Affiliate marketing has become a vital marketing tool for brands across various industries. Lisa Chaikin, the Group Marketing Director at Awin, a leading affiliate marketing platform, shares her insights on the benefits and importance of affiliate marketing channels. Awin has been a mainstay in the affiliate marketing industry since 2000 and has grown from 88 employees in the UK to over 1,400 worldwide.
The Awin platform provides an open marketplace for businesses to discover, manage, and measure any type of marketing partnership. From influencers to mass media houses, cashback and discount sites to B2B partners, advertisers selling products and services online can use Awin’s platform to easily coordinate these valuable partnerships. The Awin Group generated £12 billion in revenue for its advertisers and £920 million for its affiliate partners last year. Advertisers earned a £14 return for every £1 they invested in these partnerships via Awin.
Over the past five to ten years, the definition and scope of affiliate marketing has expanded. From a channel that was traditionally made up of loyalty and discount partners that existed at the last pre-purchase touchpoint in the customer journey, affiliate marketing is now an ecosystem of diverse partners that help brands to engage customers at every point in their purchase journey. Traditional affiliates, brand-to-brand, tech partners, influencer partnerships, fintech, mass media, and others are part of the affiliate marketing ecosystem.
According to a Performance Marketing Industry Study, affiliate marketing investment reached $9.1 billion in 2021, up from the previous year. The growth of the brand-to-brand partnership model allows complementary brands to partner and tap into one another’s customer base, increase brand affinity and loyalty, and achieve incremental revenue growth. Additionally, affiliate marketing offers increased recognition of affiliate traffic quality among senior marketing executives, expanding acceptance of pay-for-performance buying models among publishers, and strong ROAS for affiliate marketing versus other digital marketing channels.
For marketers and brands considering affiliate marketing programs for the first time, Lisa recommends choosing the right partners for their products and customer type. They can explore the scope and variety of partners available through the affiliate channel and map their partnerships against their sales funnel for enhanced performance. They can also take advantage of the sophisticated tracking suites on offer by their affiliate platform to get a holistic view of which partners are driving sales, where customers are being inspired to purchase, and to accurately measure which areas of their affiliate program deserve a bigger budget.
The beauty of the affiliate channel is its flexibility and configurability. Brands can create the partnership ecosystem that suits their business size, sector, budget, and goals once they have taken the above steps.
Martech has also played a significant role in the affiliate marketing ecosystem. It has made the affiliate channel more efficient, cost-effective, and flexible. Increased automation within affiliate platforms means less time-consuming manual work for advertisers and publishers. The use of machine learning algorithms can analyze customer behavior to identify the best partners for increased conversions. Additionally, martech tools can measure and track ROI more accurately and provide real-time reports, which allow advertisers to quickly adjust their marketing strategies.
The affiliate marketing industry is growing, and Awin is at the forefront of this growth. Lisa and her team have a global marketing department consisting of more than 35 team members across all marketing disciplines in ten countries. They are responsible for planning, developing, and implementing marketing strategies, communications, and PR activities, both internally and externally for the group. Lisa tries to explain her role to her five-year-old daughter as “experimenting with different activities to get as many people as possible to know who my company is and why it can help their business to be more successful and make more money.”