Affiliate Summit Delivers Insight, Business Opportunity, Booth Babes
Affiliate Summit Boston was held August 10-12 at the Seaport World Trade Center. Affiliate Summit brings together those who, well, engage in affiliate marketing. What's affiliate marketing? Basically, it's revenue share advertising. A site runs ads for free but gets a cut of whatever sale occurs through the advertising. If you've seen those amazon book listings on websites then you've seen affiliate advertising.
Here's another great definition: "Affiliate marketing widens the scope of your internet presence by encouraging other websites to become advocates for your services, increasing your online exposure and improving the efficiency of your advertising spend."
That's the simple definition. From there, it expands exponentially which, of course, is why there's a conference series for the practice. Some say it's the seedy side of advertising but that's really not the case. It's just another revenue channel for website publishers and advertisers to explore.
The biggest learning from attending the Summit was the fact it's a $14 billion industry yet it's a segment of marketing that doesn't get much mainstream advertising press. Why? Because it doesn't consist of sexy, :30 spots made by primadonna ad agencies which are concerned, mostly with winning awards Affiliate marketers care mainly about one thing; making money.
Affiliate is not sexy. There's no Cannes for affiliate marketing. There's just down and dirty hard work. It's not flashy. It's not glossy. And that's what makes it work.
At the conference, panels covered topics such as copywriting techniques to increase the liklihood visitors to a landing page will respond to an offer. It's analogous, in a way, to direct marketing. It's all about steering a person to one particular outcome.
Another panel opened discussion regarding the formation of an association for the industry. Advocates for the Performance Marketing Association, along with others, voice their opinion of the topic and, in some cases, argued vehemently about whether not such a group would look out for the little guy, of which there are many in the world of affiliate marketing.
The notion of affiliate marketing and social media coming together was explored as well. Partially, this is the world in which IZEA/PayPerPost lives. Much has been said about business models which leverage social media (i.e. regular people who write about stuff for small audiences and can influence them) and the need/repercussions of transparent disclosure. On this panel, it was pointed out the world of social media can be used to listen closely for hints of what's next to come in terms of affiliate marketing. In a sense, it's free research.
Apart from panels, the conference also had breakout sessions where vendors and publishers cold met face to face and discus the details of doing business together. Rather than leave this to the casual hallway conversation which happens at most conferences, Affiliate Summit formalizes this process.
Likely, there will never be a Cadbury Gorilla emerging from the world of affiliate marketing but affiliate marketing is everywhere. Google AdWords is affiliate marketing. Heard of that?
And, oh, there were the ubiquitous booth babes floating about the exhibit hall floor as well as several parties. What's an ad conference without those two important elements?
Interesting, the most prominent booth babes manned (womaned? babed?) the affspy booth which provided an interesting service for publishers using affiliate marketing. Apparently, when signing up for affiliate programs, it's not very easy to see all the monetary details of the offering such as cost-per-whatever figures or payout. affspy provides this allowing publishers to search for the best deals. It's similar to what Rubicon for for those using ad networks. Both offer a single place to find the best deals for publishers.
For visual representation of the conference, check out the photo album here.