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Every business sector has its own key and unmissable trade fairs and exhibitions. Affiliate Summit Europe 2018 is one of these. An essential event to attend for professionals in performance advertising and digital marketing in the broad sense, with its blend of networking, keynote speeches, training sessions and best practice knowledge sharing. It’s for this reason that our entire team attended in London this past February 6 and 7. Amongst the various trends we’ll be seeing developing over the course of 2018 are influencer marketing and strategic affiliation.

The Affiliate Summit Europe conference and trade show

The Affiliate Summit was initially founded in 2003 by Shawn Collins and Missy Ward. Since then, it has grown considerably over the years. To date it has expanded into various international events that take place on a regular basis in both North America and Europe. The Affiliate Summite London had a turnout of more than 1,600 visitors and 800 affiliates, all of which who came to share their knowledge, develop their expertise and find out more about digital trends to come.

Kwanko was represented by our UK team led by Alvaro Sanchez, Managing Director and specialist in advertiser-side performance marketing, and by Zaza Zakaraia, Affiliate Account Manager and expert in publisher-side marketing. The event provided an opportunity to promote and highlight the solutions we offer in terms of increasing sales, generating more traffic, workable lead generation, optimising conversions, and developing an influencer marketing based approach for our clients.

Influencer marketing: a craze that delivers what it promises

Influencer marketing serves as a major form of leverage in the world of digital marketing. A real game changer, it is now in the process of becoming firmly established alongside more traditional methods of online advertising. A growing number of brands have begun using it in earnest and others are currently experimenting with it in small doses, though almost all are interested in it.

Influencers can choose to incorporate an acquisition strategy into their approach. But working with them requires experience, practical knowledge and the support of a properly trained team.

Performance marketing: what’s the best way to work with influencers?

The first thing to do is make sure you understand how influencers are organised. Content, editorial, tone, the volume and audience you are looking to target, expert knowledge of the subject matter… before knowing how to work with influencers, you first need to know and understand what motivates them. This is work that takes place over a long term basis that is built on trust. For majority of micro-influencers, performance marketing is one of the most effective tools available.

The second stage consists of properly and effectively communicating with the influencers. According to the Vuelio UK Bloggers Survey 2017, more than a third of influencers are contacted up to seven times per week on average. However, very few of these contacts result in value-added content on the influencers’ blogs, channels or social media accounts. Hence the importance of making targeted choices and carefully choosing wording to avoid drowning influencers in technical jargon they won’t necessarily be able to master. To communicate effectively with influencers, you need to build a natural human-like relationship and take the time to really get to know their brand and their audience. This is win-win strategy and push pull. You help them, they help you.

And lastly, taking an economical approach is an extremely important factor: the traditional model based on CPA and funded via conversion at the final click does not work with influencers. The scope needs to be increased to enable more effective tracking, established on the basis of community engagement. To achieve this, each advertiser must know and understand what the KPIs and most impactful metrics for their brand are and build their relationship with their influencers around these more open and less restrictive factors.

Both a catalyst for creative energy and a high-value place to meet and share good practices, the Affiliate Summit Europe conference and trade show enabled us to confirm the relevance of our acquisition solutions to performance and to broaden our teams’ expertise on highly specific and targeted issues. It also provided a way for us to make ourselves directly known to advertisers and publishers in order to share our experience and know-how.

Launched by Amazon in 1996, affiliate marketing has rediscovered the path of growth since 2016 after a small loss of speed recorded in 2014. Boosted by the growth of M-commerce and online sales, now better tracked, affiliate marketing points to perennial growth.

Affiliate marketing is starting up again

After a year of weak performance in 2014, affiliate marketing has regained strength! Yet the trend over the last few years seemed to reflect a loss of interest. Although affiliate marketing had seen a constant increase between 2011 and 2013, the year 2014 was marked by a decline of 5%.

Thus, investments in affiliate marketing in France increased slightly in 2015 from 208 to 210 million euros. An upturn which is confirmed by a new increase of 8% observed in the first half of 2016.

The rough patch observed in recent years can be explained by the democratization of mobile use.  This trend is disadvantageous to advertisers who use affiliate marketing. Mobile advertising formats have long been neglected in favour of messages optimized for desktop, while at the same time, browsing time on smartphones and tablets has strongly increased.

As a consequence of these new modes of consumption, Internet users juggle between several devices. For example, they read their e-mails on the mobile when they wake up, find out about their favourite sites from a computer during the day and consult social networks on the tablet in the evening. The relevance of the campaigns disseminated mostly on a desktop is thus in question.

Cross-device tracking to the rescue of affiliate marketing

With these new habits, advertisers are faced with another problem: how to track users from one device to another throughout a single affiliate marketing campaign? Kwanko responds to this demand by implementing cross-device tracking that evaluates the weight of each medium along the purchase path.

Advertisers now have reliable and specific data concerning their campaigns. They know at what time of day the conversions are the most numerous or what is the average basket of the Internet user. They also know the customer’s entire path, media by media.

Result:  campaigns can be optimized in terms of cost, message and targeting, which gives a much better ROI from one operation to another. Another advantage is that the conversion funnel is gaining visibility and the advertiser is able to pay the publishers more fairly based on its actual contribution in the purchase process.

ROI at the heart of affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a means of promotion that is not only effective and relevant but also oriented towards optimizing the ROI. And with good reason, the advantage of affiliate marketing resides in its founding principle “You don’t pay money until you get money”, otherwise said, you only pay for results. The remuneration of the affiliate is only made after the conversion: your ROI is therefore guaranteed and protected by this principle.

This pattern also applies when we do not achieve online sales. For example, you can collect leads regardless of your field of activity. The mechanics remain the same: you pay your affiliates only when a prospective client validates a request for a quotation or downloads a brochure after filling in a form.

Thanks to reasonable budgets, affiliate marketing makes it possible to reach many Internet users, easily and very quickly. As a result, your products are offered to thousands, even tens of thousands of prospects without you spending a penny!

As opposed to traditional advertising campaigns, which are often expensive and whose impact is still difficult to measure today, you get free access through your affiliates to the web to boost your sales.

Check these 5 Best practices to Develop an Effective International Affiliate Marketing Program.

Online purchases no longer have any barriers. Today, it is very easy to purchase a product in China, to order a piece of software in the United States, or a book in the United Kingdom. What is true for consumers is also the case for brands and advertisers. Once a good understanding of the local market has been acquired, the logical step is then international expansion.

Yet, to increase effectiveness as part of your development plan, have an impact more quickly on the correct people, a good affiliate marketing program is essential. However, if this decision is rational and logical, it is important to prepare it well.

Making your affiliate marketing program international is like going on holiday abroad. You must know the basics of the language, the culture, be aware of the health risks and places to avoid, to really enjoy your trip. And with our advice and good practices, no need for repatriation insurance!

1 – Work on the Relevance of Your Product

You know your product, you have all the right pitches and good publishers in your country, but are you certain that this works in the same way elsewhere? Do you know your competitors in the country you are targeting? Good knowledge of the habits, customs and local market trends is vital to ensure your product is relevant elsewhere in the world.

To do this, background work is required to establish a suitable action plan: identifying the strengths that are there, analysis of the competition, sociodemographic data research… The aim is to produce a business plan which will enable you to see things more clearly at the time you launch.

2 – Find Trusted Representatives in the Target Country

If you cannot or do not want to do everything yourself, introduce yourself to agencies or companies which do this as their job. You will save time and dedicate your budget and your energy to collaborating and working in tandem. Rather than dabbling by yourself. By choosing an affiliate marketing platform that has a global network with real experience internationally from the very beginning, it will be a lot easier to make the transition to new countries.

Now, you must take your time to choose your partner well. Compare offers, make on-site trips, meet people and do not rely on a website or a too salesy business pitch. To avoid bad surprises, choose a partner with an affiliate marketing program which has already developed campaigns in several countries with good global coverage. One which has networks of international and local companies that understand all the aspect of their markets. Experience and quality will always be paramount when it is about launching outside of your natural environment.

3 – Anticipate Monetary Fluctuations

Exchange rates can be very different from one month to the next, and from country to another. Publishers expect to be paid in their local currency. If your product is sold in another currency, be sufficiently flexible, and find good partners to juggle between several currencies with you.

Also ensure that your financial and accounting organisation is a stakeholder in your expansion plan, just like key players in sales and logistics. If you take too long, or if your sending costs are prohibitive when shipping a product abroad, you risk disappointing people. Your whole organisation must be singing from the same hymn sheet.

4 – Minimise the Language Barrier

Understanding English will be vital for you to become international, including for finding representatives or partner agencies. If this is not your strong point, surround yourself with a team with experience or knowledge of going international.
Most of the time, English will be enough, but you may need to also do it in another language. A disagreement or a problem with understanding could have an impact at the time of signing your contract!

5 – Adapt your Approach with Affiliate Marketing Program

If your brand does not have the power or recognition of Google, Apple or McDonald’s, you must take the time to adapt your approach to your new market. From sales pitches, seasonality, sales experience, expectations, product visuals, slogans, wording… all your preparatory work needs to be ready before launching.

The promotional material that you supply for your affiliate marketing program must also be suitable. Banners, emails, the style and template of your design, graphic charter, etc. Adapting communication media is a very important step to ensure increased conversion rates. Nobody is expecting you on-site. It is down to you to draw out your path with suitable tools for your affiliate marketing program.

Finally, be clear with your economic model. It is important to adapt your remuneration models well, to attract new affiliates. What you practise in your domestic market is perhaps very different from the remuneration practices abroad. Researching, adapting, then proposing attractive models for all parties is a gauge of trust and quality. To begin your international diversification well.

Developing an international affiliate marketing programme can take time, like the reflection, research and work which goes with it must allow you to prepare the field well. This time-lapse can, however, be considerably reduced, by relying on an experienced partner who understands these problems – it is what they do. If your clients put trust in you as an expert in your sector, it is down to you to put trust in an international affiliate marketing program.

Affiliate marketing is a real team effort.

It’s a partnership that involves three different parties:

For this trio to work well, a strong sense of trust needs to be in place between the various parties and it is paramount to find high-level publishers that can commit to the process with full transparency.

The more a publisher produces high-quality work on their website, the higher their visibility with increased visits, and increased interest in their image from brands. Not only is it necessary to find a real gem, but they also need to agree to the affiliate marketing program. Thanks to our tips and best practice, you will soon be ready to entice them with an attractive affiliate marketing program.

Offer your Publishers Winning Conditions in Affiliate Marketing

Beyond the image, trust, and interest a publisher has in your brand, retribution is always at the heart of the situation. The best way of finding publishers and gaining their loyalty is long-term engagement with products sold at an attractive price point, substantial commissions and a quick payment system. These three key elements are the foundations of your partnership and the three must work hand in hand. The higher the price, the larger your return on investment potential, and the more publishers can work to promote the brand.

Additionally, regular payments are necessary to build a relationship of trust. You wouldn’t like earning your first paycheck six months late, would you? Publishers wouldn’t, either.

Finally, offer simple tools with minimum administrative red tape. Your strategy will be more effective if the various steps are easy to implement.

A publisher can be paid in different ways, and one same system may not be a good fit for everyone. It is up to you to adapt your business model to your publishers in affiliate marketing:

Your business model will be able to adapt to brand and publishers needs and priorities. Maximum flexibility for optimal success.

Provide your publishers with the right tools

Affiliate marketing is about creating partnerships that work. To do so, you need to provide your publishers with useful tools that will help boost sales and communication. These are:

Once your publishers have the right toolbox, they will be able to work in a more productive way in affiliate marketing.

Share the right data

To be productive, a publisher needs benchmarks.

A dashboard with precise analytics is a minimum to shed light on the project. When your publishers have access to precise data, they can optimize their workload to maximize conversions.

Win your best publishers over for an effective Affiliate Marketing

Just like a sales team, publishers are important growth drivers for your brand. When they do great work, they should be rewarded. It’s a little extra that doesn’t cost much but can strongly increase employee motivation.

You can create a premium club with your best publishers, give them bonuses, gifts, financial benefits or benefits in kind such as gift cards, trips, training…

You can also boost your affiliate marketing network by highlighting specific publishers, who will appreciate seeing their editorial work rewarded and earn additional readers. You can integrate sales challenges with prizes or specific events to meet with influencers or major advertisers. This is a useful means of developing a professional network.

Regarding publishers as true partners will increase their involvement and motivation in your project.

Provide a dedicated support department

Your publishers should be able to reach you easily whenever they have a question. Comparable to customer service for questions or claims, you also need a support department for publishers that deal with technical, sales, or financial issues.

Whether on the phone, via email or a dedicated Facebook group, internal support needs to be as effective as external support.

Attracting the best publishers is like recruiting a football team: the best players will be interested in compensation, benefits, as well as the team’s prestige, fan support and impact on their personal image.

Building a trusting relationship with your publishers is a priority in guaranteeing that your online sales moves will last. Now’s the time to get your team together! And we can help you with it. 😉