With the end of 2013 fast approaching I decided to get the teams perspective on 2013 and their predictions for the industry in the year ahead.
What do you think the biggest change in the affiliate industry has been this year?
Dan Lancioni (Senior Account Manager)
I hate to keep mentioning it… but for me it’s user generated content (UGC).
In June this year the IAB made amendments to the voucher code of conduct, particularly around the monetisation of UGC i.e. affiliates would still be able to put affiliate links behind UGC, but only under the permission of advertisers. One of the leading UK voucher code partners instantly took this legislation change and built their own UGC platform off the back of it. From this they have been able to monetise UGC themselves moving forward and it’s been a huge talking point this year – with advertisers, networks, other publishers and agencies arguing for and against the introduction of the solution.
I expect more voucher code publishers to adopt this UGC monetisation approach coming into 2014.
Katie Mulvaney (Consultant)
I think the greatest changes to the affiliate industry this year have been the introduction of social codes and the focus on growing the long tail and the preparation for less reliance on cash back.
What is the online marketing trend for 2014?
Sylvia Leroy (Account Manager)
The issue the affiliate industry has been facing for a while, is how to make the most of the “long tail” actors whose value have long been underestimated or just unused due to a lack of concrete solution. In 2014 I expect the networks to come up with interesting new models which meet this demand.
Rosana Bosanac (Key Account Manager)
Video will only grow further as a content channel in 2014 especially considering the demand of entertainment on mobile and video being more likely to be shared than any other form of content.
Harry Tyndall (Key Account Manager)
I think it is going to be interesting to see what happens with the ‘mid-tier’ affiliates because there is so much thought and focus on the long tail and many would agree that the larger affiliates are to an extent saturating the market, so don’t forget the guys in the middle – surely!?
I think networks and publishers have done a great job of becoming more mobile optimized and prepared for mobile strategies for advertisers, so I look forward to further mobile growth.
James Bennie (Senior Account Manager)
I think mobile will continue to play an increasing role in the online landscape, as will sites that exist to provide users with incentives to buy – mainly cashback and voucher code sites. As such I would expect the two (mobile and codes/cashback) to merge further, with incentive publishers investing more in their mobile offering to improve the delivery of discounts to mobile users.
What would you like to see happen to the affiliate industry in 2014?
Vicky Bruce (Senior International Accounts Manager)
I would like to see the shift towards mobile being embraced by more merchants – particularly within the travel sector. I think that this has flown under the radar for many advertisers, even though 2013 saw a marked shift in consumer behavior towards the use of tablets and mobiles for browsing and buying.
We all spend so much time and money trying to get users to our sites, so it seems a real shame to then have many leave because of a poor customer journey if they are using the ‘wrong’ device. Think of all the extra engagement (and revenue) your website would receive if you could provide customers with a really excellent user experience!
Sandy Hocking (Publisher Manager)
I would like to see a bigger shift into mobile. The industry as a whole has been teetering on the edge for some time with only a small portion of advertisers having mobile sites plus mobile tracking for publishers to work with. This shift is slowly coming about but realistically it should be happening a lot faster than it currently is.
I am also looking forward to seeing a change in focus on publisher models. The long tail has been neglected for sometime by the industry in terms of recognising the value that they add. I think 2014 will be the year of the long tail and will help to cement the importance of remunerating them appropriately like we do for the rest of the marketing channels.