Events

The Death of Affiliate Marketing: What I Learned at Affiliate Summit West 2017

Jonah-Kai Hancock

affiliate summit west

Last week TUNE attended Affiliate Summit West in sunny Las Vegas. #ASW17 brings together more than 6,000 digital marketers from over 70 countries.  

After attending this show for 4+ years I have witnessed the word “affiliate marketing” start to die, being replaced with performance marketing and mobile marketing.

Affiliate marketing is an industry that continues to evolve, and it is being driven by the rise of mobile marketing and global advertising distribution. And the reason the terms are changing, is because mobile is based solely on performance. Advertisers only pay for performance (installs, engagement, action, etc.) on mobile, and as mobile opportunities continue to grow around the globe, so has the market.

So how can affiliate marketing evolve to fit this growth and the changing market dynamics?  I have come to realize it is because in every performance marketer’s DNA, is the ability to constantly change and have a laser focus on performance. Affiliates only get paid on performance and it is this mentality that has allowed the industry to mature and grow.

I had the pleasure of presenting on the first day of ASW17 on the topic of Winning the Mobile Moments. The session focused on how advertisers, publishers, and ad partners can focus on winning the mobile moments. A mobile moment is a point when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what they want immediately and in context. It is the right message, to the right person at the right time.

The audience was very eager to share their perspective and also ask some great questions, which we were able to debate. I will share that discussion and other themes below:

Mobile Growth

Mobile continues to dominate the discussion and many people don’t know how to effectively market to these groups. The mobile marketing funnel differs from the traditional marketing funnel, and simply copying your existing marketing practices over to mobile won’t help. If you are interested in some resources that explain this, check out our Mobile Marketing 101 webinar.

Performance Marketing Goes Mainstream

Affiliate marketing continues to move into the mainstream, with advertisers from REI, AirBnB, Uber, Amazon, Liveperson, FlipKart, and others joining Affiliate Summit West this year. Unlike years past, where advertisers would avoid these types of events, now they embrace them. The feedback that advertisers whom I spoke with shared was as the world continues to become global, affiliates, influential marketers, and other niche ad partners add tremendous value to the industry. This is because these entities can give them accesses to audience that Google, Facebook, and the social platforms fail to reach.

Advertisers Dislike Walled Gardens

Another interesting realization I had is that the performance marketers and other ad partners are all much more keen to share their data with advertisers, which they appreciate. The advertiser and ad partner relationships exist on a mutually beneficial communication process by which ad partners share data with the advertisers (costs, clicks, impressions, engagement, etc.) and both parties can work to optimize based on this data. This issue has come to full light with the recent issues around Facebook’s overstating of video metrics and Twitter’s video ad inflation debacle.

Mobile Web Continues to Grow

As the mobile web continues to grow, we will start to see the emergence of the convergence of mobile and web apps. One question I was asked during my presentation was, “Everyone talks about mobile apps, and making mobile apps more engaging. Why don’t people focus on the mobile web? Traffic to my properties from mobile devices continues to grow, but people don’t talk about how to increase performance and conversion here…” This is where the next iteration of innovation will occur. Technologies that allow advertisers to deliver relevant content, based on the origination of the user. Deferred deeplinking was the first attempt to cross this chasm, but it still leaves much to be desired.

I am looking forward the rest of the affiliate and performance marketing events coming up throughout the year, to continue to see how the market evolves. Hopefully I will see you there!

Like I said, affiliate marketing is dead, but not performance marketing.

Long live performance marketing!

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Author
Jonah-Kai Hancock

As Director of Marketing at TUNE, Jonah-Kai’s main focus is leading a team of marketers with the goal of helping push the mobile and performance marketing industry forward. Along with his team, Jonah-Kai works on marketing and product strategy, brand development, and strives to bring the TUNE story to life for clients and prospects. Jonah-Kai has over 15 years of experience in marketing and has had the pleasure of working for some prestigious companies in the Seattle area, including Weber Shandwick, Tableau Software, AdReady, Razorfish, and Concur.