4 Key BLUE BOOK CPA/CPS Network Survey Insights by Chris Trayhorn, Publisher of mThink Blue Book, February 25, 2015 The 2015 BLUE BOOK league tables brought together the opinions of over 20,000 online advertisers and publishers from across the world. Respondents were primarily from the USA and Canada but in total we received responses from over 40 different countries – an amazing collective effort by the members of the performance marketing industry. A month on from the headline-grabbing announcement of the results, we thought we’d bring some further insights from the research. 1) There’s a BLUE BOOK community and it wants a professional industry Fact: 55% of publishers and almost two-thirds of advertisers in the survey were already members of the Revenue/BLUE BOOK email list. This represents something of a light-bulb moment for us here at Revenue. It means there is a huge group of folk who are invested year-to-year in the ongoing process of identifying the best networks in the industry and who want professionalism to be rewarded. Revenue magazine has always promoted the idea that the huge potential in performance marketing industry can only be realised by improving standards of transparency and integrity across the board – these results confirm that this is now the industry consensus. Look for regular Revenue/BLUE BOOK updates on this subject moving forward, focused on those networks and advertisers that are pushing the industry onward and upward. 2) People Are As Important As Technology Fact: Quality of service & offers received 3x more votes than reliability of tracking/innovation/technology combined. With so many networks competing in the space, investment in proprietary tracking platforms or in technological innovation has been a key differentiator over the last few years. But we now seem to have reached the point that, so far as advertisers and publishers are concerned, all the tracking platforms are “good enough”. What’s important now is the quality of the offers a network can provide to its publishers and the level of service it provides to advertisers and affiliates alike. The two points are closely related of course: the better the service provided to advertisers, the more unique, high-quality offers the network will be able to pass along to publishers. The takeaway is that tracking technology has been commoditized. Networks need to focus on the “soft” skills of affiliate management, advertiser relations and business development to succeed in the future. Relationships are everything – communication and transparency are jobs #1 and #2. 3) Advertisers & Publishers Want Change Fact: Over 2,000 respondents took time to describe one thing they want to change in the industry. Almost half focused on professionalism and transparency. When we asked respondents to give us one thing they would like to change in the industry we did not expect to hit a nerve, but it seems we did. We are going to dedicate one of our newsletters next week to this subject, but in the meantime, here are the three most popular suggestions: i. Networks need to give transparency into lead-scrubbing. “We understand why they do it. But they need to tell us and give us a chance to discuss it before they take our money away.” ii. Improve the quality of landing pages. “Too often I buy traffic that I know is great, but the cr@ppy landing page doesn’t convert and I waste my ad-spend.” iii. Bring CPA networks closer to the CPS networks in terms of professionalism. “Stupid affiliate managers, shady networks, unprofessional network owners. This is a business. Act like it!” If ever there was a to-do list for a network wanting to succeed in the next three years, there it is. More next week! Filed under: eCommerce, Revenue Tagged under: affiliate marketing, Blue Book Survey, ecommerce, Industry Trends About the Author Chris Trayhorn, Publisher of mThink Blue Book Chris Trayhorn is the Chairman of the Performance Marketing Industry Blue Ribbon Panel and the CEO of mThink.com, a leading online and content marketing agency. He has founded four successful marketing companies in London and San Francisco in the last 15 years, and is currently the founder and publisher of Revenue+Performance magazine, the magazine of the performance marketing industry since 2002.