The Drum spoke to a number of affiliate networks and agencies operating in performance marketing to determine their view on what’s happening across the space.
From the impact of mobile on affiliate tracking to the benefits and pitfalls of using voucher codes as part of an affiliate programme, here we present an overview of the challenges facing agencies and networks, the measurable advantages of using an affiliate programme and what we can expect from the market in the future.
In a series of articles, we’ll be looking at the industry response to the questions posed, giving an insight into this ever-evolving discipline.
In this article, we’re asking:
How will mobile affect performance marketing?
Chris Johnson, head of content, A4u
Much of the groundwork has already been laid to aid development of the mobile channel, yet there is a distinct lack of uptake by advertisers; which is the situation as it stands today. The publishers who are utilising the mobile channel are successful in their approach; however when it comes to expanding their mobile activity, the number of advertisers with no mobile website and no mobile affiliate tracking is far too common, ultimately limiting publisher development.
Many say it’s still a ‘chicken and egg’ situation; however due to the lack of mobile-ready advertisers, publishers may be forced to move onto alternate revenue models to the detriment of the performance channel unless a solution is found.
Liane Dietrich, managing director, LinkShare
Two ways mobile could affect performance marketing over the next year is through geo-targeting and real-time offers. In the months ahead marketers will be able to deploy location-based services, i.e. determining where a website visitor is currently based and delivering offers and content to that visitor based on their location. As high street and online shopping habits continue to evolve, location-based offers will have a key role to play in the future of commerce. With real-time offers marketers will be able to manage short-term deals lasting anything from a few hours to a day, and direct content to specific mobile phones.
Due to their knowledge and level of online experience, affiliates are generally ahead of the curve when it comes to new technology adoption and mobile is no exception. We are have seen a huge surge in the number of pure mobile affiliates, such as O2 Priority Moments and Voucher Cloud, which provide mobile vouchers and alert users to nearby retailers’ deals. Existing affiliates are also set to capitalise on mobile, with the likes of MyVoucherCodes and Vouchercodes.co.uk seeking to set their services apart from the competition by introducing mobile apps. It’s not just voucher services either; cashback giant Quidco has also introduced an app that allows consumers to get cashback in store at thousands of leading retailers.
Kevin Edwards, strategy director, Affiliate Window
Mobile has the possibility to transform performance marketing. If we accept that CPA is now the common currency in online, any emerging channel will automatically have an associated ROI attached to it. Couple this with many established affiliate businesses being perfectly set up to take advantage of mobile (voucher coding, consumer incentivisation) and affiliates and advertisers using affiliate marketing are two steps ahead of other online players.
An area that has driven performance marketing into the mainstream over the past few years is a seemingly insatiable consumer demand for offers and deals. This is now playing out on mobile with geo-targeting and the online to offline capabilities that mobile offer providing affiliates with the ability to develop a multi-channel approach.
Matt Bullas, managing director, Click Consult
We believe that we're going to see a lot of development in terms of SoLoMo advertising (social, local, mobile) and the business models connected with this form of advertising. It also seems clear that mobile is bridging the gap between consumer browsing and purchasing, both offline and online. This could really affect performance marketing depending on how consumers continue to develop in the use of their mobile devices. The part that mobile will play with consumer interaction will be very interesting to see, and it's sure to be a real challenge for businesses over the next three years.
The rollout of faster mobile network coverage should definitively have a positive effect in the long term; many people forget that typical home broadband speeds are nearly seven times faster than the average mobile connection, and that users have a much lower tolerance for sites that aren’t optimised for their mobile device.
Tina Judic, managing director, Found
After trumpeting its imminent arrival for the past few years, mobile is very much here now and is an exciting area for performance marketers to truly develop and exploit. The basics of the performance model and the opportunity for affiliates, especially, to build mobile sites which tap into the instantaneous and more targeted attributes that mobile presents are huge. However, a problem which isn’t just a performance marketing problem is the fact that consumers are using multiple devices to access the web now.
With the huge advancements made in technology allowing the web to be even more accessible, we’re now faced with an even more dispersed group of users – many of whom have computers at work, a mobile, a tablet, a home computer and a games console. Tracking from one device to the other will therefore be the most challenging issue for everyone looking to successfully migrate the performance model across mobile, especially if last click wins continues to take precedent. It will be interesting to see the developments in this area. Google and Facebook are in particularly powerful positions.
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