By Elizaveta Ventsel, head of the Advertisers’ International Group in the EU and US at Admitad
The predicted future of advertising going digital has already arrived. With the number of internet users surpassing the 4 billion mark in 2018, advertisers have firmly set their sights on the new age of marketing to the masses. While this trend has presented its fair share of opportunities, there are also negative repercussions coming out of the shift.
One of the major concerns for advertisers now is whether they can trust that investing in a publisher or affiliate marketing network is the right move, as it was estimated that digital advertisers would waste US $51 million on advertising fraud every day in 2018.
Depending on what Cost Per Action (CPA) ecosystems were built, improving transparency would require some development year to year. Transparency is one of the hot issues related to the Internet and businesses built on its base, including CPA marketing projects. To earn public trust in CPA marketing, affiliate networks need to constantly improve tracking and reporting technologies.
Problem 1: Blind Spots In Participant Interaction
In the standard affiliate marketing chain, there are many blind spots regarding the interaction of participants of the industry. The more intermediaries there are, the more likely something is veiled from members. For example, users usually aren’t aware if they are being tracked by a third party. Also, advertisers can be in the dark regarding sub-affiliates who refer sales. Finally, an affiliate network might also be deceived by merchants.
Admitad’s Solution: Since May 25, 2018, Admitad has been following the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), whichrequires that merchants and publishers share data openly with users. Furthermore, companies must disclose information regarding all members of the affiliate marketing chain that customers are sent through before they make a purchase.
Recent ePrivacy restrictions have significantly complicated the existing communication process between users and websites. Now that the regulations have come into effect, each action has to be accompanied by the permission request from the platform. The GDPR, however, does not have a direct impact on affiliate industries and networks because CPA networks do not collect any user data, nor do they retarget.
Problem 2: Bad leads negatively impact brand image
Advertisers often complain about non-transparent processes managed by affiliate networks. Sometimes affiliates are not what they seem: they present themselves on their personal account in one way and behave differently in real practice. Sometimes it’s hard to find a final source where a user came from. That’s why affiliate networks are cursed to be glorified with being non-transparent at all.
Affiliate networks as intermediaries are obliged to have and constantly improve inventory to follow where exactly leads come from. Why is it important for an advertiser? Because it has a direct relationship with the most precious businesses have – that matters more than profit – its brand. So a website where a brand is exposed or the way it’s exposed, its surroundings and everything is a subject to be always revealed. This is the only possible way to survive for an affiliate network from a long-term perspective.
Admitad’s Solution: Admitad deals with this issue by using manual or auto-verification. This means confirming or declining actions based on a comparison of the publisher’s database with the database of the advertiser. Actions can include the publisher using a prohibited traffic source, or any violation of the program or publisher rules. An action is confirmed if it complies with the rate terms, and once the results are verified, the publisher is rewarded. Thus, delaying verification also means delaying reward.
Through extra verification, added expenses are lowered. However, implementing the process of validation and status transmission to affiliate networks on time is vital, because partners expect a reward when investing in promotions.
Problem 3: Tracking leads on multiple devices
It has proven difficult for advertisers to track leads when a potential client uses multiple devices, such as a mobile device and a desktop computer.
Before making a purchase, users often go through many steps, and acquiring information about their actions is difficult. How many devices did they use? How many browsers did they surf through? How many affiliates did touch them over their customer journey? If a merchant doesn’t have full data, he can’t manage these processes.
Admitad’s Solution: We offer to track cross-device and cross-browser sales using our inventory: tracking by unique promo codes, Post View, and TagTag technology. TagTag is a tracking code created by Admitad which leverages order attribution, assigning orders to the correct publisher and the correct affiliate network. After setting specific deduplication parameters, the advertiser can automatically divide affiliate orders by the type of traffic between affiliate networks.
If a user clicks on a partner link from one device and performs a target action such as completing an order on another device, data is registered accordingly. This feature is possible even without the use of personal data of users.
To match the data, a “user id” is required to get hashed and passed to Admitad. Advertisers need the user’s consent to do this. With no consent, Admitad will not collect any data, whether it’s encrypted or not. The Admitad inventory (TagTag) easily allows tracking in case an advertiser and a customer are both in agreement. Admitad does not store these values and does not transmit them insecurely.
Problem 4: Tracking Cost Per Action (CPA) statistics from mobile devices
When it comes to CPA statistics from mobile devices, advertisers also have difficulty tracking data. There is a rule in the industry that the last click wins by default. Nevertheless, sometimes different tracking codes fire after an order is placed on the website. This can cause duplicated sales, and an advertiser ends up paying for two different channels.
Investigating which channel was the final one implies using more human resources than was initially intended. These investigations cost and that is the problem. To pay twice even more painful as far as no marketing budget can cover double charges.
Admitad’s Solution:Admitad’s Mobile SDK allows advertisers to gather and track CPA statistics from their mobile applications. Developers for online retail shops can seamlessly embed Admitad’s Mobile SDK into the mobile applications they create.
Once the tool is integrated, the SDK will automatically determine the traffic source and whether it comes from a mobile or desktop device. Admitad updated the SDK at the end of November 2018, and it is now a revolutionary solution for mobile tracking due to being the only CPA-focused mobile SDK in the market.
Before, if the advertiser’s app was not installed at the time the link was clicked, the algorithm would have sent the user to the advertiser’s mobile website. If the user started their journey on a website and then switched to installing the app, the actions could not be tracked inside the app. Now with the updated SDK, Admitad does not lose the users across multiple devices. Tracking at all stages, followed by correct attribution, results in an increase in CPA-traffic of 18% to 20%.
The industry requires more transparency than ever for affiliate marketers, in order to rebuild the trust that fraudulent services have damaged in the entire sector. The times of depending on billboards to generate new leads have passed, but even so, advertisers still need to tread lightly. While there are current issues with the digital movement, affiliate marketers have the tools at their disposal to ensure that the industry remains as free of foul play as possible. Admitad takes pride in making these tools known to other affiliate marketers, for a fraud-free future.
Admitad brings together thousands of brands and hundreds of thousands of publishers around the globe. We have extensive experience in affiliate practices and are willing to help our partners develop or successfully monetize their projects. Our team of skilled developers and professional account managers constantly strive to find new ways to grow our campaigns. For us, cooperation is more than just business: Admitad strengthens long-lasting relations with partners!