Day two of Affiliate Management Days kicked off with the 2016 Affiliate State of the Union; this keynote panel, comprised of leading industry influencers, sat side-by-side in a brightly lit green room to debate today’s most pressing affiliate marketing issues. Robert Glazer of Acceleration Partners moderated the panel, which included Brian Littleton of Shareasale, Todd Crawford of Impact Radius, Maura Smith of eBay Enterprises, Adam Martin of Performance Horizon and Choots Humphries of LinkConnector. The group collaborated on a diverse set of issues ranging from adblocking to mobile app tracking to attribution and commission splitting.
One of the first topics discussed was adblocking. It’s back and it’s important. Brian Littleton pointed out that this software has been around for years, but with its introduction into the Apple store, its impact has resurfaced and intensified, and it is a real concern for marketers today. Takeaway: Discuss with your network how they are working to protect their clients’ promotions.
Mobile App Tracking
Next up? Mobile app tracking. The panel discussed the complexities and variants around app tracking such as placing tracking SDK code into apps and negotiating the benefit of tracking capability over the desire to keep the app light. Also is the issue of communicating with developers who don’t want to put multiple SDKs into their software. Other complications include determining device and operating system and getting users to update the app in order to have the tracking take effect. Despite the many complications, the panel agreed that if advertisers are receiving app traffic and sales, they should compensate partners for it or risk it going away. Moreover, this becomes an issue of ethics (getting something without paying for it). All were in agreement, though, that mobile app tracking is much more complex than the traditional means of placing a snippet of code on a merchant’s landing page.
Native and Influencer Marketing
The panel next discussed native and influencer marketing. Robert Glazer pointed out the confusion that exists around how bloggers, content producers and impassioned topical writers view the affiliate space. This could be a PR issue, he concluded. The panel noted many new networks popping up in this niche space as a possible way to capture these potential affiliates who do not identify as affiliates. A solution may be to enable these experts and influencers to continue along their path as trusted authority figures and educate them on how they can earn revenue doing what they are doing already. Choots Humphries pointed out that there are social technologies available that enable content producers, affiliate bloggers, etc. to run promotions entirely transparently, keeping their sites editorial in nature, further supporting native advertising.
The discussion turned to Nexus laws next, now in 20-22 states. These laws are written much differently and have very different implications, so gaining clear advisement, either through a lawyer, a network, or the PMA was encouraged.
The panel also discussed global expansion—expanding promotions into foreign markets and the need for localization support, shopping carts with multiple currencies enabled, overcoming language barriers and more. The discussion turned to the Performance Marketing Association (PMA) next and all they are doing, through counsels, whitepapers, webinars and more, to support, educate and elevate our industry.
Commission Splitting was the final and most widely debated topic. Todd Crawford advocated for making objective, data-informed decisions and using statistically significant data to arrive at attribution conclusions (vs. going by a gut feel). Robert Glazer touched on internal vs external attribution models. An internal model being a more complex and numbers-backed attribution model, well understood by an internal team but perhaps overly complex to communicate externally. Leading to an external model, one based on the internal data but simplified in order to make it digestible and actionable for the client.
The keynote panel was widely attended and closed with a strong Q & A session. Thank you to Geno Prussakov for an outstanding keynote and an overall high quality conference. For more information, go to the AffiliateManagementDays.com website.