exists to prohibit ‘misleading actions’ that could cause the average consumer to make a transactional decision they would not have made otherwise. In other words, they are designed to stop consumers from being misled into making a purchase.
If you are marketing products on your website to customers within the UK – even if you are not based in the UK yourself – then the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 says that you are a ‘trader’. And as a trader, you cannot give false information or deceive consumers.
For example, when a consumer visits your website, if they do not know that they are on an affiliate site they may believe that they are on the official merchant or product website. The regulations say – and we agree – that this is misleading the consumer.
And this is precisely why we introduced the affiliate disclosure badge. It protects consumers by ensuring that they are not being misled, and it protects you by ensuring that are you adhering to the regulations which affect you as an affiliate.
Ethical Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing shouldn’t be a hidden secret in the online buying process. It’s precisely this sort of attitude that has helped create the perception that affiliates are all money-grabbing opportunists!
On the other end of the scale, many consumers don’t know what affiliate marketing is, despite it being such a widely used marketing method, and would probably be shocked to learn that many of the websites they use are actually affiliate sites.
Something that is kept hidden is highly likely to be perceived as underhand, regardless of whether or not is actually is.
We believe that affiliate marketing should be done with an ethical approach. Our aim is to educate consumers about what affiliate marketing is and to change the way that affiliates are seen. We want affiliates to be seen as honest, trustworthy people whom consumers can rely on to help educate them about their purchase decisions and give them honest product reviews.
Honesty is the Key to Success
Unfortunately, some affiliates believe that if the dreaded word “commission” is placed onto their websites, this will scare customers away and lead to a drastic impact on their sales.
But what if those words were to have the opposite affect and that the saying “honesty is the key to success” is true?
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word commission?
- A ‘cut’ of something
- A reward for hard work
- An incentive for people to work harder
You put a lot of time, effort and dedication into your websites in order to make sales. You work hard to get your reward (commission). So why should disclosing the fact that you are working as an affiliate be a bad thing?
When we first introduced the disclosure badge policy, our studies showed that both sales and uniques actually increased for those who implemented the badge on their sites.
Sites displaying an affiliate disclosure convert better than those that don’t!
You are not just an affiliate. You are also a consumer. And as a consumer yourself, wouldn’t you appreciate a little honesty and openness from the sites you visit? And wouldn’t you view those sites as more credible than others that were not being transparent?
When you have a disclosure on your website you’re letting your customers know that you are a credible, legitimate affiliate. The badge isn’t there to detract consumers, not is it there purely to tell them that you are getting paid a commission. Its purpose is to present your site – and therefore you and your business – as transparent, honest and ethical; and as a network these are precisely our principles.