Where do you think mobile is heading?
We just talked about this in our presentation. It’s a big topic of mine. The kind of themes that really came out for us was the offline to online. Affiliates could never really tap into offline purchases because there was no mechanism. What really came out of that research for us was that mobile, the early days of it, starts to provide that mechanism.
Now it just might be with vouchers that you can redeem in-store if all the technologies we talked about really start getting rolled out. The ability to now open up the whole affiliate channel to something that wasn’t even part of our mix 12 months ago was a really big thing. It was coming from consumers not from us. Not from companies, but people saying we want these offers. We want to know that we’re getting the best price, best value, most convenient. I don’t know how that’s going to happen, but I think it’s going to be a huge area in the next 12-18 months.
Mobile’s going to finally get to what we’ve been talking about for how long? A decade. Now, I think it’s really happening.
Take Shazam [and its quest for monetisation]. For years it was, “Are they? Aren’t they?” Now one of our publishers has linked up with them and suddenly their whole model has come into its own because of the new technologies in smart phones. Anyone in our space who is not focusing on it, the clients, merchants and affiliates, are missing a huge opportunity.
I would just like to add to that our research is telling us that 71% of mobile users are researching their purchases online. I think the potential to monetise and track the performance of that research subsequently changing into purchases. Whether that’s purchases in app, purchases from the app into web or actually taking that research and then buying in store. It all tracks through affiliate technology.
From a publisher perspective being rewarded for sales that complete in any of those three different parts of the journey means that for affiliates the earning potential of mobile makes it a significant channel. It has to be linked to the adoption of retailers taking that technology, but also advertisers taking responsibility to track their mobile sites and their apps. That’s something we’ve invested a lot of time in both in terms of the research, but also the technology.
Can publishers be part of the mobile sales journey when NFC is launched?
ES: It’s hard to know exactly which way the technology's going to go, how prevalent it’s going to be. They’ve a role to play now and they’ve a role to play later. One of the questions we were asked once was, “Is it just a substitution or are people just buying en mass now what they would’ve bought somewhere else?” By tapping into offline its not a substitution, it’s actually incremental. It’s what, at least in our space, we didn’t get a look into until now. I think it’s a huge opportunity.
JL: I think when you look at targeting technologies, not just geo-targeting, but actually location-based targeting and location-based technologies and you link that into near field communication technologies you can then ad serve an offer when someone’s walking across the store. At the point when the targeting gets that efficient and strong, then it can drive more impulse purchases rather than someone searching for that voucher code in-store. So I think it will drive more incremental business than potentially we’ve seen before.
ES: We did this thing [mobile programme] with Jessops, which isn’t a typical camera. This is not a typical impulse purchase, but we tested this idea with the location-based functionality sending something through just when customers were a certain distance from the shop. It’s amazing how many check-ins we got and actually people going into the shop after being given this the idea. “Okay here’s this offer. Let me just pop in there and see.”
There’s also some kind of reward for actually checking in itself. It worked and that’s not really an impulse purchase. There’s so much we can be doing with that going forward.
How do you perceive the Zoo Project? Are you pleased with it? Is it something you might roll out to other countries?
ES: We’re looking at it almost as a pilot. We all talk about innovation, but we can’t invent everything. We can’t develop everything. So the Zoo Project for me is an amazing opportunity to really identify those companies, those early-stage ventures that are providing something new and something innovative in our space. So they’re great partners, but they also act as a view to what’s going on in the industry.
Right now we’re on our second round. We really want mobile and social Zoo applicants now. We really want to drive innovation in that space.
What did winning the publisher's choice award mean to you as executives of Tradedoubler?
ES: I think it’s just a validation of everything we’ve been trying to do. I think there’s been a huge focus over the last 18 months on publishers being the lifeblood of our business and of the whole affiliate space. I think to Tradedoubler they hadn’t necessarily been seen that way previously. So we put lots of resource, lots of product development, lots of management time and focus on it. It was great to win it. It’s great particularly because we set out to really improve and enhance that side of our business and it looks like it worked. So it’s fabulous to see.
JL: I think the Publisher’s Choice of Network Award is intrinsically linked with the level of support we can deliver. Investing time and resources and technical solutions to ensure that we respond to publishers quickly through that support infrastructure is something that works very well.
We have that specific help centre for publisher support. I think that’s something publishers can really count on. Moving forward, we’re looking to expand the opening hours of that publisher support mechanism.