A4U Expo London 2012 in brief

Following an exciting, informative and extremely busy few days at the A4U Expo, the Equator affiliate marketing team is back in the office. We’re sifting through notes, chatting about what we learned and sharing our ideas.

Following an exciting, informative and extremely busy few days at the A4U Expo, the Equator affiliate marketing team is back in the office. We're sifting through notes, chatting about what we learned and sharing our ideas.

We noticed a few key themes emerging from this year's talks, panels and forums and we've summarised our thoughts here...

More creative ways to pay

The multi-attribution debate is one that's been a hot topic in the affiliate channel for quite some time: If more than one affiliate contributes to a conversion, surely each one should be awarded a portion of the commission? With less focus on this tricky area, this year's A4U Expo raised a wider, pertinent subject along a similar vein: Are affiliates rewarded adequately in general? Edwyn McFarlane, Head of Publisher Services at Affiliate Window, broached the subject of bloggers in his Day 2 talk "For Blog's Sake - Don't You Know I Add Value?" with an aim to prove that premium bloggers exert far more influence on purchase behaviour than click path analysis would tend to suggest.

Illustrated with a case study from Aiguamedia, Edwyn convincingly argued that post-impression and departure page analysis would arm marketers with a much more accurate representation of the true value added by bloggers. And of course, once this added value is more widely appreciated, savvy bloggers will rightly demand a more generous reward than just post-click commission, whether that is tenancy investment or post impression commission.

Affiliates: Avoid Google slaps!

From Pandas to Penguins, and more recently the Exact Match Domain update, affiliates whose livelihood depends on SEO traffic may have found the past year something of a challenge. Google's algorithm updates often seem to be aimed at our channel with penalties issued for perceived "thin" content and product descriptions pulled directly from merchant feeds (resulting in duplicate content).

Patrick Altoft of Branded3 and Jon Quinton from SEOGadget delivered a compelling talk which, for me, had one clear message: Don't try to cut corners! Remember that Google's ultimate goal is to delivery high quality search results, so affiliates can achieve long term success by adding value and creating original content. The experts advised that a good affiliate site would survive anything Google throws at it, so don't live on the edge and hope for the best - just do it properly.

Intimidated by big data? Make it smaller

Collaboration between networks, merchants, agencies and affiliates could help us garner far more data from the channel than we currently use in our day to day jobs. We typically report on affiliate performance, performance over time, link performance, product performance and performance of specific promotions, but what could we learn if we drilled the data down further? Helen Southgate of BSkyB broached this vast topic together with Affiliate Window's Matt Swan, and showed the eager audience how to break the data down to reap actionable insights. This made me think about the reams of data available from networks that we could be making more use of. With a better understanding of the types of sales driven by individual affiliates (e.g. new v existing customers/average order values/product categories) our strategies could be even more robust and bespoke commission rates could be employed even more tactically.

It's clear that the Expo gave us lots to think about and some truly actionable ideas. That's one of the reasons we love this event and will continue to attend for years to come!

If you'd like to chat to us about your own thoughts on any of these topics (or indeed anything at all affiliate-related!) please give us a call on 0141 2291800 or email 20jennifer.rogerson@eqtr.com">Jennifer.rogerson@eqtr.com.