January 17, 2019

ASW 2019: Performance Marketing Insights and Trends from Vegas

Chad Hazlett

2019 will be a ground-breaking year for the performance marketing space, and following Affiliate Summit West, the industry is primed and ready to tackle new challenges related to privacy regulation and explore new technology to reach the most ideal customers. This year’s event was located in Las Vegas, but we’re defying the city’s number one rule: What happened in Vegas, will not stay in Vegas.

The PartnerCentric team attended this month and are bringing back some key takeaways for our partners, customers and colleagues.

Diversification

  •       A majority of brands we spoke with emphasized the importance of diversification when it comes to their acquisition funnels. Brands are becoming more focused than ever on building strong connections with partners that offer multiple traffic sources. Instead of investing all your eggs in the proverbial basket, brands are realizing the value of a varied portfolio to maximize their reach among multiple audiences.  We’ve seen tremendous gains in the last year in our own diversification efforts, expanding the landscape of revenue generating partners with nontraditional partnerships making up nearly 40% of 2018 revenue across our portfolios.
  •       The desire to diversify has led affiliates to explore new services. Large publisher sites are hiring content creation companies to write posts and include affiliate links, whereas publishers were asking about client referral programs and publisher management services. Perhaps the most buzzed about service was the opportunity to implement programmatic advertising. More on that below.
  •       Diversification is certainly a reaction to the need for quality versus quantity when it comes to affiliate programs. Brands are trying to reach the right customers, rather than the most customers, and implementing services that can help lead to a high conversion rate.

Exploring Programmatic

  •       Programmatic advertising was the new and exciting opportunity that ASW attendees were eager to discuss. For clients that have affiliates, programmatic can help with their pay-per-click ads or address cart abandonment as a way to get in front of targeted audiences and to gain new customers.
  •       One publisher specifically shared how they garnered new readers via YouTube video ads. They are also adding tools such as a price history chart (like Honey does for Amazon) and text messages that notify customers when an item they've "saved" goes on sale.
  •       For those who are ready to explore new advertising units, programmatic campaigns empower marketers with trackable data and analytics that can be evaluated to adjust spend and maximize lead generation.

Privacy

  •       We saw many more international publishers as well as brands that are looking to make their way into the U.S. market. These attendees were highly concerned with issues surrounding GDPR regulations, its impact on E.U. businesses and how this affects U.S. brands that operate internationally.
  •       With data privacy top of mind for both brands and customers, VPNs are becoming more prevalent in the affiliate space. Some publishers were also very focused on getting their pixel added to merchants’ sites to retarget the merchant's existing customers.
  • Considering last year’s release of Apple’s ITP 2.0, our industry can expect more conversation and debate over customer tracking and new opportunities to prevent loss of revenue as a result of stricter privacy regulations.