On Wednesday 25th January the IAB UK held their first Performance Affiliate Conference at The British Museum. The event attracted representatives from brands, affiliates, networks and publishers. The goal of the Conference was to highlight the importance of the Affiliate Channel in the Digital Marketing world, a model that drives £17.7billion worth of UK Sales. Furthermore, The Performance Conference strived to answer the question: “how can brands make this discipline [Affiliate] work within, rather than on the edge of their business strategy?”
Affiliate Networks have mastered this discipline for many years since its inception in 1994. Now with the potential for mass revenue growth it is time for the brands to sit up and take notice of the successes of internet retailers as it pertains to the Affiliate channel.
To start the conference off, CAKE’s President, Santi Perini participated in a panel session which included panellists from the following companies:
- Kevin Edwards, Global Strategy Director, Affiliate Window
- Helen Southgate, Managing Director, Affilinet
- Pete Newman, Commercial Director, Optimise Media
- Sean Sewell, Co-founder and Vice President of Revenue EMEA, Performance Horizon
Throughout the panel, there were a few key themes discussed which included:
Trust and risk
Companies new to the affiliate marketing sphere are worried about the unknown. Affiliate marketing is not an area they have invested time or money into before so taking the first steps can bring about fear. Therefore, it was suggested that these companies need to build strong relationships with the media, search and social channels, in order to manage and monetise their CPAs. They need to be able to accurately determine which affiliates should be paid, and in what amount. Affiliate marketing can offer guaranteed return on investment. It provides companies with a stable and almost risk-free solution. However, there is still a reluctance with affiliate marketing, as companies worry they will be taken advantage of. This segued into the next discussion point: education.
Our duty, as performance marketers, is to educate others on the affiliate model and how this channel can drastically enhance ROI. Additionally, it is also important to educate the industry on the value of tracking conversions, and quickly determining what campaigns are successful and which ones are not as this immediately impacts ROI.
The industry has moved from solely focusing on the last touch point in the customer journey to now considering the importance of all touchpoints. It is widely accepted that the buying process occurs on a variety of levels and across multiple channels. Performance marketers need to see how all of the digital channels fit together as a whole, instead of in silos and accurately measure each step. This need for measuring data is driving a demand in performance marketing and it is essential to understand that affiliate marketing is not just about quantity but also quality. Analysing the life-time value of customers is essential in building strong client relationships and ensuring customers keep coming back.
The silos within digital marketing need to be removed, and the performance of campaigns across all channels needs to be viewed holistically.
There were also discussions around how The UK and Germany are well established, and how key players, within the affiliate marketing sphere should educate and share their knowledge with others looking to break into the affiliate marketing mix. Another key issue discussed was personalisation. Consumers want great experiences across all devices. They want to see relevant content that is tailored to their interests and past purchases. Tracking platforms need to track conversions across all devices and campaigns need to get personalisation right in order to entice customers to come back.
In conclusion, the conference left us with great insights into the importance of affiliate marketing and also some considerations for the year ahead. We are looking forward to participating in additional IAB events throughout 2017!