Perspectives on 5 Years of Affiliate Network Analysis

This has been an exciting year for us and our clients at Publisher Discovery, with the rebrand and additional developments within our SaaS platform and service. It also occurs to me that we're also marking five years of the product - which has admittedly gone through a few changes since we launched it as part of the Linkdex product suite, and separated off as a separate entity during 2016.

There are of course other technologies that offer partly similar service as in-network or SaaS platforms; though we're very happy to say that few in the industry go into the depth of data offered by Publisher Discovery. We offer access to the tracking links of over 350 networks and in-house tracking - and of course the tools to discover well over 1 million publisher websites worldwide.

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Sharing Thoughts

I thought that this would be an opportunity to share a few thoughts from over 5 years of working with clients in every continent and pretty much every market sector. We've had the privilege of working with some truly great people from the leading Affiliate Networks, OPMs, Agencies and online brands in the affiliate industry. This has given us some great insights into the various sectors and differing marketing objectives of different types of merchant.

It has also provided us with valuable intelligence and understanding of the different regional variations. Affiliate marketing in the US and UK have a very different complexion - when we have worked in the markets in Eastern Europe, South America, Australia, India and APAC we see the huge differences in how the scene is structured and how affiliate marketing is approached.

Affiliate Website Style

When working with clients in the far east, it quickly becomes very obvious that there is a different perspective on what is a good web property and you have to adjust your view accordingly - and learn to like the colour red!

So when assessing affiliate websites for recruitment, you need to have due regard to the varying visual styles in each country and market.

Using Affiliate Networks

Different country markets also have a different view on how to run affiliate programs. In US and European markets, merchants either have or are slowly moving towards managing a program either on a single or dual network. In some larger programs, merchants will pull their key publisher partners into a separate tracking relationship wither with inhouse tracking or using one of the tracking technology partners. Many of the larger global brands have moved to one of two models: either using a single tracking technology globally, managed in each country by different agencies; or using a global tracking technology for major partners and picking regional or country specific networks for longer tail affiliate relationships.

Many other markets, such as Eastern Europe, India and SE Asia are still populated with a larger number of often very small networks, with merchants having a program on often five or more. That this is a little similar to the US or UK in 2004-5 is not a surprise of course and it will be interesting to see how this develops over the next couple of years.

Breaking Down of Silos

One of the developments over the last couple of years, particularly in the US and European markets has been the slow erosion of the Silo mentality among merchants and agencies. So often in the past we have heard of Affiliate Managers referring to their work as the 'affiliate channel', whereas in fact it is not a channel but just an extension of all the rest of a merchant's marketing efforts. This has been a key message of Geno Prussakov and many other speakers in the industry.

Similarly Bloggers and online Influencers are managing their income potential with a much wider selection of revenue models. 5 years ago, a blogger would be very wary of anything affiliate going near their work; now key influencers such Marie Denee of thecurvyfashionista.com use a very mixed model as I cited in my talk at Influencer Market Days last November. PR, Affiliate, Content Marketing are all just elements of the overall performance sector.

Straight to Mobile

screen696x696.jpegHaving worked with networks and clients in the Indian and Korean markets, there is a massive difference in how affiliates work in these markets. This is in part due to the fact that in both markets, affiliate really started not on desktop as in US or EU markets but straight to mobile, with desktop following.

The reasons though are different. In Korea, mobile web was 'a thing' well before we limped into mobile internet with small colour wap screens on our Sony T68s! Mobile 2g and 3g achieved mainstream adoption very early in this nation wedded to tech innovation and their phones - and the affiliates there responded. Much of the affiliate referrals appearing to be within their apps direct to merchant, with occasional view in browser referrals.

In India, the mobile affiliate focus is for a very different reason. When I spoke to LD Sharma many years ago, he said that in 2005 there were only a dozen or so major cities that had broadband connection. Since then of course this has rolled out but with occasionally up to 2 years to get a residential connection. As such, the web very quickly developed

It is of course simple to discover most of these major affiliates' web based pages as well and we have worked very successfully with a variety of clients in both markets. If you would like to see an analysis of any of these markets, just get in touch.

Meet Us and Lets Chat

If you would like to talk through any of this with the team here at Publisher Discovery, drop us a line through the website - or here on Linkedin. You can also meet us at many of the industry events through 2017 - see a list on our website Meet Us page. The next show we'll be attending is LAC in February, then Affiliate Management Days in May.

We look forward to meeting you.


Chris Tradgett

Publisher Discovery