Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised by AdTech startups over the last few years, and now there is much talk of AdTech being consolidated into the larger concept of MarTech. If MarTech is the future of marketing, will affiliate networks be included, or will they stand apart?

Jackie Bates: MarTech presents a huge opportunity for affiliate marketers. Networks that succeed will invest in and leverage data and technology to keep pace in understanding and marketing to today’s customer.

The average consumer in today’s market is exposed to more than 5,000 advertising messages per day (FastCompany). Consumers are overwhelmed with images and sales pitches. Ads must be smarter now—they must be shown to the right customer at the right time in the right context.  Technology and data are enabling this. We are already seeing billions of dollars invested in new marketing and advertising technology platforms that translate and leverage the loads of data created by online advertising.

Particularly, in the affiliate marketing industry, those networks that invest in technologies and services that overcome digital marketing’s biggest challenges, like cross device and browser tracking, multi-channel attribution and social optimization, will standout.

Affiliate marketing has traditionally personified technical innovation and creativity. If this persists, the industry is primed for growth in the MarTech era.

Imagine you are a newbie affiliate entering the industry today. Which vertical would you choose? What would be your strategy for success?

I would get started in a niche vertical that I have passion for and a strong knowledge base around. This would enable me to to crank out quality content, gain early traction and sustain my business. For me, this could be Bay Area Hot Yoga.

As part of the strategy for success, I would join established networks and proactively reach out to the network and leverage their knowledge and insight to help in identifying top performing campaigns in my respective vertical.

I would also strive to have the network advocate for tools that could help pave the way to success, such as product feed, private coupon code, co-branded landing page, competitive payout and a friendly return policy.  Similarly, I would proactively reach out to the merchant to learn more about demographics, top-selling products, seasonality, suggested keywords for ad copy, etc.

Affiliates have been using content to drive conversions for years but now even the most traditional of newspaper publishers have adopted native advertising. Is this increase in competition good or bad for our industry?

Long term—absolutely good. As more professional and well respected journalistic outlets enter the affiliate marketing space, the value and perception of our industry is elevated. In turn, this creates greater opportunity for all of us. Healthy competition generally holds us to a higher standard and weeds out poor performers.

Moreover, networks investing in technologies that enable transparency will support native advertising, thereby providing the ecosystem with tools to succeed. This includes LinkConnector’s patented Naked Link Technology, which uses simple, direct links from the publisher site to the advertiser (e.g.,, equating to a greater editorial feel on affiliate websites.

Jackie is a zealous marketer with nine years of marketing leadership experience at LinkConnector. She’s been with the company since they opened doors in 2004, loyal to the power of LC’s visionary technology like online attribution and coupon compliance capabilities. As Director of Marketing, she drives PR and marketing strategy for new LC technologies and features and also works directly with key LC customers to maximize their growth using LC’s platform.