LinkConnector’s CTO, Ernie St. Gelais was one of 5 industry executive panelists in an Affiliate Summit East session moderated this week by industry expert Jamie Birch, Founder of JEBCommerce a leading affiliate marketing agency, and titled Technology Will Save Us from All Our Affiliate Ills. In addition to Ernie, the panelists included Scott Chaplin of AvantLink, Todd Crawford of Impact Radius, Michael Jones of Pepperjam and Brian Littleton of ShareASale.

Jamie drove the narrative to focus dialogue around affiliate marketing technology features available via each of the panelists’ platforms, how these technologies are used and critical considerations (e.g., data and program goals) merchants must recognize when deciding which tools to utilize and how to correctly apply them.

Here are just a few of the valuable perspectives voiced by these industry stalwarts.

Each of the panelists underlined the importance of their platforms in providing the data to empower merchants to make educated decisions on which technologies to leverage to best accomplish their specific program goals.

The discussion then led to attribution – both internal within the affiliate channel as well as multi-channel attribution.

Brian emphasized that merchants must remember that within the affiliate marketing channel, you have someone that needs to be paid – merchants are attributing commission, not just credit for a conversion. With multi-channel attribution, it becomes dangerous for merchants when they start transitioning commission (i.e., money) outside of the affiliate channel.

Ernie highlighted the fact that the affiliate marketing industry is ahead of other channels that are not as sophisticated in attributing credit. Ernie urged merchants to be mindful of not focusing on the type of affiliate but instead to focus on the value an affiliate is adding at different points in the purchase funnel. He referenced a recent article published in FeedFront which demonstrates LinkConnector’s Shopping Cart Window technology as an example of how LinkConnector’s technology is designed to help merchants treat affiliate partners more fairly based value, not affiliate type.

The discussion evolved into commission splitting which brought to the surface differing perspectives.

Ernie encouraged merchants to exercise caution as commission splitting inserts the possibility of losing an affiliate as it waters down the reward. Merchants run the risk of losing (and retaining) valuable affiliates.

Scott spotlighted how the affiliate marketing industry is going through what he coined as a ‘Content Renaissance’ and used the example of how commission splitting could be applied to help advertisers structure their program to better reward Content affiliates while still rewarding Coupon affiliates for their value.

Brian pointed out that commission splitting has prevented merchants from hitting the panic button and dropping certain publishers all together.

Todd stressed that the goal of a program is not to redistribute spend; the goal is to grow revenue. Commission splitting is not a silver bullet to solving problems.

Michael emphasized that tools such as commission splitting exist to help merchants solve specific (not all) problems. Michael underscored how merchants should be careful about inherent biases towards certain types of affiliates. Jamie made the point that advertisers are making an emotional decision in such cases.

A resounding piece of advice expressed by the panelists throughout the discussion was that one size does not fit all – merchants must take into consideration their business and program goals to know what technology features to favor.

The session wrapped up with Todd highlighting how business imperatives should drive the tools you use, not the existence of the tools themselves. Brian encouraged the audience to take a step back and start simple when deciding which technologies to evaluate. Ernie advised the audience to lean on their network platform team to appropriately consider and measure the functionality. Scott stated how network platforms proudly wear a badge of honor in placing advertisers in the best position to drive their business forward by having the technology and services under one roof.

If your ASE17 pass affords you the opportunity to view the session videos – this is one you don’t want to miss!

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