I was inspired to write this post after a recent talk with the MediaTrust CEO Peter Bordes about innovation within the internet marketing industry.
Online advertising spending is projected to reach $25.7 billion in 2009, and $42 billion by 2013. A 78% increase over 2008′s $23.6 billion in online spending.(emarketer.com) For an industry that is growing at astonishing rates, most of the companies that are heavily profiting have not put much back into researching and devloping new tools to capitalize on this growth in the coming years. To all affiliates out there, please name 3 recently released tools that allow you to be more productive, your campaigns to be more efficient, and ulitmately more profitable. Not so easy, huh? This lack of innovation will only hurt affiliates in the future. This is because the few networks that are investing in developing better ways to market online now, will blow past competition when growth slows. The affiliates who are associated with the networks that are investing in the right places will benefit tremendously, no doubt.
There are a few reasons for a lack of innovation by both affiliate networks and advertising networks. First, a lot of affiliate networks don’t care because there isn’t a lot of competition, and today they are growing strong. Their antiquated tracking systems work, and affiliates continue to promote their hot offers, which not to mention always “higher payouts than anyone else”. Secondly, advertising networks keep seeing gross clicks and impressions increase as the web is used more and more. So, advertisers will have cheaper rates and the publishers will make more and more money. In other words, the mentalitly of the affiliate and advertising networks is that people will continue to go where the money is. That’s definitly not a sound long term business strategy.
So, the question is which people are setting the right example and more importantly, are setting themselves up for strong business in the future? Most certainly Advaliant/MediaTrust, Motive Interactive, and Wes Mahler/Prosper202. Both Advaliant and Motive posses the leading affiliate interfaces that will soon posses algorithims to match offers with an affiliates past history promoting other offers, and maximize the relationship between affiliates and advertisers. Wes Mahler is worthy of being thanked by every single successful affiliate today, thanks to his opensource PPC tracking system Prosper202.
On the flip side, the companies that are lacking in the innovation department (among others): MaxBounty, and almost all networks using DirectTrack. Take a look at MaxBounty’s homepage, when I applied at first I thought I was in the wrong site. Their site is straight out of the dot com bust. Seriously, would you feel safe putting your PPC budget into very technology developed 9 years ago? Remeber that’s like 100 internet years. To the networks using the DirectTrack interface, great, you are making lots of money. However, DirectTrack serverly limits the amount of customization in the affiliate interface. Not good when it comes to 2010 and several other netowrks have more powerful tracking sytems and limitless opportunities to help out affiliates even more. Props to Ads4Dough for initiating their own switch over to their own custom tracking platform.
So, to the affiliate networks out there, take the hint, you will be ahead of the competition down the road if you invest now. As for the advertising networks, first make an effort to be friendly with some of your biggest spenders, then innovate. Watchout in the coming months for industry leading changes by Advaliant. They are brewing up some pretty neat features for affiliates, not seen anywhere else.