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Affiliate Summit East: Key Takeaways from a First-time attendee

Aug 06, 2018

Director of Marketing Strategy & Operations

I had the pleasure of attending my first Affiliate Summit East (or West) last week. I was excited to soak it all in, check out as many sessions as I could, hear the buzz at the Meet Market, and do a bit of networking.

Taking place over three days at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, the event had somewhat of a family reunion feel. It also had a very international vibe — with attendees  from 70+ countries representing over 1,700 companies. Content consisted of 50 presentations, and panels from over 60 speakers covering the latest industry trends, analyses, and challenges. Overall, ASE18 did not disappoint.

Here are five of my takeaways from my first show:

1) It’s Not “Just” About Affiliate

Where once the focus was likely on how to grow revenue as an affiliate and how to leverage affiliate networks for your brand, there was a clear broadening of the field with more discussion about partnerships in general, both within and beyond affiliate. Affiliate remains an exciting and dynamic field but the world of partnership has expanded within and beyond the segment.

It’s what we at Partnerize were saying long before we changed our name to reflect this shift. Forming all sorts of partnerships — from strategic to influencer to traditional, and of course affiliate — is a high-value way to increase sales and drive massive growth for brands and their partners.

Frankly, I wasn’t surprised to see partnerships really coming to the forefront in this way, though it was definitely reaffirming.

2) Influencers — of both the macro- and micro- varieties — are a hot topic.

Influencer marketing was popular this year, with nearly 20% of conference sessions focused on, or related, to it. There was discussion on how to find them, how to become one, how to turn your customers into micro-influencers, and the benefits of live video influencers. An underlying theme in many of these discussion being how to make influencer programs work within the partnership arena. Whether by using a CPC model, setting up incentives, giving away products, or paying flat fees, there seem to be many opinions on how to work and set up payments with influencers.

This is another indication of how the partner marketing landscape is broadening.

3) Data and attribution are also top of mind.

I sat in on a wide variety of sessions, and in every single one, the importance of having an abundance of data (preferably real-time) was mentioned. Without good data flowing in and out of your reporting structure, you can’t develop the insights to optimize programs effectively. The sheer volume of companies exhibiting that touted insight-driven ROI also showed how important this is in the industry today.

Along with your data, being able to measure across devices, and develop an attribution model that rewards the right partners for your KPIs, are keys to success.

4) SEO is important to us all too.

There were several sessions and panels focused on SEO’s place in partner marketing. Experts were doling out advice on how to rank higher to impact monetization, how to improve your content for SEO, and how AI will affect search.

We all have more to learn when it comes to SEO.

5) Affiliate/performance marketers work hard and play hard.

This is clearly a community that is committed to pushing the limits of technology, being creative and innovative with solutions, and sharing ideas. It is also a sector of marketers that likes to get loud and have fun. From the networking noise level on the Meet Market floor, to the numerous happy hours and after-hours parties, to the Pub Crawl on the last day, there was socializing galore at ASE. I’m guessing a good time was had by all.

Hope to see you at ASW in January!

To learn more about how Partnerize can help you drive growth through partnerships, contact us today.

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