Insights and Takeaways from the PMA Webinar

In a recent webinar hosted by the Performance Marketing Association (PMA) and sponsored by Mavely, industry experts delved into the transformative role of artificial intelligence (AI) in affiliate marketing. This discussion covered a spectrum of topics, spotlighting areas of concern and uncovering how AI can optimize workflows and provide a leg up to merchants and affiliates alike within the performance marketing industry.

Moderated by Jade Mayberry from Dentsu, the webinar featured insights from panelists representing diverse range of organizations, including Sean O’Brien (Co-founder & CTO of Mavely), Sam Auchenpaugh (Affiliate Group Manager at Microsoft), Tricia Meyer (PMA Executive Director & Sunshine Rewards Owner) and LinkConnector Co-Founder and CEO, Choots Humphries.

Here are some key topics and quotes from the discussion:

Introduction to Generative AI and Machine Learning: The discussion kicked off with an overview of generative AI and machine learning, providing a foundational understanding of these technologies and basic definitions of these terms.

“Machine learning is a part of AI, as is generative AI. The big difference is that machine learning is focused on algorithms and learning…and it really needs direction by people. Generative AI learns much bigger data sets, but the other thing it does is it creates, and that’s something that’s new.” –Sam Auchenpaugh

Mavely’s Approach: Empowering the ‘Everyday Person’ with AI: Sean O’Brien, Co-founder & CTO of Mavely, highlighted how their platform harnesses AI to empower everyday individuals while leveraging its capabilities for effective marketing strategies.

“At Mavely, we look to maximize earnings effortlessly for our creators, and we look at AI helping both sides of the equation (the maximizing earnings side and the effortless content creation side).” -Sean O’Brien

Microsoft’s AI-Powered Workflow Tools: Sam Auchenpaugh, Affiliate Group Manager at Microsoft, shared insights on how Microsoft utilizes AI tools to enhance workflows, emphasizing efficiency and innovation.

“The way that we’re starting to think about it internally is, how do we use (AI) to speed up the things that we don’t want to spend time on. It’s really about augmenting the work that we’re doing.” -Sam Auchenpaugh

Enhancing Affiliate Recruitment at LinkConnector with the Power of AI: Choots Humphries, President & Co-founder of LinkConnector, discussed how LinkConnector integrates AI-powered technology to optimize recruitment efforts for both merchants and publishers.

“We all know, and we’ve seen in the news, that AI can be used to remove the personal element and replace people. LinkConnector is using it more in a manner to enhance our efforts and make us more efficient.” -Choots Humhpries

Legal and Ethical Considerations in AI Marketing: PMA Executive Director and Sunshine Rewards Owner, Tricia Meyer, addressed crucial considerations surrounding the use of AI in marketing, including legal and ethical implications that marketers should be aware of.

As a publisher, as an influencer – If you’re using AI to generate your content, are you just stealing your competitor’s content? From an ethical (and legal) standpoint, that’s something you have to think about.” -Tricia Meyer


PMA Survey Findings on AI Use Tricia Meyer also presented insights from a PMA survey on AI adoption within affiliate marketing, providing a pulse on industry trends and rapidly evolving feelings towards AI.

“The survey was conducted twice in 2023. We did the first one in April and then asked the exact same questions in September, and the change in AI sentiments and use in affiliate marketing in such a short amount of time was crazy!” –Tricia Meyer

The Rise of Virtual Influencers The webinar continued with an exploration of virtual influencers and their evolving (and possibly problematic) role in the marketing landscape.

“The consumer is going to dictate whether these virtual influencers stick around… As long as it’s being handled responsibly, and we are aware that it is a virtual influencer, then maybe we should not have to be afraid of them.” -Jade Mayberry

Is Anything Safe from AI? The roundtable discussion concluded by pondering which, if any, parts of the affiliate marketing industry could never be touched or completely replaced by AI.

“We’ve all talked about AI enhancing and making us better at what we do, but I’m not sure that we need to worry about AI actually replacing anything in our industry. Certainly not a 1:1 replacement.” -Choots Humphries

This webinar not only underscored the growing significance of AI in affiliate marketing but also provided actionable insights for marketers looking to leverage these technologies effectively.

For those who missed the live session on LinkedIn and are interested in exploring the intersection of AI and affiliate marketing, you can catch the replay here. Stay tuned for more thought-provoking roundtable discussions from the PMA on the ever-evolving performance marketing landscape.

If you would like to learn more about how AI is evolving and affecting the affiliate marketing landscape, we would love to connect with you to discuss this and other timely performance marketing topics. Contact a LinkConnector team member today.

If you are not yet a member of the Performance Marketing Association, visit to learn about membership benefits.

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