What are your two or three key performance marketing-related predictions for 2016?

Narrowed focus – I believe that it will be critical for companies to narrow in on their niche in 2016. With all of the diversification we see in performance marketing traffic, it’s extremely tempting for companies to try doing something that they’re not known for or good at for sake of trying to cash in on the next big thing. That represents a danger as a misplaced investment can cause networks to loose footing in their respective niches.

Quality vs Quantity – there are more ad networks popping up than ever before and traffic is king. Avoiding the temptation to sample everyone’s offers will be critical as too much sampling on a network can adversely impact affiliates. It will be key to find quality offers and weed out the advertisers who are simply jumping on the train.

Are big brands and agencies right to worry about fraud in the performance marketing channel?

Every brand, large or small, should be conscious of their investments and ROI. Fraud is devastating to ROI, so it certainly makes sense that big brands and agencies are conscious of fraud. With that said, I think that fraud is becoming less of a concern. In the early days of performance marketing, the industry was ripe for fraud and low quality as safety checks and security could not keep pace with the explosive growth in the market place. Fast forward to the present and fraud prevention measures have turned things around entirely. We’re seeing networks implement SMS verification for new affiliates, proxy lists are readily available, algorithms that track user habits, engagement and a slew of other important markers can be found with relative ease. The ROI for anyone trying to commit fraud is decreasing rapidly and that means the ROI is going up for large brands and agencies.

Large well-funded shopping and comparison sites seem to be taking an increasing proportion share of affiliate marketing dollars. Which verticals should a small, independent affiliate look at for sustainable income in the future?

As an affiliate, it is very important to be diversified. There are a lot of worthwhile niches to pursue but each affiliate is able to zone in on a vertical differently and have varying levels of success. Instead of taking the home run approach of focusing on a single niche exclusively, I believe its prudent to plant seeds and nurture your ventures in a few different verticals then keep an eye open for opportunities to grow while gauging success. This helps mitigate the volatility that most affiliates struggle with where they’re earning well for a certain period of time then completely flat lined at other points in time. Its important to keep in mind that you never want to over extend yourself either. So while its good to work on say 3-4 projects in different niches, more is not necessarily better in this case as you want to be able to have the time and resources to capitalize on any opportunities that present themselves to you.

When you are pitching a new advertiser/client, what is the objection you most often hear and how do you answer it?

A lot of advertisers have been stung in the past and it makes them hesitant to work in the same space or take on additional clients. I lean on our history and reputation as reason why we’re worth trying. More importantly, I find solutions to their specific concerns. The reality, to me, is that we all want to do business and make money. So anyone who objects to doing must have an underlying concern that makes them believe that the ROI won’t be there. Whether its concerns over quality, logistical issues or otherwise, there has to be something there. I believe that a good business person recognizes concerns and is able to provide solutions. If you can’t address someone’s initial concerns then that, to me, indicates you may not be a capable partner in the future. If for some reason I can’t find a solution to their concern on the spot, I acknowledge it and promise to get back to them then follow through.

About Peter Tarr

Peter is responsible for the development and execution of strategic initiatives at CPAlead both globally and domestically. During his tenor at CPAlead his company was named to the prestigious Inc. 500 list, which recognizes America’s fastest growing companies, in back to back years (2011 & 2012) peaking at #40 nation wide, while emerging as the fastest growing company statewide.  His work history includes time spent in an executive role with a private performance marketing firm and a managing position at Fortune 50 company Proctor & Gamble. Today his focus is on managing the growth of high performing business divisions such as CPAlead and pursuing new initiatives that will deliver a strong ROI for stakeholders.