What the Google Affiliate Network Closure Means for Merchants
When the initial announcement was made on Tuesday, April 16, the innocuous headline gave no hint of the size of the news to come. It read: "An Update on Google Affiliate Network." But the news was huge. Google Affiliate Network (GAN), at the time the fourth largest affiliate network in the industry, would be shutting down in a few months.
The immediate implication was clear: thousands of merchants whose affiliate programs were on Google Affiliate Network would be displaced when the network shut down. Merchants would need to consider options and find new homes for their affiliate programs. Among the considerations they faced:
- Where would they go?
- How would they maintain existing affiliate relationships?
- What would happen to historical data?
- When would they need to have another option(s) in place?
Affiliates who had focused their efforts on GAN-managed advertisers also faced some tough decisions:
- Will I be able to maintain relationships with the advertisers I promote?
- How will I maintain the revenue stream I've created?
- What do I do to keep customers satisfied if I lose some brands or products?
The answer to the biggest question — where do I go now — was available from the start. There are many affiliate networks that are able to help advertisers who must migrate their affiliate programs off of Google Affiliate Network, which officially shuts down July 31.
Within days of the GAN shutdown announcement, most affiliate networks had announced special discounts and speed-to-market options for displaced GAN advertisers. Affiliate networks weren't the only companies offering assistance. Agencies that manage affiliate programs (i.e., outsourced program management agencies or OPMs in the industry) were also offering GAN migration services to ensure that displaced advertisers and their affiliates would be able to make an efficient transition before GAN shuts down.