What is ExactView Affiliate Management Tracking Technology?

Last month I had a very interesting phone call from one of the original founders of Buy.at Affiliate Network, Malcolm Cowley. An extremely intelligent and interesting man, Malcolm explained in many details the direction he believed to be the future of in house affiliate marketing optimization.

Now leading the efforts at Performance Horizon Group for ExactView, Malcolm explained many things about why ExactView would make it’s mark in the future of affiliate marketing.

Here’s a quick Q&A summary from our session:

Q: Tell us about Performance Horizon Group and why a merchant would be interested in you.

A: PHG offers a proprietary SaaS platform called ExactView for brands and publishers to manage their key revenue, drive relationships in-house, and make critical decisions through data analysis, thereby limiting risk across their web, social and mobile strategies. Our solutions are designed for several marketing channels including: Affiliate, Lead Generation, Mobile, and Social.

We have several high-level benefits brands and publishers receive including:

  1. Efficiency and Ease-of-Use: We make measuring and managing partners and affiliates easy, ultimately ensuring more sales leads. The purpose is to bring our customers fully customizable, easy-to-use tracking and management solutions.
  2. New Revenue Opportunities: Our ExactView platform brings customer’s immediate costs savings by providing better management solutions for their top partners combined with lower overhead, creating greater ROI for their brand marketing campaigns.
  3. Limit Risk: We help brands and publishers limit risk by giving them access to data, which thereby allows for better decision making in a shorter amount of time.
  4. Intelligence: ExactView allows brands and publishers to gain new insights into how their content is being consumed; brand is being portrayed; areas that can improve, etc., all while learning how to find new opportunities to maximize their brand marketing campaigns.

Q: After your sale of Buy.At, how did you come to launch PHG?

A: After we sold Buy.at, we knew we had only scratched the surface of  potential ways to bring innovation to the performance marketing industry. We barely even took a vacation before we started planning Performance Horizon Group. We knew if we could create a software platform that enhanced both the way brands and publishers work with each other, demand for the software would naturally grow. It took a little while to get the platform right, but once we were confident we had a winning solution, everything proceeded seamlessly from there.

Q: What would you say are the advantages of working with PHG?

A: We see many advantages to working with us. A few top advantages include: First, we offer fully customized solutions to fit our client’s needs. Second, we offer customers access to our proprietary API’s, which allows them to build the tools they need to enhance their tracking systems. Third, we’re the only company of our kind to offer full financial support to customers to maximize their performance marketing campaigns. This is a major differentiator for us. Finally, our platform allows for reduced costs and increased sales by simply allowing customers to receive a full and complete understanding of their performance marketing activity.

Q: What differentiates ExactView from others networks and technologies in the industry?

A: We see several differentiators and reasons for brands to leverage our ExactView technology platform. For instance:

  1. Better account management – Our customers are able to build better long-term sustainable relationships with their top partners.
  2. Better Tracking Solutions – We offer reliable data in real-time across all of our customer’s vertical platforms. Brands don’t want to deal with individual partners at an impression level, so we allow the brands to bring the tracking in-house.
  3. Publisher Tools – Because our solutions are customizable. In other words, our customers offer their partners easy-to-use, constantly updated publishing tools, which allows for better interaction and real-time reporting.
  4. Significant Cost Savings – By limiting the ‘over-ride’ process typical of brand/network relationships, brands will immediately see costs savings.

Q: What are PHGs competitive advantages?

We see several advantages to the ExactView platform. First, ExactView’s technology and architecture is brand new and allows for faster – as it happens- data with a flexible interface turning data into actionable information. Also, because ExactView is built on proprietary APIs it allows for better customization, ease of integration with 3rd parties and advanced data collection opportunities.  We also believe our product features such as social integration and Finance-as-as-Service set us apart from others in the industry. Additionally, because we offer white label solutions, our customers can experience full customization to build and use the technology however they see fit.

______

It was an interesting interview and one that requires a second blog post, because the conversion that went back and forth between Malcolm and I about the potential of this tracking technology was intriguing.  We talked about the automation of languages translations, the integration of unlimited APIs, the advanced tracking solutions they provide that I’ve never HEARD of anywhere else. The list when on and on and I likely could have spoken to him all day.

I think if you’re a merchant who is very forward thinking in your mobile, social and international commerce opportunities and looking for something that can more accurately track various channels in real time, ExactView is certainly worth checking out.

Recap of the New Affiliate Management Days Conference 2012 #AMDays

Sarah Bundy Speaking at Affiliate Management Days ConferenceToday is my first day back after attending the first Affiliate Management Days conference inSan Francisco, which I believed to be a great success for Geno Prussakov‘s first show ever. #AMDays is a conference dedicated solely to the education and advancement of affiliate managers from around the world. I had the privilege (and challenge) of live blogging the entire conference for SarahBundy.com, Small Business Trends and the AMDays Blog itself. Here is a quick access list to the sessions I live blogged during the show:

Sarah Bundy blogging at the first annual Affiliate Management Days show

Sarah Bundy live blogging at Affiliate Management Days show

 

  1. The Science of Influence And Persuasion by John Greathouse, a partner at Rincon Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage web-based businesses.
  2. Newest Adware and Affiliate Marketing Abuses by Ben Edelman, Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School
  3. Using Web Analytics to Grow Your Affiliate by Kevin Webster, Internet Marketing Manager at Forbes Custom Products
  4. Panel: Inside the Mind of a Super Affiliate featuring Super Affiliates Tony Pantano of IMWave (search publisher), Kim Rowley of KIMarketing (super blogger) and Kiva Kumar of TheFind.com (shopping engine).
  5. Maximize Your Affiliate ROI with Checkout Optimization by Linda Bustos from Elastic Path Software
  6. Educating Internal Business Teams About Affiliate Marketing by Ryan Diehl of Best Buy
  7. Affiliate Marketing for Facebook by by Marc Phillips of Skumatic
  8. Leveraging Online Video for Affiliate Programs by John Greathouse of Rincon Venture Partners
  9. How to Effectively Reach & Engage Bloggers by Jenny Williams of Skimlinks
  10. Leveraging the “Offline” Channels by Keynote Jason Spievak, CEO of Ring Revenue
  11. Trends & Innovations in the Affiliate Marketplace by Google’s Ali Pasha
  12. Types and Value of Affiliates – Keys to Running a Healthy, Profitable Affiliate Program by Kush Abdulloev of VMInnovations
Sarah Bundy speaking at the affiliate management days show

Sarah Bundy speaking at AMDAYS

All in all I was very impressed by the caliber of speakers and appreciated the intimate setting of about 100 attendees. This gave me the greatest opportunity to network with high caliber people in the industry.

I also got to speak at the show on How to Recruit Super Affiliates – and several people approached me after including the affiliate managers from Best Buy, Ancestry.com and Sandals Resorts (who won our free affiliate program audit worth $500) to name a few.

It was great to meet such fun and interesting people. I will definitely be back next year. This is the perfect show for those interested in furthering their affiliate management expertise, professional development and connections with respected colleagues.

Leveraging Online Video for Affiliate Programs #AMDays

Sarah Bundy blogging at the first annual Affiliate Management Days show

Sarah Bundy live blogging at Affiliate Management Days show

I’m live blogging the second day of the Affiliate Management Days conference (#AMDays) and am listening to a session by John Greathouse of Rincon Venture Partners on Leveraging Online Video for Affiliate Programs. Here are my notes from the session:

Online video marketing is maturing.  YouTube – more views, longer views, more reviews.

Problems:

  • Advertisers can’t efficiently gain access to large audiences alongside high quality content
  • Influences can only produce one or two 3-minute videos per week. Can’t invest in production / marketing
Solutions:
  • Big Frame, Maker and MAChiniama.com are  media companies that provide marketing an production resources for YouTube influencers, and creates video advertising that’s targeted.
  • Networks for video tracking are forming
Trends:
  • Talent is Being Professionalized
  • Ads are moving beyond pre-rolls and translucent banners to videos before videos. (i.e.: Day DeStorm / Ryobi / Home Depot)
How does this relate to affiliate marketing?
  • Clickable video ads offer publishers a new revenue stream
  • Generates product interest
  • Moves you beyond last click tracking
Tools to note to help with video expansion and monetization (which are supported by some affiliate networks noted below):
Mevio – shareasale / impact radius / buyat
Jetcast –  shareasale / impact radius / buy at
YuMe –  shareasale / impact radius / buyat
Addroid
ViewBix
Cinsay
DotStudioz
Coull
Bottom line from this session: there are tools available today that affiliates can use to track clicks through links on videos, and there are some networks already working to support this. Start testing and playing with this to see what success there is, and focus on YouTube for your tests because that’s where the users and tools are focusing. For more info on video marketing visit www.infoChachkie.com.

How to Effectively Reach & Engage Bloggers from #AMDays

It’s Day 2 of the new Affiliate Management Days conference and I’m stepping into a session called How to Effectively Reach & Engage Bloggers presented by Jenny Williams of Skimlinks.

Here are my major takeaways from this session:

  • Skimlinks has over 20,000 publishers that use the Skimlinks technology to help monetize their blogs and content sites leveraging “skim words”.
  • Who is a blogger? There are hundreds of thousands of blogs about every topic you can imagine (entrepreneurial bloggers, marketing bloggers, community bloggers, etc)
  • Bloggers are valuable because they create a huge long tail of influencers who can account for a large portion of your affiliate sales.
  • You can use google analytics, Alexa, google alerts, competitor back links to find potential blogging partners
  • You can engage bloggers by matching your brands and target demographics, speaking to them like “people” vs a company
  • “Don’t just get in touch with us when you want something. Talk to us on Twitter, engage with us. Be kind to us. Have manners. Thats all we want”
  • The #1 influencer of a blogger is other blogs they read followed by conversation with their friends followed by the media.
  • 81% of bloggers use Facebook to promote their blog
  • Help amplify your bloggers by reposting articles that your bloggers have written about you. It helps you both.
  • Go beyond written content – Video blogs are becoming more and more popular. (ie: @HannahRoseKeys)
  • Feel bloggers with opportunities (ie: competitions, samples, unique codes, increased commission rates, tools such as widgets and store fronts, videos, high res jpegs, attractive banners, etc)
  • Not a lot of bloggers are tech savvy, so working with Skimlinks is a great solution for them to monetize their links
Bottom line I took from this session: there is a huge incremental sales opportunity working with bloggers, but be sure to give them tools, ammunition and a relationship if you hope to work with them successfully and really leverage their audience and skill sets.

Leveraging the “Offline” Channels by #AMDays Keynote Jason Spievak

Keynote and last session of day 1 of affiliate management days conference is “Leveraging the “offline” channels presented by Jason Spievak, CEO of Ring Revenue. As expected, it was a very informative session. Here are my key takeaways:

  • The “Call” industry is a billion dollar a year industry. Don’t turn a blind eye to this industry – it’s likely the most significant opportunity that you are not currently taking advantage of.
  • $300 billion is spent on advertising in the US every year, and only 15% of that is online. that means 85% of $300 billion is spent offline. So make sure you’re looking at this.
  • How can you better drive store impressions, phone calls, brand impressions outside of the “storefront”?
  • The larger ticket items (insurance, education, cruises, etc) – 90-100% of that business is closed on the phone.
  • Insurance (Geico), Retail (Sears), Education (Kaplan University), Home Services (AT&T), Financial Services (Citi) spend exponential budgets offline. Therefore you should be focusing your performance based model offline too – or even more so.
  • The new affiliate model is not “calls or clicks” it’s “calls AND clicks”. There are 1 in 5 Americans employed in a call centre. Leverage the way buyers want to convert and DON’T ignore offline opportunities.
  • RingRevenue (as only one company in the space) drove $125 million in incremental sales on a performance base from consumer calls combined with affiliate tracking.
  • 5 billion people have mobile devices. 5 years ago almost none did. More people own mobile decides as they own toothbrushes (4.2 billion).
  • There is an overall 12% average increase on banners and 15% increase on landing pages on sales that have a phone number on it, even if absolutely everything else stays the same.
  • BUY CUSTOMERS – NOT ADS
  • Phone calls have a higher conversion rate and a higher average order value.

Are Calls Right for You?

  1. Do you have a call centre?
  2. Do you convert some of your business by phone?
  3. Are you willing to pay for qualified calls?
  4. Do you want more customers? Because this is how you get them.
Point of the presentation: for most businesses, offline pay per click tracking solutions are probably being overlooked by your business, which means you’re leaving a SIGNIFICANT portion of your potential sales on the table.

Types and Value of Affiliates – Keys to Running a Healthy, Profitable Affiliate Program

I’m sitting in a session right now on Types and Value of Affiliates – Keys to Running a Healthy, Profitable Affiliate Program by Kush Abdulloev of VMInnovations. Loved the session. I picked up a few good ideas and reassurance of a few important points.

Here are my favorite points of this session:

  • You do NOT need hundred and hundreds of coupon affiliates. You only need to work with the top 10-15. Don’t let them trademark or trademark plus bid. It does not add any additional value to your program. Look to add incremental value from your affiliate partners.
  • ONE affiliate newsletter has 800,000 email subscribers. Find these guys and work closely with them. That’s 800,000 incremental people you do NOT currently have access to.
  • Content sites are crucial to your affiliate program success. A post on Thesis by SugerRay made almost $40,000 in affiliate commissions from a single POST on her blog.
  • Forums are great potential affiliate partners related to your niche. Find a forum related to your niche and partner with them.
  • Be open to affiliates’ syndication partners
  • Comparison shopping sites are a huge opportunity to get your individual products listed in front of customers, and many of them have 9MM upwards visitors per month.
  • Do not allow direct linking, trademark bidding, TM + terms because those people are looking for you, not affiliates, so there is not reason to allow it and share your margins.
  • Don’t allow your affiliates to bid on your competitor’s trademark terms either, it’s just not good practice.
  • Sub-affiliate networks (pinterest – skimlinks – vminnovactions)
  • Cash back and rewards sites are almost always going to be a top performing affiliate because people will always try to get as much value (whether in cash back or points) from their purchase as possible.
  • Pros to working with cash back affiliates: introduction and reach to a new audience & additional incentive to purchase more
  • Cons to working with cash back affiliates: you will never own that customer, they will always go back to the cash back site to buy more & there is potential for fraud & lower profit per sale.
  • BEWARE of Parasite Ware: BHO, Adware, Toolbars – they POACH a transaction, promote their ads on YOUR site, CANNIBALIZE other channels and will drive valuable affiliates away.
  • Watch out for Typo Squatters and avoid these guys. It is illegal in some countries and is against most merchant programs. You should NOT be rewarding affiliates for these sales.
  • “Search Engine Optimization and Affiliates are our two biggest sales channels this year” – Kush Abdulloev.
Well said, Kush. You hit the nail on the head with your presentation. I loved it. Two thumbs up 🙂

Trends & Innovations in the Affiliate Marketplace – Live Blog Post from AMDays

I’m live blogging in a few different places this week while at Affiliate Management Days (the new affiliate management conference in San Francisco) and so far I’ve found it to be really fun and interesting. I’m sitting in a session called Trends & Innovations in the Affiliate Marketplace being taught by Google’s Ali Pasha.

I have to leave early, but here are my take aways from the first 20 mins of this session:

  • Google affiliate network spends 70% of their time thinking about what will move the needle and push the limits to trends and innovation optimization.
  • Top three focuses: Social, Mobile and Commerce

 

Social

  • Social was actually started by PC Flowers and Gifts (they had about 2300 affiliates in 1996) and they recognized the gap between communications – especially between multiple people at the same time.
  • The new kind of affiliate is the social affiliate – and especially if CELEBRITIES become affiliates themselves. Not only will they create a ton of cash, but their followers will benefit from riding the coat tails of celebrity product endorsements.
  • Make sure as an affiliate manager you’re providing affiliates with tools they can use in the social space. Think of how the promotions would look as an end product and provide what they need to help them achieve that look.
  • Think about fashion bloggers and mom bloggers and provide tools that make their posting faster and easier than past.
  • Create a social presence – offer your followers incentives  – engage with partners building social
  • Follow this lead from customers: Demand – Ideation – Production – Distribution (Threadless.com is extremely successful at this – they speak with your community FIRST, then design the product and make it)
  • Shapeways.com executes well on nurturing a community to harness ideas and creating products based on that need
  • “Turn social data into doing”
  • Enable users to get connected with your product early

 

Mobile

  • Make sure your conversion tracking works!
  • Tables are here to stay – they are DIFFERENT from “mobile” – you do not use tables when you’re on the go and does not have the same constraints as a true “mobile” device (have separate experience for tables / mobile)
  • People who are on tables are more likely to buy than someone on their phone therefore focus on these first
  • HowtogoMo.com helps you evaluate how good your site is to go mobile
  • 93% of US retail shopping is still done offline – 70% use a smartphone while shopping in store
  • Google wallet will help increase conversions on mobile and tablet devices as you no longer have to carry your wallet – have the info in your phone and even connect it so you always collect loyalty points through your purchase. This can be done even for offline sales.
  • RingRevenue.com and RevTracks.com work with Google to help leverage the affiliate marketing channel.
  • Offer complimentary “online” “offline experiences for customers that can be leveraged by affiliates

 

Tips

  • Track your shopping cart abandonment rate, then create a coupon strategy around fixing that.
  • Segment everything – so you can track and make better decisions going forward
That’s all I have time for at the moment. Must go feed the baby. Will post on the Types and Value of Affiliates by Kush Absulloev of VMInnovations next!

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