LinkShare were rewarded for optimising the network by facilitating partnerships and new technologies. What do you think were the key advances you made over the course of the year that helped you to this award accolade?
"There were three areas that we were able to highlight in our nomination – performance, growth and network improvements. In terms of performance, the LinkShare UK network grew 46% year-over-year, strongly outpacing UK online sales which increased just 18% in the same period. I think this was due in part to the nature of the performance marketing channel allowing marketers to see actual return on investment.
"In order to grow the network, we place a strong emphasis on building and maintaining relationships between advertisers and publishers as you will have experienced if you have previously attended one of our frequent events, including our Symposium and monthly networking sessions.
"LinkShare and its parent company Rakuten, Inc. are committed to investing in innovative technology to improve network performance. Development strategies have been born out of an aim to achieve three simple objectives… to keep the network EASY to navigate, OPEN to all partners and FAST to use. These advances were key to helping us win this award."
You showed impressive signs of scalability across your publisher and advertiser base, have you kept this going since your award win in May?
"Yes we have, many of LinkShare’s clients are doing better than ever. The luxury fashion sector, in which many of our advertisers work, is seeing very strong growth at 33% year-over-year, which is also nearly double the industry average. Since May we have continued to introduce some fantastic retailers to the UK network including Molton Brown, Tie Rack, Wallis, Bloomingdales, JOY, Forever 21, Waitrose and Hotels Combined. Our Network Development team work tirelessly to bring new publisher opportunities to the Performance Marketing channel, many of whom have not previously worked on a CPA basis. Behavioural retargeting, basket abandonment & social sites are some of the new publisher types that we have seen making strides in the channel. We have also noticed some new publishers emerging, such as personalised media sites (e.g. Hotdrops) which are only set to increase in popularity as consumers become aware of what is available to them online."
What can we look forward to from LinkShare over the course of the next 5 months, in the run up to the 2012 Performance Marketing Awards?
"We are currently working on some fantastic strategic campaigns for many of our advertisers across mobile and behavioural retargeting. Also, as I said above personalisation is really hitting its stride. These are still complex solutions but retailers that get personalisation right (helping helping consumers not annoying them!) will no doubt have an edge on the competition. These data driven solutions present the right ad to the right consumer at the right time. Personalisation is being used with success by both retailers and affiliates to increase conversion and to gain loyal customers. Intelligent new retailers have even built their models around this, like one of our retailers Stylist Pick who give their customers a free style profile and email them a new product pick list every month with a personalised accessory selection based on your style profile.
"We will continue to strive to make it easy to do business in the LinkShare Network, to help facilitate partnerships, and to provide publishers with all the tools & technology needed to make relationships stronger and more profitable over the long-term."
What do you think are the new factors within the Performance Marketing space to contend with?
"It is now becoming outdated to see on and offline marketing activity as separate. Consumers go on a non-linear journey when making a decision what to buy and may touch the on and offline worlds several time in a variety of ways before making a decision to purchase an item. There have been huge advances in technology this year in everything from social applications, mobile technology and analytics to measure it all.
"So I think that 2012 will be a year of experimentation, which is very exciting for us as an industry. As marketers and retailers become more savvy to this we expect them to invest in solutions that ensure their brand has a multichannel and varied online presence, which will pave the way for mobile and online-to-offline activity."
Interview with Penny Mathers, Marketing Director at LinkShare.
Save the Date - 15th May 2012
The Performance Marketing Awards will take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on 15th May 2012. If you would like to be a part of next year’s awards, by sponsoring the event or booking a table contact Stuart Pringle firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0117 203 3013.
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