The Evolution of Partnerships- What's really next in the world of partnership marketing?



No other channel has evolved to match the acceleration of eCommerce quite as the partnership channel has. In fact, partnership is evolving at such a pace, that it may be easy to overlook the key advancements that offer exceptional opportunities for program development. In this session, Partnerize Co-Founder and SVP of Sales in EMEA, Sean Sewell, is joined by Nicholas Yates, Performance Account Director, Silverbean, as they discuss emerging practices that are quickly becoming the new standard for partnership. Delving into topics including maximizing budget, the rise and inclusion of content partners and the development of brand partnerships. This Q&A session promises to shed light on the partner marketing trends brands need to have on their radar.


The Evolution of Partnerships- What's really next in the world of partnership marketing?


Sean Sewell

Hey there everyone. Thank you for joining us and welcome to the next session for Global Partnerships Day. I'm Sean Sewell Co-Founder and VP of Sales for Partnerize and I'm delighted to be joined today by Nick Yates Performance Account Director at global affiliate and partner marketing agency Silverbean Nick was recently featured in the PerformanceIn Top 50 and has vast purview over clients varying in their vertical size and partner program set-up , which will provide some great insight for us in this session and around the evolution of the industry.

So Nick, let's jump straight in question for me to kick things off from the viewpoint of an agency. How do you believe the partner channel was fair during the last 12-18 months?

Nick Yates

Sounds good. I think in general the the overall affiliate partner marketing channel is prospered to be honest. I think obviously in the last 12 to 18 months we've had the effect of Covid but to be honest we've seen those brands that have been affected negatively by Covid kind of want to actually shift towards more of a CPA Model.

Maybe move away from CPC and CPM. So it's pushed those brands in for the brands that have actually prospered through covid door. Those brands are actually looking at how they can gain competitive advantage and and one of them things is the affiliate partner marketing channel.

So we're seeing them brands actually want to invest more within the channel and develop and kind of do more advanced strategies as well, which is really good. That kind of brings me on to to kind of strategies as well that that kind of shifted.

I think we've seen the channel mature more within the last 12-18 months. We've seen certainly seen more interest really around brand brand partnerships, strategic content influences and so on.

So that's really helped the channel in regards to just it's it's overall reputation really and what managers are now saying around the affiliate partner channel and the opportunity there as well.

And then just from an agency point of view, I think like all the agencies, we we've probably seen a bit of a downturn, especially when Covid hit. First of all, just because we did have some clients obviously within travel in ticketing for example, which had a negative impact, but since then we have really thrived and grew, We've kind of signed some really big clients in the last few months.

And I think as an agency kind of still have been a now kind of been well positioned in the market, should we say to prosper in the next 12-24 months as well?

Sean Sewell

Good, Good answer. Actually, just just one quick thing there, do you think that do you think that maybe obviously more and more brands are moving away from kind of they want the agency's, what is it about the agency strategic viewpoint then maybe that brands are preferring over maybe traditional kind of network management

Nick Yates

For us, I think, it's Strategic insight and expertise. I think what really has shifted in the last 12 to 18 months is how brands are looking at the channel more and to be honest that maybe he's been found out in regards to the lack of support and the lack of strategic expertise that that that is maybe is being offered by other kinds of agencies or maybe is in house, they wanted to kind of develop their learning and things like that.

And I think for us than just being seen as an expert within the industry and to be honest, give impartial advice moving forward as well in regards to kind of what the brands object objectives and and how can we support with that moving forward from, from the off side as well.

I mean Partnerize has shifted in the last kind of few months as well and you guys are now kind of bringing together this kind of tech and services proposition really like what, what, what's all that about and how are you guys looking to address that moving forward as well?

Sean Sewell

Yeah, that's a that's a good question actually. So obvious one actually probably kick off with, but I think, when when partners acquired Pepperjam we understood the value that they bought not only in terms of their software capabilities but also the breadth of experience in terms of the account management, if you like in the development, so the evolution or the transition if you like, of partner is offering the same level of service to all clients was kind of a logical next step and one I think the industry knew was probably coming at the end of the day, always boils down to whatever is best for the customer if the customer has an agency, great use the agency, the customer wants to use an agency, great, use an agency.

We're really agnostic from that point of view, are kind of service really is around just if they need that helping hand to kind of educate themselves or if they're looking to scale up their team internally and they're not quite ready yet, then we can be that bridge to help them get there and it's not around helping them use the system so much, it's more around helping educate into the category and and educate them internally in terms of how they can manage that program.

So the approach is just about simply fulfilling demand that we've seen from our clients given the choice of support they fit with the ambition and the kind of dynamics of their structure that's most effective.

So we're committed to their success regardless of the choice they make, if they want to stick with agency agency, just want to do it themselves great. we're there to kind of help them really.

So it kind of just gives us more of a breadth of kind of options for the for the client to use. But definitely still very much an advocate of agencies. Still very much a partner of agencies.

It's ultimately what the client wants to do and kind of kind of clients different I guess.

Nick Yates

Yeah I think it's relevant by sector as well when you put it to be honest, just in regards to kind of what each sector needs as well. I think that differs quite a bit in in regards to kind of what their expectations are from an account management point of view and what they need from a strategy point of view as well.

But it was certainly interesting to see you guys are all that out and to be honest with you when you did quite a Pepper Jam than it was certainly on my mind back in the day just in regards to kind of the movement into services as well and aligning with the technology as well to be honest

Sean Sewell

When you think about the U. S. And some people say oh walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, it's a duck right network. But it's us is very much a service led culture.

You've got to have a level of service there. That's why I think that the pure bred affiliate kind of agencies. OPM are so strong in the U. S. Because it's such a service led market and also we really liked about the Pepperjam option was that they their aim is just to help them in the house.

It's they don't want to be a forever on service so that different to the traditional network and that that that kind of model and that way of thinking really appealed to us.

Nick Yates

Yeah that's interesting. Obviously, we put feet on the ground within the US as well this year with with the Chicago office as well and it's going well to be honest with you it's going really well from a from a silver being point of view.

I think there's a lot of opportunity there to support kind of US brands are there for their U. S. And Canada campaigns or global proposition as well because obviously we are a global agency there.

So it's it's exciting times to be honest with you on that front as well.

Sean Sewell

100% 100%. I completely agree actually. So that another one for yourself. I know I know you've got your finger on the pulse and a lot of topics. I do I follow eagerly on linkedin.

there's a lot of topics which brands are asking about right now. Can you delve into some of those, I know you've been working on some brands brands and projects for example which I think the audience would be super interested to hear about.

Nick Yates

Yeah. No absolutely. I think for me to be honest that there's a there's a lot that everyone can do and talk about with an affiliate partner market. There's a lot of different routes you can go down with topics and conversations in regards to kind of just traditional affiliate management.

You've got different tangents with voucher, cash back closed user groups, social and so on. But but for me I try and kind of label everything in regards to kind of keep partner channels.

So for us traditional affiliate management is more about kind of just how can we support brands with recruitment optimization and budget maximization which will probably touch on a little bit later.

There's been a real growth in in regards to kind of you utilizing influences further within the channel as well. I think what we've seen during Covid was just a shift in regards to being happy to pay fixed fees for influencer activity.

And to be honest a lot of brands wanted to work on more of a CPA basis and influences kind kind of pivoted to that and came into the channel alongside content as well. So, influencer in strategic content partnerships have kind of developed as well in the last few months and it's a key focus point for us.

The other kind of area before it was at the minute is up as well is to support brands with kind of not just tracking app sales from an affiliate point of view but to kind of move away from that as well and look further up the user journey towards apps for businesses.

So just how can the affiliate partner marketing channel support to drive app installs for example up download or conversions and utilizing the affiliate mix and partners to do that.

I think what a lot of people are focusing on is just a conversion bit, but it's, it's kind of an area which is a rest at the minute because I feel like paid search, paid social and programmatic was probably plateau in in regard to the performance that and the affiliate and partner marketing channel could no doubt step in and give an alternative to those companies who focus on the likes of Happy installed an app.

Sign up. But then like the last one that you said there was just in regards to brand a brand. I think that I'm a key advocate for brand of brand partnerships. I think there's a real opportunity for growth.

I think it's all about kind of, well what is a mature affiliate and partner marketing program and an affiliate and partner marketing program, which is mature, often does utilize brand partnerships within that.

so there's a few areas that we focus on that still have been here. The first one is just to facilitate introductions to other brands and we, it probably started about 18 to 24 months ago when we were literally just servicing our accounts and we created a list of brands that were open to brand a brand partnerships.

And then in January this year we decided to just make that an open network to be honest, so that everyone could kind of say yes, I want to be involved in brand brand partnerships and gain free access to the list of brands that also want to be involved and then just ask for free introductions and and we kind of just facilitate the introduction and then step back from the conversation if we didn't manage it and let them kind of prep and to organize a campaign.

But on the other side of that is well, how how does a brand that's never done brand partnerships actually set up a campaign? How do they look at their objectives? How do they utilize data to actually find the right partnerships and then what is a campaign management within brand a brand like, like how can you actually go about and put it live?

So we have our account service that we we offer to collect clients that do want to do brand partnerships and we do that based on it's basically three different tiers of involvement, working, working together, was just working independently and so on.

And we've also created a how to guide which is now on the website. I have been to kind of just showcase a very simple view on how to enter brand of brand partnerships and maybe to just educate the market a little bit more and lean on the experiences of other brands and people that have worked in the sector for some time to try and educate those brands that maybe is just entering the space for the first time, as well.

So I think that's where we see kind of the market going to summarize traditional affiliate will always grow, It will always be about recruitment of optimization that is a bit more in regards to kind of managing your, you spend a little bit better influencers and content is growing up is a big focus.

Branded brand is a very hot topic in the last 12 months and I think that will continue to be so, so

Sean Sewell

yeah, I think you're right actually. I think it's very much the future of the channel I think certainly spoken about for a long time now is brand sharing their customers, not competing brand sharing customers because, just because I'm a customer of one brand doesn't mean I can't be a customer or another.

And I think that's the uniqueness of that. And I think nothing better really around than just getting a couple of brands on the phone or into a room, talking about what, what can be done.

Nick Yates

And it's so easy as well because at the end of the day then, I mean we split into two different types of objectives. It's either monetization of your existing audience further or new customer acquisition and when the brands are well aligned and the very complementary to the user journey.

Then in all honesty, the user expects that now the user expects to go onto the website and buy tickets and then be able to buy your transport to the actual venue on on the same user floor because it's it's just pure added value and, and for for those brands that do have low margin maybes, it's a great way in order to increase the revenue of the customer and to, to maximize just the businesses impact on that user as well.

One thing that we've really loved working on with our brands and with partner risers here is building out our partner programs to encourage diversification and holistic strategies.

What are some of the partner types that you guys see performing really well or new imagine partner types that are making headway in the channel.

Sean Sewell

Good question. So we've covered a couple of times in kind of different talks, but I think, it's not new, but content over the last 18 months has skyrocketed.

Yeah, it's unsurprising given its increasing amount of time people are spending online that undoubtedly increase the content consumption.

But what's been fascinating has been to witness that kind of sheer number of applications that we've seen kind of content influencers to join Our clients programs more and more in coming through.

And this is signaling in, we think a real shift in marketeers approach to incorporate, this side of the publisher spectrum more and more for a paper rather than paper outcome.

So rather than pay for access type basis if you like. So, we're seeing Cielo partners card link offer partners taking some huge strides in the last 18 months.

some clients are seeing these partners over exceed the targets that they've been asked to deliver and some of the most impressive results across their campaigns have been driven by the Cielo Palmer's.

This approach again is simplifying, simplifying that asked for the consumer and allowing them to benefit from a discount or without source source in the coupon code or cash back deal. For example, it's just tracking across offline as well and providing that to be an invaluable data source for many brands of leverage around the consumer activity.

So on site conversion partners are also performing well for clients. These partners are very clear in their approach and they're kind of helping focus on KPIs like AOS and providing solutions to challenges like moving surplus stock, in a creative and consumer focused way.

But definitely content has been skyrocketing card link offer type partners. And I think the kind of challenge where they kind of really stepped up the Cielo Partners is in that data is showing that it's incremental as well.

You're not just for for business business that you're already getting, they're able to kind of dial that up and get incremental kind of sales from that kind of type of partner as well, so they really growing very strongly across the network and the clients that we work with.

Nick Yates

Yeah, absolutely. I think Especially from a content point of view, 100% agree. I think when when brands look at that, how do I diversify me affiliate program away from kind of the generics and how do I grow it further to be honest?

And content is often well positioned further up the funnel as well in regard to motor development and research and what we found like similar, we've got the mutual client in the Ambassador theater group and when we do align a very strong content strategy within affiliate partner marketing to align with SEO and PPC as well to make sure that your content partners covering certain non brand keywords for example with it within the search rankings, it really does kind of just shift the growth rate of the account to be honest and the instrumentality of the revenue and but also the reputation of the channel internally as well as a business.

Just in regards to kind of the value it's it's given back and and how it's seen as well. I was having an interesting conversation this week as well in regards to kind of card linked offers and and obviously the partnerships within that I think

Nick Yates

One kind of thing that I'm hearing a little bit about at the minute is just in regards to how what review themselves to be honest because those sales that do happen kind of through the card then sometimes it could kind of override a PPC sale or an SEO sale and and kind of not be purely within the affiliate channel itself. So I think in the next 6 to 12 months will be probably more conversation around how to how to effectively track and measure and when you put your budget when it is in the case of kind of conversions happening.

But it might not required back to to be honest with the likes of Gs or Adobe because it's it's not that kind of pure online transaction being recorded if that makes sense.

Sean Sewell

I think the key to that is getting access to the data and you kind of have to kind of it and look and look at that data and understand where's the instrumentality coming from versus was that a paid search conversion coming through?

It's only if you can get access to that data and fortunately the Cielo partners, we've got we've got quite api integrations in with these guys so we can get access to a lot of data to help match stuff up to make sure that that wasn't this cell that came in this way and then if there's a 20% overlap then you pay 20% difference in what you're paying out way.

Nick Yates

It really is as well. And to be honest we we've kind of got this movies on a on a more traditional network view and the issue is, is the data and the to be honest, the results required to get that data as well.

and it's it's a bit of a pain, shall we say at the minute, but it'll be interesting to see how kind of brands can just develop around that. And to be honest, it's only going to be movies, the enterprise brands that are asking those questions for now, but it will develop moving forward as well.

So it's it's an interesting one, certainly an advocate for it. and what they can offer in regards to kind of being a publisher, but it's an interesting one overall.

Sean Sewell

Yes, no 100%. If you can invest the time the output pays for itself. 100% of these guys, was it? So right one for you then.

Nick is obviously your clients varying degree of budget and they put that they put towards their partner marketing efforts. How are you making sure to maximize potential for that brand by brand basis.

Are there any tools, processes or goals in place to ensure you're making the most of it.

Nick Yates

Yeah, no, absolutely. I think the first one stems from me being a bit of a tech geek to be honest with you. So I've got a little bit of a habit that when I do convert online and I'm kind of a frequent shopper then I will check the conversion pixels off brands that go into kind of across the networks and sax players and to be honest with you, we've got a big thing and still have been in regard to budget maximization.

So it's to review exactly what what information is being sent off to the networks or to task providers on the conversion page, especially in regards to the sale a mountain and kind of if things like taxes are included or even delivery charges and things like that.

And to be honest, there's aggregated it over sometime and I think I've done around 30 transactions and 60% of those transactions were actually set up incorrectly just in regards to the wrong variables were being passed in the wrong places.

And it meant that that clients were over paying in regards to what they were processing through the affiliate and partner marketing channel. Now it's not that much of an issue if you're kind of an sme brand, but as soon as you're an enterprise level brand then it means that the amount of revenue that you are kind of overspending on is significant within that as well.

So the first thing really is just to make sure that you've got the foundations of a program set up correctly that you are kind of tracking and recording the right sail amounts and the right variables within your pixels or service server integrations so that your foundations of the program are strong.

The next thing that we do is to actually look at kind of the commission structure. So looking at kind of the overall brand objectives, should we say do they want to push a certain category for example within the affiliate program or do they not want to push a certain category because they know that it sells through for example.

and then the margins as well so that the margins by skew by category for example vary. So if if you've got kind of a multi brand retailer then quite often they will have different margins per brand.

And what that means is that they can't just have a fat commission structure because the the losing margin left, right and center dependent on the sales. So we look to kind of adapt the commission structure based on that as well.

And then lastly based on the publisher types and to be honest, how how well the publishers placed within the user journey are the kind of more towards motor development or the more towards purchase and then looking away at the overall commission structures based on that as well.

So there's a lot of different ways that we can look to kind of maximize the actual return on investment within the channel. But to be honest, it's not so much about cutting costs, it's about refining the spend but then reinvest in that moving forward.

So for example if we do on earth that there's the tracking the wrong sale amount, then that is a golden opportunity then to invest it further in regards to kind of content, partnerships tendencies with certain traditional affiliates, influencer opportunities and things like that.

And that's where we see the growth coming out with the program as well. So no matter what the size of the businesses there's always opportunities, especially when you start the right data in the right places in order to kind of to grow in and to reinvest into to kind of make sure that your return on investment is as strong as possible within the channel as well.

Nick Yates

Went off on a bit of a tangent on that one another area that we wanted to chat about was was obviously the the updates in regards in regards to kind of privacy updates and IOS 14.5.

The implications in regards to I. T. P. Just what is partner as view and how are you guys dealing with all this as well within the channel?

Sean Sewell

Yeah. Great question actually mate. Yeah you could prove right along for hours around this but I'll try and keep it kind of brief and succinct but we've obviously seen it coming for a while now and like other networks and service providers we've got our own purpose built solution in the partner sized tag and that's just a javascript tag that brands can put on any of their pages which acts as a mechanism for setting the local storage, cooking the tag allows brands and partners to enable and disable any features that are controlled from within the partners tag to effectively recognize when a partner has influenced the sale.

To be honest the solution for brands who work is pretty simple but I think what marketers need to be more aware of the implications a lack of tracking can have on your partner program and the wider marketing efforts.

So marketers need accurate attribution of sales to the affiliate channel or any channel for that matter. And any clear truthful picture of the channel performance in order to build a strategy like you've just been talking about their allocate spend and create operating leverage.

without accurate tracking you're not able to credit your partners for the value they provide to your program. I. Tp negatively impact persistent tracking, creating risk for accurate transaction triggers.

You want to make sure that your partners are given appropriate credit by that women get paid so that they can continue to drive activity on behalf of the brand precise data as they say tells a story and inaccurate data won't let you paint a picture of what's really going on in your brand.

Instead it might actually portray declining revenue which devalues the channel as a part of your digital mix and hinders it from gaining the respect it deserves as a true profit center.

Nick Yates

Yeah I think it's it's been an interesting journey to be honest the last 6 to 9 months just in regard to different approaches in regards to I. T. P. As well and the updates and and making sure their clients are ready for it.

Some kind of providers and he's chasing the tails a little bit just because they've had to update the technology rather than just having the technology ready and already deployed as well. But then it's also as you say kind of making sure the data is right because brands obviously have their own internal reporting systems now as well.

The likes of GA and Adobe for example and it's making sure that the affiliate channel marries up to that as close as possible and especially with the likes of branch as well these days Kind of that's another kind of partnership that we need to take into account on within affiliate and partner marketing and leveraging their capabilities as well for for those clients that do have a four of us on on up and and downloads and things like that as well.

It's an interesting.

Sean Sewell

Yeah I agree. And I guess in line with the tracking piece and making sure we're proving the worth of the channel is the question of instrumentality right?

Always crops up how you working with your counterparts of brands to prove the income mentality of the channel to their wider or.

Nick Yates

Yeah I think the first thing it just goes back to the question without a budget maximization as well. I mean the first thing is making sure that you've got the basics right and the right foundations of the program.

So that when the question about instrumentalities answered then that you've got the foundations right of the program. So making sure that the publishers that you actually work with right for the brand they're in line with the brand guidelines for example and that they're promoting you in the right manner.

The next thing is to make sure that your commission structure is in line with kind of the brand objectives as well In in line with kind of margins and things like that.

There's there's other things that we can do as well especially in regards to a P. I. S. So to bring as much data as possible their purchase or post purchase.

I know that we both work with the likes of train line for example and they do a lot of good things with a P. I. S. To kind of bring in the platform post purchase like 24 hours after.

In regard to kind of more information on the overall user in regards to new and existing customer for example they can then bring in things like the lifetime value and be able to compare that to other channels as well on a publisher basis which is really insightful.

So the idea of more data can can kind of support the questions in regards to the mentality and to be honest with you to have a meaningful conversation with other channels so to be able to speak well with your kind of counterparts in regards to PPC and SEO an email for example, or the Digital Marketing Manager.

The next thing is to make sure that the data aligns with the likes of Google Analytics and Adobe. Like there's so many brands that I mean a 10% variance can be kind of acceptable but but there's so many brands out there that might not have a variance of 30%, in regard to kind of what's being tracked within the affiliate channel in comparison the likes of you and adobe.

And if we're all honest then the kind of the CMO will no doubt be using the GA and Adobe numbers when it comes to kind of performance and also assigning budget and finance for example.

And then the last thing is obviously using the network and the SaaS provider in regard to the technologies that they offer in regards to kind of instrumentality and looking at the user journey outside of that.

Then there's a there's a tool called odyssey that we use that silver bean basically that looks at the overall attribution of the channel as well and kind of look at how the affiliate channel is comparing with other digital marketing channels as well which is insightful.

So I think there's a range of points there in regards to kind of better use of technology, looking at a P. I. S third party providers and just making sure that the basics are done right and that you're aligning with your own kind of Google Analytics and Adobe figures yourselves as well first.


Sean Sewell

Yeah, good answer.

Nick Yates

I mean we we we've got a shared client as well that has had the issues of fraud in the past as well to be honest, so kind of looking at fraudulent activity within the channel and to be honest, like what other solutions around that in regards to to stopping fraud BrandVerity obviously announced that PI Live Global in regards to kind of their freemium offering, which was obviously an acquisition of you guys, was it around 12, 18 months ago now, but but just in regards to kind of, what is that frame you're offering about and how does it help partner rise in the clients that you guys are working with this one?

Sean Sewell

Yeah, no problem. Call me I think if you go back to like Cranberry in terms of what they do and if you look at the channel, one of the beautiful aspects of the channels that enables brands to benefit from promotional methods that haven't yet been invested in, figured out, such a fast moving channel and affiliates are super innovative and very entrepreneurial in terms of how they approach things in a good way, not necessarily in a in a way to think, how can I get the most out list in a cheeky way, and if you look back to day one the big affiliates will paid search guys, simple as that, they jumped on paid search way before the brands had a great example of just being first mover in that in that space and being able to capitalize and then as brands caught up, they started to understand, competition in paid search heated up.

It became increasingly less profitable for affiliates to run paid search campaigns on behalf of their advertisers and because there is one exception to that and it was branded keywords on paid search that remains hugely profitable to affiliates, but a minority of affiliates realized that the branded traffic is relatively inexpensive and as a high level of intent.

So some of those affiliates, obviously, we've been on brands when they weren't supposed to and obviously a lot of Felix can be in orbit on a brand and have approval from a from a brand to do so as part of a wider strap strategic piece that they will, But I think, one day they had serfs to themselves and next day they've had the competition from all these affiliates and even find their own ads getting displaced by affiliate ads.

That kind of built up to kind of figure out what's going on and I think 15 years later, branded searches is prevailing today as it was 13 years ago, maybe more.

So as affiliates have got an even better at search and users have grown more comfortable online and the automation has allowed even long tail keywords to be profitable.

But given potential threats, the cost of losing affiliate traffic can be expensive to a brand on that paid search piece. So I think brands tell us and when they discuss the reservations around monitoring is that three these reasons come up.

They don't have the budget. They don't understand the impact of the problem or the individual bonus plans create misaligned incentives, right? So it becomes too tempting to build on the brand.

So these excuses exactly just that the excuses in the age of kind of high budget scrutiny and brands, brands can't let can't let the affiliates carry on with that unless of course they kind of proved that as an industry, we've been getting better at kind of coming down on this.

So we want, we want our channel to occupy its rightful place in the budgets and the programs and we need to solve these issues once and for all. I think it fundamentally believe that this is something that every brand should be, should have every program in the world should have some level of monitoring going on for their trademark and brand protection, going online.

And that's where brand freemium came from from BrandVerity. That's why it's free. We believe that there's a massive need in the industry for every affiliate program to have some level of monitoring.

We've created this limited free to service for the BrandVerity. So they can help brands understand the potential threats that can arise specifically from the affiliate programs and get hold of that on top of that and help manage it better.

And there's certain practices around that freemium model and if they want to use it more obviously, then there's a paid model on top of that. But really it's just to encourage as many brands as possible to get onto that kind of scrutiny peace and ensure not paying for stuff that they shouldn't be paying for.

Nick Yates

And that will kind of move us on just how how the affiliate partner marketing channel is now kind of working alongside the likes of SEO PPC email crore like.

And to be honest with you, probably about five or six years of our kind of feel that the affiliate partner market channel was always outside of the mix in in regards to kind of wasn't caught in the digital marketing strategy, she would say PPC and SEO always used to work well together.

And the teams would work well together. But affiliate was always on the outskirts of that maybes and now it's it's kind of support on that conversation in regards to kind of a more rounded view on affiliate partner marketing within the digital strategy, how the affiliate marketing channel can support the other channels, but then how the other channels can kind of learn from what's happening within the affiliate channel as well.

moving from that.

Sean Sewell

Yeah, there's always, there's almost been a resistance I think from that kind of traditional kind of guys in this channel who kind of track and measure that because they're so geared towards winning last click and they want that last click and they want it for their channel, not other channels.

And I think, as soon as you collaborate with that, there's always that fear and risk of our maybe we'll reduce some of these last clicks that we can get into the whole commercial models built upon. But this, we're seeing more and more brands like they're embracing more of a cross channel conversation in order to better understand the impact each of those channels is having with that and to help share ideas and help share like what is going on in this digital space.

And I think that's where agencies particularly very strongly all under one umbrella, you're moving as one. It's like that Sparta type mentality right, stronger together all in one place.

And that really helps.

Nick Yates

Absolutely. We made a little joke before this as well before we started recording that. It's been there where I am now and thankfully they've invented came just at the start of the recording, but the recycling guys have just come along now.

So I've just been drowned out by some noise outside my window

Sean Sewell

just being delivered earlier. I'm sure you've probably heard a clanging on the floor in the background. Anyway, so the

Nick Yates

joys of working from home, especially on a really warm day as well when we have to keep the windows open

Sean Sewell

Nick, how do you position the partner channel for your clients and brands alongside other marketing initiatives that they're running? What kind of intersections are you seeing?

Nick Yates

Yeah. For us to be honest, working alongside other digital marketing channels is key and and to be honest with you also shows the maturity of the channel that we operate as well.

So we we we've kind of talked about our progression model that's ever been in the past as well just in regards to kind of how a brand can kind of go from no campaign whatsoever to a market leading campaign, overall market leading campaign in our view.

the affiliate channel is is kind of working very very closely with other digital marketing channels like SEO PPC cruel email and supporting them as well as learning from the campaigns and kind of acting holistically.

We're seeing a growing need for for brands to work well with other digital marketing channels. So we we talked about kind of content for example earlier and the growth of content within the channel as well.

What what we're seeing from from the agency point of view is that when we do align content with an SEO and PPC strategy for the brand in regard to kind of non-brand keywords then to be honest, we're seeing real growth in along that.

But in order to put that strategy together, we need to work closely with SEO and PPC because they've already got a lot of data in regards to what are the non-brand keywords that are of significant value.

So which one's kind of high converting high search and and kind of in high competition as well because as soon as we can kind of activate an affiliate campaign to maybe knock down your competitor one or two places, then it does drive real results overall really.

From a from a campaign perspective as well, once the affiliate partner marketing channel is is more kind of in line with the digital marketing and seen holistically, it's just so much easier in regard to kind of campaign planning as well.

So making sure that the affiliate marketing channel has been given assigned budget for example, in order to support with campaigns. But but also that crossover in regards to how influences can support the brand from a brand awareness point of view.

Maybes and content partners as well. So for us as an agency, it's always a big focus to work well with the other digital marketing channels, both from a reputation point of view, but then also from a desired outcomes and and kind of just just revenue increase as well.

We often find that those brands that are aligning the channel with the other digital market channels are growing in the growing stronger in regards to the revenue growth.

One last thing as well is just the the utilization and learning from analytics and crore as well within the team. Quite often the crore team will focus on the full user journey across all digital marketing channels.

But what we're seeing now is that especially for key partners, then utilizing a crore approach to just the publisher user journey, it again proves dividends because it increases their conversion rate and can help them increase their average order value as well.

So it's a nice tactic to kind of increase the revenue from key partners within the affiliate partner market channel as well itself.

Sean Sewell

Gotcha. And then brush my elements and partners platform are significant for optimizing program management.

Nick Yates

Yeah, I'll go for this one then. So I think first of all commissioner and and being a flex commission to be honest, based on the variables that you can kind of bring it to the channel.

Obviously from an integration point of view, you guys enable unlimited tracking from a variables point of view. so it means that everything can be brought into the network but but then everything can also be commissioned as well within the platform which which is great from a kind of a margin point of view and the commission structure rules point of view as well.

The other side of that is just the ease of reporting and to be honest, be able to pivot on data. We mentioned about the Ambassador theater group earlier for example, which is a venue, a box office client of ours.

They can basically identifying commission and report based on a seat at an individual venue for a night. it's just so granular to be honest, just in regards to be able to report and provide insights back to the client.

And then the last thing is utilizing a P. I. S to update sales, pause purchases as well and and being able to use that data in regards to answering questions in regard to lifetime value and then being able to kind of put that back in the strategic objectives as the campaign as well itself.

So for us it's all about kind of making use of as much data as possible and the ease of the platform in order to make actionable insights on the back of it as well.

I know that there's been kind of a lot of questions from clients around benchmarking. How is partners approaching this and and what do you guys kind of provide overall for brands and then the industry as well, just in regards to the insights that you guys can give to clients across the channel?


Sean Sewell

Yeah, that's a good question, mate. It's something, it's something that we get asked daily and it's a big reason why we took the learnings from Pepper Jam when we acquired them to replicate their sales marketing index into our own partnership growth index.

So this looks at trends in revenue drivers of this, a OV clicks conversion rates on a rolling basis and it's updated monthly to give some insight into the channel using our own benchmark data.

It's not conclusive, I don't think anyone's benchmark data is fully conclusive obviously, but it's helpful specifically for brands looking to gauge how others in the industry are approaching the channel.

We're also hoping to expand this out to mirror the original index more. So we're focused on partner types and their performance on a vertical audience, sub vertical basis.

So we're getting there, we're producing it, it's going to get better, it's going to get more detailed. and it's something that we're working on and will continue to evolve.

Nick Yates

Sounds good. I'm looking forward to seeing more from that side of things as well. Just just in regards to kind of getting insights and being at the benchmark as well for for clients overall.

Sean Sewell

100%, yeah, and we look for, we can't wait to get it all done ramped up to where we need to, where we want to get it to actually another one for you.

How are you seeing industries develop, how you see the industry developed over the next 12 months, what are the what you're advising brands to spend their resources on both in regards to time and money?

Nick Yates

Yeah, I think this is always going to be the sport to client and to be honest, that's why we have the progression model that Sylvia as well to be able to kind of audit campaigns to see where they are in regard to the maturity of the affiliate partner marketing for them as an individual brand and then for us to kind of suggest the right strategy for them.

I think what we're seeing at the minute, especially in regards to mid market to enterprise brands, is the need to diversify the traditional affiliate program to be honest.

so in regards to kind of the sectors of force was moving forward, it goes back to the further investment in regards to content partnerships, which is more strategic content partnerships though, kind of how can we leverage the relationships to align with SEO and PPC and support digital PR for example, as well.

then we're seeing the growth in regards to influencer activity again based on a CPL or kind of fix the investments as well. Kind of doing more kind of brand lead to performance as well.

And then the last two is APT campaigns and brand partnerships as well. so we're going to see the continuation really, if brand brand partnerships, I think it's getting a lot of momentum in the last 6 to 12 months and to be honest, now brands are not so much doing the talking, they're doing more action and kind of getting campaigns live, which is great to see as well.

And I think that app is going to continue to develop as well. so the need to utilize the affiliate mix to drive both up, install and up sign up babies.

And for the affiliate partner marketing, channel 22 maybes record

Sean Sewell


Nick Yates

of that space more because at the minute, so many brands are relying on paid social and programmatic in order to drive either up, install or sign up as well.

And I think the affiliate partner market channel can certainly support with that as well.

Sean Sewell

Great answer

Nick Yates

the last question really is just in regards to automation. it's it's been a big focus point for a lot of brands just in regards to making sure that the spending the time wisely on affiliated partner marketing.

To what level do you think that we need to automate? and will the industry at some point become fully automated? Just just what are your thoughts on that?

Sean Sewell

No, I don't think the industry will ever be fully automated because it's always been and probably always will be a relationship based industry. There'll always be a level of contact and communication and relationships being built up within the brands to the partners and vice versa.

But I think that if you break it down into sections where can this is often related to what's difference between kind of sass versus network and that kind of situation. If you break it down, what can be automated, if you look at the very beginning, how do you get partners onto your program that can be automated and also make different paths to get different partners on two programs?

Right, because we all know onboarding and influence is not the same as on on boarding. A cash back Philip. They're two very different beasts. You don't you're not going on board a bank through for a typical publisher sign up tunnel because all of a sudden they're going to get 1000 emails a day from a different program just doesn't work.

So that whole automation piece depends on the partner time and how you onboard and how you get them in. That can be fully automated and that kind of that kind of advance in terms of how you're working and who you're working with.

And then when when you kind of look to kind of the more kind of day to day admin things around the reporting, pre scheduling reports, making sure you've got all the data there, you're cutting out an email asking someone to make that report for you, it's already built.

It's there, that kind of simple admin beast. They can all be automated approvals can be automated through the api and automating.

if someone bought 10 items in the basket and they returned five, updating that, updating the revenue amount and updating the commission amount. Can all be automated through the technology. So there's a lot that can and should be automated I think that's I think resource businesses, the the more you automate the more you need that kind of resource to do that sort of element and really what you wanted, people working on your program is the execution of the strategy.

It's walking to different different partners and creating different 1 to 1 type partner, mixed strategies and how you can execute them and understanding which the value of this part of the place and at what point in the conversion funnel so you can reward them fairly and you can automate the view of that and the understanding of that.

Okay, it's about again it's it's being able to see that really easily within the data all in one place so that you can take execute more smartly, you can pay more accurately and all that is driven by automation because you don't want to be pulling different columns together from spreadsheets, pulling data from here and pulling data from there and then analyzed because by the time you have done that and by the time you've analyzed it, you've missed it, You missed it all of a sudden you in the next quarter and you're trying to execute another type of plan.

So that kind of that whole automation piece to 100%. We can automate a lot more, there's still much more room for automation but it will always be a relationship channel.

It will always be, there will always be people involved in that. 100%. But there's so much more that can be done on the automation piece to streamline, it make it more efficient and allow people to focus more on the execution the relationships and being more innovative and growing the channel for the for the better is what I believe.

Nick Yates

No, absolutely. I think just just from our side to be honest with you, we want our account managers and seniors to be able to kind of to to execute the day to day but then also have the time to look up and look at the overall strategy and and to be honest with you to be able to provide strategic direction in line with the brand's requirements as well.

And an automation certainly helps with that in order to continue to grow the program because quite often it's not about just how do we hit year one target, like to be honest, you could no doubt hit one target quite a lot of the times for clients.

Well, how do we get two, year two, year three because a lot of brands now are wanting very high growth and we need to be able to deliver the strategy in order to do that to be honest, it's all about kind of being able to local and plan and plan effectively as well.

Sean Sewell

Yeah, I couldn't agree more nick. It's been an absolute pleasure as always. Thank you very much for joining us today and thank you for your insights, your date and your knowledge that you've shared with us in the audience.

It's been an absolute privilege. And thank you as well for our audience for tuning in and watching as well. Stay tuned in much more valuable sessions coming up and I hope you enjoyed.

Thank you very much. Thanks Nick. Thanks

Nick Yates

thanks for having me.