In the ever-changing world of marketing, trends come and go, some unpopular while others seem to be evergreens and never leave. Despite initially growing rapidly and at times with a poor reputation, affiliate marketing and the networks that run the industry have been around for much longer than some industry experts predicted. In fact, in mature markets such as the US, much of Europe and the Far East, it has become the primary tool for scaling digital growth and gaining new ways of reaching customers.
The concept of membership can be confusing and difficult to understand at times, but the basics are very simple. Instead of relying on a single service provider to run one or more marketing channels (such as search, display, social or email) for your business, you give a network of publishers and agencies the opportunity to market your products and services.
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If you wanted to build a database of company newsletter church email list subscribers and were only willing to pay R15 per subscriber, guess what? Anyone who decides to try marketing your campaign will only get paid after successful users subscribe. The affiliate network manages the tracking and attribution of this campaign, which means you can fully measure the success of your campaign. Ultimately, it takes the guesswork out of advertising and puts the onus on those running the campaign to get it right.
Lots of fingers, lots of pies
Instead of having one service provider succeed in a particular marketing channel, why not have multiple publishers or agencies contribute to your marketing mix. Affiliate marketing doesn’t manage one-to-one relationships with cumbersome sales contracts, meetings with each agent, and admins involved. It allows you to control one relationship with the network of your choice and who takes care of the rest. In most cases, the advertiser, publisher or agency running the ad campaign is never contacted.
Being able to benchmark your campaigns against other advertisers in the web can help you track what I call the “reality” of your campaigns. If you’re wondering why no on EA Leads expects every newsletter subscriber ad campaign to run R15, looking at what other advertisers are offering can often help you put the rewards on offer. This gives you the authenticity check you need and allows you to seamlessly change offers to match or improve other offers. A good affiliate network picks up these changes and alerts publishers and agencies to notify you of changes to offers.
South Africa has largely avoided the expansion and subsequent saturation of affiliate marketing experienced by mature markets, and has the opportunity to take advantage of the established and transparent market it is now in. Start thinking of it as your business’s primary marketing channel sooner rather than later.