As we all adjust to new realities post-lockdown, Mobile Marketing Magazine speaks to Impact’s Regional Vice President EMEA, Alex Springer, about the future of the partnership economy and influencer marketing trends to watch.
Mobile Marketing: What were some of the key insights from your recent Partnership Experience Conference?
Alex Springer: At Impact, we are always looking for creative ways to evangelise about the power of partnerships, so our virtual event series was a great way to feature industry leaders discussing partnerships that ignites action and benefits the bottom line. The online conference covered topics including growth, trust, authenticity and the future of the partnership economy. Delving further into these themes, speakers from HubSpot, Disney, Conde Nast and HSBC shared insights on creating brand-to-brand relationships based on authenticity, how agencies can help organisations take full advantage of the partnership economy and how small businesses can scale their ecommerce through partnerships.
MM: Tell us about your latest acquisition of Affluent
AS: Following our acquisitions of ACTIVATE in 2020 and Trackonomics earlier this year, we recently acquired leading analytics and automation platform, Affluent, to help us power agency managed partnership programmes at scale.
Affluent enables agencies to aggregate affiliate data from multiple networks and platforms, automate and generate custom reporting, and optimise clients’ partnerships with publishers in a single platform. With Affluent, agencies can manage more clients, better optimise performance across clients, improve reporting capabilities and ultimately, increase their revenue.
Partnerships are surging as an effective way for brands to surpass competitors in terms of growth. But with hundreds of platforms and affiliate networks out there, agencies today require a centralised platform to effectively aggregate and analyse data to optimize the many partnership programmes they manage. In 2020, Affluent grew its client base by 70 per cent and helped agencies and advertisers manage more than 1,800 affiliate programmes. Last year alone, Affluent tracked over $10bn in brand revenue and over $1bn in publisher commissions. We are excited to welcome Affluent into the Impact family and are confident that our suite of services will continue to supercharge partnerships for our clients.
MM: What does your partnership with Shopify mean for their merchants?
AS: As a certified app partner for influencer and affiliate marketing, Shopify Plus merchants can now launch and automate influencer and affiliate programmes through the Impact Partnership Cloud. As the global leader in partnership automation, Impact can enable Shopify Plus merchants to easily and quickly launch and automate affiliate and influencer programmes without developer involvement. Merchants can access Impact’s platform through Shopify’s App Store and recruit new partners, develop contracts, settle payments, track partners to attribute performance across devices, measure performance and communicate the latest brand messaging and updates to partners. Merchants also have access to fraud protection and to optimise partnerships to maximise efficiency and growth, all within their Shopify marketplace.
MM: How can brands look to the future with partnerships?
AS: Effective partnerships take real work, and that work is both interesting and high-value. The first part of that work is thinking of your customer first - and thinking beyond their ‘customer lifecycle’. What other brands do they interact with? Where do they get their information and what products do they enjoy that are complementary to yours? Truly effective partnership opportunities lie in the answers to those questions. Partnership automation tools help with everything from outreach and development to management and execution of the partnership. But whilst partnership automation is critical, you can’t automate relationships and the strength of partnerships lies in there being a human on the other end of the line.
MM: Describe some key trends in influencer marketing for 2021
AS: We expect the partnership ecosystem to continue evolving in 2021 particularly since the influencer marketing industry is predicted to be worth $15bn by 2022. We’ve recently seen the rise of so-called ‘genuinfluencers’ who are hailed as the new generation of content creators. In response to influencer fatigue and a general oversaturation of the market, brands are looking to genuinfluencers to create less glossy and more authentic content that really resonates with consumers.
Predicted to be one of the biggest trends for 2021 and beyond, 'genuinfluencers' are defined as being wholly focused on making a positive impact, with their priority being their social activism and their moral and ethical beliefs, and brand collaborations playing a secondary role to their overall goals. This means that they will always fully vet a brand, including their history, partners and practices, before working with them, and won’t collaborate with anyone who doesn’t align with their cause.
Working with 'genuinfluencers' allows brands to show their support of social issues through a trusted external voice, making their views seem authentic and reassuring their audience that their activism is not simply a marketing ploy to sell more services or products.