By James Bennie, Customer Success Director, Impact EMEA
Nothing has gone as planned in 2020, and silver linings have realistically been hard to find. But when reality bites, innovation often tends to result. In the partnership marketing space, major shifts in media and consumption have accelerated changes that were already taking place, pushing platforms to do more, process faster and evolve into new areas. This grim year is not over yet, but so far in 2020 we can take account of three major trends in partnerships.
1 . More and faster insights, tailored to users
To provide the best insights, it is essential that partnership platforms gather enough data, and they must be structured with that aim in mind. This year, on our own platform, we have logged a 378% increase in the number of clicks we have tracked. We had already realised that response time needed to be improved, and in the past year data we have cut that time down by 51%. That means we have processed more than three times the data while reporting in half the time. Essentially, you are getting your data much faster, and far more of it.
A new feature this year has been our data charts, which allow clients to view their data sets however they wish. For example, they might want to single out the top revenue generators among their leading coupon partners, or filter by specific period – say, Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The aim of it all is to make data as digestible as possible.
2. User experience in the mobile-first age
Mobile never ceases to boom, and a crucial part of the partner experience is the need to remain adaptable to mobile usage increase. This year, Impact has seen a 30% growth in mobile logins, and the nature of content creation is evolving, with more content partners are increasingly using their mobile phones to create and share. We all need to align with this shift and ensure that the technology aligns with partner habits.
End consumers are also spending more time on mobile – three hours a day on average – which means brands need to be capable of handling anything, and unfortunately there are various common glitches.
To single out one of them, if a user links to a product on a mobile device to go straight to the product web page – known as a deep link – they often need to download a brand app, and this can create friction and loss of customer interest. Impact’s new ‘deferred deep-link’ feature addresses this directly, helping to create a seamless shopping experience and provides less payment friction.
There are also various other trends that relate to mobile. For security, measures such as text verifications are becoming more important. Meanwhile, we all need a real way to find and share products. Impact has continued to focus on improving ways to search its marketplace, while partners can easily now use a ‘share link’ feature, which makes their overall experience smoother.
3. Diversity is the spice of life
The most successful partnerships programmes are those with a strong, diverse partner base – the more partner types, the better. But a diverse offering brings a challenge in matching programmes with the right partners.
Platforms need an interface that showcases both partner and non-partner listings, and provides prominent exposure to influencers and publishers. Impact has developed ‘partner recommendations’ which uses sophisticated AI algorithms to provide unique recommendations for your programme, analysing millions of data points within the partnership system.
Best-in-class tech is required if programmes are to manage their influencer partnerships, and on our part we have also acquired ACTIVATE, the world’s largest opt-in network of qualified and vetted creators – 175K and counting.
We already have a clear sense of how the partnership space will continue to evolve from here. The journey toward improved mobile friendliness will happen in phases, progressively prioritising sign-ups, partner search and finally management of partnerships. Increasingly, we are recommending partners by vertical, and we are working to make ACTIVATE’s influencers available in Impact’s marketplace for brands.
What we have seen during 2020 is that partnerships are a flexible, versatile channel for good times and bad. As of now, we see a fast-maturing, sophisticated space, and we fully expect that evolution to maintain its current trajectory in a changing, demanding world.