Affiliate Rockstars

Affiliate Rockstar: Willis Nelson

Nate Ivie

Affiliate Rockstar Willis Nelson - TUNE

Introducing Willis Nelson

Willis Nelson began his digital marketing career at the same company where he currently acts as Senior Director of Revenue, Mobile Apps: Fluent. Since starting out as Fluent’s first sales intern in 2014, Willis has continued to learn and hone his marketing skill set through years of developing partnerships with leading advertiser brands. Today, he focuses on growing Fluent’s mobile user acquisition business by building lasting relationships with new and current customers.

Take it away, Willis!

Rockstar Q&A with Willis

What are your day-to-day duties?
I’m focused on strategic partnerships and business development across Fluent’s mobile user acquisition business. This includes onboarding new advertiser partners and growing current brand relationships.

What’s the best thing you learned at the last conference you were at? What conference was it?
When I was at MAU in Las Vegas, I learned that marketers are focused on leveraging ChatGPT for producing and scaling mobile ads. Given the bandwidth constraints with the user acquisition space, this helps provide suggestions and optimize solutions for campaigns.

What do you think is undervalued in marketing in general?
Right pricing campaigns per source. Being able to bid efficiently by the affiliates sources allow brands to acquire more customers while still backing into their performance metrics.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve come across in affiliate marketing?
It can be difficult to secure enough test budget from brands to allow publishers to build big enough audience cohorts. Generating a large sample size and letting the data mature leads to more efficient optimizations towards performance.

How is your team structured?
Our team is currently structured by business units — we have four primary business units we offer to the market within targeted and scalable customer acquisition solutions. Each BU consists of its own account management and ad operations for efficiency.

What 2-3 trends are you seeing within the industry?
We’re seeing more and more brands become hyper-focused on ROAS as the economy shifts and every dollar needs to be accounted for. We’re also seeing partners more comfortable and excited to work with rewarded loyalty and incentivized traffic partners.

What is your biggest challenge today?
Our biggest challenge is navigating our partners’ internal team structures. We have many growth and acquisition solutions we offer to the market; however, our advertiser partners utilize different teams to manage those campaigns and hold separate budgets, which can make things disparate and inefficient. We’re getting better with solution positioning and pricing to be able to expand our partnerships across our various channels.

What’s your top tip to negotiating affiliate deals with partners?
It’s key for brands to be open to sharing as much data as possible with affiliates as long as they can leverage it for optimization purposes. Some brands can hoard this data, which makes it less incentivizing for the affiliate partner to be confident about the success of the campaign.

How important is it to follow the journey of the user after your advertisers first acquire them or after their first purchase?
Critical! This comes back to data sharing. The more performance and conversion data shared back to media partners leads to better optimizations towards users who are making purchases and achieving proxy events within their funnel.

How have you seen brands’ affiliate strategies change over time?
There’s been a great shift of large mobile brands adopting the use of affiliate tracking platforms. Many brands who rely heavily on mobile didn’t have integrations for tracking, which made it difficult for affiliates to build long-term partnerships with efficient campaigns. We hope the trend continues!

Do you have any advice for a smaller or lesser known brand to get noticed by a quality publisher?
Customize! If you’re able to customize your landing page, promotion, call to action, etc. to fit the affiliate’s inventory, it’s a win-win for everybody.

Do you have what it takes to become a rockstar, or know someone who does? Apply or nominate them today.

Willis Nelson, TUNE Affiliate Rockstar

Willis Nelson

Sr. Director of Revenue, Mobile Apps at Fluent

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.