Can you give us a brief overview of your working history and what your relationship is with Performance Marketing?

I have been in the “digital” trenches here in NYC since 1996. And being a scientist, data and metrics have always been at the heart of the way I approach marketing and business strategy. As we continue to transition from “traditional” forms of advertising where we used to measure the size of the audience to “digital” forms of advertising where we have 2-way feedback loops, we have more data than ever to inform our marketing and tell us how well it is performing.

How has perception of the affiliate tag changed over time at large digital agencies?

DAF: The term “affiliate” is now more mainstream than ever. In the past, when “branding” still dominated all ad spending, advertisers and their agencies were asking for “reach and frequency.” Now with digital channels we can track many marketing activities through to the desired action or purchase and so we are now much more in an “affiliate state of mind” where advertisers are asking for performance.

Where would you place Affiliate Marketing within the digital marketing ecosystem at current day?

DAF: It is finally becoming a greater focus — and is really the holy grail of the trend CPM, CPC, to CPA. More dollars are shifting towards performance.

Performance-based Marketing and its acceptance among the wider digital sphere is rising. Why do you think this is?

DAF: Advertisers are demanding it now. Previously it was acceptable to just know how large of an audience you potentially showed your ad to. Now it is necessary to show how many people did something in reaction to the ad — hence the “performance” orientation.

In order to aid this acceptance, what industry issues need to be tackled, if any?

DAF: One of the main things that have hindered a greater use of “performance” metrics is the agreement on what metrics to use and how to attribute credit, especially across channels. When comparing TV advertising, whose metrics are the size of the audience, to digital ads, whose metrics deal with actions that users take, it is understandable how difficult this used to be. But if we focus in on the actions of the users, throughout their purchase funnel or customer journey, we can see how various forms of advertising and marketing are suited for different parts of the funnel. Once advertisers realize this, they can map the right tactics to the right part of the funnel and attribute credit appropriately and therefore balance ad spending across all channels and tactics.

What would you say is likely to be the big discussion points for digital as a whole over the next 12 months?

DAF: One of the main themes of discussion in marketing will continue to be what is the optimal percentage allocation of the various forms of advertising. If advertisers are able to break through the “traditional versus digital” mindset and think of performance at every stage of the funnel, then the appropriate forms of advertising and the appropriate allocations will be determined easily.

Dr Augustine Fou is speaking at Performance Marketing Insights: New York – March 12-13