Affiliate World Asia Brings New Perspective to Global Performance Marketing
by Sarah Bundy
This week, two very different worlds of performance marketing combined for the first time when we attended and spoke at Affiliate World Asia in Bangkok, Thailand.
It was our first time attending Affiliate World Asia, and we were welcomed to a crowd of over 2500 attendees, many of whom were super affiliates, media buyers and drop shippers from various places around the world.
The floor was filled with traffic buyers and sellers, DPS and CPA networks and mobile and data app developers. It was a different type of performance marketing. One that focused on monetization models more common to countries such as China, Russia, France, Italy, Brazil, Israel and parts of the Middle East, where CPA, CPC, CPI and CPM payouts were more of the norm.
Sessions focused on hot topics such as Facebook Ad buying strategies, native advertising and drop shipping opportunities for affiliates. The final day was dedicated entirely to Advanced Facebook Strategies to drive higher ROI & ROAS on ad spend.
Our session was called “Essential International Growth Trends in Affiliate Marketing Today”, where we went into detail about the growth of the industry, and how to differentiate yourself in a hyper-competitive global market.
We covered topics such as growth trends, attribution and technology capabilities, different monetization models that work, and how advertisers are diversifying their affiliate portfolios to drive more top of funnel actions while properly crediting partners for engagement and converted revenue focused results.
Our session seemed new to this group, and we were approached by several affiliates and companies looking to better understand the rev share and ecommerce performance marketing concepts we presented.
Both types of affiliate marketing are billion dollar markets in themselves. We discussed the acquisition of eBates by Rakuten in 2014 for just over one billion dollars, and the more recent acquisition of The Wire Cutter by the New York Times for just over $30 million.
The concept of a loyalty site selling for over a billion dollars and a content site selling for over $30 million, both of which work primarily (if not exclusively) on a performance basis, was mind boggling to many.
Where media buying and paid advertising can be more easily calculated and planned from a ROI perspective, it’s harder to envision the value of a blog post or review site or cashback site that owns the audience data that can be remarketed to.
I had one super affiliate ask me why he should promote an ecommerce site that pays out 8% on a $50 AOV product, when he can earn $50-$100 (100% commission) on an information, skincare or financial product in paid channels and predict his return?
In return, I asked how much his asset was worth. What was he building that was worth selling later? He couldn’t answer the question and confirmed that he didn’t have one because he wasn’t building anything in particular, but rather targeting buyers through paid ads for a quick return.
What I found interesting is that although these can both be considered performance based marketing, they are very different approaches. One is offer driven, and the other is asset driven. Neither is wrong or right, they are just different types of affiliates, and different types of performance based marketing.
Many affiliates there appreciated our “new” approach to performance marketing, and started discussing ideas around content and asset creation, where they could build and market to an audience that they “own” versus targeting one buyer at a time through media buying.
We loved being able to represent this side of performance marketing at a Global Affiliate Marketing Conference, and spearhead this type of learning into new markets, with affiliates who are already savvy marketers, and were open to learning new approaches to creating wealth and value in the world of performance marketing.
On a personal note, one of the best days for me was attending the pre-show SheCommerce, the first of its kind conference just for women “building ecommerce empires”. It was sponsored and led by Shopify and Women in AdTech, and I didn’t know what to expect. I absolutely loved the vibe and intelligence of these brilliant women who have accomplished incredible things, and built multi-million dollar companies from the ground up. It was very inspiring and encouraging to see the caliber of smart online business entrepreneurs in that room, learning and growing with each other.
As the world of Performance Marketing continues to expand and have lines blurred between different “types” of performance marketing, and different types of affiliates (social influencers, content writers, mobile networks, ad buyers…etc.), we open our minds to the vastness that performance marketing actually is – performance based partnerships tied to desired KPIs and results, which ultimately, can come in many forms and reach far further than we can even imagine.