How to Strengthen Your Partner Marketing | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

How to Strengthen Your Partner Marketing


Amid the broader macroeconomic upheaval impacting the marketplace, the advertising landscape is undergoing its own period of turmoil. Amid the loss of the third-party cookie and other once-relied-upon audience identifiers, not to mention ever-evolving privacy regulations, the industry is returning its focus to long-established beacons of marketing strength, including partner and affiliate marketing.

Rooted in placing offers within a relevant context, partner and affiliate marketing represent tried-and-true contextual marketing channels. In recent years, the opportunities within these channels have advanced significantly and can deliver impressive ROI, all within a privacy-safe context.

However, to capitalize on this moment in time and take its rightful place at the table where strategic marketing decisions are being made, the space must continue to evolve and expand its capabilities. Let's look at where progress has been made — and where attention is still needed.

New Opportunities in Partner Marketing

In recent years, the field of partner marketing has expanded well beyond its traditional affiliate roots to become a much more comprehensive, well-rounded opportunity. Mature partner marketing programs now extend beyond basic coupon and cashback sites to include a diverse mix of content-focused partners and publishers.

Goalie Coaches is the perfect example this since the company moved from a more last-click affiliate provide to an enriched premium provider program that included publishers. This move allow them to generated $265,000 in incremental revenue for Goalie Monkey with 19 percent of that total due to having a more robust commissioning.

As economic uncertainty grows, that affiliate mix must be balanced and maintained to ensure continued program health.

Part of the progress that has fueled this expansion has occurred in the attribution realm. Today, partner marketing programs are successfully moving beyond the dated last-click mentality and are capable of more granularly assigning (and compensating for) credit on the path to conversion, thereby attracting a wider array of premium partners to the space.

Likewise, the space has taken great strides forward when it comes to transparency and brand safety, and the enhanced ability to monitor and mitigate trademark fraud and compliance issues in partner programs has delivered a much-warranted trust boost to the channel as a whole.

That said, following this progress, the partner and affiliate channels can do more. Here are the areas where the industry needs to focus to ensure partner marketing is treated as the premium channel it is within executive marketing conversations.

The Next Frontiers in Partner Marketing

As the partner marketing space looks to fill the brand and performance gaps left by disappearing cookies and audience identifiers, it becomes widening the scope of things we explore and endeavor, to up-level our capabilities. We could be thinking about expanding upon already premium relationships – building opportunities for brand-to-brand and influencer partners to attract incremental opportunity.

Companies like Leatherman realized the beauty of enhancing their partner recruitment to allow them to optimize partnerships at various stages of the purchase funnel. Or we can lean in and use technology to refine predictability and in the process, effectively optimize yield. And finally, the opportunity to enhance e-commerce opportunities by zeroing in on audience experience is almost constant – with but one new option including the trusted distributed storefront. There's always more to do in this regard.

Partner and affiliate channels are poised to help brands fill a much-needed gap in their marketing strategies. But to translate this opportunity into long-term premium growth, the space must continue to press forward and increase its relationships and value within the wider marketing ecosystem.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Brent Fraser is SVP and GM of Americas at Partnerize.