The CPA side of the affiliate marketing community has been shaking out for two or three years now. We’ve seen huge networks disappear completely, owners of smaller networks be taken down by the FTC and a few lucky networks be acquired by bigger partners. What we are left with is a healthier performance marketing ecosystem, with the bigger beasts at the top of the food chain “professionalizing” their approach and educating major brands and agencies in the benefits of affiliate marketing, while smaller networks and publishers find themselves having to improve their levels of service and quality if they are to survive.
One thing is becoming obvious though, and it was illustrated by the partial acquisition this week of Matomy Media Group by one of the behemoths of the agency world, Publicis Groupe. The way forward is investment in technology.
As marketing becomes the biggest driver of IT investments – over 50% of corporate IT spend is now on marketing tech – so it is becoming ever more important for marketing companies and networks to be comfortable with leveraging massive amounts of data. If you can’t capture and integrate intent-to-buy data, or level-of-interest data, you are not going to be able to compete in 10 years time. Or maybe five.
Just look at Publicis’ stated reason for partnering with Matomy. Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO, Publicis Groupe:
“Tel Aviv is second only to the Silicon Valley in technological innovation and patents. Matomy is fueled by the innovators and technology experts of Israel and has quickly risen to the top of this important market by creating a world-leading, state-of-the-art platform. At Publicis Groupe, we make it a priority to invest in the brightest and most promising talent and technology that will give our clients around the world unrivaled access to these services.”
Ilan Shiloah, Chairman of Matomy, added:
“We are seeing an impressive transformation in the digital advertising industry, and the ‘pure’ performance-based advertising space is an area of high growth potential fueled by innovation and technology across all channels.”
The affiliate marketing industry has been trying to become the “performance marketing” industry for 10 years, with varying degrees of success. Now is the time to adapt or die. Technology, programmatic, big data and intent: these are the elements of success for the coming few years.
Are you ready?