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It seems like only yesterday I announced the very first Affiliate Management Days conference but time flies fast, and today I am thrilled to bring you the news about our 9th show (already)!

Throughout the years we’ve held AM Days in London and Fort Lauderdale, but there hasn’t been one year (since the show’s launch) when we didn’t come back to San Francisco; and 2017 will be no exception.

Save the Date

Here are the details of our next year’s show:

  • Dates: May 16-17, 2017 
  • Place: San Francisco Marriott Marquis [more here]

So, mark your calendars, and take advantage of Super Early Bird rates here (to save up to $700.00 on your pass).

Apply to Speak

The call for speakers is now open too. Here are the details you want to keep in mind:

  • Deadline: September 30, 2016
  • The presentation has to be:
    • Vendor-neutral
    • Aimed at practical application
    • Never presented elsewhere
  • Apply here
  • Accepted speakers will be notified by November 11, 2016.

Looking forward to your proposals, and another great Affiliate Management Days conference in San Francisco!!

Editor’s Note: We bring you more live coverage from the Affiliate Management Days conference. This series of articles is on topics of interest to businesses that offer affiliate programs.  

This session was conducted by Sarah Bundy of All Inclusive Marketing.

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What is affiliate program optimization?

Essentially, it is incremental growth. Affiliate managers want to see incremental growth within their programs. Below are main program optimization techniques that should be implemented in order to see desired growth in your affiliate program.

What KPI’s impact incremental growth?

Here are the main KPI’s that should be actively reviewed and monitored:

  • # of new affiliates
  • # of click active affiliates
  • # of sale active affiliates
  • Total traffic/clicks
  • Impressions
  • Conversion rates
  • AOV
  • # of new placements

How else can an affiliate program be optimized? You have to build the right team that can support all the main functions of an affiliate program. You will need:

A dedicated account manager who is passionate about brand, with a focus on affiliate relationships and incremental value as well as a publisher recruitment team that is focused on finding content and social influencers who drive incremental value.

Have a strategic commission structure. Here are examples of how to segment:

  • Type of affiliate (blogger, coupon, Cashback, Social Influencer)
  • Affiliate actions / conversion pathways (link type)
  • Attribution (introducer, assist, closer)
  • New to file customers vs. returning customers
  • Product types / categories

Properly segment and tag affiliates within the program. Three ways to do this include:

Type: coupon/deal, review, Cashback/Loyalty, paid search, display, social influencer, technology

Vertical/niche: mom/babies, family, wedding, fashion, tech, electronic, shoes

Audience: new moms, teens, seniors, home owners, 13-25 female, 24-50 males

Have the right reporting and insights.

They include:

  • Publisher performance
  • Network performance
  • Campaign performance
  • Mobile performance
  • Publisher comparison
  • YoY/MoM/WoW Comparison
  • Product/category performance

Affiliate managers must understand and leverage multi-channel and intra-affiliate attribution plus understand buyer behaviors and multi-device opportunities in order to be able to optimize program effectively. Additional ways to optimize include:

Test offers/content for audiences:

  • Products/categories
  • Free shipping vs $5 off
  • % off vs. $ off
  • Bundling
  • Reviews vs. testimonials
  • “Snackable” material vs. article marketing
  • Creative type (banner vs video vs imagery)

Test offers / content offers for affiliates:

  • Activation incentives
  • Performance incentives
  • Placement incentives
  • Product/category types
  • Content type
  • Creative types
  • Tiered/hybrid commission payouts

A/B Test landing pages:

  • By affiliate type
  • By content type
  • By offer type
  • Different combinations
  • Remove leaks

Communicate with you affiliates:

  • Segmented newsletters
  • Engage in social channels
  • Facetime at events
  • Gifts/thanks/shout outs
  • Pick up the phone
  • Listen and then execute

Earn placements:

  • Homepage
  • Category page
  • Product page
  • Newsletters
  • Social channels
  • Blog/editorial features
  • Co-branded landing pages
  • In-app

A critical piece of information is to know your affiliate network/tracking platform capabilities. Do not be so fast to jump on multiple networks.  Approximately only 20%-30% of tools on current network are used and are used correctly. Maximize your current efforts and then think about expansion

Remain compliant to stay profitable:

  • FTC regulations
  • Affiliate Program TOS
  • TM and TM+ Protection
  • Brand reputation management
  • Click fraud/ cookie stuffing
  • Coupon abuse
  • Toolbars, browser extensions

Recruitment is still optimization:

  • Group High
  • 5IQ
  • Similar Web
  • Ninja Outreach
  • Industry publication
  • Industry forums
  • Network options
  • Key influencers

There are numerous ways to optimize an affiliate program and many programs fail to utilize most, if any of the techniques mentioned above. If you are having trouble implementing any of the optimization techniques do not be afraid to hire a professional with experience in the space.

Editor’s Note: We bring you more live coverage from the Affiliate Management Days conference. This series of articles is on topics of interest to businesses that offer affiliate programs.  

This session was conducted by Wade Tonkin of Fanatics, Inc.

Why recruit affiliates? The main reason is to be proactive in the affiliate programs growth.

Here are 3 reasons to recruit:

  • The network you are on does not have all the affiliate you will need to be successful
  • Your program is not on an affiliate network (then it is a must)
  • To build the right balance of affiliates – a well-balanced affiliate program is a successful one

Before reaching out to prospective affiliates, perform the following tasks:

  • Analyze the current publishers (if existing) and group them accordingly (bloggers, social, deal/coupons, etc.)
  • Dive into KPI’s of each affiliate group
  • Know the value of each group to determine their value and worth to the program
  • Find out if the network or platform you are running on provides the tools that will be needed to work with the type of affiliates you are targeting.

After performing the tasks above, load your tool box with the following:

  • Get your messaging together for each group of affiliates (email, social, etc)
  • On-boarding resources…find out if they can be automated
  • Have your approaches tailored to the in-network vs. out of network recruiting and by affiliate type for the best results. It’s not a one-size-fits-all project.

Ways to utilize in-network recruiting and external recruiting:

In-network Recruiting

  • They are low hanging fruit
    • Already familiar with the network
    • No delays in getting them up and running
    • They know the network tools
    • Can message differently than out of network
    • Play up the tools that work for them
    • Show them 3rd party tools (i.e. FMTC)

Out of Network recruiting

It takes time and effort and often requires education to the prospect.

  • Tools for external recruiting:
    • 5IQ
    • GroupHigh
    • Blogrolls on influential blogs
    • Google
    • Facebook and Twitter searches

How to reach out to bloggers:

  • Check their web stats, social following and engagement
  • Are they trusted? Does their audience care?
  • Do they speak affiliate?
  • Do they work with other programs
  • Do they write content
  • Personalize the outreach, let them know they can make money for their efforts (do not overwhelm them in the initial email)
  • Have the data heavy piece ready when they do respond. What is in it for them?

Possible objections from bloggers can include:

  • I don’t want to post banners
  • I don’t have time
  • My readers may think I am spammy
  • I’ve never done this before and don’t know how to start
  • I get sponsorship money for banners ads
  • Can you give me something to give away

What works with bloggers?

  • Shop and support
  • Product links/text links in content
  • Navigation links
  • Storefront or widgets
  • Reviews
  • Let affiliates buy through links for their own use

How to reach out to social affiliates:

  • Use a video that works to recruit and on-board as it shows them the process
  • Explain what you are looking for and empower them. Provide them a bonus upfront to get them to boost a timely post.
  • Engagement is more important than the follower count – watch for volume of discussion driven by members.
  • Provide custom images (depending on their niche)

No one ever said affiliate recruiting would be easy and not all affiliates are treated equally. Using a blanket message for all types will not be effective, so grouping them and targeting them with specific message will help in the campaign. Recruiting can be a fun, rewarding experience.

Earlier this week the following info (shared via all of my social media channels) yielded pretty good engagement:


However — (a) since the above compilation of logos reflects brands that have attended various AM Days shows, and (b) because one of the most popular pre-conference questions that I get (several times each week) is “Can you share the list of conference’s attendees so that we could plan our meetings?” — I have decided to bring you some noteworthy brands that have already registered for our 2016 show.

Having excluded affiliate networks, affiliate management agencies, vendors, and affiliate publishers, I have hand-picked 33 brands which you may want to meet at our upcoming show in just 5 days. Here is the list of some of the brands that have registered their teams for AM Days 2016:

  • Allianz
  • Apple
  • Beachbody
  • Belkin
  • Bitdefender
  • Blurb
  • Bulletproof
  • Candy Club
  • CBS Interactive
  • Craftsy
  • Deluxe Corp
  • eBay
  • Fanatics
  • Google
  • Grammarly
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Jane.com
  • Jenson USA
  • JustFab
  • LuLu*s
  • NeuroGym
  • Outlook Amusements
  • ScriptRelief
  • Shutterfly
  • Simple Finance
  • Spencer Forrest
  • Stub.Center
  • Symantec
  • Thumbtack
  • Uber
  • UnsubCentral
  • Xero
  • Zappos.com

It is not too late to send your team to the show. Register today to avoid overpaying for your pass (as on-site prices are $200.00 higher).

I hope to see you at the only conference of 2016 on April 4-5 in San Francisco, CA.

In anticipation of her presentation at Affiliate Management Days entitled A Merchant’s Guide to Cross-Device Affiliate Tracking, our very own Geno Prussakov interviewed Jeannine Crooks, Senior Account Manager of Affiliate Window. View the Q-and-A below to learn about Jeannine’s thoughts on affiliate program management, cross-device tracking, and affiliate marketing, in general. Also, see what’s in store for AM Days 2016.

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Question: If you were to emphasize one important issue that every affiliate manager should be paying more attention to, what would it be and why?

Jeannine:  Many merchants really want to extend the long-tail for their programs via relationships with bloggers, but ultimately treat bloggers the same way as all other affiliates.  They are instead quite different.  Blogging is their business, not a hobby, and needs to be respected as such.  Bloggers need more lead time for posts, as it is not uncommon to be booked out 5-6 weeks in advance, so a last minute sale with no warning may not perform well for them outside of social media, and they may not have time to even post there.  While offering free product is nice, don’t expect every post to be free; a free small appliance or new hoodie doesn’t help pay the mortgage. Don’t expect to dictate or approve content beyond correcting any incorrect statements. The fastest way to irritate a blogger is to pitch something which has absolutely nothing to do with their blog and shows that you’ve obviously never visited their site.

Truly meeting the needs of bloggers can result in tremendous incremental growth for your program, but you must put in the work to achieve that goal.

Jeannine CrooksQuestion: What was the most important marketing lesson that you learned in 2015?

Jeannine:  I would say learning how to leverage additional big data in managing a program; the insights about the customer purchase process, device influence, and attribution analysis all can play a critical role in taking programs to new heights.

Question: What do you believe to be the main areas of opportunity in 2016 – for online marketers, in general, and for affiliate marketers, in particular?

Jeannine: The growth of smartphones is significantly impacting the last click CPA model.  This model over-indexes for bloggers and long tail publishers, but it is less likely to be tracked or optimized.  Casual browsing, lack of app tracking and several other factors are making the last click model look outmoded and antiquated for certain affiliate models

Question: What do you believe to be the biggest challenge advertisers with affiliate programs face, and what steps could help them overcome it?

Jeannine: Federal disclosure compliance is a growing issue.  There is a segment of publishers who are searching for every possible way to avoid disclosure and are quite comfortable with merchants taking all the risk.  The recent FTC/Lord & Taylor incident didn’t bother them in the least, though it should have served as a wake-up call for all US merchants and responsible publishers.  The EU Data Protection Reform comes into effect in 2018 and is expected to have a significant impact on the handling, processing and storage of data.  Though it is an effort by the European commission, you can bet that the US is looking closely at the legislation and implementation to ensure that US citizens are protected in similar ways.

Question: Please give us 1-3 reasons why marketers should attend your AM Days 2016 presentation, A Merchant’s Guide to Cross-Device Affiliate Tracking.

Jeannine: Ecommerce is now multi-step and multi-device.  Cross device tracking isn’t just the latest fad in our industry, but is now something which will grow to affect all programs on a global basis.  Understanding what is involved, different tracking methods, and the ramifications it can have on a program are vital to keep your affiliate program competitive, especially now that many merchants are including cross device tracking as one of their selling points during affiliate recruitment.

Question: If you were to leave online advertisers, merchants and affiliate managers with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Jeannine: Always be nice. This is a business of relationships, and it is important to establish as many great relationships as possible.  Help everyone you can, regardless of whether you can derive any benefit from doing so.  If you see two people who should be working together, make the introduction.  Treasure your reputation – it takes a long time to create a good one, but it can be over in a moment with a single misstep.

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Don’t miss Jeannine’s conference presentation, A Merchant’s Guide to Cross-Device Affiliate Tracking, at Affiliate Management Days on Monday, April 4, 2016, from 3:30-4:15pm. Click here to register for attendance.

 

Spring Into Savings!

Spring has sprung!

And with it, we’re bringing a spring savings opportunity just for you.

Attend Affiliate Management Days for $200 off of All-Access (2-Day Conference Pass plus Workshop) and 2-Day passes when you register by Friday, March 25th.

How? Enter code SPRING200 upon checkout when you register here.

This spring’s eighth running Affiliate Management Days conference is April 3-5 at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco. Like gathering flowers on a nice spring day, the conference will bring together marketing managers and professionals responsible for their company’s affiliate marketing strategy, management and operations. At AM Days, they will discuss how to best implement and manage affiliate programs.

View the agenda to catch a glimpse of the talented and resourceful speakers, sessions, vendors, and networking opportunities that are blooming with affiliate program management knowledge.

Don’t hesitate to support your budding career in 2 weeks – take advantage of this spring break in pricing today.

Register with code SPRING200 by March 25th and keep $200 off.
Register Today

At Affiliate Management Days, we want you to get as much out of the conference as possible. In addition to the packed agenda of sessions and speakers, check out all of the networking opportunities. Here are some of the resources we’ve set up for AM Days 2016 to engage delegates and provide greater networking opportunities.

AM DaysConnect: Introducing the Mobile App

Download the official event app, Topi, on your smart device via topi.com/get. Sign in using LinkedIn or Facebook, and enter the event code: AMDAYS.

Utilize the app to access the full agenda, speakers, sponsors, maps, & more. Create your very own personal agenda by bookmarking sessions and syncing them to your calendar. Network one-on-one with fellow event participants. You can even communicate with everyone in Live Chat, the group chat room.

Experience: Welcome to the eZone

The eZone (located in Booth 418 onsite) offers networking opportunities galore at AM Days 2016.  Here’s all of the fun that awaits:

  • Video Testimonials – Shoot a video testimonial for a chance to win a free conference pass. The winner will be announced in the Exhibit Hall on Tuesday, April 5th at 3:15pm.
  • Photo Booth – Take photos with fellow participants complete with hats, feather boas, mustaches and more! Enter some of  your photos into the Photo Contest.*
  • Dinner with Strangers Sign-Ups – Sign up at the eZone onsite in Booth 418 to be placed in a networking dinner group. These dinner groups are coordinated to help continue the networking over dinner, but they are not paid for. After signing up, dinner groups meet Monday at 7:15pm at the Marriott Marquis Hotel Lobby.
  • Morning Workouts – Stay fit at AM Days! Join us Monday for a 45-minute run/walk and Tuesday for line-dancing. Meet both days at 6:30am at the Marriott Marquis Hotel Lobby.
  • Chat ‘n Charge – Charge your smart device in the eZone while mingling with fellow participants.
  • Play Games – Have fun networking over Corn-hole, Checkers, Connect Four, and more!
  • Feedback & Goals Wall – Whiteboards are placed in the eZone for you to share your goals for attending the conference as well as your feedback.

Learn more about the eZone here.

Capture: Enter the Photo Contest

At AM Days, enter the Photo Contest to for your chance to win prizes. How do you enter the contest? Post photos for each contest category on Twitter with the event hashtag, #AMDays. The photos must be posted by Tuesday, April 5th at 5:00pm and prizes will be announced via Twitter by Wednesday, April 6th.

Photo ContestCategories:

  • Best Group Photo
  • Best Selfie
  • Best Picture with a Conference Chair or Speaker
  • Best Random Pic with an Event Logo

Let the networking begin!

 

In anticipation of his presentation at Affiliate Management Days entitled Attribution and Commission Splitting: Where It’s At And Where It’s Going, our very own Geno Prussakov interviewed Chad Waite, Marketing Manager of AvantLink. View the Q-and-A below to learn Chad’s thoughts about the current state of affiliate marketing, in general, and affiliate management, in particular. Also, see what’s in store for AM Days 2016.

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Question: If you were to emphasize one important issue that every affiliate manager should be paying more attention to, what would it be and why?

Chad: Attribution and using clickstream data to keep all affiliates involved in the commission payout. Why? Because last click wins was invented in the 90s.

Question: What was the most important marketing lesson that you learned in 2015?

Chad: Little, and often untrackable efforts, can have a big impact later down the road. Remember that these moments can be just as valuable as your big, established channels.

Question: What do you believe to be the main areas of opportunity in 2016 – for online marketers, in general, and for affiliate marketers, in particular?

Chad WaiteChad: See answer one! Using real clickstream data to measure the value of each affiliate referral in a singular sales cycle and then taking action on that data to divvy up a traditionally singular commission payment to multiple affiliates is huge. It is Affiliate Marketing 2.0, a new era for the channel, and something that in the next few years will be in demand across the board.

Question: What do you believe to be the biggest challenge advertisers with affiliate programs face, and what steps could help them overcome it?

Chad: Again, determining and recognizing the value of all affiliates in the clickstream and then rewarding those referrals accordingly will be huge. AdBlock is also a major industry challenge that is impacting everyone.

Question: Please give us 1-3 reasons why marketers should attend your AM Days 2016 presentation, Attribution and Commission Splitting: Where It’s At And Where It’s Going.

Chad: Anyone interested in learning about what attribution is and how it specifically applies to the attribution channel should come to the session. Anyone interested in forecasting and predictions for trends in attribution and commission splitting should attend the session.

Question: If you were to leave online advertisers, merchants and affiliate managers with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Chad: Never settle for status quo! The moment a competitor has better technical capabilities, better communications, better anything, affiliates will always go where it’s best for them.

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Don’t miss Chad’s conference presentation, Attribution and Commission Splitting: Where It’s At And Where It’s Going at Affiliate Management Days on Monday, April 4, 2016, from 4:15-5:00pm. Click here to register for attendance.

 

In anticipation of his participation at Affiliate Management Days on the keynote panel, 2016 Affiliate State of the Union, our very own Geno Prussakov interviewed Choots Humphries, Co-President of LinkConnector. View the Q-and-A below to learn about Choots’ thoughts on the current state of affiliate marketing, in general, and affiliate management, in particular. Also, see what’s in store for AM Days 2016.

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Question: If you were to emphasize one important issue that every affiliate manager should be paying more attention to, what would it be and why?

Chootsb HumphriesChoots: For retailers, arming affiliates with data is paramount to helping them uncover new and optimize existing promotional efforts with your brand.

This could be as simple as providing information around your top 10 selling products, the seasonality trends of your brand, or deeper data points such as KPIs across various device types.

In our ever evolving digital marketing landscape, affiliates are the ones at the forefront of creativity.  Ensure they have the data needed to fuel their strategies and effectively advocate for your brand.

Question: What was the most important marketing lesson that you learned in 2015? 

Choots: Turnover (i.e., employee attrition) is inherent in any industry.  The fundamental core (and driver of success) of the affiliate marketing industry is that of building relationships.  When key personnel of customer relationships leave for new endeavors, it is ever more critical to take the time to share your knowledge and nuggets of insight with new contacts. Doing so will help to offset hiccups and help the partnership continue to thrive.

Question: What do you believe to be the main areas of opportunity in 2016 – for online marketers, in general, and for affiliate marketers, in particular?

Choots: For online marketers, mobile continues to dominate as an epic area of opportunity.  Opportunity that exists beyond smartphones and tablets.

Essential in 2016 will be prioritizing your mobile strategy to appropriately include the various device types (e.g., wearables & automobiles) while ensuring the cross-device affiliate tracking.

Even more specific to affiliate marketing, social marketing represents significant opportunity.  Advertisers are all about securing influencer relationships for their brands.  Leveraging proven affiliate expertise to influence your audience and deliver revenue via social marketing will provide an edge for affiliates.

Question: What do you believe to be the biggest challenge advertisers with affiliate programs face, and what steps could help them overcome it?

Choots: Internet Sales Tax Reform will continue to be a big challenge.  More states continue to pass Affiliate Nexus Tax laws, crippling the livelihood of thousands of affiliate marketers and ceasing revenue opportunities for advertisers.  To help in overcoming this, we need more industry leaders to advocate in support of the Marketplace Fairness Act; a bill that will essentially eliminate the Affiliate Nexus Tax laws.  Join and / or donate to the Performance Marketing Association to help make a difference.

Question: Please give us 1-3 reasons why marketers should attend the AM Days 2016 keynote panel presentation, 2016 Affiliate State of the Union.

Choots: The ‘2016 Affiliate State of the Union’ keynote panel will be an invaluable opportunity for marketers to hear from the frontlines about the newest technologies to empower program growth, effective solutions to help you harness this year’s industry trends and, last but not least, the chance to hear questions from your industry peers as they seek solutions to overcome specific obstacles.

Question: If you were to leave online advertisers, merchants and affiliate managers with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Choots: Don’t underestimate the opportunities that could be gained from collaborating with your competition.

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Don’t miss Choots’ participation on the keynote panel, 2016 Affiliate State of the Union, at Affiliate Management Days on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, from 8:40am-10:25am. Click here to register for attendance.

 

When you search for something on Google, Autocomplete dynamically displays suggestions or search predictions which are based on the popularity of long(er) tail keywords.

It is exciting to discover that “Affiliate Management Days” currently scores the second place on terms related to “affiliate management.”

Affiliate Management Terms

I started AM Days in early 2012 in response to a demand for a unique environment that would facilitate an open and laser-focused interchange on all things affiliate management.

As emphasized in a recent interview by Symantec’s A’Lisa Tomatis, affiliate marketing industry is constantly evolving and changing, and to stay ahead of the game, we ought to monitor the changes and adapt our strategies to make the most of them, ensuring continued growth of our affiliate programs. This was the central reason why I created Affiliate Management Days — to help affiliate marketing professionals be effective in dealing with (the ever-evolving) challenges, threats, and opportunities.

There is no beginner/entry-level content at this show (apart from the pre-conference “crash course” workshop that I run every year). Expect deep advanced level knowledge which you will be able to implement right away (yes, highly practical stuff!) maximizing the output of your affiliate program(s).

If you haven’t yet registered, there will be only one AM Days show in 2016, and it is coming up in just 24 days. Book your pass now and join Apple, Beachbody, Belkin, Craftsy, eBay, Hobby Lobby, Symantec, Zappos, and hundreds of smaller brands that have already registered to attend our eighth and biggest conference to date.

If you miss it, remember: your competitors won’t.