An Interview With Henry Whitfield, ClickDealer
ClickDealer has been one of our Top 20 CPA networks for several years now, with a successful track record in driving ROI for advertisers and popular support from publishers. We recently chatted with Henry Whitfield, their head of international business development, to find out how the pandemic has changed things and what the future holds.
Blue Book: How do you think the last year has changed the performance marketing industry?
Henry Whitfield: I think it has shown how resilient and dependable performance marketing can be. Demand for high-quality leads did not stop during the pandemic which meant that digital marketers continued to see strong results while traditional brick and mortar operations were unable to operate. On top of that, the lower costs for customer acquisition via online lead-gen have been more broadly recognized so that more businesses than ever are looking for performance marketing solutions in 2021.
BB: It seems as though more publishers are using lead-gen to monetize their traffic. What do you think has been driving that?
HW: Marketers want business models that are consistent and sustainable, and the last year showed that traditional lead generation verticals can be better in that regard than many other business models. Despite a global shut down, lead generation verticals like Finance and Insurance still had high-demand for customers, so it was natural for publishers to migrate that way. It’s much easier to grow a successful business when you know there is consistent demand.
BB: How have the changing rules regarding advertising and privacy on social media platforms affected lead-gen media buying?
HW: There have been a lot of changes but change is nothing new for performance marketers. Recently it has been about being able to adapt to changes quickly, learning how to work within the new framework to keep leads flowing. A lot of the current changes are focused on data protection and transparency, which can actually be a real benefit for performance marketers able to drive high-quality leads. If you can do that while being transparent with tools like Journaya or TrustedForm, you can charge a premium for the leads you’re generating.
BB: How should publisher partners balance their investments in media buying vs developing their own website properties?
HW: A multi-faceted approach is always wise when it comes to building out a holistic lead generation business. You can stretch that initial media buying investment out by backing into your own website brand, then retarget them through mailing and other methods. Position your brand as an expert in that vertical and you’re also able to bring in organic traffic, once again stretching that initial investment. By taking this approach you also avoid over reliance on one traffic source, something that can hurt you when big changes or technical problems happen.
BB: Where do you see the biggest opportunities for growth in the next 12 months?
HW: Quite simply, if you aren’t currently working with lead-gen, then you should be looking to bring it into your portfolio. Think of it as using a traffic channel’s benefits to grow your business, versus working against it with a churn & burn strategy in other verticals.
BB: Do you see investment in technology as a key differentiator and growth-driver for ClickDealer?
HW: One of the huge benefits we have at ClickDealer is an incredible team working to develop and add new features to our inhouse platform. Being able to roll out updates on our own platform means we’re able to adapt to changes quickly, like earlier in the year with the iOS 14 update and recent issues with Facebook tracking. Investing in our own technology means we’re able to provide the best, most reliable service to our partners.
BB: What do you think the next five years hold for affiliate marketing?
HW: There will be a continued push for transparency and protection of consumer data, something that will definitely continue to put pressure on traditional performance marketing verticals. By getting ahead of change and focusing on evergreen verticals now, performance marketers can grow a business that is pandemic proof and able to adapt to any changes thrown their way in the future.
BB: Thank you for your time, Henry. It was great speaking with you
Interview subject biography: Henry Whitfield is Head of International Business Development at ClickDealer, a global marketing agency based in Europe that launched in 2012 and has grown to be an industry leader. Henry started in digital marketing in 2010 with SEO and joined the ClickDealer team in 2017, launching their pay per call division before taking on his current role. In this role, he has driven the expansion and growth of the ClickDealer affiliate program, with a focus on internal development to provide world-class support to their partners around the globe.