So, as they say “it’s a wrap!” on PI Live Global 2020. If you attended the online version of this important conference, like us, you’ll probably have taken on board some of the key issues being discussed. You’ll also have seen that it was quite a different complexion, especially over the first two days.
We’ve also asked some others in the industry their key takeaways from the sessions. Everyone we spoke to was complimentary about the running of the virtual conference; we added some of their comments in this article.
PI Live Global – 100% Digital Conference
The conference was driven by the excellent Swapcard system – which was simple to use and really seamless to use. John Nardolilli of LinkConnector told us, “PI Live has been a great virtual conference experience. We’ve met new contacts we may not have at in-person shows. The AI used to generate a list of potential contacts is impressive and helped with outreach”.
So PI Live Global has truly been a fully digital event – for a fully digital industry! As Helen Kembery of FMTC put it “PI LIVE created a slick, easy to navigate and enjoyable event. It almost felt like you were there. Networking was a simple process and the variety of people attending seemed even better than usual”.
Cleverly, being online PI Live Global 2020 was designed to fit in with many people’s new working environments, with sessions kicking off at 2pm GMT each day. This made the whole conference more easily accessible to attendees in the USA as well as European markets. Pooja Pallavi of Affilired loved it “amazing and most innovative way to be connected with industry people, friends and partners to exchange knowledge, experience of course business prospects.”
Without the buzz of the conference hall, the sessions felt very quiet. It must have been difficult for speakers to generate enthusiasm in a vacuum – but many did a pretty good job.
The event also ran over four days, so there was plenty of opportunity to make contact with other attendees. With everyone having been involved in Zoom meetings over recent months, users were comfortable with the online format.
The two key ‘Content Partners’ were Awin and Impact, and that really set the tone as the first two days felt a little like an in-network conference, such as CJU. Each also gave their keynote sessions, which put the sponsors’ spin on the industry.
Day three and four felt more like the PI Live we expected. As well as some other more ‘pitch’ style sessions from Webgains and other sponsors, there were some great panels and interview sessions.
As Helen said, “The variety of topics covered was impressive and the interactive options through sessions was helpful”.
Sponsors led a series of Masterclasses focused on partnerships, competitor insights and changing your mindset. The session on using competitor insights to drive volume is something we very much advocate – as our own platform is designed to do exactly that! You can read how Master of Malt used our platform to deliver that in a recent article.
Awin have usefully made their own content sessions available on their website if you want to access them.
Panel Session “Getting to the core of incrementality in practice”
As in most other conferences, it was the panel sessions that added some real meat of the conference. With the very much sponsor-led content, some such as “switching from a network to SaaS” were very much led by the sponsor agenda!
There were a lot of sessions focusing on the importance of developing publisher partnerships, with views from participants across several verticals. Several sessions also talked about – or hinted at the crossover between affiliate marketing and influencer marketing; its almost a shame that there is a separate conference on Influencers, IMS in November.
We noted a strong focus on technology and particularly the growth in use of Machine Learning in affiliate applications. That of course is something we advocate strongly – and which we of course have built in to the Publisher Discovery platform.
The closing panel was a great session on the alignment of affiliate and influencer marketing. Getting the right balance was key. The discussion was informed and informative.
The key takeaway was education and innovation were both needed to make sure we reward and attribute influencers throughout the sale funnel. That applies of course to this session – and to the affiliate marketing industry as a whole.
One of the real pleasures of a conference is of course meeting up with everyone else in the industry. That also had to be virtual, though that was done again in a really cool way.
Callum Ridley of Partnerize, told us “There were so many great sessions for us to tune into and the swapcard app allowed us to easily set up meetings with new partners and connect with many who we would normally see at PILIVE!”
It was really simple to find attendees using the filters, then connect and meet up in a zoom-style window in the app. We could even share screens!
As Pooja said, it was a “fantastic experience and I got some very good connections”. Our own team were also able to demonstrate our latest platform updates and talk about affiliate discovery and engagement.
THE SOCIAL SIDE
The one thing missing was of course the social side of the conference. But that’s been largely missing for everyone for most of the year! We did all get the chance to take part in Matt Bailey’s quiz (thanks ProductsUp) – and there were more relaxed sessions to close off each day. It’s not the same as those most valuable of informal chats over a coffee or a beer at the close of the day’s sessions.
John summed up his experience with PI Live: “Loved the various sessions and the great insights we learned from other industry experts. Overall I felt the execution was amazing and would like to thank PI Live for the time and effort they put into this conference!”
All in all, it cemented PI Live as a must attend; as Callum put it “as an industry, we all recognise PI LIVE as the must attend event of the year, and this year was no different”. So congratulations to Matt Wood and the PI Live team as ever for another brilliant conference.
Hopefully we’ll get to the position so that next year’s PI Live Global is back in Billingsgate – where we can meet up and celebrate another year of affiliate growth.
We spoke to:
– John Nardolilli, the Director of Affiliate Relations at North Carolina based LinkConnector
– Callum Ridley, Partner Growth Manager at Partnerize
– Pooja Pallavi, of Affilired
– Helen Kembery of FMTC
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