Getting Affiliated with a Different Side of Digital Marketing

March 18, 2019

What do you first think of when you think of digital marketing? Paid search? SEO? Social media?

Digital marketing is an ever-growing, constantly evolving landscape filled with opportunities for those who are willing to seek them. One channel that has grown leaps and bounds in Australia in recent years is “affiliate” marketing.

I began my career working at IKEA’s marketing department, being exposed to many different marketing channels. I found myself most drawn to the digital side and, having decided I wanted to pursue this further, joined Navigate Digital as Account Executive in November 2018. Navigate is a small, independent agency with offices in London and Sydney. It was founded by John Kimbell and Matt D’Alton, who have a wealth of experience working at large global agencies. John and Matt wanted to create an agency that cuts through the waffle of larger operations by providing a more tailored, dynamic approach that gets things done. Navigate works across biddable media, paid search, paid social and, particularly in the Sydney office, affiliate marketing.

Now you might be asking yourself “What is affiliate marketing?” and what separates it from the other digital marketing channels? Breaking down affiliate marketing to its most basic form, it is a performance-based channel in which an online retailer (merchant) pays a commission to an affiliate for any sales that were generated from their referrals. For example, a review website (affiliate) can promote shoes for a shoe brand (merchant). When a customer clicks through the review website and purchases an item from the shoe brand, they receive a commission for the sale, usually as a percentage of the basket value.

This journey is tracked by a technology platform often referred to as a network. Networks also serve as a marketplace, through which merchants and affiliates can form partnerships. They provide tracking & reporting for the affiliate channel as well as managing payments for any commissions due. Agencies such as Navigate work in close partnership with networks to manage a client’s affiliate channel.
With this in mind, just how important is affiliate marketing channel to an online business?

Last year, the Australian IAB’s Affiliate Marketing Workgroup (chaired by Navigate Digital’s very own David Glasgow) reported that 61% of organisations rated affiliate marketing ROI at 7 out of 10 or higher, compared to other channels. Furthermore, 75% of organisations claim that return-on-investment through affiliate marketing is higher than their average marketing spends.

The same study found that a third of organisations are investing over 10% of their online marketing budget into affiliate marketing. It also hints at room for further growth as 68% of organisations are opting not to cap their monthly spend through affiliates.

Three months in, I find myself at the heart of this important growth channel. As an agency, we provide services and knowledge of an industry that many businesses would not have. Negotiating offers, along with building and running cost-effective campaigns are just the tip of the iceberg in what we, as an agency, provide clients.

One of the many aspects of this role that I’ve enjoyed, and what I believe is most valuable to our clients, is meeting, learning about, and developing new partnerships of all shapes and sizes. Every week we are speaking to new, up-and-coming businesses, innovating and creating a new niche using the affiliate model. From companies that let you reduce carbon emissions as you shop, to apps that reward you for exercising, the Australian affiliate landscape is full of new and exciting partners!

Maybe you have had the impression of an industry based solely around coupon and cashback websites fighting tooth and nail to earn that last click in the customer journey. Or maybe you just had no idea what affiliate marketing was. For the most part, that was me. Three months later and here I am seeing the affiliate in affiliate marketing in a whole new light.

Every week is an opportunity to network and meet new people in the industry. It is also a chance to learn more about a different side of digital marketing and watch it continue to grow in Australia. But maybe the aspect that I appreciated most is that the industry was warm and welcoming. I might be a fresh face, but I don’t feel excluded. And for someone still finding their footing in the digital landscape, I couldn’t ask for a better start.

Source: IAB Australia

By Jack Ou


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