As part of The Drum's recent Performance supplement, sponsored by Affiliate Window, a cross-section of agencies and affiliate networks discussed issues facing the industry. One of the questions concerned the role of technology, which has played a key part in the innovation of the industry. How will this continue?
What role does technology play in the future growth of the industry?
Dorothea von Wichert-Nick,
It plays a huge, if not pivotal role! For most businesses, performance marketing is still considered a craft and the technology is not providing the ability to scale you would usually expect from an online marketing tool. To master the art of performance marketing, a combination of data mining and automated optimisation technologies is required to create integrated, intelligent solutions for our market partners. That is the core of the industry’s future growth.
chief technology officer, 4Ps Marketing
Technology is key. Over the past decade, we’ve already seen the performance industry grow from something focused solely on looking at and processing server logs to a somewhat more complex offering. Advanced client-side tracking is now a possibility and an expectation, and for me, two of the key areas for growth are the Measurement Protocol and Universal Analytics. These extend the user journey and allow it to be tracked across multiple devices and offline touchpoints. Many people may feel this is an invasion of privacy, but Tesco has already been tracking user behaviour on and offline for years through its Clubcard.
With the right strategy, the Measurement Protocol will enable all brands to reach out and engage with their user base.
Dan Cohen, regional director, Tradedoubler
Consumers are demonstrating their ability to quickly take on board and navigate the myriad new technologies coming their way – creating new paths to purchase. 2012 finally saw m-commerce really come into play with tablets likely to be the big story in 2013. Performance marketers are often the first to develop and fully embrace new business models out of emerging technologies to ensure that their advertisers can keep ahead of their fast-changing consumers.
Alex Cornford, director of sales and client development, Rakuten LinkShare
Technology will always be the currency for brands to target their customers. For example, it is now possible to monetise display ads on a cost per acquisition basis through retargeting. Innovative publishers like Aurasma, Sales Cycle and Snap Fashion show that technology is at the core of the industry and publishers are increasingly using their own algorithms to push brand content to their audience. Based on insights into their audience, publishers are in a position to target shoppers with personalised and relevant content from brands.
sales director, Affiliate Traction UK
Technological developments have shaped the industry, and will continue to do so. The advent of multiple device access means that in order for the sector to keep apace with content access points, publishers need to offer consumers third party content anytime and anywhere.
We’re witnessing an explosion in numbers of affiliates, due to the availability of user-friendly website building software and customised CMS platforms. This represents growth in the ever important long-tail – hundreds of publishers generating low volume of sales per month, making sales through relevant content and editorial. Having a robust long-tail strategy will be crucial for exponential channel growth.
David J Brown,
co-founder and CEO, Ve Interactive
There is no growth without technology, simple. Real time information, segmentation, attribution and more targeted action will be the mainstay of the performance marketing industry. The topic of data and its usefulness has been around for a while, but the smart people have concluded that it is a backbone of our industry, essential for guiding effective campaign management and providing the ability for real-time reaction, too.
founder and CEO, 7thingsmedia
The role of the marketer is changing and becoming ever more technology orientated. The rise of collaborations between marketing, media and technology has been pivotal in the current success of the channel and will be the main driver in realising the digital potential. In the past four years the industry has grown 57 per cent in size, however, only 18 per cent of those within marketing feel they have the correct technology tools required – this presents the current dilemma of marketers, but also the vast opportunities.
Florian Gramshammer, country manager UK, Commission Junction
Technology is what drives our industry, and with better technology we will be able to gather better data and provide more targeted and effective performance marketing programmes. However, we must be cautious that we as an industry continue to educate marketers and consumers about the technology behind performance marketing to ensure that they are given the knowledge to make more informed decisions and allocate budgets appropriately, and consequently run more successful programmes.