PI Live 21 - Was Actually Live!
It seems like forever since many of us actually met someone - and saw more than head and shoulders in a Zoom window! PI Live 21 was a real breath of fresh air to so many of us in the affiliate industry; a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, to pick up on the latest news and technologies - and discuss new partnerships.
In all of that the show didn't disappoint. Matt Wood and the team have magnificently weathered the last two years trying to bring us content and events, such as PI Live Global last Spring. This latest show as someone described it to me was 'like Groundhog Day' - like we can restart things.
That's not to say that the world of affiliate has been a bit quiet - in fact that's been quite the opposite. As we have mentioned in other articles, networks had reported a huge increase of applications from influencers to affiliate programs over the last year or so as advertising budgets adjusted to lockdowns and a huge shift online.
You can view the recordings of all the sessions in the Video Vault >
Old Hands Reunite
I personally also met up with a lot of the old faces of affiliate at the show. There are some almost permanent fixtures, such as James Little, Kevin Edwards, Florian Gramshammer, Gill Makepeace and a host of others. It was evident from the new faces appearing that the growth over last year or so has meant that we saw a lot of new faces - many with over a year's experience in affiliate management already!
It was good to bump into some of the faces from the early days of the industry such as Stacey Alexander. But it wasn't all reminiscence, Doug Scott was exhibiting with his Redbrain team - and Steve Brown who was introducing some interesting technology with Moonpull.
It was good to meet with all our old friends as well - and especially our partners from Affiliate Future, Linkconnector, FMTC, CJ and Partnerize. It's also great to hear how our innovations are helping them grow the affiliate base and give advertisers greater clarity on competitors' activity.
Influencers and Affiliate
We've all read of the merging of the influencer and affiliate worlds due to the huge ad budget changes during 2020. Matt Wood's view as organiser of Influencer Show this week was that far from merging.
The last year has seen an explosion of brands seeking further engagement with online publishers and influencers in new ways. Matt shared that the Influencer Marketing Show which followed on the 21st October was very well subscribed with significant major brands from the automotive and FMCG sectors making a big splash. Many of the big names in affiliate such as Awin and Impact were also major sponsors.
At PI Live 21, Niamh Butler-Walton was in conversation with Robin Ward of LTK (formerly RewardsStyle / LikeToKnow) discussing how to integrate influencer and affiliate in an integrated marketing strategy.
Lisa Power and Helen Southgate of Acceleration Partners discussed around this and the blurred lines between traditionally brand-led channels such as influencer and mass media. They suggested that how outcomes-based marketing is securing higher marketing budgets and why it will be the go-to channel for all brands in the future.
Case studies illustrating these points from Acceleration's broad client base appeared to very much back that up. As I've read and heard many times recently, the affiliate model is very much coming of age and has achieved front and centre in most progressive advertisers' strategies.
New Affiliate Technologies
There were quite a few great new technologies on show at PI Live 21 as well. This is of course an industry built on innovation and we have seen some excellent technologies introduced in recent years.
There were several sessions outlining innovation in attribution models and using external tracking systems to manage those more effectively, particularly where networks aren't providing the technology effectively.
We also heard from Catherine Comerford of Klarna talking about the meteoric rise of 'buy now pay later' affiliates during the last year. She outlined where these new publishers sit within the channel, the value they drive as a part of a full-funnel affiliate program.
There are also publishers innovating to add new functionality for advertisers on an affiliate model. We met up with Envolve, winners of 'Best Performance Marketing Technology' - and exhibiting at PI Live 21 directly opposite our own stand. It was also great to meet up with other innovative publishers who we'd interviewed in our Publisher Spotlight series of articles.
The Publisher Discovery team was demonstrating the beta version of the Instant Insights tool. This lets anyone get an instant insight (makes sense!) on any advertiser or publisher website and see the affiliate partnerships.
The live app draws from the database of over 3.6 million affiliate websites and billions of links to over 600,000 affiliate programs globally.
The latest additions are to show vertical mix of affiliate websites along with networks they link to - and the programs they promote. Social and email links are also available to recruit them straight off.
The results show any changes each month, of new affiliate links identified - or lost. A loss maybe as simple as an affiliate taking a page down temporarily. Users with an account can then click through and see those details - try it yourself on the home page now.
If you missed us at PI Live 21 and want to see more make sure you book a demo >
Food and Refreshing Conversations
Talking of a breath of fresh air - there was certainly a bit of that out on the riverside terrace. The queues for lunch were whipped about by flying debris and the huge tent felt at times as though it was about to head off to land at City Airport!
The Caribbean and Uzbekistani catering added an interesting flavour, especially with the bacon, avocado and plantain breakfast roll 😋 and we had some great and unexpected chats with new people over a bite to eat. It's these serendipitous conversations that make the difference of course and are the reason face to face conferences really work.
Having said that, we'll unfortunately not be able to make it to Affiliate Summit West this year. Luckily our partners will be there. So please talk to them about how their partnership with Publisher Discovery can add real value for advertisers and agencies. You can see more on our partnerships page.
Access the Video Vault
All the sessions from PI Live are available in the Vimeo Video Vault and enter the code you got in a PI Live email. If you were unable to attend, you can access all the recordings for £150.
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