15 Years in the Making
A 15-year heritage of affiliate & performance marketing, 15 plus conferences in London, New York, Amsterdam, Munich and Barcelona, six Performance Marketing Awards ceremonies, 20 plus networking events, an affiliate forum and performance marketing news & resource portal.
With our focus having changed over the 15 years we've been involved in affiliate & performance marketing, today we are proud to be placed as thought-leaders, professional event creators, market growers and an educational arm for an industry that's growing rapidly – having ourselves grown into a fully fledged performance marketing digital publication.
We've built many relationships over the years having been heavily involved in the early days of affiliate marketing. Yet today, we shift our focus to one that encompasses affiliate as part of wider performance marketing. An industry we've grown to be so passionate about.
Take a look at our history, from way back in 1999 up until what we've got in store for 2014.
Performance Moves Further up the Value Chain
2014 kicks off with the launch of the annual Performance Marketing Guide, written by some of the most knowledgeable minds in the industry and covering all the pay-per-performance metric's bases.
In April we return to the Grosvenor House Hotel, London for the 8th Performance Marketing Awards. There has been a continual year-on-year growth in both attendees and entrants to the awards, which reflects the rate at which the industry continues to progress – this is a night to recognise and reward outstanding performance marketing. Find out how you can put your performance in the spotlight and showcase your innovation, creativity and success in front of an audience of peers and industry leaders.
Our focus will then turn to the inaugural Performance Marketing Insights: Europe, following last year's rebrand from the a4uexpo. And what better place to begin the new chapter than in Berlin, the continent's startup capital. Taking place at the Estrel Hotel, 24-25 June 2014, the European conference programme will combine international speakers, thought leaders, figureheads, start-ups and digital experts to form a leading agenda that supplies insight and strategy on performance-based marketing within the wider digital marketing mix.
Performance Marketing Insights: London caps off the year, having seen US visitors double in 2013 and attendees jet in from as far as Australia, India, South Africa, Chile, Russia, Canada, and beyond – reflecting the truly global nature of the event. The Westminster Park Plaza, London will again play host to the event in October 2014.
Pushing Performance Marketing on a Global Level
March 2013 saw Performance Marketing Insights launch its inaugural conference in the United States, bringing 600 attendees together for two days of advanced-level performance marketing in New York City.
The conference was made up of 25 high-level, thought-leadership sessions covering international, regional and local markets. 50 speakers, two days, an official networking party and a C-Level, director and global attendance in a targeted environment.
The seventh annual Performance Marketing Awards ceremony took place at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel in London's Park Lane in May. Almost 1,000 guests attended the most glamorous night in the performance marketing calendar, to reward excellence and innovation across the UK and internationally.
July marked the end of an era, as when the curtain fell in Amsterdam on the a4uexpo Europe for the year, it also fell on the brand under its current guise. The conference returns to Europe in 2014 taking on the Performance Marketing Insights name.
Our flagship event, Performance Marketing Insights: London, rounded off our conference series for the year. In October the Westminster Park Plaza, London played host to an audience of international brands and industry leaders, 80+ speakers and almost 1000 attendees, over an incredible two days.
Performance Marketing on a Global Level
The year that our a4uAwards ceremony fully rebranded; announced as the Performance Marketing Awards
Here's the 2012 book of the night showcasing the shortlist and winners in more detail
And here's the video, with interviews from 7thingsmedia, Performance Horizon Group and Skimlinks, among 900 others!
A4uexpo Europe 2012 moved to Barcelona and attracted attendees from the established markets of the UK, France, Germany and Netherlands to meet delegates from the emerging Spanish market. A lot has to be said for cross-border affiliation and networking. We also had a party on the beach too.
Building Momentum & Attracting Wider Digital Marketers
Performance Marketing is fully catching the eye of blue-chip companies, top 500 inc companies, wider digital agencies and mainstream media.
With an attendance churn of new visitors for 2011 up across all our events, a dedicated agency, consumer targeting and multi-channel award category being added due to demand, plus speakers from wider digital disciplines descending on our a4uexpo conference series, 2011 quite simply was Performance Marketing’s most successful yet.
For this year's awards ceremony we introduced individual videos for each performance marketing category. Here’s a video of VoucherCodes.co.uk picking up an award!
And one of Commission Junction winning the Best Travel & Leisure Advertiser for their work with TUI
A4uexpo Europe 2011 was another resounding success, and it was pleasing for us to see many European markets become known less as ‘emerging’ and more so as ‘established’ over the years we’ve been running our pan-European conference.
One particular highlight was without doubt our awesome keynote by Ogilvy chairman Rory Sutherland, who inspired our 900 delegates with insight into Behavioural Economics in Affiliate Marketing. If you haven’t seen this yet, it's well worth a watch:
A4uexpo London 2011 also moved to a new venue, where it has set up home ever since. The Hilton Metropole London put our flagship Performance Marketing Conference a home in London’s swanky West End.
Hosting well in excess of 1,100 delegates, there was a high-level Performance Marketing agenda on offer, alongside an increase in technology & data solutions that made their presence known on the exhibition floor!
Finally, in what was a big year for the team at Existem / A4u, our editorial team released the first 144-page guide of its kind, dedicated to performance marketing. Sourcing contribution from over 20 industry companies, the guide reached over 10,000 downloads in its first year.
You can get the Performance Marketing Guide 2013 here – which features over 30 contributions from leading industry experts.
From Affiliate to Performance
Affiliates4u has its second rebrand in as many years. Industry developments have ensured that performance marketing is taking a larger slice of ecommerce pie month-on-month, alongside the rise of mobile affiliates thanks to smartphone adoption, data harnessing and smarter marketing.
Therefore a platform was delivered by A4u that offered insight into the full performance marketing spectrum covering news, opinion and features on search, affiliate, social, mobile, display, e-mail and lead generation.
2010 was also the start of two years of change. We increased numbers, sponsors, exhibitors and sessions for a4uexpo Europe 2010, which was moved along the ‘European tour’ to Munich, Germany. This was our first performance marketing conference that focused on the whole of performance-based marketing. CPA was ‘so 2009’ at this conference, and instead CPX made it’s debut!
Wait. Yep. We’ve got a video for that too!
Our official networking party ROCKED, too!
The a4uAwards, now an affiliate & performance marketing ceremony, moved to the most prestigious ballroom in London – the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane. The reason for moving to add the Performance elements to our titles was down to the innovation from within the channel.
Affiliates were becoming publishers brands of their own, first points of call and super marketing channels, and therefore utilising new payment and commission models that suited their growing professional reputation.
Here's the video of the event – look out for VoucherCodes.co.uk who secured a hat-trick of wins at this one (they were acquired by WhaleShark Media in 2011)
And of course, how could we forget our flagship affiliate & performance marketing conference, a4uexpo London 2010, which moved to a new venue and attracted just over 1,000 industry professionals to our two-day conference in East London.
Guess what’s next…
Growing Emerging Markets with a pan-European Conference
On the back of two successful London shows, we launched our first mainland Europe affiliate & performance marketing conference in Amsterdam. It was a true pan-European event that attracted over 800 delegates from 30 countries – helping to push a professional approach to affiliate marketing whilst enhancing networking opportunities as new / emerging markets to talk ‘shop’ with more seasoned affiliate marketers from other marketplaces.
But don’t just take our word for it – check out our testimonials from Dave Naylor and Joost de Valk about our inaugural European show.
Oh – and while we’re on the subject of videos – here’s our a4uexpo London affiliate & performance marketing 2009 video.
We also moved the a4uAwards to the Hilton Park Lane Hotel where over 550 people joined us to celebrate further successes in affiliate marketing.
Rewarding Excellence, Innovation & Professionalism
Not only did a4uexpo London return for its second successive year (and growing numbers by 30% too!) but we continued to push affiliate marketing into the spotlight with the launch of the a4uAwards – Europe’s first black-tie awards ceremony that rewarded excellence and innovation.
With annual digital marketing awards that lacked affiliate award categories why couldn’t they recognise success in affiliate marketing? Luckily we created a whole event with 500 guests that showcased the potential of affiliate marketing to brands and campaigns in true style!
Check out our sponsors for the 2008 a4uAwards in our reel:
The a4uexpo Conference Series Launches
The longstanding a4uForum goes through a rebrand and adds a news, resource, blog and event arm to its offering, allowing affiliate marketing to have a platform to shout about success in the sector which was recently valued for the UK alone as a £4 billion industry.
To meet demand from the industry, and to complement the growing attendance at A4u networking events, the first affiliate marketing conference in the UK was created by existem, taking place in East London. Take a look at our event video to see just how professional affiliate marketing was becoming!
– this was then recreated for 2008 where numbers continued to grow.
Providing Networking Platforms to Keep Affiliate Marketing Ascending
The birth of the ‘A4u Roadshow’ as we launch networking events for the affiliate marketing industry not just in London but also across the UK, Ireland and Europe.
These two years saw us run a networking event on a boat that travelled the length of the Thames in central London, another boat cruise through Gloucester in central England, a roadshow in Dublin for education, networking and Guinness purposes, and networking events in Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.
We also ran a networking cruise from Newcastle to Amsterdam!
To complement the launch of our European events we also later ran roadshows in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Madrid! Racking up those air miles!
A Step-Up for Affiliate Marketing
To complement the rise in discussion surrounding affiliate marketing the a4uForum moves from a free eZboard forum to a vBulletin licenced forum. This allowed for extra resources to be built into the platform to aid affiliates, merchants, agencies and networks to grow their relationships and businesses at a time when affiliate marketing was on a meteoric rise across the UK, Europe and USA.
Incidentally, 2003 was also the first year that Matthew Wood and the team at Existem organised a more professional and lavish event for affiliate marketing at the Kensington Roof Gardens, which included sponsor stands, structured networking and small learning sessions.
You can read all about “The Limo Club” and the early days of affiliate marketing on Fraser’s Affiliate Marketing Blog
The Rise of Affiliate Networks
Following a huge rise of affiliate networks launching in the space, Commission Junction, buy.at, Affiliate Window and dgm all engage with the a4uForum as commercial partners and partake in industry debate to help grow the presence of affiliate marketing as a performance-based marketing channel.
The year 2002 was also the start of many an ‘affiliate pub gathering’ which was organised by Matthew Wood, who wanted to grow relationships within the channel – the bar was often sponsored by affiliate networks in the space, too!
The Birth of Affiliate Marketing - We Were There!
Founder of Existem (the parent company behind Performance Marketing Insights) and an affiliate himself, Matthew Wood creates an affiliate marketing forum to find others involved in the new affiliate marketing industry.