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.
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.
Question: 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.
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.