Affiliate Rockstars

Affiliate Rockstar: Elias Saad

Nate Ivie

TUNE Affiliate Rockstar Elias Saad

Introducing Elias Saad

Elias Saad is the Senior Manager of Global Affiliates & Partnerships at General Assembly, an education platform that focuses on providing courses for students interested in switching to in-demand tech careers. Before General Assembly, Elias managed strategic partnerships at Guideline, VRBO, and Acceleration Partners. Listen to his full set in the Q&A below!

Rockstar Q&A with Elias

What are your day-to-day duties?
They fall into four main buckets: activating new campaigns; reporting on insights and performance; compliance checks to make sure red flags are solved while small; and operations, including reviewing updates on all fronts (product, brand, tech, people, etc.).

How did you get into the affiliate industry?
By luck, 10 years ago I changed careers from investment funds analysis to marketing and found a similarity with affiliate marketing on measuring incrementality.

What was the best thing you learned at the last conference you went to? What conference was it?
The last conference I went to was PI Live. As far as what I learned there, it reiterated my belief that in time each brand/organization will train their own version of AI.

What are your most important KPIs?
ROAS and leads, and then from there:

  • CAC, LTV
  • Reviews/NPS
  • Speed to sale
  • % of cancellations
  • AOV

What do you think is undervalued in marketing in general?
The results of a complete brainstorm session, with one day/week of prep, one to three rounds of brainstorming, one round of discussion, and one round of prioritization. Versus the usual one hour zoom call, which is much less productive.

“Affiliate” or “partner”? Why?
I actually use both terms:

  • Affiliate: when a brand promotes with someone who already has a built channel. Therefore there is only an association or affiliation.
  • Partner: when a brand and the advertiser build a new channel, each adding their own part, therefore “partnership.”

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve come across in affiliate marketing?
Convincing content-focused partners, influencers in particular, to work on revenue share campaigns. This is challenging when the attribution model is last touch and content partners are generating traffic at the top of the funnel.

To solve for this, we build a unique funnel with the partner, from the top-of-funnel awareness content like free webinars all the way to the lead generation moment where someone schedules a call with sales. In between, we bring in the necessary resources, depending on the audience: workshops, guides, articles, videos, stories, testimonials, rankings, etc. To make sure this is working, we track the percentage of leads that the partners are generating net new (meaning they were the last touch), and the ones where they contributed but were not the last touch. We want to keep this percentage as high as possible so that the partners’ revenue share is close or more than their target ROAS.

What’s the next big thing in affiliate marketing?
Growth without using discounts. We don’t need another discount site. Publishers that are working on business models that find the right user at the right time in the right place won’t need a discount to get the sale. Matching the right place, time, and person means the value of the product is worth it.

For example, if I’m planning a road trip and thanks to a car maintenance app I see that it is convenient to replace my car’s tires based on my current mileage, that same app can link to the best recommended tires for my car.

How important is following the journey of a user after you first acquire them or after their first purchase?
Post-purchase customer data can inform marketing strategy on the reasons why that specific persona group is interested in the brand. They can also become a great source for reviews, testimonials, and referrals. Going further, if there’s possibility for repeat purchases, we can reach out to the customer by a certain date to present a special price for repeat customers. As long as the tracking post-purchase fits the business model goals, there shouldn’t be any waste on data gathering and marketing efforts.

Think you have what it takes to be a star? Apply to be an Affiliate Rockstar today.

Elias Saad of General Assembly

Elias Saad

Senior Manager, Global Affiliates & Partnerships at General Assembly

Nate Ivie

As VP of Sales at TUNE, Nate’s team focuses on enterprise sales for TUNE, an industry leading platform that provides brands, agencies, and affiliate networks the infrastructure to track and manage their partner marketing activities. Prior to TUNE, Nate worked in sales and client services at Tippr, one of the early group buying platforms, and Efinancial, an online life insurance brokerage. Nate received his BA in Social Sciences from Washington State University.