Key Metrics to Consider When Evaluating and Working with Email Marketing Affiliates: A Guide

It’s no secret that there are many benefits to using an email marketing affiliate. Not only do affiliate programs free up more time for your team to focus on building out creative and other marketing tasks, but most already have a built-in audience excellently targeted toward your service or product.

There are many things to consider when evaluating different email marketing partners. Some may tell you precisely what you want to hear regarding performance, industry specialization, and metrics. How do you know for sure that what they’re saying is accurate?

We have a little saying here at LashBack: Trust, but verify!

In this blog, we will run through critical metrics/data points you should remember when doing your affiliate partner evaluations and what to look for after choosing one.

What to Look for When Evaluating an Email Marketing Affiliate:

Inboxing Rate - How often are their emails hitting inboxes? Is it in line with what they claim? Email marketing affiliates often float around numbers and percentages related to how often their emails hit inboxes, but researching these numbers will provide valuable information.

  • How LashBack can help: BrandAlert can check the inboxing rate and provide other delivery insights for email marketing affiliates. View historical inboxing data, and check if the numbers align with their claims. Avoid, or investigate further, affiliates with a low inboxing rate percentage who are dishonest about their numbers. 

Verified Industry Experience - When evaluating partners, choosing one with experience sending emails in your industry is essential. You want your affiliate’s targeting to be as accurate as possible, and previous industry experience and success are good indicators that they have accomplished this.

  • How LashBack can help: BrandAlert provides visibility into the types of emails sent from agencies and the audiences they have targeted. Searching for emails sent using specific industry criteria can help narrow your search to just a handful of affiliates specializing in advertising in your space. Combine this info with historical inboxing percentages to see the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Use LashBack BrandAlert to see the number of emails an affiliate has sent out in a specific industry

A History of Compliance - Does this company have a history of compliance? Or do their emails contain CAN-SPAM issues and violations like spoofed domains and deceptive from/subject lines?

  • How LashBack can help: Use BrandAlert’s database of millions of emails to dig into the specifics of what the affiliate has been sending. Flagged CAN-SPAM violations will be surfaced to aid in your investigation. Use this information to determine if the affiliate diligently follows CAN-SPAM compliance guidelines.

Now let’s say you have done your homework and selected an email marketing affiliate. 


But there are still things that you should monitor even after you have campaigns running.

According to the CAN-SPAM Act, you are still responsible for the content sent out by affiliate marketers. All communications must adhere to CAN-SPAM, and you could be on the hook for anything in violation, with monetary penalties climbing into the thousands per email.

What to Monitor for When Working with an Email Marketing Affiliate:

Lack of a clear unsubscribe link - A key component of CAN-SPAM, all emails must contain a clear, visible unsubscribe link.

Lack of a physical address - Another component of CAN-SPAM, your emails must contain a physical address within them.

Dead links - Most marketing emails have hyperlinks to landing pages for more information to drive conversions. Verify that your email partner is sending out messages with working links. It is imperative not just to drive results but to protect your brand reputation, as dead links can look spammy in the eye of the consumer.

  • How LashBack can help: ComplianceMonitor monitors affiliate messaging sent out on your behalf and will alert you on any emails containing CAN-SPAM violations, such as missing unsubscribe links, or lack of a physical address. ComplianceMonitor can be also configured to help find emails that contain dead links.

LashBack ComplianceMonitor flagging a missing opt-out link in an affiliate email

LashBack ComplianceMonitor flagging a missing postal address in an affiliate email

Non-compliant asset/messaging changes - Occasionally, some advertisers may feel pressure to produce sky-high metrics. If the numbers are falling short, this may result in them making unapproved changes to the on-brand, CAN-SPAM-compliant email copy provided to them. Even though the affiliate is responsible for modifying the messaging which may not be CAN-SPAM compliant, you are still responsible for what they send. Any messaging changes should be monitored and checked for compliance.

Non-compliant subject lines/friendly from - Similar to messaging, sometimes marketing partners will modify subject lines and friendly from’s in their emails. It is imperative to check that any edits to these email components align with CAN-SPAM regulations.

  • How LashBack can help: Use BrandAlert to spot-check any emails from an affiliate for changes, such as general messaging or subject lines/friendly from’s. ComplianceMonitor can also alert you on specific “red flag” keywords in your emails and general CAN-SPAM compliance issues that may arise from messaging changes.

LashBack ComplianceMonitor flagging a deceptive "From Line" in an affiliate email


It’s important to remember that these criteria should be looked at holistically when evaluating and using an email marketing affiliate. Using LashBack to obtain an overview of each potential partner before beginning an engagement and to continuously monitor post-campaign launch can be crucial to the success and safety of your program. 

Interested in a demo to see all of this in action? Click here!

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