I have been working in the affiliate industry for more than 10 years. As Head of Advertiser Development at YieldKit, my job is to ensure smooth processes and take care of the individual needs of the Affiliate Networks and Advertisers with whom YieldKit works in close partnership. Besides this, I am also constantly looking for new partnerships and developing new business opportunities.
As a performance marketing aggregator, YieldKit connects thousands of advertisers with thousands of publishers worldwide. The biggest challenge is really to give visibility to all the merchants we work with, not only the big and high-performing brands, but also niche advertisers.
In order to meet this challenge, we’ve developed a sales strategy that is focused on acquiring long-tail content publishers specialized in different verticals. In our network, we have publishers that are focused not only on well-known verticals (e.g., fashion, consumer electronics, travel) but also highly specialized ones (e.g., B2B, digital products, fishing).
In 2017 we also started organizing sales rallies, where all the advertisers, including niche merchants, can participate and gain additional visibility into our publishers.
I always say that managing the relationships with the advertisers at YieldKit is my most successful “long-term” affiliate project. When I started as an Account Manager in 2014, we had partnerships with around 20 networks. Now, we have partnerships with 70 networks, with more to come.
Since 2014, our advertiser support team has grown from 1 to 4 people, answering all requests in 24 hours, offering Skype support, applying constantly for new programs and always finding the best ways to optimize existing affiliate programs.
In my opinion, what made this growth so successful was specializing our teams. In the past, there had been a support team, but it wasn’t focused exclusively on the advertisers or publishers. When we started to focus on building teams highly specialized in communicating with advertisers, we immediately noticed an increase in our performance and satisfaction of the merchants.
Strengthening partnerships between influencers and performance marketing – We have already started to see influencers and performance marketing working together more closely, and I think this trend will get stronger in the next couple of years until both merge, at least partially, in a single channel.
On the side of the solution providers, there is still some work to be done and we need to adjust or develop solutions that fulfill the needs of this publisher segment. Besides this, any solution provider needs to take into account that, at least for some influencers, the performance channel is completely new and so we need to be available to give some tutorials and explain the benefits of working with performance models. Here at YieldKit we started to adjust our solutions to this publisher segment in 2017 and it has been an ongoing process to establish the partnerships, understand their needs and adjust our solutions.
Storytelling – I note the increasing popularity of “stories” on social networks. Marketers have already started using this format to engage with their consumers. Storytelling is a great way to engage both existing and new customers with a brand. I think in the next 2 or 3 years we are going to see this format growing, with more brands using it in creative ways.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) – AI offers numerous opportunities to target an audience, automate processes and communicate in a more efficient way. We have already seen the first big companies introducing the technology in their marketing strategies. I think that the trend is in its initial stages and expect more big companies to start adopting the technology first. In a few years, when the technology itself is more affordable, smaller companies will start implementing it in their strategies.
As a meta-affiliate, we have different publishers from different segments, verticals, and countries using our solutions to monetize their traffic. One of our main converting verticals is digital goods. We have a variety of editorial and user-generated content publishers with worldwide traffic for this vertical. Since we started the partnership with 2Checkout, we’ve managed to offer our publishers a broader variety of competitive offers and increase the revenues generated in this vertical.
My advice for any new affiliate interested in promoting software and digital products is to focus on a niche and understand the interests of your specific audience. For instance, if your audience is interested in games, multimedia and design or utilities, then develop relevant content for these categories and promote the products that match their interests.
Besides creating the content, allow a space for discussion, where your users can openly express suggestions about a digital product. This can be an additional way to promote a new product and generate more revenues.
Once your niche is defined and you know your audience, you can target them and expand to other categories that cross-sell with the ones you targeted before.