An interview with Taras Kiseliuk, CEO of ClickDealer

In an insightful interview, Taras Kiseliuk, ClickDealer’s CEO delves into the transformative trends in mobile affiliate marketing over the past decade, highlighting the exponential growth in global mobile ad spend and the shift from desktop to mobile traffic. He also discusses the potential future impact of AI on ad creation and campaign analytics, emphasizing the necessity for companies to integrate AI to stay competitive.

  1. What are the main changes ClickDealer has noticed in mobile affiliate marketing in the past decade?

The sheer growth of the market has been difficult to miss. Global mobile ad spend has grown from $31 billion in 2014 to $362 billion in 2023, which is more than a tenfold increase, and in that time, our network has gone from managing predominately desktop traffic to mostly mobile by a large margin. I would be surprised to hear there is still an affiliate network for which that wouldn’t be the case. The rest of the changes are driven by the growth of the format, and that is anything from the gradual transformation of social media traffic into a video-based channel by example of TikTok to mobile UX features becoming a cornerstone of landing page design. Everything is mobile-first, at this point.

  1. Has tablet traffic gotten more or less prevalent with the advancement of mobile? How has it changed?

Tablet traffic has definitely become more prevalent compared to desktop, but within the “mobile traffic” category, it has been consistently slowing down since 2014. That year was widely considered the “Year of the Phablet” (although you could argue it was anywhere between 2013 and 2016), and phones have been growing in size with every new model since then. Tablets’ main competitive edge over other portable devices has always been a better media consumption experience and wider business applications, and that is constantly being challenged by smartphones and laptops. There is still a sizable market for tablet traffic, but I can see it shrinking in the long term.

  1. In the recent past the most important new traffic sources such as Instagram and TikTok originate from mobile. Do you see any potential for a significant emergent traffic source from desktop?

The only media channel in which I can see that happening is VR because the limitations of standalone devices currently make PC hardware the best choice for an optimal experience, and it doesn’t seem like that is going to change anytime soon. However, there is still a chance technology might catch up before VR gets wider adoption outside of its current niche applications like gaming, education, and architecture. We have all seen the outcome of Meta’s Metaverse venture despite all the resources poured into it, and I think it’s going to take a while before another big player takes a chance on the technology and brings it to a wide enough audience to warrant a big advertising market.

  1. Every vertical has seen its fair share of changes in adapting to the mobile-first environment, but which ones have been transformed by it the most? What challenges has it presented to your network, if any?

I think e-commerce has seen the most changes, and all of them have been positive. Location-based advertising has improved targeting precision and conversion rates, integration of banking apps from the same device streamlined the purchasing process, the constant availability of marketplaces on the go has vastly extended the window for impulse buys, and the list keeps going. Dropshipping has benefited in particular because all of the above applies, plus the vertical video ad format that has taken over social media works great for the vertical. So, the main challenge for ClickDealer in that regard was just expanding our e-commerce portfolio fast enough to keep up with the pace of the market.

  1. With AR emerging as the next step in mobile technology, are you seeing any response to that in performance marketing?

In performance marketing, not quite yet. We have seen brilliant brand activation campaigns using AR like Coca-Cola’s #TakeATasteNow and the Barbie campaign Warner Bros ran together with Snapchat, but right now, there is neither a framework for CPA campaigns in the medium nor widespread enough adoption to create one. The most apparent sign of that market forming would be the creation of a successful peripheral in the vein of Google Glass, and we are ready for it.

  1. Where do you stand in the long-held discussion that email will eventually be completely phased out by instant messengers, and how would it affect affiliate marketing?

I don’t think email is ever getting phased out completely. It’s too fundamental in online authentication and business correspondence. B2C advertising is gradually moving from email to messengers, but B2B will always be email’s domain.

  1. What is the next significant technological shift ClickDealer is anticipating and futureproofing against?

Whichever new functionality AI brings. Ad creation has already been turned on its head with all the new ways to generate ad copy and visuals at scale. Now, the industry is making strides in terms of AI’s applications in campaign analytics. It would take hours to list all the processes AI has disrupted in performance marketing and tech in general, from programming to hiring, and staying on top of that is the key to survival for most companies nowadays. So, we are working on new ways of integrating AI into CPA advertising to streamline as many processes as possible, as, no doubt, our competitors are as well.

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Biography: Taras Kiseliuk, CEO, ClickDealer

Taras Kiseliuk’s position as CEO of ClickDealer requires overseeing the global affiliate network’s market strategy and managing international growth. Joining ClickDealer in 2012, he was appointed as General Manager to expand operations in North America, and following a 6-year string of achievements in that role, Taras gained his current position in 2018. Having worked in the performance marketing industry for over 15 years, Taras currently pursues developing new businesses under the DMS umbrella and furthering ClickDealer’s expansion.