CJ (Commission Junction) ® Full Review

  • Approximate Price: Network Access $500/Yearly.
    There are no fixed prices for different plans and all advertisers are referred to contact sales staff for a more precise quote.
  • Additional Payments:  $3000 deposit for network and affiliate payments (30% of the affiliate payout per transaction or $0.30 – whichever amount is greater)
  • Promotions:
    N/A

 

CJ Affiliate is one of the affiliate network websites offering merchants a solution for starting an affiliate program. This network helps merchants to connect with publishers and marketers who are interested in promoting their products. This collaboration is beneficial in increasing sales and generating additional traffic to the merchant website. The USA company behind CJ Affiliate is called Conversant LLC. The service was previously known as Commission Junction.

This website is an affiliate network (Affiliate Network List). This means that the whole purpose of it is to connect you (a merchant) with people who are interested in promoting your products. When affiliates (marketers, blog owners and individuals who are interested in collaborating with your business via CJ network) promote your products via their own channels such as blogs or specialized websites, you get direct value in “free” marketing and reach. This means additional traffic to your website and possible sales coming in from completely new sources. This kind of collaboration is usually good for merchants as there is nothing to lose yet lots to gain! If you were thinking of expanding your marketing campaigns and starting an affiliate program, this network is definitely worth checking into.

CJ affiliate is a popular network with lots of publishers on it. This is promising as the number of publishers or potential affiliates is one of the most important criteria merchant should be thinking about when deciding on which network to join. This exposure to potential affiliates is the main reason merchants join affiliate networks as opposed to using affiliate software for example.

This affiliate network is excellent for advanced and high-end retailers looking for high quality affiliate marketing and advertising solutions.

 

So How Does it Work?

When you visit the CJ Affiliate website, you will notice there are two paths to take: Advertiser and Publisher. What interests you as a merchant is becoming an advertiser on CJ Affiliate network. These are just fancy terms for businesses and affiliates (or marketers) who are brought together in this relationship based network.

Currently there are more than 3000 companies advertising their affiliate programs on CJ network with more than 60000 active publishers. Remember, these publishers are people who will potentially be taking part in your affiliate program and driving traffic to your website as well as potential sales. When choosing an affiliate network to join, an important aspect is how many active affiliates (in this case, publishers) are involved.

Let’s check out some of the features available to merchants via CJ Affiliate’s user interface:

Advertiser Toolbox features listing

  • Affiliate Customer Insights – This feature delivers performance data related both to customers and publishers and which you can also utilize to measure marketing effects generated and compare them to other channels and campaigns you are currently running.
  • Publisher search – It allows you to search through your publisher’s archive by various filters and terms helping you find publishers fitting certain program terms, status or groups.
  • Bulk Uploads – It is possible to upload all your text links in bulk if you have them ready in a .csv file.
  • Create Affiliate Links – Use this feature to create engaging marketing materials such as banners, flash animations, text links as well as product catalogs. Publishers marketing your products will be using these links and materials in their efforts so it is worth spending an extra time in this section.
  • Deep linking – This is a good feature as it allows you to offer your publishers to use long tail links. This means that they can link directly to a specific product page or service you offer instead of linking to a homepage. This is very important as visitors could be sent to more relevant pages which interest them. For example, if a music instruments blog writes about a specific guitar you have in stock, the publisher could include a link in the article to the product page of that guitar available on your site for sale. This greatly increases chances of users clicking on that link actually spending some time on your site and ultimately making a purchase.
  • Link Scheduling – You can setup and/or schedule timeframe for when you want your links or promotions to be active. This is useful in case of seasonal products.
  • Real-time Transaction Monitoring – All transactions on this network are registered in real-time and you can monitor the activity via your account.
  • Report Options – This feature generates all kinds of reports which you can use to tweak your marketing efforts and keep track of performance.
  • Product Catalog Data-feed – This feature is usually utilized by big businesses which have thousands of products available for sale. It allows merchants to upload information on all of their products instantly, using only one file. Publishers then can pull this information and use it to better market your products and generate leads.
  • APIs/Web Services – More advanced users might need this feature. It allows you as a merchant to further customize your affiliate marketing program by creating a branded sign up page for publishers, give publishers access to some custom tools you have developed with your own team, etc.

Other features CJ Affiliate provides include:

  • View Through – This solution presents a crossover between display advertising and the model of pay for performance advertising. This is more of traditional advertising opportunity which can reach beyond the CJ network.
  • Partner Tracking – It allows merchants to manage partnerships with affiliates in private and secure environment, this is a feature outside affiliate network infrastructure.
  • Pay Per Call – This solution connects advertisers with publishers that use phone marketing strategy to sell your products.
  • Product Data Feed Optimization – This solution optimizes the affiliate marketing feed per desired specifications in order to achieve maximum usage by publishers.
  • Site To Store – This is a bridge between affiliate marketing and offline, in store sales. You can award publishers for offline sales too.
  • Pay For Performance – This is the model used and advertised by CJ Affiliate. Merchants pay only for specific events such as sales, bookings, downloads etc. This is what makes affiliate marketing a great value for merchants, the risk is low and you end up paying only for successful sales or other actions which bring value to your business.
  • Lead Generation – CJ works with advertisers to help them reach and connect with customers. The focus is on making quality leads and extending the reach. All with the goal to make their affiliate programs with CJ more successful.

In a nutshell, merchant provides potential affiliates and publishers with special trackable links which they can use in their marketing efforts. Here is the list of different marketing methods publishers use to generate sales for your company and earn their commissions: coupon deal offers, email marketing, loyalty or reward based programs, ads within mobile apps, sub-affiliate networks where publishers share links and offers with other publishers, search engine marketing both organic and paid, promotion through price comparison websites, social shopping site exposure, promotion via software and technology such as embedding links in browser extensions for example, content marketing via blogs and articles etc. This all means that your company can reach bigger audience and drive traffic from various unique channels not accessible before.

 

 

Plans and Pricing

There are 3 main service levels for advertisers which range from DIY to completely managed and supported programs by CJ, in case you wish to fully outsource your affiliate marketing program.

Network Access

This is the lowest level plan, and it allows access to the CJ affiliate network as well as account setup support.

Recruiting & Optimization

Includes account setup and launch support, access to publisher network as well as CJ platform, assigned support representative which can help you with publisher recruitment & optimization and help with defining business goals and program strategy.

Full Program Management

This is an all inclusive plan. Additional features in it include execution of all program management tasks as well as custom analysis, insights and recommendations. This is a plan for big companies looking to completely outsource their affiliate marketing program.

There are no fixed prices for different plans and all advertisers are referred to contact sales staff for a more precise quote.

Network access fee is $3,000 and presents an initial, onetime non-refundable setup fee. Deposit is set at $3,000 and is also non-refundable. Deposit is used for transaction fees and payout payments. There is also an annual renewal fee due each year after initial term which is currently $500 and is subject to change. Transaction fees are triggered by sales, lead transactions or other advertiser payouts made towards publishers outside of cost per action promotions and are set at 30% of the payout per transaction or $0.30 (whichever amount is greater). There is a monthly minimum of $500/month. This means that if transaction fees for any month are less than $500 then advertiser needs to pay the difference to CJ. More information available here: http://www.cj.com/access-fee-usd

One of the main downsides are the costs for merchants which seem to be considerable, this positions CJ to be more inclined towards supporting bigger companies than small web stores and startups. Also, there is a lack of clear pricing listing which makes it more difficult for merchants to find out if this service fits their budget, before signing up.

The services and features list this company provides is really impressive. This can at the same time become too overwhelming for merchants new to affiliate marketing or those looking for a really simple solution to start their affiliate program.

 

 

How to Get Started?

Before getting started, you first need to make a decision if you wish to join an affiliate network (such as CJ affiliate) or get affiliate software. Affiliate software provides you with all the tools you need to manage an affiliate program for your business. The rest is on you, which means: managing payments, finding affiliates, promoting your affiliate program etc. Click here to find more information and read reviews on affiliate software alternatives available: http://bestaffiliatesoftware.net/software-list/

On the other hand, affiliate network provides you with similar tools as ones you get with the affiliate software plus the benefit of exposure to different affiliates who are part of the network and actively looking for businesses and products to work with. This means a potentially faster transition from a freshly started affiliate program to first affiliates joining your program and generating sales.

To join the CJ affiliate network as a merchant, you need to have materials ready on how would you define your company and your affiliate program. You should also have your website up and running. The final step is to apply as an advertiser and CJ team will get in touch with you:

http://www.cj.com/form/advertiser

Video – How to Get Started:

In comparison to other popular affiliate networks such as ShareASale, this one does seem to be a bit more angled towards medium to large businesses and retailers. Having this in mind, joining CJ Affiliate and taking advantage of some of their more advanced features can really go a long way in creating a successful and profitable affiliate program if your company fits the profile.

 

 

The Benefits:

In comparison to the affiliate software, CJ Affiliate network helps you to directly promote your affiliate program, as it has a large base of affiliates already on it and they are looking to join new affiliate programs merchants make available. You get the access to these affiliates once you sign up.
Lots of publishers
Complete advertising package
One of the biggest networks out there
Advanced features and ability to handle high-end retailers

 

 

Downsides

Like most of all affiliate networks, you are required to pay the fee for every sale as well as various other fees for being featured on the network. Even if your program is very successful, you will have to pay a percentage of each sale. (Check our affiliate software list – where you only need to pay fixed fee for the software license)
Costly for merchants
Learning curve

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

“What is the difference between a publisher and an advertiser?”

If you have a website or blog and you are looking to promote different products and service, then you are a “publisher”. If you are a merchant with an online store looking for affiliates to promote you in exchange for a commission, then you are an “advertiser”.

“How much does it cost?”

CJ is free for publishers but advertisers need to get in contact with sales staff to determine the cost as there are lots of variables involved.

“What type of advertisers are on CJ?”

Usually top brands and advertisers looking to setup advanced affiliate programs join CJ.

“How to get support?”

Support center is available to only current CJ network members, this means faster response time and higher quality service.

“Are there any API and technical materials available?”

All materials such as technical guides and integration documents can be accessed via Support Center by logging into CJ account manager.

“Is CJ Affiliate an affiliate network or an affiliate software?”

CJ affiliate is an affiliate network.

“What about mobile platforms, is CJ compatible?”

Yes, CJ’s mobilized solution can help you track sales and transaction via mobile devices as well as help you boost app downloads.

“Does CJ provide additional training?”

Yes, there is a CJ University which provides affiliate networking educational experience through live events and workshops. More info here: http://www.cjuniversity.com/

 

 

About The Company

CJ affiliate (known as Commission Junction) is a USA based company founded in 1998 by Conversant LLC. The network had a lot of time to go through the initial development and expansion so now presents a strong solution on the market.
Company headquarters is located in Santa Barbara, California US. They also have offices in various cities in the US as well as internationally (London, Madrid, Paris, Munich, South Africa, Stockholm). This is a high reputation company which works with high-end advertisers and merchants.
Their US headquarters contact phone number is 800-761-1072, available 6 AM – 6 PM Pacific Time.
Video – Why Advertisers Choose CJ:

CJ is a company which offers tons of different features to advertisers looking to start and expand their affiliate network programs. They go in great detail and really present a full package. Even if you want to skip worrying about anything, there are full support packages available that completely outsource your affiliate program.

 

 

The Bottom Line

CJ affiliate is an advanced affiliate network rich in advertising features. This network is a bit more focused towards supporting more demanding business models which can achieve full benefit of being part of this network. This is why lots of clients are big companies. This means that if you have a big online store, manage hotel booking business or an airline – CJ is a perfect solution for starting an affiliate program. CJ offers all their expertise through various levels of service. This company offers one of the most advanced affiliate marketing solutions and the bonus services offered are numerous and can be further customized.

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