November 08, 2016

Trends & Moves: November

Author : Tom Rathbone

Tom Rathbone

Head of Technology at Schaaf-PartnerCentric

Latest posts by Tom Rathbone (see all)

Trends and Moves by Schaaf-PartnerCentric

Programmatic in Affiliate

Programmatic advertising is in an interesting position – it is a completely natural and expected evolution, but it is being questioned quite a bit as to the actual value (this is a broader trend in advertising as well).

We are seeing increased investment in programmatic advertising as the efficiency gains are desirable, despite decreased confidence – yet interestingly enough that also comes with a decreased risk perception.

On the affiliate side, we don’t have much in the way of programmatic (yet), but we are seeing a few moves in that direction. Many of the larger platforms/networks have begun to actively invest in functionality that will programmatically increase conversion for the publishers. Naturally, larger publishers will already have the ability to display what they know as the ads most likely to convert for them. They have the means to invest in this level of sophistication. The missing piece for publishers in the affiliate channel is knowing which ad is most likely to connect with their user – which delves more into personalization. Those spheres will converge, particularly as consolidation increases in the industry – access to that level of data is critical.

That said, there is a flip side here – many will argue that affiliate marketing is relationship based. To an extent it always will – but relationship-based marketing is inherently inefficient, so we can expect the portion of marketing lead by 1:1 relationships to continue to diminish over time as machines can do much of the work for us.

For that reason, our focus is twofold: 1. Continue to leverage all programmatic resources at our disposal to capture that efficiency, and 2. Continue to develop strong, meaningful relationships with the best marketers out there, so our position remains strong in the industry.

Cross Device Tracking

The hot topic of cross-device tracking has been quickly moving from a large problem to solve, to almost commoditized at this point within the industry. The need to understand and track how a customer moves from their many disparate devices as they interact witha single advertiser is of pivotal interest to affiliates – they understand that their referral to a customer may end up credited to another source as that customer bounces between devices.

We’re now at a point where, rather quickly, four platforms are offering these solutions.

Affiliate Window released their cross device tracking in early 2015. Being the first network to release this technology, they use a deterministic method to track these conversions, and have seen some very strong results. This is proprietary technology to the Affiliate Window network.

Linkconnector has been offering their cross device tracking since summer 2016. This uses a similar method as Affiliate Window, and is also proprietary to the network. (See here) They continue to see growth in the percentage of transactions with the cross device tracking involved, and we look forward to seeing more from them!

TradeDoubler also offers cross device tracking in a deterministic fashion, similar to Affiliate Window.

The fourth platform we saw (quietly) release cross device tracking was Impact Radius. This is a bit different – in that the tracking utilizes both Impact Radius proprietary tracking (similar to the other options) and if the advertiser opts for it, additional tracking utilizing third party technology from TapAd.

This last part is very interesting to me – the weakness in all the proprietary cross-device tracking technology is that it can naturally only exist within what that network or platform “sees”. So bringing on another technology that looks beyond those confines strengthens the accuracy considerably. We’re really interested to continue testing this with our clients and study the results.




July 20, 2016

Trends and Moves: July

Author : Tom Rathbone

Tom Rathbone

Head of Technology at Schaaf-PartnerCentric

Latest posts by Tom Rathbone (see all)

Trends and Moves by Schaaf-PartnerCentric

We don’t want to brag, but at Schaaf-PartnerCentric, when it comes to employees, we have the best. You’ve likely heard us mention that our Affiliate Managers have an average of 10 years in the industry, but have you heard about our technology team? From program implementation to solving tracking issues to addressing attribution, they are performance marketing experts through and through. We’ve been keeping their expertise to ourselves and our clients, and have decided it is time we share their wealth of knowledge with the world. We will be doing this through a new monthly series called ‘Trends and Moves’ where Tom Rathbone, Schaaf-PartnerCentric Head of Technology, will share news stories and updates on where the industry is headed.

Personalization

We’re halfway through 2016 and we continue to see a focus on “Personalization,” which essentially is the idea that merchants tailor advertising and offers to the target customer. Generally, the actual implementation of personalization strategies across the marketing mix does not seem to have taken hold, but the investment into solutions that will allow this certainly has.

Successfully implementing personalization requires a full understanding of what your customers are uniquely looking for as individuals. This requires the collection of a lot of data points, followed by the technology to utilize those data points.

At Schaaf-PartnerCentric, we continue to ask ourselves how we can increase the data we operate with for our clients and how we can develop personalization techniques that apply specifically to the affiliate channel.

Personalization in the News

Video

The growth of video as an advertising medium and the continually increasing use of mobile devices are directly tied together. And it’s not just video on social networks – digital video engagement is outpacing social network engagement.

It brings up the question, why has mobile growth outpaced video until now? The answer is simply a matter of bandwidth. In regions where mobile bandwidth is plentiful, we can expect video to continue to grow rapidly. In other regions, we can expect moving images, such as .gif’s, to connect more.

For us at SPC, this brings up the question of how much of our focus is on video and mobile affiliates. Are we staying ahead of the trends and incorporating video and mobile affiliate strategy into our clients programs in a timely and cost-effective manner?

Video in the News




May 10, 2016

Trends and Moves in the Digital Landscape: May Edition

Author : Tom Rathbone

Tom Rathbone

Head of Technology at Schaaf-PartnerCentric

Latest posts by Tom Rathbone (see all)

Trends and Moves by Schaaf-PartnerCentric

We don’t want to brag, but at Schaaf-PartnerCentric, when it comes to employees, we have the best. You’ve likely heard us mention that our Affiliate Managers have an average of 10 years in the industry, but have you heard about our technology team? From program implementation to solving tracking issues to addressing attribution, they are performance marketing experts through and through. We’ve been keeping their expertise to ourselves and our clients, and have decided it is time we share their wealth of knowledge with the world. We will be doing this through a new monthly series called ‘Trends and Moves’ where Tom Rathbone, Schaaf-PartnerCentric Head of Technology, will share news stories and updates on where the industry is headed.

May Trends & Moves: Bot Buying

As consumers begin to engage in brands more conversationally, it opens the door to a different level of interaction ­ where purchasing is done proactively at a time of need or desire, not relying on a consumer to come looking.

This involves consumers interacting with a bot conversationally, which then goes out and makes a purchase for you. Facebook opening this up is the biggest shift here, as bots move from a site popup (“How can I help you today?”) towards interaction that can immediately result in a purchase right when a consumer would need it.

What effects could this have?

It will certainly pull dollars away from the traditional marketing channels we are so used to seeing funds go towards.  And here, at Schaaf-PartnerCentric, where we spend countless hours thinking about the future trends of performance marketing, we have been actively seeking, engaging, and nurturing relationships with affiliates partners utilizing this technology. As the year progresses, we expect to see more and more affiliates innovating and leveraging the world of bots. Here are a few real-world example of bots in the digital landscape…

The week when digital marketing entered the bots era
“Now, chat bots — as well as chats with, you know, actual humans — have begun to populate websites, like helpful sales associates promptly showing up as you walk through the door of a store in a mall. It’s so much more convenient to ask a sales associate/bot what you really need, than having to figure out yourself what that is and where to find it.”- Marketing Land

How I sent Mark Zuckerberg flowers using a Facebook Messenger bot
“To test this pitch, I decided to send him a bouquet using Messenger’s new ability. And it worked!” – Marketing Land

Slackobot: Taco Bell pilots an order bot on Slack
The Mexican food chain has teamed with workplace messaging service Slack to refine a bot capable of processing and arranging food pickups. TacoBot leverages artificial intelligence for group and single ordering through natural language – fully equipped with Taco Bell’s sharp and witty personality. Read More here.

Have you been working with bots, as a developer, advertiser, or other? Feel free to drop me a line – I’d love to learn more about your experiences!