It may be too grand a statement to say that affiliate marketing has really come of age over the past year or two, but it certainly seems as though the strategic use of high-performance affiliate marketing models and innovation by publishers has taken a big step forward.
To help inform advertisers and publishers about the strategic role that the affiliate channel is now playing in marketing strategies, Rakuten Advertising has produced a 5-stage blueprint to design high-performance affiliate marketing programmes.
This blueprint is based on input from members of the Rakuten Advertising International Collective (RAIC) – representatives from affiliate marketing specialists around the world – and includes insights from leading advertisers and publishers, including Harvey Nichols, Microsoft, Reward, Beyond China, RetailMeNot and others.
Through mapping out the five stages of the blueprint – from aligning affiliate marketing KPIs to the broader objectives of the business, to analysis and learning – it’s clear that affiliate has genuinely become a central part of a strategic approach to marketing.
Far from the last-click conversion tactic of previous years, new publisher models enable affiliate strategies to be used throughout the customer journey, from research to consideration to conversion and loyalty. What’s telling is how closely advertisers and publishers are now looking to work in partnership, transparently sharing data and developing strategies that meet the commercial objectives of both.
The evidence is that advertisers who have been using affiliate for years have transformed the sophistication of their programmes; those new to affiliate marketing are rapidly realising the benefits; and publishers are broadening their propositions to offer a full-funnel approach to finding, attracting and converting customers.
Wherever you are on your affiliate journey as an advertiser, or if you’re a publisher looking for new ways to monetise your platform and deliver value to advertisers, the 5-Stage Blueprint for High-Performance Affiliate Marketing aims to inspire and inform.