By Chris Trayhorn, CEO and Founder, mThink/Blue Book

Most affiliate marketing networks are pretty cautious about connecting their advertisers directly with publishers. The risk of them setting up a direct business relationship – cutting the network out of the deal – is real. This kind of disintermediation is a major risk to the revenue streams of networks and agencies, and it takes a lot of trust and confidence for a network to give their advertisers transparency into the identity of high-performing publishers.

Admitad is taking a different approach in the belief that as the industry evolves, collaboration and transparency offers huge benefits to everyone involved in the affiliate marketing funnel. The CPA network founded in Germany in 2009 now has more than 1,600 advertisers and over half a million publishers all over the world, and invited many of them to its seventh annual Admitad Lounge on March 29 at the Golden Palace in Moscow. 

As a veteran of dozens and dozens of affiliate marketing parties, I can confirm that this one was definitely way up there in terms of glamor. And, all done with one of the goals specifically articulated as bringing advertisers and publishers together.

So what’s the scoop? Why would Admitad wish to put publishers and advertisers in the same room?

Trust Beats Bots

In the age of AdBlock and fraudulent bots, online ads are becoming less effective. This offers a great opportunity for the performance marketing community: performance-based pricing means that the advertisers doesn’t need to worry about display ad fraud at all. The affiliate networks act as intermediaries between those in need of greater exposure for their products or services, and those wishing to promote others’ products or services to earn commissions. In such a context, trust and the building of long-term business relationships offers a way forward.

Anastasia Prytkova, the event manager at Admitad, talked to me about why being cut out of the advertiser-publisher relationship may not be as risky for a network as it might appear:  “Sometimes affiliate marketing is seen as a black box, when in fact there are thousands of real people working behind the scenes,” Anastasia told me. “The idea behind Admitad Lounge is to provide a networking space for performance marketing professionals. We can all get single-mindedly focused on metrics and analytics, and so we feel it is really valuable for all involved to see and engage with the people involved all through the process. The human element is very important.”

Talking after the event this last weekend, Anastasia told me: “The idea behind Admitad Lounge was to create a space for communication among all parties involved. This way, we manage to strengthen loyalty and enhance the collaborative atmosphere on the network. Not only do we foster existing partnerships and encourage new connections, we also improve the company’s image and visibility.” 

The refreshing thing about Admitad’s approach is the confidence that they are displaying. They’re essentially saying that they aren’t worried about advertisers running off and forming direct relationships with publishers because the value that Admitad provides – trust, compliance, networking, brand protection, etc. – is worth it. The affiliate network doesn’t deprive either side of the relationship-building they could access when collaborating directly without an intermediary. Instead, they are happy to turn the situation on its head and orchestrate increased collaboration themselves. 

Hosting an event also brings an additional layer of transparency. By showing that there is nothing to hide, the company can demonstrate its willingness to engage in constant dialogue with all its partners and uphold a commitment to openness and accountability at the same time.

This is an important time for the performance marketing industry. Having come through the challenges of the early days by developing comprehensive tracking and fraud prevention technologies, affiliate marketing is now well-positioned to be a trusted, enterprise-level marketing solution. Facebook’s current problems, the Cambridge Analytica scandal and YouTube’s ongoing issues around dubious content all provide performance marketers with new opportunities.

Transparency Is An Opportunity

The winners in this new environment are going to be networks like Admitad. Big enough to invest in all the necessary technologies – fraud prevention, fingerprint and cross-device tracking, etc. – while also being confident enough in their own value proposition to offer transparency, good intentions and professionalism. 

Admitad Lounge and similar events are perhaps early examples of this transformation of the performance marketing industry, changing the way affiliate networks connect with their partners and clients, as well as furthering the cultural shift toward transparency in the industry as a whole.

About Admitad

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!