The Secrets of Affiliate Marketing We Learned At CJU16

Recently, Native Ads sent our beloved Director of Sales, James Young, and our equally beloved Director of Business Development, Leon Murdock, to sunny California to attend CJU16. Here are some of the best things we learned from the event:

1) Success in affiliate marketing isn’t achieved through luck. It’s achieved through effort and focus. You need to understand your goals. You need to commit to outcome-driven planning. Most importantly, be ready to switch your strategy and adopt new paths when your current one no longer cuts it in the fast-moving world of affiliate marketing. That ties in with the overall theme of CJU16 – “Transformation Through Innovation”. Refusing to remain stagnant is key to affiliate marketing success.

2) Native advertising is an under-utilized, but very promising, channel for affiliate marketers to explore. This is especially true with its context-sensitive and conversion-focused nature. Affiliate marketers who know how to craft their content and how to intelligently make use of native ad networks will see definite benefits.

3) There are new tools and new networks always popping up. Affiliate marketers need to be on the ball and ready to leverage these new tools at once. Some of the ones mentioned at the show to look out for were

  • LiketoKnowit, which allows users to get deals instantly on the products being used by their favorite social media celebs and influencers
  • LinkHaitoa, an affiliate network focusing on opportunity-rich China
  • MagicLink, a YouTube monetization tool

4) Affiliate marketing is an important marketing channel, but it does suffer from a bit of an image problem. Although Forrester projects affiliate marketing channels to reach $6.8B by 2020, a lot of people still think of affiliate marketing as “gathering low-hanging fruit.” There are signs of people appreciating its importance, though – SROR reports 38% of merchants list affiliates among top acquisition strategies, and 72% of 4000 advertisers surveyed in a CJ poll were likely or extremely likely to increase affiliate spend.

4.5) This is related to the above point. It’s important for affiliate marketers to share their stories to raise the image of affiliate marketing. Attendees were encouraged to promote each others’ successes and to attend outside events and share/educate people about affiliates.

5) It’s important to scrutinize your affiliate marketing metrics closely! How else will you know what’s working? The speaker emphasized that affiliate marketers should not be afraid to use the same metrics as other marketing channels. 

6) Today’s consumer is constantly on-the-go. He uses multiple devices, in different locations, and at different times, to interact with an affiliate marketing channel. So, cross-device tracking and flexible compensation are very important in achieving affiliate success.

7) In today’s complex marketing environment, affiliate marketers are asked to deliver more than just consistent sales growth. Affiliate marketers need to learn how to carefully consider their own unique cases, set hyper-specific goals, and watch the relevant metrics to check if the goals are being achieved.  

Were you at CJU16? Maybe you were able to drop by our table? Or do you have any questions about any of the points in this post? Go ahead and let us know in the comments!

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Written by Michal de Tagle

An International Relations graduate from UBC who found marketing a fascinating place to learn more about everything. I've lived a pretty interesting life: I've written screenplays and helped direct TV commercials, chased after former country presidents for interviews, served on a news team during presidential elections, worked with Reuters and ABS-CBN, and once jumped off the second storey onto a couch below.