365 days isn’t long, right? It’s only, what, 52 weeks?
You could be forgiven for asking yourself what my fixation is on this particular length of time. Well, before I write another word, allow me to elaborate.
Give or take a week, it has been roughly a year since I started deciphering the world of performance marketing. Coming from a background where I couldn’t have told you the difference between an attribution model and a catwalk model, it has indeed been one steep learning curve.
The only way I’ve been able to clamber up this Kilimanjaro of knowledge is because my employers double up as an educational outlet. Having the luxury of being able to attend such insight-rich events as those in the a4uexpo series has been the difference between traversing a vertical ascent with or without the aid of rope (I promise that’s my last mountain metaphor).
On the fly education
Whilst swotting up on the performance industry, I’ve also been writing about it. It’s not the easiest of tasks I can tell you – but at least I can take comfort in the fact that it might have made for an intriguing subplot to this site’s main narrative. You’ll have had the pleasure of watching me spout jargon almost as good as the industry’s thought leaders, but you’ll have also no doubt winced with pain as I’ve muddled my acronyms and generally gotten my metrics in a twist.
Over my first 12 months as a performance marketing observer, there have been a number of highlights and lowlights. I’d say one of the most substantial, industry-defining highlights that I’ve reported on has only recently come to fruition.
The UK OPM study was obviously a huge undertaking for all involved: the IAB, PwC and all the report’s contributors. As you’d expect from an online publication of A4u’s standing, we covered it in great detail – it was thoroughly satisfying to see the industry and all of the hard work that goes into it being brought into the limelight. Not only were we one of the first to release news of the report, we also provided further extended analysis from both the affiliate and lead-generation perspective. We’re not done there, though: we’ll soon be releasing a hefty Q&A; piece, so keep your eyes peeled for that one.
An evolving OPM study
I’m sure I speak for many when I say that it’s my hope the report goes from strength to strength over the coming years. I can just imagine the PwC analysts cradling their craniums if they’re reading this, but it would be great to see a yearly incarnation incorporating all of performance marketing’s sub-channels, including the likes of search, email and display. Only then could it be referred to as a performance marketing study in its truest sense.
One of the lowlights I bore witness to was probably the E-Privacy Directive and its rather elongated implementation. I was quite shocked at the lackadaisical approach that some of the more well-known brands with their ample digital budgets took to compliance. Fortunately, we now seem to be there or thereabouts. The lion’s share of the responsibility for making that happen can be apportioned to the IAB AMC, and I commend all those involved for their efforts.
Sitting somewhere in between both highlight and lowlight is what could’ve been perceived as an advertiser aversion to the mobile channel. It’s been a long hard slog, but we’re finally beginning to witness quite a widespread rollout for the support of mobile devices, either through responsive website design or dedicated apps.
The festive effect
Christmas seemed to provide companies with some much-needed impetus to get their mobile ducks in a row. Brands will have undoubtedly suffered from a huge missed revenue opportunity if they weren’t catering for all those new tablet and smartphone owners that cropped up over the festive period.
Once the basic foundation of support for mobile has been put in place, I’m really looking forward to some serious innovation in the space. What lengths will businesses go to in order to engage with consumers? It’s going to be fascinating to behold from the outside looking in.
All that leads me quite neatly onto 2013. Whilst I’m quite looking forward to seeing what announcements and innovations are thrown at me over the course of the year, the thing that has me most excited is some of the exceptionally hard work going on behind the scenes here at A4u HQ.
We've bolstered our content team with the hiring of News Journalist, Pippa Chambers. Feel free to say hello to her. She'll be writing about performance marketing with more of a global twist. It means more quality coverage of this ever-evolving industry right here on A4u, which can only be a good thing.
So, with that small announcement, all that’s left for me to say is, “Here’s to another great year!”