The Affiliate Maturity Curve: Graduating from Banners to Lifetime Value

Let’s face it: Affiliate marketing gets a bad wrap. Once considered a channel fraught with black-hat players, fraud, weak strategy, and an overall lack of transparency, affiliate marketing suffered from a reputation for opacity that did not imbue confidence and trust in partners. Most importantly, there wasn’t a sufficient level of confidence that the channel could deliver desired results and outcomes. 

The reality is that the last-click-only perception of affiliate marketing is a thing of yesteryear. Looking back, coupon and loyalty dominated the category because of this reliance on the last-click model embraced by brands. That model stymied the channel’s advancement and progression. However, affiliate is no longer relegated to rudimentary tactics like banner advertising on coupon sites. 

The Cookie’s Collapse is No More Consequential than the Shift to Mobile

The cookie is on its last days, enjoying an extended farewell tour, thanks to Google’s decision to view third-party cookies as obsolete within Chrome by 2022. While many have painted the cookie’s waning days as the potential end of digital advertising, the truth is that this move is really no more consequential than the gradual shift from the desktop web to the mobile device.

Similar to the shift to mobile, the loss of the cookie will change the way that digital media is bought and sold and the way that many companies approach third-party data. It will likely put several companies out of business if they fail to adapt. But this change will merely be a paradigm shift — one that is long overdue — and not the nuclear fallout that many are expecting.

Location Weekly: Nextdoor and Walmart Team Up to Help Neighbors Assist Neighbors

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association’s Asif Khan chats with Cami Zimmer, chief business officec of Glympse, and Ron Cariker speaks with Shannon Wilkerson, marketing director of Cajun Harley Davidson. The team also discusses Nextdoor and Walmart helping neighbors help neighbors and 7Eleven opening a pop-up store letting hospital workers pay with their badges.

Beyond Store Visits: Better Objectives for Current Times

A more adaptive framework that allows campaigns to still operate with the hyper-locality of a Store Visits Objective campaign, but without the specific objective requirements, is timely and ideal for maintaining strategic flexibility. This framework can actually be replicated with other objectives, such as Conversions, Lead Generation, Video Views, or even Website Traffic, especially with specialized tools.

Developing campaigns across other objectives that utilize local pages and localized copy still provides the same local performance benefits as an SVO campaign, as well as the attribution models to ensure you can still prove ROAS. 

Amid Coronavirus, Are the Fraudsters Also Staying Home?

To date, the app industry has said little about the effects of coronavirus on fraud. With self-isolation enforced globally, and workers now adapting to the new world of working from home, we investigated whether the rate of ad fraud (and by proxy, the output of fraudsters) had been disrupted. Or are fraudsters themselves in the line of fire as they continue to operate both above the law and in close proximity with each other?

How Realistic is the IAB’s Rearc?

Behind the scenes, at conferences and in meetings, we’re told of solutions for the death of the third-party cookie that will use CNAMEs, Universal IDs, device IDs, IP addresses, or other Rube Goldberg-ian hijinks to create the supposed 1:1 replacement for how marketing was previously done. The bridge from marketing using the third-party cookie to first-party data is as simple as snapping your fingers!

Of course, it won’t be that simple. There will not be a simple replacement for the third-party cookie. In truth, there shouldn’t be. The third-party cookie never worked as well as the industry liked to believe. Third-party data was used to measure the performance of first-party inventory, and attribution was biased toward a last-click model that benefited the triopoly of Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The third-party cookie never really worked in a society that has adopted mobile as a way of life. In a way, it’s time to bid good riddance to a flawed system, albeit one with which we’d all grown comfortable.

Rely on Empathy to Stop Second-Guessing Your Covid-19 Marketing Strategy

We have to recognize that — just like us — our customers are in a heightened state of stress and sensitivity. They’re likely to remember brands that get their messaging very wrong or very right during this historic period, and no one wants to be among the former. But we also have to remember that empathy in the face of daunting challenges is a proven business strategy — brands that deliver humanized experiences are twice as likely to outperform their competitor’s revenue growth.

With Stimulus Funds Delayed, Small Businesses Digitize for Survival

Experts at helping SMBs adapt to a tech-first commercial landscape say the pandemic has led some businesses to tap into their long-dormant potential as digital marketers and sellers, possibly setting them up for gains in the aftermath of the recession. Now that e-commerce is the only path to survival, mom-and-pop shops, aided by martech firms, agencies, and Silicon Valley giants, are capitalizing on cutting-edge marketing and retail techniques, many for the first time.

Thousands, if not millions, of Main Street businesses will close their doors for good as a result of the pandemic. Those that survive will be technologically savvier and sleeker than they were before.

Pop-Up Distribution Centers Overcome Last-Mile Delivery Challenges during Covid-19

Ecommerce has suddenly become the primary sales channel as a result of Covid-19, and retailers are having to find creative solutions to meet consumer demand for both essential and non-essential goods. With Amazon announcing delays in shipments of non-essential goods in the US and limits on the quantity of goods retailers can ship, the task of getting products to end users becomes even more difficult.

Supply chain issues also resulting from Covid-19 complicate things further, but merchants are still tasked with fulfilling orders on time. This means looking into non-traditional fulfillment methods that can provide flexible and cost-effective solutions to the issue at hand. For retailers struggling to find ways to cope with over-forecasted demand, below are some viable options.

Improving Customer Insights and Targeting through Data Integration

Businesses seeking to better reach their target audiences need the most accurate and up-to-date consumer data to inform their marketing strategies and meet their business goals. In fact, data-driven insights can literally make the difference between a hit or a miss when it comes to truly understanding audiences. But, as the sheer volume of collected data grows, the variety of collection methods, visualization formats, and management systems needed to organize and analyze this data can prove confusing and challenging. 

As most companies pull data from several internal and external sources — which can be time-consuming and tedious — the need for a simplified organization methodology is incredibly important. 

Enter data integration.

How to Move Your Classes or Programs Online – Tips for Small Businesses

A week before it ran several online classes, Practical Martial Arts didn’t have a video strategy or an online conferencing platform, and the couple was terrified about what the stay-at-home order meant for their beloved business, their customers, and their employees. But in a couple days they were able to pivot. And you can, too.

If you’re looking to offer online versions of your in-person business or are simply looking to connect online while we ride this out, below are some tips and resources to help you go virtual, too.

Location Weekly: Mark Michael, Warren Zenna, Pinterest Adds Shop Tabs Feature

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association hosts Mark Michael of DevHub and Warren Zenna of Zenna Consulting. Asif Khan and Aubriana Lopez also discuss Pinterest adding a new Shop tabs feature and Burger King encouraging kids to do math for free.

How Agencies and Advertisers Can Target Relevant Audiences During Covid-19

Since establishments have limited services to take-out, pick-up or delivery, advertisers are creating geofences where they know consumers are still going. Rather than using the actual footprint of a restaurant, advertisers can use custom polygons to include the pick-up area in the parking lot or the QSR’s drive-through area.

Getting creative to find restaurant audiences is just the tip of the iceberg, however. Even when large portions of the population are staying home, there are ways to find and advertise to audiences that are high-intent in a range of consumer categories. There are several commercial and public locations that you can target to help find audiences that are relevant to your clients and your campaigns. Below I detail optimal strategies for major categories of brick-and-mortar physical businesses.

The Largest 2020 Ecommerce Driver is Global Expansion

Ecommerce is now a staple in everyday life, so much so that Americans spent $154.5 billion online in the third quarter of 2019, according to a US Census estimate. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced business for the near future to be almost completely online. 

While this transition will take some getting used to, it also affords the opportunity to reach across conventional borders. We’ve moved beyond the novelty of being able to buy something online and receive it quickly. As we look to what the next 25 years have in store, continued success in the ecommerce world depends on superior customer experience — meeting customers where they are and when they need it most.

In Times of Crisis, There’s Still Value in the Gig Economy

The pandemic-driven economic shutdown is also affecting the estimated 57 million Americans who make their living, or supplement their income, as members of the gig economy. While some freelancers and side hustlers may feel secure, full-time gig economy drivers certainly do not. Covid-19 has numerous implications for the gig economy, including some that will last even after all the dust settles. Let’s sort through them.

Navigating Social Media Marketing in a Global Crisis

What is the role of brands in facilitating this connection? A recent report shows that 91% of people believe in social media’s power to connect people, and 78% of consumers want brands to use social media to help people connect with each other. Those numbers send a clear message to companies as they navigate a crisis that is so much bigger than their brands: create connection through relevance. 

But the question is how brands can achieve relevance right now. How can you create meaningful connections on social media during a global crisis? Here are a few tips.

Location Weekly: Google and Apple’s Covid-19 Mobile Tracking

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association hosts Rob Woodbridge and Hidetoshi Uchiyama, CEO of Unerry. Asif Khan and Aubriana Lopez also discuss Google and Apple building a Covid-19 tracking system into their OS platforms and PlaceIQ acquiring Freckle IoT. They also touch on the ethics of price gouging by home delivery services during the coronavirus crisis.

Ad Tech Execs Weigh in on Coronavirus Ads, Google and Twitter, and Misinformation

I turned to a number of ad tech execs for their expert perspectives on the risks and rewards of digital advertising on this extraordinarily high-stakes issue. While expectedly optimistic about the benefits of coronavirus-related messaging for savvy brands, the business leaders diverged on the responsibility and capability of Google and Twitter to monitor the veracity of the content they host. They also made distinct cases for advertising at a time when brand messaging requires extra sensitivity, arguing that both brands and their customers have something to gain if businesses provide accurate information, focus on customers’ needs, and showcase the ways they are adapting in a time of crisis.

Covid-19 Tracking: Privacy Risks and Lessons for Digital Advertising

The surveillance systems now being rolled out for the pandemic are unlikely to have a direct impact on local marketers. However, the debates that they have precipitated should remind us all of the importance of customer trust when it comes to data collection. 

In short, advertisers who rely on consumer data should ensure that they are only collecting what they need, that they store and process this securely, and that they are open and transparent with their customers about collection. Many of those same best practices apply to governments collecting data to fight Covid-19.

Why and How to Take Steps Toward Brand Assurance

Companies are adapting at breakneck speed. For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods is offering curbside pickup to protect its customers and staff. DoorDash is discounting delivery services to help working parents. Walgreens is making it easier to get critical prescriptions. Measures such as these have been essential in instilling a sense of community, care, and trust.

We must not attempt to carry on business as usual. We can no longer think about marketing and advertising in the same ‘brand vs. demand’ framework. Now is the time for brand assurance — to actively fulfill brand promises, to help customers, and to maintain brand reputation.