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The Affiliate Renaissance: At the Crossroads of Scale and Automation

Mar 18, 2021

Marketing Manager Americas

Let’s be clear: the affiliate channel of the past couldn’t be more different from the channel that exists today. During the channel’s early years, from the aughts to the teens, affiliate was ripe for manipulation. Rather than being seen as the incremental, performance-based channel we know it to be today, affiliate instead began to cement its early reputation of being a channel replete with fraud and questionable practices. 

It goes without saying that it’s taken the industry time to improve its perception, and it still hasn’t won back the hearts of many marketing executives – yet. But challenges like the shift in the 4 pillars of marketing and rising CAC on Google and Facebook are warming up marketers to the concept of an outcome based marketing channel that enables brands to be omnipresent.

The Customer Is In Control

The dynamics of the game are shifting. Where marketers once held onto the reins, in control of the buyer journey, the control now sits squarely with the consumer. 

Marketers, regardless of vertical, have historically relied on what are commonly known as the 4 P’s or pillars of Marketing: Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. For decades the marketer controlled how the product was positioned, the narrative around its price and value, where they marketed it, and how they marketed it. While the marketer still controls the 4 P’s, Promotion has undergone a fundamental shift and the customer is beginning to take over.

So what does all this mean to the marketer? It means that for marketers around the world, the historical dynamic of controlling the message is fading away. Replaced with customers holding a smartphone, reading reviews, inquiring on social media, searching on Google, unlimited by global distances, currencies, or limited access to information. With expanded options and a wealth of information available instantly, the consumer now controls the purchase consideration and conversion process, forever shifting the dynamic of marketing in all industries.

Now, marketers have to be everywhere. Every touchpoint where their customer spends time, requires a positive brand presence. It means that the disciplines of brand marketing and performance marketing are converging, and to capitalize on this shift and need for an outcome-based channel, marketers need a channel and platform to enable them to rise to the challenge and changing digital landscape.

A Fresh Alternative To Pay-for-Access Channels

This unprecedented need has proven to be the genesis of countless companies, including Partnerize. As companies are driven deeper into the necessity of being omni-present, particularly on Google and Facebook, brand’s unit economics have been placed under ever increasing pressure. 

With this shift, businesses are increasingly seeking additions to their sales and marketing channels. Anything that might be able to provide some relief to the high costs of Google, Facebook and other pay for access/audience channels has become a critical and unrealized need. This operating leverage is created at the intersection of scale, automation, and outcome based pricing models and delivering it is the future of the channel. 

Overcoming Fraudulent Behavior 

While digital marketing in itself is always seeking to fight and uncover new fraudulent behaviors, affiliate is no exception. From cookie stuffing to typosquatting and black hat tactics, the chance at easy money attracts unethical behavior from all corners of the internet.

The first milestone in the affiliate turnaround was when platforms realized that fraud was holding the channel back from realizing its true potential. Advertisers began dedicating entire teams to protecting brand safety and ensuring program compliance while companies like BrandVerity began to emerge to automate and simplify the process.

Fast forward over a decade later, these same companies are making it effortless to discover and remediate brand issues by leveraging best-in-class data, automation and an upgraded customer experience. This shift has allowed marketers to reenter the channel and evaluate programs with real results free of fraud.

Looking Forward

SaaS platforms have risen to the challenge and the brands that formerly abandoned or disregarded affiliates are beginning to sing its praises. With traditional digital marketing costs continuing to diverge from their returns, the adoption of affiliate will only accelerate. 

Don’t get left behind: Learn more here about how you can leverage the affiliate channel for its scale, automation and pay-for-outcome model.  


Welcome to the Affiliate Renaissance.


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