In this session, join Partnerize’s VP of Product, Mary Anzalone, as she highlights the potential of and vision for affiliate – both present and future – while also providing a bridge to challenges and solutions supported by Partnerize technology.
Channel Vision: A Better Way to Partner
Hi, welcome to the next session of global partnership day where we'll be covering channel vision a better way to partner.
Hello everyone. Thanks Thank you so much for joining my session. My name is Mary Anzalone and I'm the VP of Product for Partnerize. Before I run down the agenda, I want to provide you with some color on why this session is so important for marketers to be in the know about.
In 2021, So many of us truly comprehend the power of the channel. We understand how partnerships are shaping the now and the future of ecommerce. And at the same time we're grateful for the existence of the software and technology that enable us to optimize and grow the channel.
But it wasn't always this way. In fact, in many instances or with many more antiquated platforms and providers, it still isn't this way. The truth is that in an era where there is a great emphasis on getting that conversion click to happen as fast as possible.
There's a lot left to be desired. Specifically, we're being able to find recruits and nurture the right partnerships that will bring you profitable growth is concerned.
It's my opinion that for the channel to advance and for every executive marketer to view the channel as imperative. The software simply must be designed for marketers needs both short term and long term.
So without any further ado, let's dive into today's agenda where we'll cover some key channel topics while juxtaposing the old way of doing things, the new way and what we see as the future of partnership or where we're headed from a technology and software perspective.
When you consider the vision for the channel for the future, it requires a fundamental understanding of the industry of the channel and where we are today. Affiliate started out nearly 20 years ago with affiliate networks at the helm while they serve the needs of marketers at the time, there were inherent flaws structurally that created obstacles to present data for marketers here we have a quick comparative view to set the stage and give a quick history lesson on the ways of affiliate marketing is past versus the present day model and how it's evolved.
Legacy affiliate solutions limited partner distribution to the confines of its network, meaning supply was limited to the partnerships it had available with Partnerize.
We enable our brands to diversify their partner mix by tapping into existing partners, but also beyond our partners, meaning they can recruit and invite anyone to join their program from a limitless ecosystem.
While pricing models in the past were simply a percentage of transaction or commission spend Partnerize does not limit brands because we know they favor flexibility based on how their partnership budgets are set in the past.
Transparency was almost non-existent. Brands couldn't invite partners to programs. They had to wait for the partners to apply. Additionally, there was no information about them.
Specifically, there were no optics into their reach audience, demographic social footprint or their contact information with partner eyes. We provide full transparency into who the partners are to ensure that brands can find the right fit partners.
Last click is still the norm, but at one time it was the only choice brands need the ability to ensure their affiliate program aligns to their overall attribution model, but they also need in-platform spend allocation tools to dynamically attribute spend to that model.
With Partnerize, we make the attribution of spend seamless and based on the value and role of partnership plays in the consumer journey service as we described was either an in-house affiliate manager or a boutique OPM but we're in a position to help brands cultivate their expertise and experience in channel with the categories only in-housing service option offering a range of services that meet marketers needs with affiliate last click intent based partners were the norm and dominated the industry especially after the great recession, but we embrace our partner types because a diversified partner mix is the key to ensuring omnipresence across the consumer journey.
Each partner plays a role and has a place in this journey from influencers to savings and loyalty destinations. Partnership has for too long been manual.
Legacy networks failed to automate manual workflows, creating inefficiencies that exacerbated marketers hesitancy to the channel. Too many resources, specifically time, was needed to ensure they got it just right.
Today with Partnerize, we automate the manual tedious tasks like in partner discovery and optimization identification to ensure marketers spend time on what matters most.
Finally, it's not lost on us that the affiliate space had a Wild West reputation that wasn't policed. And if it was through a multi-vendor solution today, we help winning brands by giving them the peace of mind that their partnerships are monitored but always on compliance, creating a clean well-lit space and ensuring brand safety.
We're going to dive into a few key areas to shed light on our predictions for the future and how we see this channel continuing, continually evolving for the better. These are areas include partner discovery tech, stack, attribution and automation.
The first area we will discuss is relative to partner discovery. This is one of the fundamental areas of affiliate and partnership management. As the establishment of relationships is the basis for marketers, affiliate or partner program.
From a historical perspective, if we consider how relationships were established, they were largely one-way. Legacy affiliate network providers created a one-way exchange in which only a partner could apply to a brand's affiliate program.
Marketers cannot invite prospective publishers nor could they establish relationships with partners beyond the supply-side, database of partners that the network had established, creating very limited opportunities for marketers to facilitate connections with publishers that align with their cost, customer audience.
This supply-side limitation was one of the reasons that marketers were limited from diversifying their partner base. In addition to the employment of last click models, which inherently forced marketers to operate their partner base by the 80-20 rule, with 20% of their publishers generating over 80% of program revenues.
The process was manual, with no automation to improve the relevancy or quality of publisher-to-brand connections. Nor were there prompts for sequential workflows to guide the marketer or publisher through the process.
Fast forward to the mid 2000 tens, where progressive affiliate and partnership providers have optimized the partner discovery process to create more opportunities for all parties.
Specifically, relationships between partners and brands can be initiated in a two-way exchange with brands inviting relevant right-fit partners and also partners applying for entry to a brand's program.
The ecosystem of partner types has largely expanded as well with selected providers eradicating supply side limitations and providing opportunities to engage with a limitless and diverse ecosystem of partner types.
The affiliate channel is a monetization source for partners that should not be limited to those that have already established accounts with networks. Finally, the process of identifying and establishing relationships has improved with advancements in automation.
Now, brands have robust partner profile views that showcase not only partner type and contact information, but deeper insights on audience, demographic social footprint, web traffic and more.
The augmentation of partner profiles enables ai to serve recommendations to brands about prospective partners that have looked like audiences to their own, hoping to save marketers time and discovering new relationships.
Additionally, with the simple advancement of robust filtering and search logic for partner discovery brands are in control of refining searches and targeting right-fit partners.
But these advancements are just the beginning at Partnerize. Our vision for the future of partner discovery is one where big data is leveraged to improve the experience even further for brands and partners alike.
For brands, partner relevancy can be further improved with deeper views and insights about prospective partnerships with the wealth of data available. This information can be utilized to help educate brands about prospective partners and their potential and propensity to drive conversions that offer long-term value to their organizations.
Additionally, the data can offer competitive intelligence to help marketers compete on a partner level with their competitors. That means the days of manually generating a gap analysis are gone.
These will be available in the platform. Lastly, partner relevancy is critical. The way in which a marketer partners will determine the outcomes having the ability to identify prospective partners based on a marketer's own goals and KPIs will help a marketer forecast the partner's ability to yield outcomes beyond conversion like profitability and lifetime value.
With these partner recommendations readily available in-platform will save marketers countless hours and time spent building assumptions or operating from gut.
The next area worth exploring is regarding technology in the affiliate and partnership channel this area contemplates the inputs that go into the tech stack and the output available from historical perspective, affiliate marketing didn't have tech-stack was the affiliate network alone.
With no ability to leverage or integrate additional toolsets or systems with affiliate networks largely operating from a cookie-based tracking methodology, it created limitations for marketers down the line.
Even before the advent of IOS and I. D. F. A. updates. Marketers were hamstrung by this struggling to introduce new logic and cookie-based pixels as they started to embrace attribution technologies across other digital channels.
Further from a measurement perspective, affiliate channel data was limited to the confines of legacy providers, creating gaps for affiliate managers with channel data unable to be viewed in organizations reporting source of truth.
It created questions around the value and incrementality of the channel relative to the overall mix. Affiliate managers were left with Excel spreadsheets at best to try to utilize to prove the value and impact of the channel for the organization.
As a result, there was simply ineffective measurement, calling into question the incrementality of the channel and also creating gaps for marketers to understand how to optimize within the channel.
These limitations were in part due to protectionist behavior by legacy networks. We didn't want to reveal the truth from a measurement perspective, which was that the channel was largely dominated by last-click-oriented publishers, creating further questions about the value of the channel and its ability to offer scale beyond this partner type.
Fast forward to the present day affiliate marketing has evolved thanks to innovative providers that have avoided protectionist-like behavior of legacy affiliate networks.
Modern-day providers offer an array of tracking solutions to meet the needs of marketers and also to ensure persistent channel tracking. In the wake of browser limitations, container tags and server-to-server functionality offer advanced and comprehensive tracking solutions.
However, for marketers that aren't quite as sophisticated or don't have the development resources, certain channel providers have eliminated the integration work on behalf of marketers by establishing direct connections with marketers preferred vendors of choice from e-commerce providers to attribution and measurement providers, integrating and activating an affiliate or partnership program has become truly turnkey with little need for extensive development resources.
Open integrated tech stacks not only save time for marketers, but they enable greater channel transparency and accountability offering marketers the ability to easily measure and compare channel performance relative to its digital counterparts.
Our APIfirst approach and network of integrated technology solutions that you easily integrate partner rise into your existing tech stack. These turnkey partnerships let you maximize benefits of the partner channel.
Our prediction is that the future state of our channel will be truly integrated, giving marketers the ability to easily plug their partner program into their existing tech stack with a few clicks and virtually self-serve capacity.
By effectively eliminating the need for development resources. Marketers will be able to quickly activate the channel and integrate it with other digital components, creating a more holistic and harmonious approach.
Further with these integrations and the wealth of data available from other tools and systems. To augment channel data insights can be easily derived to inform marketers on performance drivers, eliminating the guesswork for them.
Servicing insights about partner performance at a program level will be the first step to educate marketers. Beyond that we see the opportunity to take it a step further to offer recommendations for partner or program optimization that align to marketers goals and KPIs providing information and recommendations sequentially through workflows helps to overcome educational gaps for marketers and eliminate time and efficiencies.
As mentioned earlier, the affiliate channel employed the use of cookie-based tracking that utilized a last click model. While there was favor in the sense that it was still a performance-based channel and therefore little risk to marketers.
The employment of last click created a situation where the dominant partner types in channel where coupon and cashback partners. It was only with these partner types where scale could be achieved.
Meaning, a marketer knew that it could yield the conversion volume necessary. The downside was little partner diversity and an alienation of partner types. They tended to live in the upper final or discover-oriented stages of a consumer journey.
While many marketers long to unlock the value of content and influencers who tended to live in these touch points in the buyer journey. The last click model and affiliate limited their ability to be rewarded and compensated for their role in that journey beyond attribution at a partner level.
Marketers are relegated to utilizing commissioning tactics that only contemplated revenue volume at a program or partner level, commonly referred to as tiered structures.
But for some marketers, revenue volume alone isn't the sole objective and there are more sophisticated objectives that require tactical level execution to support them.
The present environment has advanced in a way that enables marketers to attribute value across the consumer journey, compensating partners for their value and contribution regardless if it was last like position or otherwise.
The advent and introduction of these reward methodologies has enabled other partner types to achieve scale in this channel. In 2020 Partnerize I saw 75% year-over-year revenue growth from content partners believed in part to be the result of these partners being appropriately compensated in the affiliate channel.
Additionally, value-based reward structures now contemplate conversion attributes beyond revenue. They consider elements such as basket size device type, skew composition and more.
The future of this channel continues to offer robust and flexible solutions for partner compensation and attribution. Specifically our vision is that machine learning, willpower, automated recommendations and insights for optimizing partner spend based on their position in the consumer journey and the value they provide to a brand, eliminating this guesswork relative to spend will aid in forecasting and more predictive performance views.
Taking it a step further, the future enables us to action on these insights with ai driven optimizations that auto-optimize eliminating the time investment for a marketer.
The last area for discussion with regard to workflows where the steps required by marketers to fully manage and optimize the affiliate channel. Historically, marketers had to rely on a series of manual steps and exchanges between systems.
Having an affiliate network wasn't enough. Marketers also had to turn to Google for publisher recruitment or rely on their own email or communication tools to engage partners and employ separate monitoring solutions to ensure partners were abiding by program terms and conditions in a fractured environment.
It required marketers to leave the platform and perform tasks in other systems or tools, creating a multi-step, inefficient process. It is this manual nature that likely created the perception that affiliate was too difficult and time intensive to invest.
After all, with a significant time investment and limited opportunity for scale beyond last-click it didn't result in seemingly meaningful impact for a marketer.
However, present-day offers new better solutions for partnership and affiliate specifically, innovation has enabled providers to offer a comprehensive one stop solution rather than relying on a multitude of platforms and tools for program management, empowering the marketers to perform all the tasks in one destination eliminates friction and time requirements historically imposed on marketers.
Additionally, it has given way for a sequential guided workflow that assists the marketer and understanding what to do next. When you consider software like partner rise, we've organized all facets of program management to a life cycle to simplify the process and eliminate complexity.
Marketers now have the ability to discover track, manage, measure, pay and protect in a single destination the future for partnership and affiliate is one that embraces more automation.
That means surfacing ai powered insights to continually educate marketers on what the data means and why With this data-driven guidance, intuitive and predictive workflows can inform a marketer on how to best optimize their program or even further.
It can mean optimizations can easily happen the click of a button rather than relying on a marketer to recognize and implement changes in platform and it's not all automation for the marketer partners to can realize benefits of automation with dynamic ad serving that utilizes machine learning to optimize inventory and serve ads that are likely to engage and convert key audience segments with advances in automation.
It doesn't eliminate the need for human intervention. It simply enables marketers and publishers will like to employ more sophistication and affiliate and partner program optimization.
Save time and achieve better results. The future offers both sides a better way to partner. I know we covered a lot today.
So I encourage you to use the QR code on the next slide to download a deep dive into how the channels old ways commanded our new ways so you better understand our vision to make partnership automation software that is valuable to marketers and can truly help them drive profitable growth through better partnerships.
I want to say thank you to everyone for your time, your attention and your trust and partner rise to continue delivering this growth to you.