I first met Carolyn at a Shareasale Think Tank back in 2007 I think, but it could have been at an Affiliate Summit before that. Previously, I had known her online though Abestweb. All this is to say that I have watched her work in the affiliate management space for a long time.
All that online pre-purchase research activity is what
Google called the Zero Moment of Truth. And that is where affiliates add value.
1.) You’ve decided to go the agency route, becoming the VP of Performance Marketing at All Inclusive Marketing. What prompted your decision to do this now?
My career to this point has been exclusively focused on affiliate marketing. So while I have worked with search marketers, social media experts and email aficionados, I don’t have the depth of experience in those areas that I would like. All Inclusive Marketing has expertise in all those areas, so it was a great opportunity for me to help an awesome agency with great people and great clients…and continue my education in e-commerce marketing! It was certainly a tough decision, but Groupon is in wonderful hands now. I worked with an amazing team who I’m certain will ensure continued growth of the affiliate program.
2.) The internet has changed incredibly and rapidly since your days at Shareasale. With social media essentially allowing every Facebook and Twitter consumer to be affiliates (whether they choose to be paid for it or not), what is the strongest modern selling point to either doing a superb job managing your program in house, or hiring an outside firm? In other words, has the value and scope of the affiliate channel changed over the years?
Rebecca Madigan of the Performance Marketing Association gave a keynote recently, in which she said affiliates help drive the “Zero Moment of Truth.” Originally, there was the First Moment of Truth, a concept coined by P&G to describe the first reaction a consumer has when encountering a product for the first time on a store shelf. However, with so many online channels, the number of First Moments is really diminishing, as more and more consumers are researching online prior to making a purchase. By the time the consumer reaches that store shelf, their purchase decision has already been made. All that online pre-purchase research activity is what Google called the Zero Moment of Truth. And that is where affiliates add value. Consumers may consider brand sites biased, so third-party feedback on products has greater weight than ever before. And who’s creating that third-party feedback? Affiliates! Affiliates are online, they’re in mobile, they’re everywhere a consumer is looking for information.
3.) Like me, you like numbers. When you are reviewing an affiliate program, what are the first couple of stats you deep dive into while looking for growth opportunity?
The first thing I look at is the number of active affiliates, defined by driving at least one click. I’ll look at this metric over the past week, over the past month, over the past year, to see just what kind of engagement the retailer has with its affiliates. It’s a very telling metric. I’ll also look at the makeup of active affiliates, the percent of coupon sites, content sites, etc. That will give me some insight into the maturity of a program. And yes, I of course look at sales, but initially, I don’t look at the overall number. I’ll look at the trend to see if I can better understand the seasonality of the business. I may have a lot of experience in affiliate marketing, but for each client, I like to really understand what their specific market is like. If I can, I also like looking at quarter-over-quarter data, to see which affiliates have grown, and which have receded. That gives us a lot of operational knowledge that we can mine for growth.