The most useful bit of information you can get from your affiliate manager is what offers are running the most volume. This is the only data I ever ask AM’s for because it tells me in no uncertain terms what is competitive on the network at the moment.
AM’s are notorious for bombarding us with info on CPC’s (cost per click), the latest and greatest offer for Yemen and their new “win an ipad” competition. I hear a lot of people talk about network wide CPC’s and I can’t understand why they see it as significant. If one affiliate starts direct linking PPV (pay per view) traffic the network wide CPC’s will drop dramatically because his cost per click is $0.005 USD compared to $0.50 for PPC (pay per click) adwords traffic. That doesn’t mean the offer just got worse, in fact if it’s working for pops that can only be a good thing but you’ll see really low CPC’s on the network stats.
You have to read between the lines and look for the offers that convert. Now of course someone has to be the first to run a new offer and whoever gets it up and running first will normally have an advantage. But also when an offer first goes live on a CPA network half the time the tracking doesn’t work, or there will be issues with the merchant, or you find out a week later there’s caps because they have no indication of quality coming from the CPA network.
Most good affiliate managers will be able to provide you with a list of the top offers by volume. The ones that can’t produce a list will normally tell you what is doing all the volume on the network. You’ll often see Pareto’s principle in effect here with 20% of the offers doing 80% of the volume. Getting that list of offers by volume will cut out the 80% of non-converting offers and save you time and money in the long run. Sure you can also look at the latest offers to come in to the network but only run them if YOU feel they have potential not because your AM tells you it’s the next big thing.