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7 Ways to Budget Effectively and Optimize Spending for Your Partner Marketing Program

Shagun Mehta

Shagun Mehta

PR and Content Specialist
  • Last Updated: January 30, 2024

In This Article

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Many of today’s marketing teams are increasingly being asked to do more with less.

In a complex macroeconomic climate, executives are perhaps taking a closer look at marketing budgets and asking teams to optimize their efforts and increase the return on investment (ROI) for their campaigns — including affiliate marketing.

If you are a financial brand ready to kickstart your affiliate program,reach out to our team of experts and they’ll walk through the process of getting started.

To help with this, here are seven things you can do to better manage your budget and increase the ROI of your program.

1. Set Goals and Objectives for Your Program

Start by setting objectives that help move the needle forward on broader organizational goals.

For Example,
If the business is looking to increase revenue by a certain percentage, your affiliate marketing program could have a corresponding objective to convert X number of new customers. 

From a budgetary standpoint, having this clarity can help you determine how much of your overall marketing budget to spend on affiliates.

It can also help you identify where to spend your dollars (e.g., with which partners) based on how well suited the partner is to helping you reach those goals.

In addition, these objectives should be paired with specific key performance indicators (KPIs) so that your team can continually track how you’re performing and make budgetary decisions accordingly — more on this below.

What this looks like in practice :

  • Review your business goals and your broader growth and marketing goals
  • Set specific objectives for your affiliate marketing program and give them KPIs 
  • Use this process to determine the percentage of the budget that goes to affiliate marketing in relation to other tactics and channels

2. Establish How Much Budget You Have Available

According to research from Forrester, 80% of teams spend at least 10% of their marketing budget on partnerships.

While you may want to start with a smaller proportion, you should make sure you’re giving the program a chance to succeed.

For Example,
you will likely need time and resources to test different affiliate partners and determine which avenues make the most sense for your brand and target audience. 

Other considerations that can help guide how much you allocate to this program include the following : 

  • Are there any other big investments your marketing and growth teams are making this year? 
  • Do you need new people to help run the affiliate marketing program? 
  • Are there any product innovations or new digital capabilities that your team is adopting? 
  • Have there been any significant cuts to the budget? 
  • Understand your product’s attractiveness and competitive edge in the market

What this looks like in practice : 

  • Conduct benchmark research on how much similar financial brands are spending on affiliate marketing 
  • Establish where affiliate marketing fits in your broader marketing strategy and how it effects your overall budgeting 
  • Determine how much budget to allocate to affiliate marketing compared to other investments
  • Review this percentage on a yearly basis.

3. Research Potential Partners

Fintel Performance Dashboard

Once you know what you’re trying to accomplish and how much you’re willing to spend, now it’s time to identify the right affiliate partners for your campaigns.

This could be an influencer, a grocery store chain, or a financial publication, depending on the audience you’re trying to reach. 

As you evaluate potential partners, consider the following elements that will impact your budget :

  • How much do they charge per conversion?
  • What is the size of their existing audience?
  • What is their success rate on past campaigns?
  • What is the acquisition cost in your other channels?

With Fintel Performance financial brands can streamline a lot of this work.

Our vast affiliate network was built exclusively for the financial industry so that you can find pre-vetted publishers and influencers that make sense for your products. 

What this looks like in practice :

  • Research the types of publishers that feature your products and your competitors
  • Evaluate their pricing models and how those might fit into your budget
  • Establish how many publisher campaigns you would like to spend your budget on
  • Have ongoing conversations with affiliates about your budgetary expectations
  • Establish agreements that allow for collaborative cost management

4. Set Clear Expectations

Transparency is key in affiliate marketing relationships.

As you build a new partnership, be open and clear about what your budgetary expectations are as well as any spend limits you might have for their campaign.

You can also take a collaborative approach with your publishers, finding ways to jointly manage costs as part of your agreement.

One of the core benefits of affiliate marketing relationships is that you win together, so collaboration and clear communication serves both parties.

What this looks like in practice :

  • Have ongoing conversations with partners about your budgetary expectations
  • Establish agreements that allow for collaborative cost management 
  • Remain receptive to your partner’s expertise to help inform your direction

5. Track and Optimize Performance

To ensure you’re doing the most to spend your budget effectively, you should be able to track the performance of your campaigns.

If you don’t, you risk having underperforming programs as well as limiting your potential for success. 

To this end, establish a robust tracking system that continually reviews your expenses.

Make sure you’re regularly reviewing this data and using it to make short- and long-term decisions. This will also allow you to find cost-saving opportunities and get the most ROI.

At the end, it is about trial and error andl about finding the right, but unique recipe for your product and vertical


The Fintel Performance marketing platform is particularly useful here as it has r​​obust multi-event tracking and reporting capabilities.

Plus, its campaign management tools allow you to have clear visibility into how your affiliates are performing.

This means you have seamless insight into how your budget is being spent and can quickly identify where it makes the most sense to spend your dollars. 

What this looks like in practice: 

  • Set up a tracking system for your affiliate marketing program
  • Conduct regular reviews of the performance data
  • Use the data to make decisions about where to reduce or increase spending 

6. Plan for the Unexpected

No one likes to expect the worst, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering it in your budget.

We recommend putting aside a portion of your budget as a contingency fund for unforeseen situations or changes in the market.

In a best case scenario, this money could be used at the end of the fiscal year to add more budget into unexpectedly successful campaigns that produced a higher ROI than anticipated. 

What this looks like in practice : 

  • Set aside between 5-10% of your budget as a contingency fund to cover unexpected costs
  • At the end of the fiscal year, see what’s left and use it for a high-performing campaign

7. Measure the Success of Your Program

Remember the objectives and performance metrics you established for your affiliate program in the first step?

You should be measuring these on an ongoing basis throughout the year and showcase results to your leadership.

This will help tell a narrative of success for your program and better position your team to request additional budget either for the marketing and growth team as a whole, or specifically for the affiliate channel

Alternatively, if the results aren’t headed in the right direction, that will show an opportunity to allocate budget into additional research, technology, processes, or perhaps product updates that could improve the program’s performance. 

What this looks like in practice :

  • Set up a regular review cadence to determine the success and ROI of your program
  • Craft reports that show your success rates and support requests for additional budget in the future

Effective Spending in Partner Marketing

An affilaite marketing program is a channel where you can spend as little or as much as you want and get a variety of different results.

That said, there are ways to structure and systemize your approach so that you’re achieving as much success as you can from your allocated budget.

Choosing the right tracking platforms can be a great way to facilitate that success — and reduce your spending. With Fintel Performance, for instance, our clients save up to 70% on customer and member acquisition.

That’s budget that can go into other key initiatives to drive the business forward, while still achieving their broader goals. 

Ready to do more for your affiliate marketing efforts?

Speak to one of our specialists and learn more about Fintel Connect. 


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