How Brands Will Select Key Partners in 2019: 5 Key Takeaways from Affiliate Summit West

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This year’s Affiliate Summit West conference took place earlier this month in Las Vegas. And just like every year, performance marketing experts gathered to see some of the potential challenges and opportunities the space is likely to see in 2019. This year’s conference gave them plenty to chew on.

There were five topics, in particular, that I found to be most important. Here’s a closer look at them.

Global affiliate programs

Many brands are expanding their affiliate programs abroad since it offers a big opportunity for growth. Technology has made it easier than ever to operate a global affiliate program. But still, there remain some common pitfalls, such as choosing the wrong platform, running on too many networks, failing to set global standards, and not having boots on the ground. As they enter new markets, companies are taking steps to ensure that their affiliate program is set up for success by complying with local regulations, establishing quality partnerships and having the right team in place.

App-to-app commerce

Retailers are increasingly investing in mobile apps as consumers continue to spend more time on their devices, and transactions continue to grow via this medium. Despite this growth, driving acquisition via affiliate marketing has been limited to date. Breakdowns in tracking have limited payments to publishers and caused them to under-invest in mobile, leaving retailers highly dependent on Google and Facebook. However, this is all changing as app-to-app technologies like Button—with its deep linking functionality—are now allowing retailers to capture marketing of their apps, thereby ensuring publisher partners are adequately rewarded for installs and purchases.

Performance-driven influencer marketing

Influencer marketing continues to grow, with brands partnering with relevant Instagrammers, YouTubers, and bloggers to increase reach and sales. Brands are partnering with micro-influencers and managing them via an affiliate-type model. They’re looking beyond impressions and reach, and they want more detailed conversion metrics to better understand which influencers are driving the most activity. This model benefits both brands and micro-influencers, with brands seeing improved ROI and influencers being rewarded for what they’re delivering and earning through the partnership.

Mass media publishers

Growing advertiser concerns with misaligned incentives, fraud, and viewability in programmatic advertising are motivating publishers to embrace affiliate marketing. Mass media publishers such as Business Insider, Conde Nast, and Wirecutter (A New York Times company) are investing in the medium as their advertisers demand more transparency and value. They’re bringing affiliate marketing into the mainstream and are finding multiple opportunities to monetize their content by offering native experiences combined with personalized data. This, in turn, results in more clicks and conversions for brands.

Off-site buying

Rather than redirecting people away from the content with which they are engaged, publishers are adding native shopping carts to their sites that allow readers to purchase directly from photos, videos, blog posts, and online advertisements. Visitors can check-out directly on the publishers’ website without having to visit a brand’s website. Publishers have the opportunity to focus more on content. And for brands, on-site transactions can lead to improved conversion rates.

Robert Glazer is the founder and CEO of global performance marketing agency, Acceleration Partners. He is also the co-founder and Chairman of BrandCycle. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Robert has a passion for helping individuals and organization build their capacity to outperform. Bob is a past recipient of the Boston Business Journal “40 under 40” award and is an advisor/board member to several high-growth companies. He also recently authored the international bestselling book, Performance Partnerships: The Checkered Past, Shifting Present, and Exciting Future of Affiliate Marketing.