The Top 4 Changes Demanded By Blue Book Research Panel by Chris Trayhorn, Publisher of mThink Blue Book, March 11, 2015 The performance marketing industry is slowly changing, but is it changing fast enough? That’s what we asked the 20,000-strong research panel of online marketers who took part in the rankings survey for the 2015 BLUE BOOK. Here we present the most popular changes requested by our respondents. But what do you think? How do we take the industry forward? We are going to be seeking answers to these questions over the new few weeks. We will be trying to find those networks who are willing to lead the industry forward with higher standards, greater professionalism and improved transparency. Give us your feedback and perhaps you will be featured or interviewed in a future newsletter. Who are the people that will lead this industry over the next five years? Are you one of them? Email email@example.com The Top 4 Changes Demanded By Our Research Panel 1. More transparency in lead-scrubbing. Many, many publishers feel strongly about this. We received dozens of complaints about networks that seem to arbitrarily cut publisher payments for leads because they claim they are fraudulent, duplicated or non-qualified. In the worst cases, the complaints are about “shaving”, where a network simply takes a small percentage of leads away from a publisher’s account for no legitimate reason whatsoever. Most networks say that lead scrubbing is a necessary part of what they do and in fact, most publishers probably agree. The dissatisfaction is with the lack of transparency or advance notification. What do you say, network owners? Publishers? How do we fix this? 2. Non-Compliant Affiliates Ruining It For Everyone Many affiliates push the envelope on how they promote offers, but some cross way over the line and ignore compliance rules, with the result that within a very short time the advertiser has a bunch of angry customers, the network concerned loses the offer and the publishers who stayed compliant lose all the work they have put in. The trouble is, the incentives are often against compliance: making extravagant claims often leads to higher conversion rates. But it holds the whole industry back. Non-compliant affiliates out-compete the good guys, driving best practices out of the industry. They deter advertisers from using performance marketing. And some say they make it harder for professionally-run networks to rise to the top. What do you think? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. 3. Badly-Optimized Landing Pages Leading To Poor Offer Performance We received a lot of complaints about the quality of landing pages. It seems like such a simple thing: create two or three landing pages for each offer and then split-test them with a few, reputable publishers until the offer’s conversion rate has been proved out. But it is clear from our Research Panel that this often doesn’t happen. It’s clearly bad for the advertisers and the publishers – they are putting their faith in a landing page that may simply not convert – but it is also obviously bad for the network. So why run the offer at all until you know it’s ready to go? We don’t have a good explanation for this, but we enough feedback to think it may be a bigger problem than we ever believed. What is your experience? Email email@example.com. 4. Bring CPA Networks Closer To CPS Networks In Terms Of Professionalism Running a CPA network presents a different set of challenges to running a CPS/affiliate network. The competition is more intense – often from networks running the exact same offer – the companies are smaller and the advertisers are often less financially secure. CPA networks find themselves caught between publishers who want pre-paying for media, and advertisers who don’t want to pay for 45 days. So the pressures on CPA network owners are enormous. Does that inevitably lead to cutting corners and lack of professionalism. We don’t believe so – the BLUE BOOK winners demonstrate that. But clearly many people have the perception that a lot of CPA networks leave a lot to be desired in this regard. What do you think? Email firstname.lastname@example.org Filed under: Revenue Tagged under: affiliate marketing, Blue Book Survey, Business Models, CampaignManagement, Industry Trends About the Author Chris Trayhorn, Publisher of mThink Blue Book Chris Trayhorn is the Chairman of the Performance Marketing Industry Blue Ribbon Panel and the CEO of mThink.com, a leading online and content marketing agency. He has founded four successful marketing companies in London and San Francisco in the last 15 years, and is currently the founder and publisher of Revenue+Performance magazine, the magazine of the performance marketing industry since 2002.