Affiliate Networks and Tracking Platforms, The Best of 2020. Part 2: Impact

As a continuation from Part 1 of my Affiliate Network and Tracking Platform Series to help raise funds for my friend Leenie, and to help educate the world more about the options and variables when selecting an affiliate network or tracking platform, today’s featured Affiliate Tracking Platform is Impact!

Impact: Bringing automation to affiliate partnerships 

Affiliate marketing has advanced and evolved significantly since the 1990s. Increased internet access and the advent of new media channels have forever altered customer behaviors and habits, while ecommerce has grown tremendously. Needless to say, these advancements have brought change to the affiliate manager’s job as well. More potential shoppers and more channels for delivering offers have made managing and scaling affiliate programs more complicated than ever. Affiliate managers need a partner solution that handles the nuanced requirements of a modem program.

Impact is a technology company that has pioneered an entirely new way of approaching performance marketing across the whole spectrum of partnerships. Impact accelerates enterprise growth by providing automation to discovering & recruiting, contracting & paying, tracking, engaging, protecting & monitoring, and optimizing all types of partnerships. This is not only true for traditional affiliates, but across a larger spectrum of partners including influencers, business-to-business, media houses, mobile apps, ambassadors, social causes, and more.

Impact has grown and evolved from its initial entry in the performance marketing space more than 12 years ago, incorporating new businesses and capabilities to become the market-leader that it is today. With 12 offices in eight countries, more than 500 employees and 1,200 customers worldwide, Impact is the global leader in partnership automation.

  (more…)

Affiliate Networks and Tracking Platforms, The Best of 2020. Part 1: LinkConnector

Every day I get questions about which affiliate network or tracking platform companies should launch and grow their performance marketing programs on. With a multitude of considerations from attribution capabilities to partner types, client support and compliance monitoring, it became clear to me that this is a topic that needs a deeper dive, and that getting it right is an essential part of a program’s ongoing success.

In looking further, I also realized there is no easy way for people to understand what options are out there and which network or tracking platform could be the best fit for them, so I decided to do something about it.

In conjunction with a GoFundMe campaign I’m running to help my friend Leenie, I decided to do a series of posts on SarahBundy.com called “Affiliate Networks and Tracking Platforms, The Best of 2020.” The participating networks and tracking platforms will be featured in full detail one at a time on this blog in the coming weeks, and will then be featured again in a larger ebook called The Definitive Guide to Affiliate Networks and Tracking Platforms launching later this year. (more…)

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…)

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