Last Friday the industry came together in London to attend the fourth instalment of Affiliate Huddle a free conference promoting knowledge-sharing and debate across the performance marketing industry. It’s also a chance to network with industry peers, which was so healthily attended by a strong, diverse mixture of advertisers, affiliates, networks and agencies.
Co-organised by James Little of Top Cashback fame and the brains behind Brighton SEO, Kelvin Newman, it was down to them to introduce the day’s proceedings to a packed out audience. The core message was about how the channel has progressed in recent years, but invariably, can still develop.
The first of the scheduled talks was from Michael Long from Hotels.com who gave a funny and inspiring presentation on his book “The Mock Olympian” – a true story about him racing in each of the twenty-three Olympic cities between London 2012 and Rio 2016. The Affiliate Huddle chaps gave each attendee a copy of the book, which made for an entertaining read on the train back up to Manchester at the end of the day.
I sat in some engaging debates, including the travel forum, focusing on the impact of the Brexit vote, mobile best-practice, and Google’s increasing investment in Google Flights. Later in the day, there was a publisher panel offering a range of perspectives: from the owner of Extreme Couponing to one of the largest voucher sites, VoucherCloud.
The most interesting presentation of the day came from Ant Clements who talked about the lack of automation within the affiliate marketing. With channels such as Display and PPC seemingly becoming ever more efficient at personalising adverts through a single platform (A DSP or Google AdWords) it’s time that the affiliate channel finally catches up. Ant raised some interesting new concepts, which are quite alien to the industry at the moment, such as forecasting based on AI; chatbots; automated acceptance of publishers on affiliate programs; as well as a proposed quicker way for agreeing/signing off tenancy budgets with affiliate partners.
What would be good to see next year?
Next year it would be great to see more partners from outside the ‘traditional’ form of the industry – perhaps representatives from media companies like Time Inc. and video specialists such as Conversant or Ad2One, amongst others. Whilst partners like these don’t typically work on a cost per acquisition model, we have a duty to extend the boundaries of performance marketing and to observe what’s going on elsewhere – especially from peers who’s core competencies doesn’t just lie within the affiliate realm.
Attribution or measuring the value of affiliates was only briefly touched on or alluded to within the range of talks, and as this is one of the biggest challenges for marketers – and for our clients for that matter; it would’ve been conducive to have had a session or two to observe how industry stakeholders are dealing with these problems. Maybe I’m just being nosy…
For a free industry event still growing year on year, it’s such a worthwhile date to put in the diary for next year, and you can most definitely count on R.O.EYE being there again in June next year.