Last week during Affiliate Summit West, HasOffers’ CEO Peter Hamilton sat on a panel with several other thought leaders in the industry to discuss the future of Performance Marketing. During the panel, Peter discussed why he thought the affiliate model is becoming mainstream, why he thinks mobile will overtake the desktop this year, and why video may just be the next big thing for affiliates.
Why the affiliate model is becoming mainstream
Peter explained that “marketers of every shape and size, at big and small companies, are now demanding performance metrics. They demand to know what return on investment they are getting, especially in the online space.” He elaborated that as mobile is now becoming more prominent (more on that below), this is becoming even more critical for advertisers. As he said, “(Advertisers) are not going to waste page views and impressions on eyeballs when they don’t actually know what they’re going to be getting out of it.” He added that these metrics are important because “we know so little about how users are interacting with their mobile devices, and advertisers aren’t comfortable with doing the spray and pay model anymore”. Peter explained that ad networks are now more willing to work with partners, such as CPA networks, on a per-install or a per-sale basis, which means they are starting to understand how this model works. As Peter said, “this is all driven by advertisers hiring great marketers that understand that it’s all about the ROI.”
Mobile is growing
Peter said one of the key reasons for the proliferation of the affiliate model is the increase in the amount of time users are spending on mobile devices – and in particular, the amount of leisure time spent surfing the web and looking for new experiences. Peter said this kind of traffic is “somewhat easier to convert because people are not distracted – it’s a much more focused experience once the user has entered the funnel. It’s a time and place in the user’s life when they’re open to making a purchase or experiencing something new.”
Peter also mentioned that HasOffers has experienced massive growth in the last few years and is now tracking clicks in the billions. He noted that approximately 30% of those clicks are mobile clicks (people clicking from mobile devices). Peter went on to say that “our Mobile App Tracking’s traffic volume is already 25% of the volume of the HasOffers flagship platform and it has been growing 50% month over month for the last three months. All of this is pretty incredible considering Mobile App Tracking is still a closed-off signup process.” Peter explained that this indicates traffic is definitely shifting to mobile, and says “this year we’ll likely see the IAB come out with studies showing the mobile web overtaking the desktop web.”
The future of video in Performance Marketing
During the panel, the future of video was discussed as a promising new ad unit for affiliates. Peter thinks that advertisers will be shifting more towards video because “advertisers will be getting something equivalent to a television commercial for a fraction of the cost of traditional broadcast commercials.” He went on to say that even more importantly “we know the user is watching these videos – it’s very unlikely that they’re playing in the background.” He added the video quality is very high, and you can get it in front of viewers via YouTube as well as various networks and publishing platforms.
Peter did note that video advertising has its challenges. He thinks the attention span of users will continue to shrink and their level of annoyance at things irrelevant to their experience will continue to increase. This may mean that a new medium to replace the video experience will emerge to recapture this attention span. Peter also believes videos will need to get more fine-tuned and targeted to continue to be successful.
The future of Performance Marketing
Peter ultimately thinks that as mobile traffic overtakes the desktop, advertisers will need to think about how to track these offers, especially in the next few years. As he mentioned, cookies will be fully deprecated, so it will be critical to keep an eye on identifiers to actually make Performance Marketing work. Peter said that this is what it ultimately comes down to. “It’s kind of the holy grail of attribution – being able to communicate attribution between partners is what makes commerce happen in Performance Marketing.”
In addition to writing about emerging news and trends in the performance marketing industry, she is a columnist for Forbes, covering the intersection of technology and society. She can be can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, or her personal blog... and usually with a cup of coffee in hand, too.