Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

People and performance are at the heart of successful affiliate marketing today

By Frederic Taillier, General Manager, Nordics, impact.com

Innovation is central to how Danish companies operate, but the complexities of affiliate marketing today mean the traditional approaches inhibit rather than facilitate growth. So, as the old models give way to new solutions, they are increasingly adopting digital technologies to help them compete in today’s environment. And, as well as allowing them to realise their potential within the local market, these technologies provide opportunities to expand outside their borders, to Scandinavia and beyond, helping them broaden their ambitions and build global businesses.

While the old affiliate approach has served businesses well, it has two fundamental problems – monitoring and reporting. Traditional networks are failing to reflect the explosion of new channels – be that social media influencers, content creators or in-app ­– and struggle to monitor and manage effectively the wealth of channels now available. They also lack the sophistication required to track, report, and analyse performance across multiple channels and affiliates, which is critical for recognising and rewarding the value each delivers.

Technology is vital, and new affiliate marketing platforms enable companies to move beyond the industry’s current capabilities by offering automated solutions to support the shifts happening in advertising and consumer attitudes. 

Adopting a people-centric approach

At a time of a crisis in advertising, with growing consumer concerns around mistrust and privacy, modern affiliate marketing allows brands to tap into new trustworthy, authentic, and reliable voices that speak to engaged audiences.

Today’s buying decisions are being influenced by emerging factors such as the rise of consumer activism, which is orientating buyers towards brands whose values reflect their own. As consumers seek out companies they can relate to, partnerships play a vital role in helping brands achieve this. 

And changing attitudes is also reflected in changing shopping habits. Social media platforms are now evolving into ecommerce sites, with Alter Agent’s Shopper Influence Research programme reporting that 77% of millennials and Gen Z now shop on social platforms. All these developments are creating opportunities for modern affiliate marketing to thrive.

It’s all about the numbers

But, as advertising evolves to embrace a more humanised approach and tap into emotional connections, one thing remains constant – numbers and data are critical. Marketers want certainty around how effective their affiliate programmes are in driving growth. And, with more partnerships, more data, more complexity, it’s essential performance and outcomes are measured.

While it’s all well and good having an affiliate network you can scale quickly, if you can’t track your affiliates and channels, it has little value. Accurate, qualitative, actionable information is essential for better insights, decisions, forecasting, optimisation, performance, and results. And only by utilising technology can Danish companies understand and apply the vast volume of data generated by today’s affiliate channels to build better businesses.

Our successful partnership with Ellos, the Nordic fashion and lifestyle company, is a great example of this. It’s built on giving them the ability to grow their business by making sense of their affiliate data, acting on it and then measuring the value of their activities.

The technology allows them to make the most of their data by managing multiple channels, gaining insights into buyer behaviours and customer journeys, and understanding how each channel interacts and influences the others. Ellos is using this to refine their partnership channels, understand the value each contributes and attribute success to the right affiliates. As a result, they’re experiencing record revenues from their affiliate channels and uncovering opportunities to develop their programme further by engaging new partnerships.

Insights mean transparency

These insights also deliver the transparency marketers crave in an advertising environment plagued by opaqueness and black box technologies. It’s now possible to manage hundreds of partners, measure, analyse and compare them, understand the returns from each affiliate, pay out on performance and track progress towards a company’s KPIs. Ultimately, the long-term health of modern affiliate marketing programmes depends on transparency between the organisation and its partners – and today’s technology ensures this. 

And it’s because modern affiliate programmes produce strong ROI (for some companies, it’s a more significant growth driver than paid search) that we’re seeing a growing number of Danish brands shift marketing spend into this channel. Investing in affiliate marketing technologies allows them to manage complexity, align their marketing to changing consumer behaviours, and automate practices across their entire partnership process. But its access to the granular data and insight that’s really elevating their partnership marketing programmes and proving the business value they are delivering.

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