Currently I am signed up on both affiliate networks: Involve Asia and AccessTrade (MY and TH). I know some of you who are considering to sign up as an affiliate may be considering between Involve Asia and Access Trade since both companies seemed similar.
What is Involve Asia and AccessTrade?
Both the companies above are affiliate network companies. What this means is that when you sign up with them, you get to promote various advertisers or companies that have signed with them to provide an affiliate program to their publishers. For example, in Malaysia, you can promote multiple brands such as Zalora, Lazada and Shopee once you are signed up with an affiliate network rather than sign up separately as an affiliate with each of these companies.
Note: When you sign up, you are known as the ‘publisher’.
This means that Involve Asia and Access Trade are similar with the US equivalent of Shareasale.com and CJ.com, both which operates as affiliate networks.
Next, let’s move on to the difference I noticed between both these companies:
Involve Asia vs AccessTrade
1. Advertiser geographical coverage
Involve Asia offers a host of different advertisers from various countries in Asia in a SINGLE platform. This means that once you are accepted as their publisher, you get to promote different merchants from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, India, etc as well as some advertisers that caters for the global market. You do not need to create multiple accounts for each country where you are targeting its advertisers.
Whereas for AccessTrade, you need to sign up separately for each country based on the geographical location of your visitors and the advertisers that you are targeting for. For example, if your blog gets most of its visitors from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, if you opt for Access Trade, you need to sign up under 3 separate platforms of Access Trade based in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. That means you need to meet 3 separate payment thresholds to be able to quality for payment under each country.
For example, from Involve Asia, I can promote Zalora MY and Zalora SG in a single platform. However from Access Trade, I need to sign up via their Malaysia and Singapore sites separately.
2. Ease of approval
When I first signed up with Involve Asia back in 2017, my application was approved within a day. But I could see they have now gotten more strict with their approval process. Even though you may get approved, but you also need to get approval for any blog, website and social media platforms that you are using to promote their featured advertisers. When they first implemented this requirement sometime back, I submitted 2 sites and got approved. Recently, I submitted 3 more sites and they got rejected. Rejected meant that I am not supposed to use those sites for my affiliate promotion.
With AccessTrade you also need to submit and get your site approved before you can feature any advertiser in that site. I submitted the 3 sites and was automatically approved by Access Trade. It is the same when I apply for the advertisers, all the advertisers approve my request.
The strange thing is that when I apply to promote certain advertisers, with Involve Asia, I got rejected. But via AccessTrade, the request was approved. According to both the networks, the requests were supposed to go to the advertisers for review. This kinda made me suspect that Involve Asia team did some kind of vet through first before the request goes to the advertisers. They may reject based on conclusion that the site is not within ‘the advertiser’s target audience’ or got enough traffic. But if it is the advertiser viewing locally, they may interpret differently.
3. Availability of advertisers
Involve Asia definitely have a larger selection of advertisers compared to AccessTrade. However, it does not mean that quantity triumphs quality.
What I mean is the most important determining factor is the advertiser we wish to sign up with is in their program. For example, Shopee, Lazada and Zalora are available in Involve Asia as well as in some Access Trade sites (available under TH but not in MY). There are also some advertisers that Access Trade has that Involve Asia does not have.
Usually we would end up promoting just a small handful of advertisers and not all under the sun. For me, both Involve Asia and AccessTrade have the advertisers that I need.
4. Campaign materials eg banners, promotions, etc
For the same merchant, Involve Asia usually have more campaigns available compared to AccessTrade. And Involve Asia would remove all expired campaigns to avoid accidentally putting up an expired campaign on their site.
Whereas for AccessTrade, there are lesser campaigns. Some of the campaigns have already expired and have not been removed. Well, when I first started with Involve Asia I had also encountered similar issue until they are able to effectively track the expiry of the campaigns.
For me, I find that banners and campaigns may not be so effective as linking to their product directly because most people would go into the marketplace to search for something in mind.
5. Tracking and reports
Both affiliate network display real time tracking of clicks and sales.
6. Payments to publishers
Both requires you to hit a minimum payment threshold in order to be eligible for withdrawal.
- Involve Asia: The minimum payout is RM80 for publishers with a Malaysian bank account. If withdrawal is via PayPal (overseas publishers), the minimum would be RM400 equivalent with a processing fee and service fee.
- Access Trade Malaysia: Amount is dependent on the country that you sign up with. The minimum payout is RM60 for publishers with a Malaysian bank account. For oversea publishers, the minimum payment is RM500 equivalent- additional fees would apply for withdrawal of less than RM1000 equivalent
- Access Trade Thailand: Amount is minimum 500baht. The FAQ did not state any option for overseas account.
7. Email communication and infrastructure
I receive about 3 or 4 emails from Involve Asia on advertiser updates ie new campaign launches, paused and resumed advertisers. This covers ALL their advertisers. There have been a lot of changes in advertisers in the short span of my 3 years with Involve Asia. You would find their emails useful if you are actively promoting their offers or else it may be a little disruptive to have to receive so many emails. Having said that, you have the option to opt out of receiving their notification by logging into your Dashboard and selecting to opt in/out.
While many may find the emails annoying and the constant changes hard to keep up, to me it is a good sign that Involve Asia is vigilant – ie any changes is communicated ASAP. For example, if an advertiser launch a campaign that captures a certain number of leads only. Once the capping is achieved, the campaign would end immediately and publishers would be notified via email so that they could remove the promotional materials from the website. It is better this way than to have the promotion banner still there and visitors getting to a 404 page or you ended up not being eligible for commission because no one told you the quota has been met.
As for Access Trade, I am quite new with them so I have receive only a few emails on their campaign changes.
Involve Asia or Access Trade?
Both affiliate networks have their respective pros and cons. You may find it harder to get accepted into Involve Asia as they now seems to require sites/social media with large amount of traffic/followers. In that case, you may want to find out the geographic location of most of your visitors via your Google Analytics report (via the Audience> Geo> Location tab). You may be surprised at what you would discover.
For example, it is clear that this site of mine speaks of a journey of a Malaysian blogger. However, top three of the countries where the traffic source comes from are:
- 49.5% from United States
- 18.81% from Philippines
- 9.90% from Malaysia
If I never looked at the report, I would have assumed that most traffic sources came from Malaysia. However in terms of average spend time on the site, the first rank is Singapore, followed by Malaysia and then Philippines. Through studying the traffic report and user behaviour, you can then choose your affiliate program or network accordingly.
Personally, I have a site that I which to focus on affiliate marketing but my request (and appeal) to include the site have been declined by Involve Asia. I realize that I am not able to achieve my objective of monetizing that site with affiliate sales if I were to stick to Involve Asia. This leads me to move to search for alternatives and that is when I discover Access Trade and signed up with them.