I recently attended the second affiliate huddle event at Rainmaking Loft, London. This free one-day event covers the hot topics in the industry through a series of talks and panels, specifically aimed at advertisers.
For its second event, the Affiliate Huddle hosted exciting short format talks ranging from in-store affiliate strategies to making attribution pay, as well as two major panels covering the state of affiliate marketing and questions to the networks. Throughout the day hot topics including data, transparency and attribution were raised numerous times.
See below for my key takeaways from the event:
More Data, Smarter Data
A number of speakers and panellists, from both agency and network backgrounds, stressed the importance of data for the future of affiliate marketing. There seems to be an increasing demand from advertisers for deeper insights on performance not only regarding their affiliate marketing but also regarding their whole online marketing mix. At the moment the industry is failing to respond to the advertisers’ need for better visibility across the different channels they use. How do the channels I use impact the conversion? How can I measure their true incremental value? These are questions that in my opinion platforms should address by working towards performant cross-channel data extraction in the near future.
Another issue that was raised was the transparency that some publishers and more particularly sub-networks, choose to disclose. Advertisers feel uncomfortable with the lack of visibility they get while publishers and sub-networks defend their right for confidentiality.
The state of attribution
Many advertisers see most of their conversions generated through a relatively small number of publishers while the long-tail seems to struggle more every year with the CPA model. On the other hand, platforms such as Google AdSense with their simplified processes and payment on clicks are hard to compete with. So the burning question is: should the affiliate marking industry revise its business model in a way that smaller publishers can be rewarded for their efforts while keeping it cost effective for the advertisers? The panellists agreed on the fact that affiliate marketing has historically been about keeping the risks low for the advertisers and that it’s unlikely that the CPA will not be central model anymore. However steps are taken towards exploring different hybrid payment models with the long-tail publishers.
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