With PI LIVE Europe hitting London on 24-25 October, there is so much to look forward to. As the go-to event for brands, publishers, and tech to gather and forge profitable partnerships, we always love attending. 

As ever, partnerships, and specifically affiliate partnerships, will play a key part in the content tracks at PI LIVE, with plenty of speakers giving us fresh thinking and tech updates and plenty of debate over a glass or two of prosecco. 

So what do we think will be the hottest conversations around affiliate marketing this year?

1) How affiliate marketing is aligned (or not) with influencer marketing

We all know that affiliate marketing and influencer marketing require different approaches, but there’s a lot of overlap. So in order to maximise efficiency, it’s important to recognise how the two marketing strategies align - and how they differ - within a particular organisation.

For example, affiliates tend to be companies whereas creators are almost exclusively individuals. Their working processes differ, their relationship with their audiences differ and therefore the tools required to support these differ. 

On the other hand, being third-party to the brand, both affiliates and influencers fall under the partnership marketing umbrella, and this is where both channels can align. 

Under a blended partnership management approach, both affiliates and influencers can align on goals; internal teams can build collaboration; decrease friction in partnership building; expand the customer base; and support long-term vision for either channel. 

The degree to which affiliate and influencer marketing can work together within businesses will likely be a trending conversation at PI LIVE. 

2) Affiliate teams will start to help other functions within marketing teams

Reducing the ‘siloed teams’ mindset is still a struggle for many businesses, with 31% citing siloed mindsets and behaviours as a challenge for navigating digital transformation. In terms of internal marketing teams, those who work on affiliate partnerships are in a unique position to advocate for change in their business. We’re seeing affiliate teams - given the right technology - starting to help the business innovate in different ways. For example, affiliate teams can help support SEO teams as well as engage with brand partners to help with brand marketing. This method of internal collaboration can also further lead to influencer marketing teams being able to reuse and repurpose content for social teams.  

3) Spotlight on tracking: the push from pixel to API

While Google’s sunsetting of the third-party cookie in the wake of consumer data privacy laws is having an impact on online advertising, affiliate marketers have also historically used cookies to track their affiliate links and activity. 

Currently, affiliate managers are having to work harder to get results since tracking is being increasingly blocked, and so revenue is no longer being attributed to the affiliate channel. This important topic deserves airtime and we expect the conversation to centre on how to move away from cookies and pixels to a more privacy-friendly API approach.

4) It’s all about the budget 

Many affiliate marketers know just how powerful the channel can be for their brand, but they experience a great deal of frustration when they don’t get the budget they need from decision-makers to scale up affiliate operations.

With budgets getting cut - combined with greater difficulty in attributing affiliate sales - how can affiliate marketing teams prove the channel’s importance and value creation for all parts of the ecosystem - and use that to secure bigger budgets for their teams?

I imagine lots of affiliate folk will be talking about this issue as part of their networking conversations.

5) The affiliate partner relationship 

Finally, another trending, but long standing, conversation in the industry at the moment is how the overall affiliate/brand relationship is managed. This conversation will focus more around what brands are doing to make sure their affiliates feel it's a two-way relationship - that they are heard and valued. Communication and fair treatment will be key drivers of a long-term positive relationship.

Of course, at impact.com we love talking about all things affiliate, but I think what I’m looking forward to most is being able to keep a finger on the partnership industry pulse, sharing the challenges we’ve been experiencing, and hearing about solutions to combat today’s challenges.

Interested in learning more about the partnership economy? I'll be at PI LIVE this month, so drop me a message to connect. Otherwise, I heard there’ll be free drinks at impact.com’s stand… so join us in the impact.com Prosecco Lounge.

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