June 2018 update: Microsoft's Affiliate Program is now hosted by Impact Radius. We'll provide details on how to sign up once everything gets settled.
Brace yourself. This program can feel overwhelming, due to the large number of individual affiliate programs (53 as of November 2015!), the process of “creating” and verifying a site for each program, and then managing all the tracking parameters once you're accepted. The good news is that the Geniuslink dashboard will help you stay organized, though!
We strongly encourage you to break this process into multiple steps..
We recommend the following strategy:
For the first pass, start with your top performing (usually local) country and work through the process from start to finish.
For the second pass, focus on a handful of countries where you are seeing the most traffic (use SimilarWeb for a quick review of your website) and follow the process from start to finish.
Later on (once you start to see results from your work) pick another group of countries to sign up for and follow the same process as many times as you are still seeing results for.
Please keep in mind that you are paid out by each country / program / site individually and there is a threshold on a per country basis. Most of these are approximately $25 / €25. You may not want to bother with building / verifying a site, applying for the program and then adding the affiliate info into the Geniuslink dashboard for every program available, as you may never see a return for your effort on some.
Signing Up With The Microsoft Affiliate Program
Head over to microsoftaffiliates.com and click the Apply now button for the Microsoft Private Affiliate Program.
Fill out the provided form and a confirmation email will be sent. Once the email arrives click to confirm your email address.
If this doesn’t auto login, then go back to http://tradedoubler.microsoftaffiliates.com, and login.
Your next step before going much further is to fill out your contact information. This can be found under Account then Contact Information.
Inside the Tradedoubler dashboard they use a system where you need to create a “site” for every country where you’d like to apply for an affiliate program. But, before you can create additional sites for any of the other 50 countries (your first “site” is created when you register) you need to have your account enabled for “Cross Borders”. This is a manual process that is done on the Arvato side.
To initiate this process go to the Affiliate Support page and submit a request with your information including the following details:
Subject: “Enable Cross Borders”
I would like to promote Microsoft products to a global audience using the Private Microsoft Affiliate Program. Can you please enable my account for “Cross Borders”?
Website ID: (This is found inside the Tradedoubler dashboard by going to the “Sites” menu, selecting “Sites” then clicking the triangle to the right of your site’s name. It is the number directly below the name.)
Affiliate Network: “Tradedoubler”
Category: “Apply to the Affiliate Program”
Click submit and wait. Typically Arvato responds within a (German) business day.
While you’ll need to be “Cross Border Enabled” before you can start applying for the international programs you can still dive in and apply for your local Microsoft Affiliate Program.
Creating and Verifying "Sites"
Your first “site” is created when you sign up and is specific to the country where you are located. You’ll now need to verify this site to move forward so you can skip this next step on your first run through, but will need to return to it later.
Creating a Site
As noted previously, you’ll need to create a “site” for every country where you’d like to use the Microsoft Affiliate Program. This should closely coincide with the top countries that drive traffic to your site or app.
Click on “Sites” in the top navigation then select “Add site.”
Fill in the form with the appropriate information with the following items in mind.
Copy the information to elsewhere so that you can simply paste it for building out the sites for additional countries.
- For the “Site name” be sure to list your site name then include the two letter country code for the country in which you are creating this site for. For example “Geniuslink US” and “Geniuslink CA”, etc.
- For the Country drop down be sure to select the corresponding country to match the country code you just added to the name and one you haven’t created before.
- Note: If you are only allowed a single option in this drop down, you haven’t yet been approved for “Cross Borders”. See the note in the prior section.
After filling in all of the appropriate information click save. After creating a site you’ll need to have it verified before you can move forward. See the next section on that.
Verifying a Site
To verify a site you’ll want to go to the navigation menu and click on “Sites” then “Site”.
Click on the site (at first there will only be one) and click “edit”.
From the Site Info page you’ll get detailed information on how to “verify” your site with either adding a snippet of code into the header of your homepage or creating a unique page on your website.
If you need help with verifying your sites, or if you’d like them to verify many sites at once (recommended!) then you can contact the support team and politely ask them to help you out.
Note, you should always include at least one of your Site IDs so they can quickly find your account.
Applying to the Microsoft Private Affiliate Programs
After your site has been verified you will be eligible to apply to the individual Private Microsoft Affiliate Program that is specific to the country your site(s) have been verified for.
To apply to the individual, country-specific affiliate programs click on “Advertisers” then “Search Affiliate Programs” on the navigation menu.
In the search box for Program Name type “Microsoft”, make sure the “Website name” corresponds with the country you’d like to apply for and click Search (don’t worry about any of the other fields).
The results will return “Microsoft Private Affiliate Program XX”, where XX is the country code corresponding to the country (and site) you’ve applied to.
On the far right of the results you’ll see “Website status” with a button where you can click on “Apply”. This will take you to the next page.
Note: if you see “Not verified” in the results then your verification hasn’t been approved. Return to the prior step.
Always be sure to check the terms and conditions and check the box if you agree, then click “Apply for this Program.” This will submit your application.
After application, the Arvato team will review your application and should email you a decision within five business days.
Adding Your Affiliate Parameters into Geniuslink
After you’ve been approved into a country-specific Microsoft Affiliate Program you’ll want to add the relevant parameters into your Geniuslink dashboard so that subsequent clicks can be correctly affiliated. Follow these steps:
From the Tradedoubler dashboard, go to Programs click My Program and then Run Report on the bottom right of the table.
From the results, click on the Program name of a program where your Status is Accepted.
From the Overview page click the Links button.
When this page loads click on the Create text link button. This will pop up a new window.
From this new window click on URL in the center of the table and copy it.
Jump over to your Geniuslink dashboard and navigate to the Affiliate page. Click on the big blue Connect an affiliate program button.
When the window pops up, paste your link into the white area and click Connect this Program
You should see a green success message afterwards and closing the window should show the country flag, name and the Affiliate Token value in the Microsoft Affiliate Programs table that should match the Program Id as shown in the Tradedoubler dashboard.
Your geni.us links will now use your affiliate tracking IDs when you get a click from the corresponding country!
You can test this by adding testing parameters and looking for the same Affiliate Token / Program Id values at the end of your link when it’s finished resolving.
Note: The “Microsoft Private Affiliate Program UK” Links page doesn’t have an option for Create a text link so the process is slightly more complicated. You’ll want to copy the following URL into a text editor then replace the two parameters in bold with the information found under the Technical info column on the Overview page of the UK page:
To add your payment information in the Tradedoubler dashboard click on Account then Payment Information. Fill out the form with the usual bank account information and click Save.
There are a few important things to note with regards to payments.
As mentioned earlier, there is a payment threshold per country / program with most set at approximately $25. You’ll want to consider this before applying and enabling every program as you may end up with some countries where you don’t generate enough traffic to meet the threshold.
By default you will be paid in one of the following currencies that correspond with the currency of each program / country you are promoting.
USD, EUR, GBP, CHF, DKK, NOK, SEK or PLN
Along the line with the first note, some banks charge a fee for foreign currency deposits. If you aren’t careful and strategic you may end up losing a significant portion of your international commissions to bank fees. That is not fun!
However, if you wish to receive USD payment instead of the Default Currency for your market you can reach out the Microsoft Affiliate Program Support Team to enable your publisher account for USD payment.