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Exactly 4 weeks from now this year’s only Affiliate Management Days conference is coming to San Francisco; and today I am excited to welcome our newest sponsor – CJ Affiliate which has just joined AM Days as a Diamond Sponsor.

This is CJ’s first time sponsoring Affiliate Management Days, and we are excited to welcome them aboard!

Here is more about CJ in their own words:

CJ Affiliate, recognized by Internet Retailer as the #1 affiliate marketing provider, engages with millions of online consumers by facilitating and supporting equitable, lucrative relationships between advertisers and publishers. Many of the world’s most recognized and highly specialized brands use CJ to acquire new customers and encourage existing ones to buy more, and more often. CJ’s expertise, actionable insights and 70,000+ active publisher network provide unparalleled scale and growth opportunity. For more information, please visit www.cj.com. [source]

In addition to sponsoring and exhibiting, CJ Affiliate’s President Kerri Pollard is going to keynote the show talking about “Affiliate Network Insights to Drive Reach & Results.” More in this recent AM Days interview with Kerri.

Among the other AM Days 2015 sponsors/exhibitors you will find LeadsPedia, AM Navigator, eBay Enterprise Affiliate NetworkHasOffers by TUNE, Linkdex Publisher DiscoveryLinkConnector, and a couple of others to be announced shortly. There is a handful of exhibit hall tables left. If interested, let Paul Gillis know soon.

They were with us in San Francisco in 2013 and in 2014, as well as in London in 2014, and they are going to be back with us at the upcoming 2015 Affiliate Management Days show — now on the Silver sponsorship level. I am talking about Linkdex, creators of one of Linkdex Publisher Discovery – a robust affiliate recruitment tool.

Here is more about it in Linkdex’s own words:

Linkdex Publisher Discovery is a solution that enables you to discover online publishers from anywhere in the world and understand more about their business model. By using the platform, you are able to identify the vast majority of publishers working with affiliate networks or advertiser programmes and build a picture, in order to create new opportunities with a view to recruiting them to your own affiliate programme. Networks, agencies and advertisers have utilized the product to increase market knowledge and ultimately build revenue. [source]

Welcome back, Linkdex!! We appreciate your continued support of Affiliate Management Days!

Among the other AM Days 2015 sponsors/exhibitors you will find LeadsPedia, AM Navigator, eBay Enterprise Affiliate NetworkHasOffers by TUNE, and LinkConnector. There still are a couple of exhibit hall tables left. If interested, contact Paul Gillis soon.

Affiliate Management Days 2015 is just over one month away, and we had the opportunity to interview our keynote speaker, Declan Dunn, CEO of DunnDirectMedia. Learn from Declan’s perspective at the upcoming AM Days conference and in his interview below.

* * * * *

Since 1995, Declan Dunn has been a pioneering insider in the fields of online education, corporate performance enhancement and affiliate marketing. This unusual skill set allows him to bring people together in business settings, enhance their relationships, and then empower them to monetize those relationships. By simultaneously honoring both the needs of businesses, and the humans who work within them, Declan’s unique systems consistently return mutual rewards to the process of increasing bottom-line profits.

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?

Dunn: The tracking capability of cookies, or more appropriately web beacons, in a mobile world. Cookies have never been the greatest tracking tool, with some estimates of 30% of them never being tracked. This has always been part of the affiliate landscape, complained about and fixed a bit by the networks, but as an industry, there is still no reliable cookie system, and most mobile systems don’t accept or record the old fashioned cookies.

Meanwhile traffic is tipping to mobile, and while tracking on a mobile browser might be done by certain cookies, there’s going to be more leakage and more affiliates complaining, for good reasons.

Many of the affiliate networks are based on older technology; it will be interesting to see if they can adapt, or if the more recent and agile affiliate networks come up with better tracking.

Not only do you need this tracking for your affiliates, especially your top affiliates – management will be demanding more accurate figures as we transition from the old world of cookies to the new world of beacons, or whatever it becomes.

Question 2: What do you see as the main areas of opportunity for online, in general, and for affiliate marketers, in particular, in 2015 – 2016?

Dunn:  Native advertising, with a focus on a monetizable content strategy, will impact online and the affiliate world. Creating ads with direct links to products is nice, and still works for some sites, but for most marketing has become a multi-step process, with content leading the way.

Imagine a combination of Outbrain’s syndicated content, native advertising landing pages that adhere to rules, and affiliates who manage this multi-step process. This often includes opt in emails, search positioning, media buying, and content development on behalf of affiliates.

It’s already being done in the Native Advertising market, and while some affiliates do this, the whole mode will develop another level of creative, with multiple levels (and these are the rare kinds of affiliates you won’t punish with attribution, because this affiliate marketing, content model is based on repeat visits, not one time visits.

Mobile development, in terms of targeting and multi-step funnels, will increase in importance. The ability to connect the mobile user with the PC user is key to monetization.  Smart affiliate marketers are beginning to do this, for example buying Facebook ads on mobile only, and working to connect the mobile login to the desktop, where more purchasing is done.

Affiliate marketers have to step up and create new models in this increasingly mobile world, including custom monetization for Super Affiliates, especially social ones who are good at content, but not marketing. Many new affiliates are building loyal audiences, with smart affiliate managers working with them to manage the conversion and promotions. In this affiliate model, distribution is in place in social media, but the knowledge and interest in marketing is not. Several OPMs have jumped into this space, servicing specific affiliates with large and passionate social followings.

Question 3: Between the fact that “affiliates are 7x more likely to be overwritten by another channel than another affiliate” and the fact that “30% of sales start on one device and finish on another” [source] how can an advertiser build a truly affiliate-friendly program, yet one that doesn’t cannibalize the merchant’s own marketing efforts?

Dunn:  Longer answer on cookies below, the short answer here.

Affiliate marketing is high cost lead generation, because the real promise is not the first purchase, but the repeat purchase. In order not to cannibalize your own efforts, you have to set boundaries like attribution tracking and payout, but that also doesn’t make it great for affiliates. Merchants should be focusing on the second purchase as a measure of success, not the first, and keep the second for their own efforts.

That means making a program that seriously looks for the best affiliates and works with them on the lead generation portion (even a first purchase in my scenario is considered lead generation, because the cost of acquisition is normally a high cost for the merchant).

The best merchants will integrate multi step, lead to sale programs, and work with their best affiliates to put these in place. For the rest of their affiliates, they will keep the lead generation separate, in terms of tracking, from the follow up sale, and start challenging affiliates to build funnels with them, not just one page sales pages for purchases (where applicable of course).

Cookies still is the issue here, because we still track like it’s 1999, even with improvements.

Short-term, not much, long-term this ties into my cookies answer earlier. Cookies are old-fashioned, and they are what we have, but they don’t work in a mobile world. Many ad networks are developing their own Super Cookies, that supposedly work everywhere, but you have to be part of that network, so the overall value is limited.

In the short-term, merchants should work on their cookies and take a lesson from retargeting. When someone visits a web page, a specific ad is shown to them based on retargeting. When they click that ad, they go to a new page that overwrites the first cookie, and sets up a new one for retargeting.

This leads to sequential marketing based on the customer’s activity. Now let’s transfer that model to the affiliate world, and merchants doing retargeting and email and everything else that uses cookies.

Start creating a workflow of your cookies, and insure that your affiliates are not overwritten where possible. For example, you retarget a visitor who an affiliate sent to your site:

When that user clicks your retargeting ad, they are sent to a new page, and keep the affiliate cookie, while creating a separate cookie for your company that does not erase the affiliate one.

Ad networks will drop multiple cookies on high traffic content sites and the merchants should have their own cookies for internal tracking. This is likely a band-aid at best.

Question 4: In which ways can affiliates be adding value for the merchants they promote? And where does the “value” reside?

Dunn:  The value resides in the second purchase, or if a traffic game, the repeat visit. The only true measure of value is a repeat customer, or repeat visitors. Affiliates and merchants are notorious for being so over-focused on the first sale, pushing it to the limits sometimes, that the blend of quantity and quality is challenged because the affiliate’s incentive is more more more, and the merchant’s true goal is a higher percentage of customers who buy again.

From my own experience, I ran a financial services affiliate program as an OPM. In the first year, we just went out and signed up everybody and, like many initial programs in the early days, more was the goal, to prove the online channel.

So we got tons and tons of new customers, but half didn’t use the credit card. If you don’t use the credit card, it’s sort of a worthless lead in financial services.

Solution: We worked with our affiliates and basically found the usual 95/5 rule – 5% of the affiliates rock most of your sales/leads. So we ran numbers of repeat visitors against all of our data (which became a regular practice, and one I recommend for affiliate managers to do quarterly at least), and we found our 5%.

That core didn’t’ generate the volume, but did generate repeat usage which made it much more profitable.

We eliminated the other affiliates, even some generating volume, because the true value, the true metric, was usage, repeat usage especially, and for me that applies to every program.

It’s all about repeat visitors, repeat buyers, repeat subscribers. That’s the Long Term Value (LTV) of the customer, and the true value of any marketing program.

Question 5: What is the biggest challenge faced by affiliate managers, and advertisers with affiliate programs, today and what would you recommend doing to overcome it?

Dunn:  Stereotypes, from those who don’t know affiliate programs, and from the affiliate manager’s perception of who are the best affiliates.

The stigma of the word “affiliate” – many simply don’t understand the term, outside this space, and if they do, it’s because of some nefarious headline they read. When you deal with people, don’t think they have gone to Affiliate Summit, or even understand what affiliate programs are. The true growth is outside the traditional cpa and coupon/reward space, in social. But the old ways won’t work (cookies again a problem here).

Basically most of the world, from Google to Facebook to many unfamiliar with the strength of affiliate programs, stereotype affiliate programs as an expensive, risky cost channel. That stereotype is what you’re working on broadening your base of affiliates.

I’ve seen small OPMs doing this with major social followings, working with them closely and customizing the process for those generating quality, repeat customers.  This is only for the top affiliates of course, but the lock in isn’t just what you pay them; it’s how you work with them in social.

With the world going mobile, affiliate programs make sense in the social media that most use when they are mobile. Some smart AM’s jumped on Facebook Pages, which didn’t monetize for people, but with a good affiliate program and hopefully success at driving some traffic off of Facebook, they become affiliate partners.

Except these affiliates aren’t versed in marketing, they are all about communication. You don’t turn them into marketers, you give them the tools to do it with you easily, and you keep in touch. Done right, it’s tapping into revenue streams most affiliate programs are ignoring, because no one gets fired for chasing coupon and reward affiliates…yet.

We have to move affiliate programs beyond this reliance on coupons and reward affiliates. This won’t happen fast, but there’s a whole world happening outside of search, and much of the coupon space is a search game.

Now it’s as much a social game, as a search game, and affiliate programs are pivoting. The new affiliates take a different approach, and while the old affiliates aren’t going away, in 5 years this whole space is going to be mobile and social and connected. You can’t afford to run an affiliate program in the traditional way anymore.

Question 6: Why do you think affiliate managers should attend Affiliate Management Days?

Dunn:   Because you get to learn from and interact with speakers who deliver real information, data, and insights based on experience. You can often connect with them as well during the day, because the event is not so big that you get lost in the crowd.  Plus the people who attend are top-notch. I spoke a few years ago in San Francisco and met a future client I’d never have run into because the quality of AM Days drew him.  This is one of the few events I speak at because of how it’s delivered, the content, and the people who are sharing their insights are seriously good at what they do and must deliver value when they present.  AM Days is all about the quality of people and content. I always go away knowing more. I’ve been in this business for 20 years, so the opportunity to learn and implement what is offered here is rare and valuable.

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You do not want to miss Declan’s keynote speech on “Affiliate Gamification Driven by Attribution, Share Through, and Trust” at the upcoming Affiliate Management Days conference! Register today.

Today I am excited to welcome aboard our newest sponsor and exhibitor, LinkConnector affiliate network.

It is really more of a welcome back as they also sponsored AM Days both in 2013 and in 2014. As many of our other sponsors they are coming back for Affiliate Management Days 2015 as well, and we sincerely appreciate this loyalty!

Here is more about LinkConnector in their own words:

Founded in 2004, LinkConnector is a Performance Marketing Network whose unique online application helps merchants and their affiliates build strong, strategic partnerships to maximize online revenues. LinkConnector maintains extreme network quality by rigorously backing its zero-tolerance fraud policy. This network has introduced exclusive technologies to the market that give its merchants and affiliates a strong advantage. With its custom tracking solutions and proprietary technologies (such as the Product Feed Search API, Coupon Compliance and patented Naked Link Technology), LinkConnector is serving many large online retailers and many of the industry’s most influential affiliates.

LinkConnector is operating as the fastest growing Performance Marketing Network—especially among Internet Retailer Top 500 companies (LinkConnector is the Top 6 Vendor to IR 500 companies). LinkConnector is an Inc. 500|5000 company and a Top 4 Most Popular network. [source]

Once again, thank you for your ongoing support, LinkConnector!

Other AM Days 2015 sponsors/exhibitors include LeadsPedia, AM Navigator, eBay Enterprise Affiliate Network, and HasOffers by TUNE. We still have a couple of exhibit hall tables left. For open opportunities contact Paul Gillis.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With much excitement I bring you this new idea which is going to come into reality at the upcoming Affiliate Management Days 2015 in San Francisco.

Up until now every U.S. show of ours used lunches for Birds-of-a-Feather Discussion Groups whereby we’d get together to discuss specific topics over lunch. However, by popular demand to make connections with more of the power affiliates at the show, we’re going to be doing lunches very differently at AM Days 2015.

Enter Lunches with Super Affiliates!!

On March 31 – April 1, 2015 (at no extra cost to registered attendees) you will be able to dine with some of the world’s most coveted super affiliates! Below you may find logos (in alphabetical order) of the ones who have confirmed their participation (but new names are being added daily):

Deals Plus

Download by CNET

GoodShop

NetProfitsToday

Slimlinks

UpSellit

Verified Purchase

VigLink

We have hand-picked the participating affiliates, diversifying the selection as much as possible aiming to cover as many promotional methods as possible (reviews, loyalty, content monetization, retargeting and remarketing, deals/discounts, and beyond).

Register for Affiliate Management Days 2015 today to take advantage of this opportunity to find and meet some of the world’s top super affiliates – all in one place!

By popular demand, we have extended the Early Bird deadline by one week.

The new deadline is February 13; but Early Bird rates won’t be coming back after it. So… go ahead, take advantage of the opportunity and keep up to $500.00 in your pocket!

Keep in mind, also, that the upcoming Affiliate Management Days in San Francisco will be our only 2015 conference.

AM Days Early Bird Extended

Did you know that you can save up to $500.00 off your Affiliate Management Days 2015 registration?

But you gotta act fast. You want to register by the end of our Early Bird registration period which expires tomorrow (Friday, February 6).

Unlike last year, in 2015 our San Francisco conference is going to be the only AM Days show of the year [more here]. It is already shaping up to become our biggest and busiest show to date.

Don’t miss your chance to register at Early Bird rates before the discounted prices are gone!!

This is the Last Chance!

And do view the conference’s agenda (as well as testimonials of previous attendees) before you make your decision.

I hope to see you in San Francisco this spring! I know you’ll love it.

After sponsoring our 2014 show on Bronze level, eBay Enterprise Affiliate Network is going to be back with us in San Francisco in 2015 but now as a Gold level sponsor.

eBay Enterprise is a leading provider of commerce technologies, omnichannel operations and marketing solutions for the world’s premier retailers and brands. As mentioned above, it is their Affiliate Network division that we will see exhibiting at the upcoming Affiliate Management Days conference (on March 31 – April 1, 2015).

Here is a little more about them:

eBay Enterprise Affiliate Network (formerly PepperJam Exchange) is known throughout the affiliate marketing industry for their high-touch services combined with unmatched results. Leveraging exclusive distribution, innovative solutions and strategic thought leadership in performance marketing, we build solutions for advertisers that bridge affiliate marketing with online, offline, mobile and social attribution.

With the ability to support both US and international currency, eBay Enterprise Affiliate Network empowers advertisers to expand their global footprint for international success. [source]

Thank you for your ongoing support, eBay Enterprise!

Looking forward to their participation on our “The Affiliate Industry Evolution” keynote panel too.

See our remaining sponsorship opportunities on this page.

And if you’re planning to attend the show, remember that the Early Bird pricing expires in just a few days. Save up to $300.00 by registering by Friday, February 6.

Why wait until our Early Bird registration period ends? You can save up to $500.00 by registering for our only show in 2015 by February 6.

Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Quite a number of attendees have already taken advantage of this opportunity, and we are already en route to making the 2015 San Francisco show our biggest and busiest show ever.

The Early Bird pricing is going to be on for just one more week. Register before the Early Bird prices are gone on February 6, and I’ll be looking forward to shaking your hand at the show.

AM Days - Geno Prussakov

Whether it is because you have never come to Affiliate Management Days before, or because you are looking for help in pitching the idea of attending to your boss, I trust you will find the below testimonials of help. I have arranged them by the ten points they clearly illustrate. I have also decided to use testimonials of real attendees for you not to take my word for it, but see what others experienced first-hand.

So here are the ten reason why every online merchant/advertiser (with or without an affiliate program) should seriously consider attending the upcoming Affiliate Management Days 2015 in San Francisco:

1. Connect & Catch Up

“The Affiliate Management Days conference is a great chance for me to connect with other Affiliate managers in the industry while getting caught up on the latest trends. I found the speakers to be of high caliber and the sessions relevant to the many different swathes of affiliate programs out there.” — Ned Farra, Online Partnership Extraordinaire, Zappos

2. Get Inspired by Thought Leaders

“I found the AM Days conference to be well worth my time and a must attend conference in the future. I had the opportunity to network with smart people in the affiliate industry with varying points of view. The information presented during the conference sessions was relevant, informative and inspiring. Much of what I learned I was able to implement immediately. I look forward to attending the conference again next year.” — A’Lisa Tomatis, Sr Manager, Online Business Marketing, Symantec Corporation

3. Learn from Successes of Others

“The content of the sessions at Affiliate Management Days was far better than most shows I’ve attended – they provided a real, actionable value, and weren’t merely a plug for the speaker’s company..” — Sheena Jacobson, Affiliate Team Manager, OFFERweb

“AM Days is a fantastic conference for performance marketing professionals. The speakers offered detailed insights into optimizing current performance programs, but also gave impassioned talks and examples on how to grow the industry. Within 2 weeks the connections and learning’s have already “converted’ into new business. I look forward to attending again.” — David Burke, Head of Partnerships, iNC Network

4. Concentrate / Focus

“It was great to strictly focus on affiliate management topics and issues, without any distractions. The topics dealt with current industry opportunities, such as mobile, video and complex fraud detection, all taught by experts in those areas. Networking was outstanding!” — Jeannine Crooks, Account Manager, Affiliate Window

5. Get Fascinated (Again)

“Fascinating topics in affiliate industry.” — Ryota Kojima, Vice Group Manager, Rakuten Affiliate Network

6.  Awaken to Possibilities

“There were some techniques presented that I was already subconsciously aware of but might not have put into practice, yet. This conference helped shed light and awaken my senses to the endless possibilities for growing our Affiliate Program.” — Brian Schwartz, Affiliate Manager, LivePerson, Inc.

7. Perfect Your Strategy

“I attended AM Days and can’t rave about it enough. As I’m new to the affiliate world, the 12+ hours of concentrated learning has made all the difference in our development and strategy.” — Deborah A. Cincotta, Founder and CEO, Totefish

8. Invest (to Gain in Return)

“The information gained from this conference was well worth the investment to attend.”— Benjamin Louie, Advertising Executive, PlentyOfFish

9. Network with the Best of the Best

“Affiliate Management Days, is one of the most important and under-rated shows in the affiliate marketing industry. Every affiliate manager on the planet should be flocking to his show to learn, grow and network with the best of the best. The conference organizer goes above and beyond to make sure everyone has a high value experience” — Sarah Bundy, CEO, All Inclusive Marketing

10. Be a Part of One-of-a-Kind Conference

“There is really only one conference that provides top-notch strategies and information for Affiliate Management professionals, and that is AM Days. After going to the conference, I left with proven strategies, ideas, and tips to help my current and future affiliate programs. Really, I have never seen another event that leaves the participants with so much good knowledge.” — Taylor Barr,  Affiliate Manager, A Small Orange

Our upcoming show is set to take place on March 31 – April 1, 2015 in San Francisco. The agenda may be (re)viewed here. Will you be there or will you miss out on the opportunity to grow?

There is still time to register at Early Bird prices. Hurry as the Early Bird period ends on February 6, 2015.