Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing Attribution in 2019

As we get further into 2019, Marketing Executives are trying to better understand their buyers’ journey and which marketing channels are contributing sales. They are trying to determine where and how to spend their marketing dollars in a way that drives the highest possible ROI, the most well defined cross channel transactions, and where their new customer acquisitions are really coming from.

In an effort to provide more clarity around what attribution strategies Marketing Executives should be looking at, I spoke with attribution expert, Anthony Clements, about what attribution really is, and how companies should be thinking about investing in it this year.

 

What is the difference between multi-channel and omni-channel attribution? 

It’s worth saying from the outset that these two phrases are used quite interchangeably in many aspects of digital marketing, which often creates a bit of confusion for marketers. The real difference between multi-channel and omni-channel from an attribution perspective is in the outcomes.

Multi-channel attribution seeks to measure how effective an individual marketing channel is at driving a conversion. By definition it’s conversion orientated, and helps marketers understand how important each channel is at getting customers to buy their products or services. It does this either by algorithmic or ‘place-in-the-chain’ models. Multi-channel attribution thinks more in terms of marketing channels like Display, Search, Affiliate etc than it does about the customer.

Omni-channel attribution seeks to measure how customer’s engage with a business, including different types of marketing, platforms like desktop or mobile, and will also generally look at offline engagements. For businesses that embrace the theory of omni-channel marketing – creating a single, unified commerce experience across all points of customer engagement, omni-channel attribution will help to properly understand customer journeys and also help to understand how the best / most profitable customers like to engage with a business.    

 

Example of a Click-to-Consume Path Analysis using attribution. Source: Impact

 

Why do you feel companies need to invest in attribution today?

Attribution feels like one of the slowest-burns in digital marketing. The technology and principles have been around a while, but adoption has been gradual. Adoption of digital attribution has accelerated over the last two years primarily because database technology has facilitated the advent of algorithm-driven attribution which uses data modelling to ‘score’ the effectiveness of channel engagement rather than the original ‘place-in-the-chain’ concepts which were ultimately quite biased. If a marketer favoured upper-funnel traffic then a first-click model would give them the results they wanted to see. Attribution is now more scientific and less open to individual bias.

Marketers are now being asked to invest their budgets in a range of large media platforms that all operate their own, siloed tracking ecosystems. Facebook Ads runs its own event and conversion tracking, as does Google Ads, as does LinkedIN Ads. It’s vitally important that marketers have the ability to scrutinise the results from these platforms using independent technology that helps them understand their relative importance to driving conversions, rather than simply analyse the results in isolation. Throw in a host of other marketing channels like other Display platforms, Affiliate, Email and then a variety of ways for customers to transact be it desktop, mobile web, mobile app or in-store…then the need to measure fractional contribution in ever-more complex customer journeys becomes obvious.

The industry also has a much greater handle on using attribution analysis to deliver meaningful results. Attribution doesn’t generate new traffic, and that often meant it was difficult for advertisers to justify the budget. Now, it isn’t uncommon for advertisers to redistribute up to 30% of their total spend based on new insight from an attribution model, so the outputs are powerful and actionable in a way they were not a few years ago.

 

Example of an affiliate attribution analysis, looking at "Initiator" (Top of Funnel), "Contributor" (Mid Funnel) and "Converter" (Bottom of Funnel) affiliate contributions. Source: Partnerize
Example of an affiliate attribution analysis, looking at “Initiator” (Top of Funnel), “Contributor” (Mid Funnel) and “Converter” (Bottom of Funnel) affiliate contributions. Source: Partnerize

 

What recommended next steps do you think companies should take in order to get true attribution set up correctly?

Like many digital marketing initiatives, setting up a data-driven attribution model is an iterative process. A company’s online marketing needs to be of a certain size and scope to really benefit from multi-touch attribution. This is primarily because a company needs to be ready to implement the spend and tactical marketing changes that should result from attribution analysis. We normally ensure a company is running at least three online advertising channels concurrently and is already using an online analytics solution like Google Analytics to collect and analyse customer journey data before we’d advise them to invest in attribution.

It’s also important to go into attribution work free of bias as to what channels or platforms are most valuable. This can be difficult for marketers with many years experience, but an open-mind is vital to ensuring attribution analysis is actionable.

With these things all in place the next step is to find a provider. Google and Adobe operate well-known enterprise level cross-channel attribution solutions, and VIsualIQ are highly regarded at the top end of the independent market. But these solutions are cost-prohibitive to many businesses. The market for independent attribution providers is growing fast with Fopsha, AttributionApp, Conversion Logic and in the affiliate space Impact and SingleView by ROEye all doing good things.

For businesses new to the space it can be resource intensive to find the right provider and then implement the right attribution model. Consultancy services like ours help companies navigate the ever-expanding vertical of digital analytics and attribution.

 

If you wish to contact Anthony for a full review of your multi-channel and omni-channel attribution options, you can contact him here, or contact All Inclusive Marketing for a full list of affiliate specific attribution solutions for your program this year.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Neil Patel, Conversion and Affiliate Marketing Icon

Neil Patel is a New York Times bestselling author. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.

What I love about what I do is meeting some of the greatest minds in digital, affiliate and growth marketing. While I was travelling in Thailand last month, Neil and I ended up speaking at the same Affiliate Marketing Conference, and had a great chat about food, travel, Vancouver, Seattle and what makes marketing great.

As the co-founder of several multi-million dollar digital companies, including Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics and Quick Sprout, AND as a personal advisor to some of the largest brands in the world, Neil knows what he’s talking about.

I was lucky enough to interview Neil about his thoughts on Affiliate Marketing. Here is what he had to say:

Q: Affiliate Marketing means many things to many people. How do you view and value affiliate marketing in the overall marketing mix for brands looking to drive incremental revenue and new customer acquisitions? 

Neil: Affiliate marketing is great. It allows smaller companies to grow without having to take large risks. With marketing becoming more expensive and competitive, you have to no choice but to leverage all channels if you want to grow. And of course, affiliate marketing should be in that mix. (more…)

Shopify Workshop for Women at SheCommerce Asia the First of It’s Kind

Working from Bangkok, Thailand, last month, I got to attend and speak at Affiliate World Asia about International Affiliate Growth Trends going into 2018. As a pre-conference workshop, SheCommerce (created by Shopify and Women in AdTech), celebrated a day where female ecommerce leaders and entrepreneurs could set up, create and design their first ever ecommerce store. The room was a fabulous mix of successful affiliates and new to market female powerhouses learning and driving business growth together.

   

The content from the day focused on the strategy, scalability and fulfillment of business tasks, such as distribution drop shipped products,

  • Physical owned products
  • White labeled products
  • Digital goods
  • Tickets
  • Time
  • Charity
  • Rental products
  • Experiences (such as travel or entertainment related products)

Shopify worked to inspire women to:

  1. Create a business that matters
  2. Earn money from a side hustle or launch their first full time business
  3. Monetize their passions
  4. Be their own boss
  5. Become industry leaders

We learned what the biggest challenges that business owners / ecommerce leaders face? (more…)

CJU Sets The Stage For International Expansion Opportunities

Last month, CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly known as Commission Junction) held their annual CJU (Commission Junction University) event in Santa Barbara, California.

The best performers in the network from a publisher, merchant and agency partner perspective attended, with the intention of gaining insights into the advancements of Conversants’ technologies, publisher relationships and to collaborate on mutual opportunities.

This year’s CJU was no disappointment, and attendees got to learn about new international expansion opportunities, cross device tracking, mobile partnerships, and social influencer & content publisher engagements as a key focus.

AIM’s Director of Client Support Services, Kelly Hagen, with some of Conversant’s International and NA account management team.

Between their Keynote by Parag Khanna discussing worldwide trends, economic ecosystems, and how global connectivity is impacting macro commerce, ecommerce trends and affiliate, and their full Global Expo of top international publishers, there was no shortage of people to speak to about international performance marketing opportunities.

Read full article on All Inclusive Marketing Blog

AvantExpo 2017 Partnership Summit Recap

Last week in Snowbird Utah, Avantlink hosted their exclusive invite-only AvantExpo. This annual summit is one of a kind, and is only open to the best of the best in content, publisher, technology, management and partnerships within the performance marketing industry on Avantlink’s network.

Companies such as REI, Fanatics, Backcountry, The Wire Cutter, Gear Institute (and AIM)

attended and networked with each other in a casual, intimate setting. With only 100 attendees and plenty of activities and networking time, this allowed for us to meet almost everyone there.

This was All Inclusive Marketing’s third year attending, and this year’s conference did not disappoint! Set in the stunning landscape of Snowbird Resort, surrounded by Swiss-Alp looking mountains and rivers, Avantlink created a relaxed and intimate experience for their attendees to network, communicate, experience once in-a-lifetime activities, and grow meaningful relationships together.

Their invite only, casual setting allowed for people to get to know each other better in fun and unique ways. From riding self-controlled roller coasters through the trees to tram rides up to the top of 11,000 ft peaks, every experience was top notch.

 

All Inclusive Marketing was featured on the only thought leader panel of the show with Wade Tonkin from Fanatics, and the Avantlink team discussing why it was hard for affiliatemanagers to have their programs be best-in-class, and how to help them achieve this high level of standard. Insights from attribution and crediting logic to communication and engagement best practices to incrementality and data strategies were shared.

The audience was highly engaged and the content from the day created many more question and key strategy discussions over the day that followed.

On day two, AIM was up for Agency of the Year at the awards ceremony and recognized for our contributions to the industry, our support of Avantlink as a network, and congratulated for our success over the past year.

 

Our key takeaways were:
  • Strong bonds and agreed upon engagements with highly sought after content publishers, who’s reach and revenue generation was in the Millions.
  • A sneak peek at the technology advancements being rolled out by Avantlink in the coming weeks and months (all very exciting and useful in creating more powerful diversified partner portfolios)
  • New connections with strong content publishers and technology providers we had not met before.

 

We will be back again next year, and look forward to the year ahead for both Avantlink and the All Inclusive Marketing team in support of our clients and partners alike.

Read Original Article on All Inclusive Marketing Blog

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Mark Walters on Acquisition of US Affiliate Marketing Leader, ShareASale

Mark Walters Zanox Affiliate Window

Mark Walters, CEO of Zanox

As the affiliate marketing space continues to grow and flourish, mergers and acquisitions are becoming more of a norm.

Last month, Global Performance Marketing leader, Affiliate Window, part of the Zanox Group, announced their acquisition of US leading affiliate network and tracking platform, ShareASale.

I had the opportunity to interview, CEO of Zanox, Mark Walters, about the recent acquisition, and why they chose ShareASale as their #1 pick for their North American expansion.

Q: How did you chose ShareASale as the company to buy, and why did you make that decision now?

ShareASale was an obvious fit, their culture, their reach and their reputation (both ethically and performance wise) are just a few of the factors that made them stand out. We’ve been talking with Brian for a while and there was a no set time limit for this to complete. It was more important for him to understand the value of this step from an internal and external perspective. It became as much for Brian to select us as it was for us to select ShareASale. (more…)

Inspiration Friday: The Power of Grit

Sarah Bundy Keynote

Last night I gave my first official keynote speech to a room full of University of British Columbia 3rd and 4th year engineers, computer scientists, international trade majors and entrepreneurs. There were also about 30 other CEO delegates who attended, and it was wonderful to see these incredibly smart, ambitious and curious young innovators mingle and discuss possibilities in the world of business, robotics, social services, human evolution and more.

 

One of the joys I have, is speaking to rooms full of students like this, from all walks of life. I love seeing the spark in their eyes, the look of wonder or appreciation or intrigue on their faces. I can see, as I speak, light bulbs going off, and the connection of whatever story I’m telling to something impacting their life in that moment. Sometimes people cry. Sometimes people laugh. Always it’s rewarding.

 

The theme of my talk last night was grit. I told them what it was like growing up in a one income family in the beginning. My dad stayed home and took care of us the first few years while my mom worked hard to make sure we had food on the table and a roof over our heads. I told them about what it felt like struggling to get good grades and feel valued or hopeful of my future based on what my scorecard told me I was worth.

(more…)

Inspiration Friday: The Power of Visualization

Every Friday, I send my team an email with something inspiring from the week, some life lesson I learned, or something that I’m feeling particularly passionate about. After several of these, my team expressed that these emails should be shared with others.

Here is my email from today. A little life lesson on the importance and power of visualization:

 

Dear Team,
When I was 15 years old, my high school won the Provincial Jr. Girls Championship in volleyball. It was the first time I ever won an award. I played as a blocker for three years with a group of girls who loved the game, loved to compete and loved a good challenge. 
My coach, who was a bronze medal Olympian in wrestling, taught me one of the most important lessons of my life that year. A lesson that helped us beat every other team in the province that year, and is something that I’ve carried with me ever since. 
He taught us the importance of visualization. 
If you go back and read about some of the best performance sports teams in the world, successful actors, singers, business people or independent athletes, they all talk about the power and importance of visualization. 
Consider these three examples:
  • Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was always stressing the importance of seeing himself victorious long before the actual fight. 
  • As a struggling young actor, Jim Carrey used to picture himself being the greatest actor in the world. 
  • Michael Jordan always took the last shot in his mind before he ever took one in real life.
Vision, carries the same power as visualization. It’s seeing the future, where you want to be, thinking through every detail of what it looks like, feels like, smells like and how you will feel in that moment. It’s picturing the outcome you want to receive and be part of. 
This week, I heard a few different people on our team talking about vision, and I was thrilled. Here are just a few examples:
  1. Phil used the term “vision” when he was describing his vision of our Phase III CRM System
  2. Beth used the term “vision” when describing the future structure of particular high performance teams
  3. Brad talked about what he visualized for AIM’s resource center and how what he’s started can help our entire team grow and scale our knowledge base
  4. Jules talked about her vision of our social responsibility program, and what it will mean to this company, our team, our clients once rolled out. 
Vision, is HUGELY powerful. It inspires, it motivates, it engages, it brings teams together, and it produces powerful results.  Each of us has the power to envision the future of AIM and our part in it, and to visualize the steps and results we want to see in order to help us get there. 
Just as in sports, business can be visualized too, and it takes the focus and vision of people on the team, to achieve champion level greatness. 
Thank you, to the people who continue to step up, embrace our present, talk about and visualize our future, and take the steps necessary as a team to help us get there. 
Have a wonderful weekend everyone, and let’s keep our vision of excellence, and our visualization of our future, going strong!
Have a wonderful Friday, everyone,
Sarah 

All Inclusive Marketing Wins Best Company of the Year in BC

All Inclusive Marketing wins Company of the Year in BC w/ Sarah Bundy, Iain Bundy

It is with great excitement and gratitude that we have won Best Company of the Year in BC, recognized and awarded by Small Business BC!

British Columbia is an incredible province filled with opportunity. With over 400,000 small businesses who strive to achieve their goals and live with passion and purpose, it is with great honor that we are recognized as the Best Company of the Year by the province of British Columbia.

Throughout a rigorous four month process, including a Dragon’s Den style final pitch to a panel of high esteem judges, All Inclusive Marketing was awarded the grand prize of the night.

In presenting the winner, the presenter said “The decision was not an easy one, but some of the comments from our judges included: “Passion, vision, execution and results were all at the forefront of this company. They are a great business that is well positioned for rapid, long term growth”, “Their focus on mentoring and helping others succeed in business is to be congratulated. It is a great way to support the community” and “They have positioned themselves as a strong leader with superb potential for growth.”

It is with great privilege that we have been recognized for this award, and it’s the love and support of our family, friends, clients, team, and community that continues to help us shine. THANK YOU, from the bottom of our hearts, for your continued support and dedication to this team.

Our work is not over, and we will continue to strive to achieve our vision of setting the new standard for what is considered exceptional in the digital and performance marketing space.  We will get there by DIGGing every day: to delight, to innovate, to grow and to give back.

Thank you again for this incredible honor, and for being part of our journey in achieving greatness for you, our team, our industry and our communities.

16 Make-or-Break Take-Aways From Business This Year

Affiliate Marketing Learnings 2015

 

For the past 12 years I have been out there: learning, speaking, listening, teaching, helping, evolving and sharing my thoughts and findings about performance (affiliate) marketing with the world. However that time and effort was mainly focused outwardly in the performance and digital marketing space versus understanding my own business as a whole.  This year, I’ve been forced to look internally, re-focusing my attention back on my business, team and re-establishing a solid foundation to support organizational growth.

In just three and a half years, we have gone from five full time people to 32 team members today. We have seen an average of 100% growth year over year as a company for six years straight. Calculating our growth rate over the past five years, we are sitting at about 5900% growth.

As a result of that growth, we have gone from only servicing small to medium sized businesses to servicing and consulting for leaders in ecommerce, travel and B2C Lead Gen, including enterprise level brands such as Southwest Vacations, Dropbox, Norton by Symantec, and Swiss Watch International to name a few.

The industry as a whole has changed rapidly. Where there were only a couple of dozen “affiliate management” companies in 2009 when we launched, there are now over 400 “digital and performance marketing agencies” who offer affiliate program management or partnership management of some sort, amongst many other products and professional services.

As a result, and in order to remain a leader in the digital and performance marketing space, some things had to change within our own business:

  • Our internal systems, processes and procedures needed to be updated and tied to a different company structure that could support a stronger growth team, larger clients and an unbreakable corporate culture.
  • We needed a dedicated operations team who could ensure the seamless execution of tasks, system and resource allocation, including HR.
  • We needed an internal training and mentoring system (buddy system) for newer recruits to feel supported and brought up to speed on both industry and AIM standards of excellence.
  • We needed to invest in proprietary and third party tools that would help us further differentiate ourselves by adding incremental value around data insights, technology and program growth, while supporting our drive for innovation, seamless execution and solid results.   
  • We needed to be more selective of both new team members and clients, to ensure there was perfect alignment with the culture, needs, expertise and the growth that could be achieved together.

In just six months (about the same amount of time I had taken from my blogging to focus on corporate growth), we have been able to address all of these pieces, and although they have not been entirely perfected, they have made an immediate impact on:

  • Our ability to grow our client, partner and team profitability and results even further
  • Our client, team and partner experience, boosting morale, retention and satisfaction
  • Team re-alignment, corporate culture, and the renewed bond and constant communication between high performance teams

Further, with a focus on strengthening our internal team and operations, we have seen the following results:

  • Our clients average YOY program growth was 167%
  • Team and client satisfaction rates increased by 112%
  • Our company revenues grew (without any focused marketing or sales efforts) by 97%
  • We have been able to maintain our A+ rating on the BBB for excellence, integrity and client satisfaction

Through this experience and in embracing and working more closely with our team, I have personally grown as a business leader and entrepreneur. I’m incredibly grateful for the grit, dedication, focus and hustle of our team, and I’m grateful for our friendship, purpose and combined passion for becoming and remaining a leader in our space. We are here to strive for constant excellence, to DIGG (our motto: Delight, Innovate, Grow, Giveback) at all times, and to become the very best versions of ourselves possible.

My learnings over the past six months have allowed me to understand a few more things about myself as a business leader as well. I better understand where to focus my attention, and how to invest my time and resources most wisely to make the biggest difference.

As a business owner, here are my key takeaways from this past year:

  • Your culture and people are everything. Invest in them. Nurture them. Embrace them. Love them. Choose them wisely. They become the foundation of your business, an extension to yourself, the memory of your client experiences, and the driver of your overall results.
  • It’s important to live and breathe your motto every day and build it into your culture. Ours is to DIGG at all times: To Delight, Innovate, Grow and Giveback.  Every person on our team strives for this, and we hold each other accountable to it.
  • Keep investing in yourself, your team and your business. As soon as you stop, you become stagnant and diminish your value greatly.
  • Always strive for excellence even during tough times when you are transitioning. Never settle for “acceptable” or “good enough”. As a team, we have embraced the vision of setting the new standard for what is considered “exceptional” in the performance and digital marketing space. We will continue to push our limits and strive for that next discovery, that next best practice, the best incremental result.

Going into the new year and forevermore, we are focused on four key metrics: D.I.G.G.

  • Delight – Through the experiences of our team, clients, partners and all stakeholders, measured by Net Promotor Scores and quality & quantity of feedback.
  • Innovate – Learn, push limits and try new things. We will forever be improving our systems, processes, and finding better ways to do things that result in stronger value and ROI.
  • Grow – Personally and professionally as a team, and in the results we drive for our clients through new customer acquisition, profitable sales growth and increased performance metrics.
  • Giveback – Through industry education, volunteerism, resource allocation and personalized care of the people and causes that mean the most to us.

We look forward to an incredible year ahead of us, and sincerely thank everyone who stuck by us through our year of learning and transition, and for the constant faith and support as we evolved into something much stronger than we ever were before.

Here is to setting a new standard and continuing to strive for exceptional at all times.

What has been your biggest take-away or key learning this year?

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