Ross Negus, Director of Enterprise Sales at Impact.com, tells us why he’s looking forward to this year’s PI Live, and what the hot affiliate marketing topics will prove to be.
PI Live Europe is just around the corner (24-25th October), and it's one of my favourite partner and performance marketing events in the calendar.
It offers a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues from across the sector and, as we head towards the conclusion of a slightly tumultuous 2023 to enjoy the panoramic views of the Thames and Tower Bridge, and (trying to) demonstrate some restraint at the event’s legendary prosecco lounge.
For me, PI Live also offers a great chance to step back and take stock as to where we are as an industry. For a number of reasons, I believe affiliate marketing - which is expected to grow by 63% in the next four years, to a global value of $27.78B - will play a prominent role in this year’s event, so let’s take a look at why this evergreen form of digital marketing remains more relevant than ever.
It’s tough out there
It’s no secret that the last few years have been tough on marketing budgets. As soon as we crawled free of the COVID-19 challenges, the cost of living crisis hit, and, rightly so, many consumers are being more careful than ever with their money.
Subsequently, marketing budgets have been cut, and there’s a general sense that businesses are more averse to risk and change than they have been previously. Money spent on marketing must prove its value, and there’s a constant drive for greater efficiencies and performance. Fortunately, this is where affiliate marketing comes into its own, and why it remains such a relevant form of marketing today.
Trust in technology
Affiliate marketing is at its most efficient when powered, and managed by, a partnership marketing platform. The technology that powers these relationships for brands automates the majority of the process, taking care of everything from affiliate onboarding to contracting, campaign optimisation and payments.
For marketing departments battling with reduced budgets, this offers a great opportunity to protect margins, and help drive efficiencies further than previously possible.
Partnership marketing platforms can also help to expand and scale a brand’s affiliate programme with minimum resource, while the performance nature of affiliate marketing means that brands only pay for the results they get.
Given marketing budgets have been hit across the board, we’re seeing a general theme of brands trying to do more with less. Affiliate marketing offers a great example of how this is possible, because it can impact a brand beyond simply driving sales.
The content affiliates produce can help with brand marketing activities, for example, and even support SEO efforts. There’s also the possibility of affiliate and influencer teams within a brand’s marketing team sharing content into social and driving efficiencies beyond the borders of their own department.
In this way, we are seeing affiliates help reduce the siloed mindset that causes inefficiency in many marketing departments across the world.
The same but different
I estimate there will be a lot of discussion surrounding the tension between the affiliate/influencer relationship at PI Live.
For a couple of years, there’s been an ongoing discussion around their similarities, and there’s no doubt these two forms of performance marketing converge in places. But, the reality is that fundamental differences mean that including both affiliates and influencers in a marketing mix brings the best results.
That’s because, while affiliates focus on driving revenue and product adoption, or conversion, influencers - and the way they engage with their audience - are best used to create content, to promote brand awareness and for penetrating new markets.
Google has - for some years now - been threatening to kill off the cookies used to track the vast majority of affiliate marketing campaigns. When Google finally does put the cookie out of its misery, marketers will need a new way to track campaign performance, and this is likely to be via API, which offers consumers a greater degree of privacy.
API integrations also offers marketers other benefits, because it provides a much more accurate way of attributing revenue back to the affiliate channel. In recent times, with tracking via cookie becoming less desirable, affiliate managers have been seeing fewer results attributed to their work, but tracking by API will change that.
See you there
So, as you can see, affiliate marketing still has many talking points in 2023 and beyond, and one I look forward to exploring at PI Live in a few days’ time. Do get in touch if you’d like to arrange a meeting, or just swing by the impact.com Prosecco Lounge. We’ll be delighted to see you.
Copyright 2023. Sponsored post made possible by Ross Negus, Director of Enterprise Sales at Impact.com.