A new global study by Tipalti, the leading publisher payables automation platform, found that 70 percent of publishers and affiliates are likely to leave a network because of a payment issue, and the majority of publishers are dissatisfied with their current network payment experiences. In the study, which asked publishers about their payment experience as it relates to ad, monetization, and affiliate networks, 54 percent said the process needs to improve and another 13 percent state that they are dissatisfied with their networks’ payment processing.
“Without publishers, a network has nothing to offer their advertisers,” explained Chen Amit, CEO and founder of Tipalti. “For ad and affiliate networks to compete against the adtech giants Google, Facebook, and Amazon, they need to win on service and differentiation. Payment operations can create a major competitive advantage to drive publisher loyalty and performance, which ultimately leads to a higher quality network.”
While the Big Three can profess ease of joining their network and the demand for ad inventory, high-performing publishers are savvy enough to know they need to do more to distinguish themselves. At a minimum, networks need to be prepared to deliver a richer payment experience that goes well beyond US ACH and wire transfers. The findings from the report reveal crucial details on how to increase publisher satisfaction:
- On-time payments are key. Ninety-four percent of respondents indicated that being paid on time is important to ensuring loyalty. Payment issues almost always have to do with payee onboarding issues. 27 percent experienced a payment issue in the last 12 months, which can be caused by poor onboarding that causes data entry errors and downstream payment errors. Tipalti estimates that there are over 26,000 global remittance rules to check for when onboarding payees including verifying ACH routing numbers to IFSC codes. Maintaining information on processing payments can be challenging without an intelligent payee portal.
- Freedom of choice is highly desired. Eighty-one percent of respondents stated that offering multiple payment methods was important to ensuring loyalty. U.S. payees may ask for ACH to directly deposit funds into their bank accounts. International payees may want to have funds sent via wire or eCheck / Global ACH to avoid fees involved in converting currency or extracting funds. Paypal tends to be a popular option in many countries for payments below $500. Offering more global payment methods adds complexity to a network’s payment operations, but no single payment method is suitable for every situation and any growing network will be pressed to offer more choice.
- Early payments can be a win-win situation. 79 percent of publishers indicated they would like to be paid earlier, and that they are willing to give a discount back to the network in exchange for that option. A 1 to 3-percent discount was favored by 36 percent, while 23 percent said they would accept a 3 to 5-percent discount. Even when the discount was as high as 7 to 9-percent, 23 percent would still opt for it. It may seem daunting for a network to offer an early payments program to its publisher base, but there are precedents for successful implementations. The revenues earned from such programs may also help offset other back-office investments.
- Loyalty requires communication. Payment processing can’t be just an operational afterthought. Proactively letting payees know that their payments have been executed, that there are issues with their payment, or providing them access to their payment status and history, is important to maintaining network loyalty. This is clearly expressed in the survey results, with 94 percent saying being updated on payment status was important and 92 percent said they wanted to be able to view their payment status and history on their own. Given how lean many networks run, it makes more sense to automate communications through email notifications and to provide a payee portal to access historical payment data.