In anticipation of his keynote presentation at Affiliate Management Days entitled eBay at 20: Lessons From the Journey, our very own Geno Prussakov interviewed John Toskey, Global Director of eBay Partner Network. View the Q-and-A below to learn more about John’s thoughts about affiliate marketing, in general, and the management of affiliate programs, in particular. Also, glimpse what’s in store for the AM Days 2016 conference.
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?
John: Understanding the real value of each partnership. There isn’t a right or wrong answer, but it depends on the value that you and your management want out of the channel. Is it around converting and closing the deal? More up funnel to gain share of voice and consideration? Your affiliate program can add value in many different ways and the decisions you make day to day should be supporting that vision.
Question: What was the most important marketing lesson that you learned in the course of 2015?
John: Helping my executive team understand how affiliate (or CPA in general) fits in with our broader internet marketing strategy. There are gaps in other channels around new customer acquisition and retention, and between upper funnel and lower funnel. Different types of affiliates help fill some of those gaps.
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?
John: Increasing conversion has to be on the top of the list. We can’t expect partners to send us more traffic if we don’t get better at converting it. That can take the form of landing page testing or ensuring that we do our best to keep continuity in the user experience from screen to screen.
Question: What do you believe to be the biggest challenge advertisers with affiliate programs face, and what steps could help them overcome it?
John: Probably cracking mobile. Between more time spent in apps and a proliferation of mobile ad networks, publishers don’t see easy ways to integrate with traditional affiliate programs. As long as a lot of money is being spent on CPM advertising on mobile devices, we’ll have a really tough time getting a share of the fastest growing source of traffic. Even creating SDKs or other app-centric integrations doesn’t mean that they will be adopted, and tracking network quality and fraud in these environments isn’t well-established.
Question: Please give us 1-3 reasons why marketers should attend your AM Days 2016 presentation.
John: As the world’s largest online marketplace, eBay has been through a lot over the past 20 years. Too often we repeat history and I think my session will present several case studies that other e-commerce companies can learn from to avoid making those same mistakes.
Question: If you were to leave online advertisers, merchants and affiliate managers with one piece of advice, what would it be?
John: Know your partners. Spend time with your partners. Find out what your partners want and need to promote you and organize your road map around it.