Affiliate Summit Europe 2019

View from the Top: Performance Marketing in Europe 2019

Affiliate Summit Europe returned for 2019 last week, welcoming thousands of performance marketers including Tradedoubler representatives from the UK, France, Netherlands, Germany and Nordics. Taking place at the RAI in Amsterdam, the trade provided a mix of insightful and inspirational session and brought together advertisers, publishers, agencies and tech providers for three days of networking, learning and knowledge sharing.

This year Tradedoubler sponsored the registration desk and over the course of the conference, the Tradedoubler team welcomed many business partners and newcomers from around the world to our booth to discuss affiliate marketing strategy and our vision for a new generation of affiliate marketing.

 

Keynote Panel: View from the Top: Performance Marketing in Europe 2019

Making up the last day of the conference, Tradedoubler CEO Matthias Stadelmeyer participated on the Keynote Panel: View from the Top: Performance Marketing in Europe 2019 along with fellow networks representative to discuss the major takeaways from 2018 and look ahead to the next 12 months.

Moderated by James Little, Group Commercial Director at TopCashback and featuring Anthony Capano, Europe Managing Director at Rakuten Marketing, Adam Ross, COO of Awin, Amy Spencer, Group Head of Network Development at Webgains and Todd Crawford, Co-Founder and VP Strategic Initiatives at Impact, the panel took part in a lively discussion tackling the challenges and opportunities facing the performance marketing industry in Europe.

Read below our highlights and view as we answer some of the most pressing questions in the industry.

After a short ice-breaker to energise the room and a quick introduction, James initiated the session by reminding the panelists and the audience the fundamental and core role of any affiliate marketing network: tracking sales and paying publishers.

Whilst innovations are necessary and progressive, they shouldn’t come at the expense of the basics.  Publishers want reliable tracking, transparent validations, fair CPA’s and prompt payment. Publishers want a robust foundation on which innovation can thrive.

As a network while we actually acknowledge that these are fundamentals and continuously work to provide best in class tracking and timely accurate payments, our mission is to empower our advertisers and publishers to grow their business with world-class performance marketing and technology solutions. Through the great personal relations of our talented teams we are connecting over 2,000 leading brands with publishers all over the world opening new revenue streams and delivering a clear ROI. In addition to managing the payment and reporting we add value to advertisers and publishers interactions by aggregating participants, streamlining processes and often play an important role in advertisers decision-making process.

 

Tracking in Affiliate Marketing

With the latest version of Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP 2.1) introducing a restriction on first-party cookies, limiting their lifespan to seven days, the panel members were asked what does this mean for the affiliate marketing industry and if this is the end of cookie tracking as we know it.

James Little: Is this now the end of cookie tracking as we know it?   

With ITP 2.0 the companies affected by ITP are ones that rely on cookies, especially third-party cookies and as long as first-party cookies were used, the Intelligent Tracking Prevention didn’t block tracking solution from setting cookies.

With the industry still figuring out the effects of previous ITP releases, Safari browsers only account for under 15% of total browser usage across all devices, and most of Safari sales convert within the seven days, so the impact of this update could be minimal.

Nevertheless, it’s early days to make an accurate judgement on how the ITP 2.1 will impact the industry and only time will tell what impact this new change will have on the future of cookie tracking and the industry in general.

James Little: Do you think your organisation – and the industry in general, has been good at dealing with the ITP issue; from ensuring advertisers are complaint to making publishers aware where they are not?

Earlier this year, along with major networks, agencies and a number of major publishers and brands we issued a rallying cry to all advertisers, calling on them to implement fit-for-purpose tracking solutions that fairly reward their publishers.

At Tradedoubler, since Apple stepped up its consumer privacy efforts with the announcement of ITP 2.0 we have actively been making sure all our advertisers are aware of the issues around ITP and that failure to check their tracking is fit for purpose is likely to make them less attractive to publishers and therefore endanger the success of their program.

Today, most of our advertisers already have the correct solution in place, and we are continuing to support the remaining advertisers as they migrate over. Also, as we believe that being open is good for everyone, all our publishers have visibility on the advertisers tracking status, as this information has been made available in our interface.

Furthermore, we have been testing the upcoming changes and providing a reliable tracking solution for our clients has always been our top priority at Tradedoubler. By using our full stack, that includes First-Party Cookie Validation, Cross-Device Tracking and Cookieless Tracking and Exclusive Voucher Tracking we are aiming to mitigate the effects of current and future Safari and Mozilla anti-tracking policies.

James Little: Where clients are impacted by ITP – it is essentially a tracking issue.  Should publishers be compensated for this?  If not why – if yes, are you doing this and how?

While one network revealed their intentions to offer publishers compensation for any potential revenue loss, and one other mentioned not willing to work with non-compliant advertisers moving forward, we believe compensation is a commercial discussion that need to be discussed between all parties involved as billing for untracked sales to keep campaigns viable is only a temporary fix while advertisers upgrade their tracking.

At Tradedoubler tracking and measurement underpins all our solutions and our vision is the necessity to drive growth for our partners, meaning reliable and flexible technology that can adapt to the to the changing landscape.

 

Affiliate Payment Speed

Moving on from tracking, James highlighted the different payments scenarios that occurs whether you are a publisher using Google AdSense, an influencer or a publisher using affiliate marketing.

James Little: Is this broken? Is it fixable?  What are you doing as networks or providers to improve validations and payment speed?

While some in the industry believe the affiliate marketing payment model is broken, one of the key USPs of affiliate marketing is the ‘risk free’ payment model which makes it a very effective customer acquisition tool as advertisers can test out new strategies with a managed cost, especially compared to PPC and display channels.

Nevertheless, as a result of the CPA payment metric, payment can be influenced by a number of factors and advertisers must ensure validations are carried out regularly and invoices paid on time, as delayed payment can be an issue and source of frustration for anyone in the supply chain and especially publishers as they are inputting time and money into supporting advertisers’ campaigns before being paid for their work.

At Tradedoubler we have multiple solutions around payment and validation to ensure commission is paid quickly and accurately.

One of those being prepayment accounts, which we have been offering to our advertisers for many years. With a pre-payed account, our advertiser keeps their network account in sufficient credit, so that once validations have been done, the publisher commission is paid in the next payment run. Publishers payments are reduced by a full invoice cycle. Valid sales made in month one, would be paid in month two.  Prepayment accounts are often derided as the solution for companies with poor credit which is unfortunate – they could be seen as the solution to making an attractive program and loyal publishers.

This combined with our integrated global payment solution allows our publishers to be paid faster and in a manner that suits them best. Our integrated global payment solution simplifies the payment process for publishers and advertisers. It enables multi-market payments in 90 currencies in 200 countries, with low transaction fees.

Finally, we work closely with all our advertisers to ensure validations are carried out regularly and as soon as possible and we will continue to invest and innovate when it comes to payment and our approach, to ensure that all publishers are fairly rewarded fairly for their efforts.

 

Emerging Publisher Models

After tackling the “the fundamental and core role of any affiliate marketing network” James Little asked the panellists what’s next for affiliate publishers and which new affiliates have risen to adapt to the ever-changing landscape.

James Little: What are the emerging publisher models and trends across the channel, locally and globally? Any good examples of publishers using the channel that you really want to shout about?

While coupons and cashback are still largely successful today, consumer behaviour have greatly evolved and as such new affiliate models are on the rise with many new publishers emerging, helping advertisers increasing their conversions, reducing their abandonment rates and drive new customers.

On a network level, the diversity of the publisher mix is better now than before with some publishers tapping into technology to drive incremental basket revenue while others are focused on shoppers whose decision are influenced by content or reviews.

Publishers such as SmarterClick, Insider and Yieldify offer advertisers the ability to re-engage with leaving customers thought basket abandonment emails and on-site targeted overlays. Those publishers by using a range of performance-based tools can help advertisers drive growth across the funnel from acquisition to activation, increase retention and ultimately increase revenue.

We have also seen publishers such as Increasingly and RevLifter taking advantage of machine learning and artificial intelligence to serve product bundling, cross-sell recommendations and personalised incentives to customers in real time, helping brands deliver more conversions and incremental sales.

On another the like of Global Savings Group and Savings United have revolutionised the voucher space as they operate hundreds of digital assets and have partnered with premium media companies, including leading online newspapers, to connect brands with shoppers across different stages of the purchase journey, offering advertisers strong online visibility.

Influencer marketing has also grown rapidly over the past years and is becoming more and more important in every company marketing strategy. In recent years, the number of influencers has risen rapidly, and companies such as Metapic provides a popular platform for product recommendations within premium lifestyle media.

Meanwhile, as social media growing and influencers producing more shareable content, Soreto is a great example of a referral marketing and social sharing technology that leverages the power of existing customers to acquire new ones.

Finally, following Google expanding its Comparison-Shopping-Partners programme, publishers such as NMPi and RedBrain launched comparison shopping service, allowing advertisers and agencies to take advantage of Google’s newest partnership and run more successful campaigns on the Google Shopping platform at a significantly lower cost.

Thanks to the ongoing innovation that characterises affiliate marketing, and the continued migration of marketing budgets into online, affiliate marketing as a channel continues to mature as we have seen a constant stream of new non-traditional business models and ideas entering the channel.

As a network, Tradedoubler is always looking into emerging publishers and later this month we are hosting DisrupTECH an event dedicated to technology publisher in the industry with the aim to bring together experts in the field of affiliate marketing and create an environment to exchange ideas, fuel debate and inspire every delegates.

 

Industry Gender Diversity

Following a short break, the panelists returned on stage to answer the audience questions, the first one focusing on diversity and equality in the affiliate marketing sector as the industry has seen a lot of publicity, debate and change around equality and diversity.

Anonymous: What are you doing about the lack of diversity at board level in your businesses?

We believe that diversity and equality is important within our organisation as well as outside and we embrace the importance of a diverse workforce.

Across Tradedoubler, women make up a significant percentage of our company and at board level 40% of our management is female. With the recent nomination of Federica Postorino as country manager France and the appointment of Claudia Batschi-Rota as country manager for Germany and Austria, Tradedoubler has now completed the ranks of a very strong, experienced and diverse local leaders.

Anonymous: Last Friday it was international woman’s day, what is your take on the fact that today there’s only one woman on stage? 

Over the past months, we have seen the industry talking a lot about gender diversity in the workplace and more specifically about diversity in public speaking.

Industry leaders such as Helen Southgate (Acceleration Partners) and Anjulie Blunden (Connected Path) have recently discussed in a webinar organised with PerformanceIN about their personal experiences of public speaking at business events and why they think there needs to be more diversity and talent represented in panel discussions. In additional the pair have also launched Turn the Talk, a new initiative to empower individuals and broaden voices in performance marketing and are working with a number of event organisers, including PI Live and Affiliate Huddle on solutions.

At Tradedoubler we recognise that we must all take more steps to achieve diversity within the walls of the industry and at business events. Also, to support individuals who are looking to present on stage, increase confidence and reduce concerns around knowledge and experience we are running our first “Breakout Conference” in April to inspire new faces within Tradedoubler to get up on stage and encourage more diversity on the stage.

 

Blockchain Technology

Another question raised by the audience was around blockchain technology, and whether the technology is a threat or opportunity.

Andreas: Blockchain: Threat or Opportunity for established affiliate networks?

As we recently announced in a recent press release about our product vision for a new generation of affiliate marketing, we are developing a modern, future looking, open platform for advertisers and publishers to connect and grow through Tradedoubler.

This will be powered through a global API enabling advertisers, publishers and third partners to develop upon our platform: either to integrate with their own internal systems to improve efficiency and automation, connect with tools or build and develop own business streams like mobile apps or other applications.

Also, on this platform, we will use blockchain technology to store business data between partners so transactional data will be accessible and fully transparent to eliminate fraud and enable the development of new functionalities around payments, reporting and attribution.

According to our vision, the whole industry will benefit from enhanced transparency and auditability, including an overall increase in market spending and better repartition of value to stakeholders in the value chain. We also expect new models to eventually emerge on the back of the disruptive capabilities provided by blockchain-based affiliate marketing platforms.

 

Lookout

Lastly, the panel was asked to conclude, and each spokesperson had a chance to talk about what they consider the key trends in affiliate and performance marketing for 2019.

James Little: What is making you really excited to be part of this industry at the moment? What is your one prediction for affiliate marketing in 2019?

Affiliate marketing is one of the most exciting disciplines in digital marketing. It is predicted to be a 6.8 billion-dollar industry in 2020 and the channel has always been an incubator for new disciplines.

For 2019 we see many trends including influencer marketing, emerging publisher models, data-driven insights and mobile domination to continue on the path they showed in 2018.

As we go through 2019 blockchain-based technology will be one of the most disruptive tech trends that will completely change the industry as we know it, making transactions safer, faster and offering advertisers and publishers a level of transparency that is unheard of in today’s affiliate market space.

 

Thank You

We hope you had a great time and enjoyed Affiliate Summit Europe as much as we did. If you want to continue the conversation or know more about how we can help you achieve growth, please get in touch.

Thanks to everyone who came and visited the Tradedoubler stand at this year’s Affiliate Summit Europe. We’re very pleased to have been part of this event and we are looking forward for next year event.

To continue the discussion or find out more about how Tradedoubler can help you grow your programme, please get in touch.

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