Interview with Matt McEvoy, CEO of MaxBounty
Leading CPA network MaxBounty has made big news with the launch of their new advertiser tracking platform, providing their advertisers with online campaign data and reporting for the first time. This is a big step for the Ottawa-based CPA network and reflects the intense competition at the top end of the affiliate marketing industry. The leading networks are pushing each other to develop more sophisticated platforms that offer more value to both advertising clients and publishers. MaxBounty is at the leading edge of this wave. We spoke to the CEO, Matt McEvoy, and asked what the thinking is behind the new platform.
Matt McEvoy: Advertisers have always needed tracking though up until now most used an off-the-shelf solution. Now they won’t need to do that. We can effectively be a one-stop shop for them. Our new advertiser tracking platform gives them four immediate benefits:
- Fast, intuitive campaign reporting at their fingertips;
- Eliminates the need to spend thousands a month on third-party tracking solutions;
- Reduced complexity and cost;
- Same high-touch MaxBounty service but with more insight.
Chris Trayhorn: It sounds great. What was the driving motivation to build this? Is it just aimed at new advertisers?
MM: It was driven by the needs of our advertisers, both new and existing. We find that new advertisers want help and guidance to get into performance marketing. They’re receptive to the message – pay-for-performance is compelling for marketers – but tracking can be a real technological obstacle. It can add complexity and cost, and sometimes even require budget approval from backers, so it makes the on-boarding process much harder than it needs to be. With an advertiser tracking platform ready to go, all of those problems go away. We just set the campaigns up for them and then they’re immediately up and running.
CT: What about advertisers who are already running affiliate marketing campaigns?
MM: Existing advertisers nearly always have some kind tracking solution in place, but they vary greatly in quality, they’re costly and they need maintenance. That changes now that they can use our advertiser tracking platform. Advertisers can now remove a whole layer of complexity, and they are often very keen to take that opportunity to slim down their tech stack and redirect budget into campaigns rather than technology.
CT: How about functionality? How did you decide what to include?
MM: When considering what features to include we were able to call on a lot of organic knowledge gained from our 500+ advertisers. We already give them a lot of technical support with their CAKE and HasOffers implementations, so we know those systems inside out. They offer a lot of functionality, of course, but we are familiar with the issues that many advertisers face. That experience prompted us to build what we think is simply a better system for advertisers.
The new interface is built on our existing years-in-the-testing tracking infrastructure, and we know what works. There are no surprises, and we can give them all the detail they need. It is essentially a repurposing of data that we already have in the system, so we know that it will achieve its purpose.
CT: Advertisers I speak to always seem to want better reporting, no matter what system they use. How have you addressed that?
MM: We believe advertisers want to be able to see what is happening but want us to be responsible for making changes and managing issues. You can think of the new platform essentially as a super-flexible reporting interface designed the way it should be, with us still doing all the hard work of managing the campaigns.
The other huge benefit of the way we have built the platform is that all reporting can be done on the platform itself. There is never a need to export CSV files in order to look at a report, you can simply call it up and it is right there. It makes it easy for advertisers to access reports and campaign data right on their desktop, while still being completely integrated with our advertiser support team. We’re solving an issue without sacrificing anything.
CT: Reliability and uptime are very important, especially on a new platform like this. How have you tried to address these kinds of concerns?
MM: The advertiser tracking platform is built on the foundation of our existing network platform, so we focused on innovation rather than re-invention. We have over 30,000 affiliates running 2,000+ campaigns so our system is built for scale and speed. We brought in a new CTO 18 months ago to focus on this to an even greater extent, and so we are really well positioned to handle more volume and growth. Scalability is not a problem for us at all. The whole system is very robust.
We also wanted to ensure that the new interface gives advertisers exactly what they need. We talked to lot of clients about what they wanted from a tracking platform and a common theme was that other systems weren’t as flexible as they could be. As a result, we have rebuilt our API from the ground up to be as flexible as possible and to connect to CRM systems and whatever else the client might be using.
CT: You mentioned the new platform will help scalability. Explain that to me?
MM: We see advertisers spending thousands of dollars a month on tracking, sometimes tens of thousands. Now imagine if that money was instead used to incentivize publishers and to increase payouts. That’s what our new platform does: it allows that budget to be spent on more traffic, more conversions and greater ROI. In simple terms, less spent on tracking means more can be spent scaling up. We believe in optimizing advertisers’ money, it should be spent where it will give them an increased return.
CT: This has obviously been a big investment on your part. Do you see technology as part of your competitive advantage?
MM: I do, yes. I believe the industry is trending towards providing better service and more value and I think new technology is one of the ways we can help shape that trend. Advertisers need to be smart about who they work with. That’s why the Blue Book is a valuable resource in the industry. Some advertisers have been burned in the past and are a little soured on performance marketing. We want to prove every day that that isn’t who we are. We can offer transparency, ease of entry into affiliate marketing and a simple one-stop technology solution that will interface with all their marketing systems. I think that’s a compelling proposition.
The MaxBounty advertising tracking platform is now live for their advertisers and the Blue Book will be carrying out a full review of the new interface over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, this is a big step forward for one of the leading CPA networks in the world. It will be interesting to see how competitors respond.