Affiliate Networks and Tracking Platforms, The Best of 2020. Part 6: TUNE

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a partner platform that believes in “partnering the way you want to.”  In Part 6 of my Best of 2020 series (that has explored LinkConnector, Impact, Awin, ShareASale and PartnerStack so far), we will take a deep dive into the world of TUNE.

 

 

PARTNER THE WAY YOU WANT TO

 

 

 

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Affiliate Networks and Tracking Platforms, The Best of 2020. Part 4: Awin

In the continuation of my series called “Affiliate Networks and Tracking Platforms, The Best of 2020” (in support of my good friend Leenie), I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Global Affiliate Network, Awin!

 

 

History of Awin

Part of the Axel Springer and United Internet Groups, Awin is a global affiliate network with 20 years of experience in the industry. Together with ShareASale and the recent acquisition of Commission Factory, the Awin Group is comprised of 1,000+ employees, over 211,000+ contributing publishers and 15,200+ advertisers, connecting customers with brands in over 180 countries. Operating across the retail, telecommunications, travel and finance sectors, Awin generated $12.4 billion in revenue for its advertisers and $915 million for its publishers in the last financial year.

Following the acquisition of one of North America’s largest platforms, ShareASale, in 2017, the Awin Group’s most recent acquisition of Commission Factory now grants partner reach into the much desired Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia markets – which play a crucial part in the Group’s mission to become the partner of choice globally for affiliate marketing. 

Awin emerged in 2017 when consolidating zanox and Affiliate Window operations, both of which had been driving sales for affiliate partners since 2000. zanox grew from a Berlin, Germany, tech startup while Affiliate Window started as a small operation in London, UK. Throughout their histories, zanox and Affiliate Window were repeatedly awarded for innovative affiliate marketing solutions and exceptional service… and now a global community of people, technology and business intelligence insights. No matter what type of partner, level of service, or tools needed to achieve business goals, Awin provides solutions to drive sustainable growth.

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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.

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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.

Improve Your Attribution Strategy and Keep Up With Your Customers

Are you an affiliate marketer looking to grow your search, affiliate marketing and attribution strategy? Do you want to drive consistent profitable sales growth for your business, and learn from the top online marketing experts?

Welcome to the Digital Strategy Insights podcast brought to you by All Inclusive Marketing, hosted by Sarah Bundy. Attribution tracking has changed dramatically for both brands and their affiliates, and for those who have kept pace with the changing landscape the rewards have been spectacular.

This week’s guest is Todd Crawford, the co-founder and VP of Impact Radius, a previous VP of business development at Digital Rivers and a specialist in guiding industry relations and strategic initiatives. He is also the proud winner of the Marketing Legend Award, which he won back in 2007.

Listen this week as your hosts discuss how to get the most of your affiliate marketing and attribution engagement, which platforms are the best for your business, and how to utilise them to their full potential.

 

Easy Peasey Attribution

Having a good hold on where your company stands with its attribution tracking and affiliate marketing is important in the digital marketing world. With Crawford being a household name in this field his advice is full of gems you can trust to help you with your attribution struggles. Affiliate marketing and attribution tracking is constantly changing and evolving, so if you want to keep up with your consumers demands and increase conversion it is important you jump in.

Do you have a company goal in mind with regards to attribution? If not, you need to. Being able to master attribution and successfully interpret data analysis will benefit your business. Fully understanding marketing touch points and the value they hold will ensure you keep up with demanding consumers and developments in technology.

 

Evolution is Key

Attribution is always evolving because consumers are demanding more. This means you need to keep on top of your affiliate marketing strategies and really understand how attribution affects you and your business. By having a clear goal and open dialogue with your third parties, agencies and marketing team means you will have a clear understanding of your attribution data. In this week’s podcast, Crawford will clear up common questions like:

  • Can you explain what attribution marketing is?
  • Why is attribution so important for my business?
  • Which elements of attribution tracking should I be paying most attention to?
  • Which click models should I focus on?
  • What best practices are there for attribution, and who needs to know?
  • Which is going to be the best platform for my business?
  • How is attribution evolving, what will it look like in 5 years?

These are questions even seasoned marketing pros want answering in order to boost their attribution tracking and affiliate marketing. Listening to all the advice Crawford has to offer will ensure you engage with your desired demographic and optimize your search and digital strategies through attribution.

Even the first baby steps with attribution marketing make a difference to your business. These wobbly steps are imperative to ensuring you and your business fully understand attribution changes and how they help your business. As your strategies develop, your attribution will become unique to you, which will in turn build a stronger relationship with customers and improve sales.

Do you want to optimize your attribution strategies, ensuring you reach out to the biggest audience you can? Are you tired of struggling to get to grips with attribution tracking? Get in touch with Todd Crawford at todd@impactradius.com, or visit their website at www.impactradius.com.

Invest 20 minutes now and learn how you can improve your performance with search, digital and attribution strategies with Sarah Bundy and Todd Crawford of Impact Radius. Want to reach out, engage, and convert new customers? Contact us at www.allinclusivemarketing.com or Facebook.com/trusttheexperts and Twitter @trusttheexperts.

Attribution Today: What Advertisers Need to Know

Attribution Tracking in Digital Marketing

Source: Adobe Attribution

Studying 11 different advertisers in the retail sector, here are some common “how to” best practices around attribution tracking strategy and execution:

 

Approaches:

  • Last click (still dominant)
  • Algorithmic
  • First click
  • Hybrid model

 

What’s included in the attribution model?

  1. Paid search/display
  2. Organic / non paid / social
  3. Affiliate / referral

 

Attribution timeframes commonly tracked:

  • 30 mins
  • Less than 6 hours
  • 7-24 hours
  • 25 hours – 7 days
  • 7-29 days
  • 30 days+

Only 8% of advertisers factor in viewability.

 

Attribution tracking has three parts:

  • Campaign management – tag management systems, ad servers, ad view-ability measurement.
  • Analytics – web analytics, attribution pure players (adclear, encore)
  • Consultants – agencies and management companies who interpret and manage this data effectively.

 

Alternative methods:

  • Second opinion (about 15% of advertisers use this)
  • A/B tests (about 28% of advertisers you this model)

Mobile came sooner than anticipated by most. It breaks the tracking continuums thus making it difficult or advertisers to accurately report user behaviour.

 

Here are a few additional thoughts:

  • Companies are used to last click models and find it hard to move away from the internal systems that support this. Companies are forced to build a business case to showcase the reason behind moving to a different model all together.
  • Companies struggle with fitting the advanced tracking technologies with older internal technology integrations. The change is accepted and needed, but time and cost for technical transition remains a barrier.
  • Companies need to understand that in order to remain competitive this change is inevitable. Gradual analysis per channel is the way most companies are dealing with this.
  • There seems to be a disconnect between theory and effective execution and real life comprehension of data. Affiliates have to prove their value which could make them earn less, but on the flip side, if they can prove their value, then they can earn more.
  • Unless you’re accurately testing the data and understanding it correctly, you’re taking a gut feeling guess from one channel and putting it into another channel. With the time commitment to proper attribution tracking, the guess work is removed and true ROI realized.
  • More effort needs to be put into AB testing affiliate sites and advertiser landing pages and campaigns.
  • Companies need to consider the differences in tracking mechanisms, such as the accuracy of cookie tracking, and what alternatives need to be considered.
  • Mobile tracking and desktop tracking are VERY different from each other and we need to consider the behavioural and technological changes to accurately track new buyer behaviour.
  • Even though both advertisers and publishers would benefit from transparency around attribution data, both affiliates and merchants tend to keep the information to themselves. This mindset will eventually need to shift if the affiliate industry is going to be successful long term.
  • How do we bring offline data into the mix? This is an ongoing challenge people are still trying to understand industry wide.

What are your thoughts on attribution tracking and affiliate/merchant participation in data sharing?

Mobile Ad Network Evolution

Mobile App Downloads Metrics and Attribution Tracking with Mobile Ad NetworksAt the HasOffers Postback event held in Seattle this week, Fred Shu of Manage.com, Paul Cushman of Drawbridge, Hanno Fichtner of Applift, Paul Longhenry of Tapjoy and David Diaz of SponsorPay speak on the evolution of the mobile ad network.

The panel covered where the market was in the mobile ad network space a year ago and where they are today. Here are my key take-aways from this discussion.

  • A year ago bundling was the biggest thing in mobile, specifically in gaming, and this year “gifting” is the hottest thing. This has been beneficial because the user doesn’t feel they are being disturbed, they feel it’s just part of the game.
  • Banner ads don’t really work (as multiple people have said), so more creativity is seen right now in full screen formats of marketing.
  • Get rid of 350 x 250 banners and focus on  320 x 480 and other “mobile” friendly, larger sized banners that impact a larger part of the screen. These still have up to a 21% conversion.
  • The use of bots has decreased significantly and competition has increased exponentially across the board. Segmented targeting is becoming more prominent.
  • Anything that has ROI positive campaigns is what people are focused on, which right now seems to be happening most in androids.
  • If you’re a seller that has a low CPI (Cost per Install), be careful with expectations because you will not likely get a high amount of installs.
  • Pay per Engagement (PPX) models are now becoming more common and creating a new level of interest with publishers which are creating more success than seen in the past.
  • When it comes to retargeting, start with your homepage and understand and test it. Then work your way through your site systematically to measure the success of each page. Whatever works best after testing each systematically, run with. Then test more.
  • Target and test segmented users regularly to understand their lifetime value and true loyalty. Then segment those groups more.
  • Anyone who’s not focused on data is going in the wrong direction.
  • Twitter is staring to move into the field – social media is getting very active in mobile. Facebook announced about 50% of their profits came from mobile / app revenue. Social data is huge and entirely relevant to mobile. Social graphs in apps are useful. Use app cross promotions and “refer a friend” models for mobile app development and growth.
  • More large brands are going to spending more money on mobile and SMS such as American Idol Texting and Apps for voting to drive more sales and consumer engagements now that proven models have been made.
  • Anyone who’s focused on targeting with rewards (driving a person to a point of sale experience and offer them an incentive or reward) has tons of opportunity right now.
  • More apps are starting to deep-link into the app directly, which is becoming more common especially with big brands.
  • “Lookback” windows are generally 48 hours to 30 days. The majority of engagements happen within those windows.

The New Mobile Publisher Army (HasOffers Postback Panel)

Mobile Publishers and Affiliate Performance and TipsAt the HasOffers Postback event, mobile and attribution leaders gather to discuss the future of mobile performance marketing. On the panel is Cameron Stweard of HasOffers, Mattias Lesch of CROBO, Edan Portaro of USamp, John Cosgrove of Tapit, Florian Lehwarld of KissMyAds and Pepe Agell of Chartboost.

The questions asked are around how customers, publishers and networks are responding to the changes and advances in the mobile space.

 

Based on the feedback from the panel, here are some of the major take aways from this particular panel:

  • Publishers have become a lot more transparent these days, and they are more about adding true value then they have in the past. They have become more data savvy.
  • Starting to learn which countries monetize the best and work with publishers within those countries to optimize campaigns even more.
  • Deferred traffic is one of the payment models used to reward publishers (affiliates) which has led to more successful programs long term.
  • It’s important to understand how things are performing on your own platform. You should know and understand all your own numbers before trying to understand someone else’s.
  • Rate your traffic sources and classify them based on their value score that you create.
  • Know where mobile publishers are running their ads and how they are driving traffic. There should be a level of expected transparency that helps make better business decisions and attribution value.
  • The main KPI is revenues, for both sides (publisher or advertisor), and in many cases CPM / CPI are the most important metrics to track in order to fully understand progress and success. Measuring impression, clicks and installs is essential to success.
  • Transparency is important to understand traffic sources so better economic models can be run. We rely on our platforms to report accurately on those metrics so we can make smarter decisions for our business and program growth.
  • People can either become overwhelmed by data or take it and use it by breaking it down. Use data as a resource tool to keep your publishers happy while growth for your programs healthily.
  • Relationships are some of the most important parts of our business, even on the mobile side, and it’s what fosters transparency which leads to more success.
  • The Publishers are the creative guys, so let them be creative and drive traffic and measure as best you can. They are the ones who can often reach targeted audiences others cannot.
  • Mobile banners don’t seem to convert very well for many. Mobile publishers seem to have more success from a variety of means. Since they are able to drive better engagement and more conversions and because it’s performance based, working with mobile publishers is extremely low cost and low risk.
  • Transparency is good, but at the end of the day it comes down to “is the campaign working.” Again – revenue / profits are and should always be your main KPI.
  • There are some more advanced publishers who use tracking platforms for re-engagement campaigns.
  • The most common tracking model for mobile is CPC (Cost per Click) and CPI (Cost per Install).
  • What networks are doing to prevent fraud is still very limited, though they are always on the lookout for it and always trying to find ways to test and help prevent it. It’s still very young and solutions are still being created and improved every day.
  • It’s not always black and white for fraud – sometimes transparency, tools or technologies are just not there to measure it or understand it accurately.  The good news is you have the control to block and stop anything you need to when it feels right for you.
  • Both publishers and advertisers can stop campaigns if it’s not working for them. But it’s essential to test, measure and track to truly understand performance before deciding a campaign is working or not.

 

What have your experiences been working with or as a mobile publisher?

Tag Management and the 5 Gears of Marketing Velocity

This is a live blog post from the Online Marketing Summit (#OMSummit) – Presented by Erik Bratt , VP Marketing of Tealium

tag management 5 steps best practices

What are tags?

A “Tag” is a javascrip code that allows you to integrate third party serves into your digital platform.

The average enterprise web site has 14 different vendor tags!. Tags are a huge problem:

  • Costly, time-consuming to manage
  • Slows down website performance
  • Slows down marketing efficiency

 

Tag Proliferation – common types of tags:

  • Web analytics
  • Search marketing
  • Ad serviing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Testing
  • Behavioral targeting
  • Etc
Tag Management allows the marketer to manage a tagging platform without having to go to IT. Check out Tealium Tag Management Platform.

 

The 5 Gears of Marketing Velocity

1. Increased Marketing Agility 
  • No waiting for IT dev cycles
  • Marketers control their own destiny
  • Launch more revenue – generating campaigns, faster
  • Enhance web presence through information
2. Reduce Costs
  • Save on valuable IT resources
  • JavaScript-trained web developers no longer required
3. Improved Site Performance 
  • Replace many tags with one
  • Employ tag best practices (conditional tag loading, slow tag killing, asynchronous tag loading)
  • As much as 50% increase in page load speed
  • One second delay in page load time = 7% loss in conversions (Aberdeen)
4. Lower Opportunity Costs
  • Tagging is non-strategic
  • IT is one of the most important in-house resources
  • IT has more important things to do than tagging
5. Work with the Best Vendors
  • Pick vendors based on ROI and fit
  • Don’t be locked into any one vendor
  • Use best of breed solutions for all your marketing needs (A/B test vendors)
Bonus One: Actionable Data Source! (The quest for clean actionable data) – DoubleClick, Omniture, Linkshare, ExactTarget, Fetchback, Etc.

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