Today I’m at Alt Summit! In addition to hearing Martha Stewart and all of the other awesome presenters, I’m looking forward to my talk which is A Second Look at Affiliate Marketing.
Now, while it might not SOUND like the most exciting topic on the Alt Summit schedule I promise it’s worth your time to check it out, especially if:
- You’ve tried an affiliate program before and had less-than-awesome results
- You feel like affiliate marketing is spammy (when done incorrectly it sure can be)
- You’re interested in exploring new revenue streams for your blog
Influencer Marketing Meets Affiliate Marketing
Here’s what’s happening – the affiliate programs of old were clunky to use, difficult to earn meaningful revenue from and exploited by scammy coupon and deal sites. However they were great for providing data and analytics that was useful for both publishers and advertisers. More recently sponsored content became popular where companies paid bloggers and publishers to create content on their behalf. The style varies – sometimes it’s all about the product, other times the product is a scant mention at the end of the post. This works well for some campaigns, but in general it’s more limited in scope (campaigns are negotiated individually rather than the self-serve nature of affiliate programs) and it’s harder to track the result.
The new generation influencer affiliate marketing programs combine the best parts of each of these strategies to create something that works for advertisers, publishers and readers. Here are the hallmarks:
- Selective – The best networks are open only to approved members whose are creating original, high-quality content.
- Vertically-focused - Influencer-driven affiliate marketing networks are created around a specific area of interest. This allows them to build tools and resources that designed especially for the publishers in that group. The one-size-fits-all approach of giant affiliate networks (CJ, ShareASale) no longer… fits.
- Publisher-friendly - The affiliate experience is built around the publisher, not the advertiser. Affiliate marketing programs need to offer tools, resources and other opportunities that help publishers maximize their efforts and earnings.
- Technology-driven – While plain HTML links are still a mainstay, modern affiliate programs offer much more including embeddable and customizable blog widgets, cross-platform integration with social media networks and even their own apps.
- Data-hungry – In addition to baseline metrics like clicks and purchases, publishers want to be able to track impressions, break down results by channel and more. The new generation of affiliate networks provide the analytics dashboards that publishers need to succeed.
- Network-effects - By combining influencer and affiliate marketing approaches top networks are able to use the data for both individual publishers and the industry at large to offer their members paid content campaigns and other opportunities in addition to the mostly self-serve nature of affiliate revenue.
Affiliate Marketing Basics
If you’re interested in learning more, here’s the handout from my Alt session!
Thoughts/questions/comments? I’d love to hear them.