Awin - Independent Review of Affiliate Marketing Network

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Awin is a global affiliate network. The company has 15 offices worldwide, 900 employees, 100,000 contributing publishers and 6,000 advertisers. Awin generated �5.4 ($7.05) billion in revenue for its advertisers and �324 ($422) million for its publishers in the last financial year.

Awin is one of the leading affiliate marketing networks in the UK, continental Europe and North America. It enables affiliates to generate an income by advertising companies on their websites or via email, search, social media marketing and other related activities.

Awin is part of Axel Springer Group. In 2009 a majority stake of Digital Window was bought by the German-based media group Axel Springer AG and the Swiss-based communications group Publigroupe S.A. who also own Berlin's Zanox AG, continental Europe's largest performance-based online marketing network. Awin and Zanox were gradually merged over the years and, in March 2017, the new brand of Awin was announced for the combined company.

2017 saw Awin spread its reach globally by forging a strategic partnership with Commission Factory in Australia and acquiring ShareASale of the United States, both leading affiliate networks in their respective parts of the world.

In August 2017, Axel Springer announced it has begun proceedings to merge its affiliate network Awin with that of United Internet�s affilinet, a behemoth affiliate network in Europe. This is in preparation for an IPO (Initial Public Offering).

You can see a video telling the history of Awin's growth here:

Initially known as Affiliate Window, the company was established in 2000 by Kevin Brown. With the demise of 'first phase' UK CPA affiliate networks like DGM, Magic Button and Your Cheque, Awin is the one of the few remaining UK affiliate networks from the pre-dotcom boom days.


Kevin discovered the important role affiliate marketing took in online sales through his business which today still sells the majority of its specialist concert travel packages through affiliates. Awin's software was originally coded by Kevin before being handed over to his development team.

Here is a screenshot of the Awin home page on 15th August 2000:

Screenshot of the Awin homepage in the early days. This image is from 15th August 2000

The network started off as a specialist in affiliate programs for SMEs. Here is the home page on 31st March 2001:

Screenshot of the Awin homepage from 1st March 2001. The network is in its early stages and leaves a lot to be desired in terms of design

The design of the homepage improved dramatically from 2001 to 2002 and here is the home page on 25th September 2002. This shows the network's current orange colour scheme for the first time. Awin has grown rapidly by now and the page states there are �over 200 advertisers to choose from�:

Screenshot of the Awin homepage in the early days. This image is from 25th September 2002

Over the following years, an ambitious, tenacious business development team fought in a legendary tussle with the now-sister network to introduce the concept of affiliate marketing to major UK brands and bring them onto the network. A notable coup was Dixons Retail PLC whose four stores Dixons, Currys, PC World and The Link and went live on Awin on 2 May 2007. While the launch was heavily PRed by the network, the very low commission overrides on which Awin which charged the company to win the contract led some to question if it was a worthwhile development.

However, bringing on board the likes of Dixons Retail PLC proved to be a smart move as the headline brands helped attract other major advertisers. Awin now handles thousands of merchants ranging from blue-chip brands such as Vodafone and Domino's Pizza.

With Awin having become a major corporate entity, the current home page reflects the network's stature.


Alongside enabling affiliates to promote big brands on their website, Awin's emphasis on developing state-of-the-art yet user-friendly widgets and tools for its affiliates has been one of the key factors in it becoming one of the leading networks in the UK.

These include Shop Window, which enables users to search Awin's database of over four million products from thousands of retailers on a sale popularity basis. Shop Window analyse every affiliate sale and look at sales trends in the market to order the product search results. This means that the results displayed from a ShopWindow search have taken into account the cost of the product, the advertisers' reputation and the confidence of the buying public.

Another incredibly useful feature of Awin is 'The Awin Index', which is a tool that gives an 'at-a-glance' indication of programme performance. The AWin Index is a score out of 100, calculated from an algorithm of four different performance metrics and is used by affiliates to compare and identify the best performing merchant programmes across the Awin network. The algorithm takes into account information from the previous three months for each merchant programme. This is called the C.A.V.E. data and is comprised of the following:

  • Conversion ratio
  • Approval percentage
  • Validation time
  • Earnings per click

    AWin's interface has migrated to the Darwin platform, and is jam-packed with a whole array of features to bring about a more profitable relationship between merchants and affiliates. In March 2017, in conjunction with the new brand of Awin, the company announced the launch of a single, global platform. The internationalised Awin interface enables advertisers and publishers in every territory to seamlessly join programmes across the globe. The platform is available in ten languages and supports multiple currencies. The Awin platform is available all markets and provides access to enhanced, industry-leading features including:

    - Cross-device tracking: tracking and rewarding customer journeys across multiple devices and reporting this information back to advertisers and publishers
    - Payment on Influence: Allowing publishers to be rewarded for sales they have influenced early in the purchase funnel
    - Convert-a-link: a plugin that automates converting product links into trackable links with a single click


    Awin has gone from strength to strength in the 2010s. With the integration of into the company in 2010 after the acquisition of the competitor on 1 March 2010, the subsequent integration of Zanox into the network, the 2017 partnerships and acquisitions of former rival networks like Commission Factory, Shareasale and Affilinet, the business has become a market leader as we head towards the 2020s.

    This is a truly brilliant affiliate network and Azam Marketing is pleased to give it a five star rating. If you are looking to make money online, you can't go wrong if you sign-up to Awin.

    Awin gets 5 stars out of 5 from Azam Marketing. Highly recommended

    Pros: Cons:
  • Fast, user-friendly interface
  • Complaints the network has become 'too big' to service smaller advertisers and publishers
  • Sophisticated yet easy-to-use tools and widgets
  • Some inexperienced Account Managers with rudimentary knowledge of the industry
  • Huge range of merchants, big and small
  • Regular, free and very useful events for merchants and affiliates

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