Each European market has a very different attitude to performance marketing. Some are more developed than others, some focus on particular verticals and others target professionalism from the off. 

To gain a little more insight into two countries on the cusp of making it big in performance marketing, we asked Chechu Lasheras, Regional Manager ES, PT and LATAM, and Nils Lindhe, Nordic Regional Director for Tradedoubler to give their views on the Spanish and Norweigian markets.

Do you Think There’s a Growing Trend Whereby Affiliates are Becoming More Professional?

Chechu Lasheras: Our business has grown to a level of professionalism quite high and this trend is even increasing. There are a few reasons behind this:

 There has been a fundamental change in the consumer behavior changing their buying patterns that needed to be understood by the publishers. Publishers need to be seen by the consumers as a relevant step in their individual customer journey. An excellence in user experience and a remarkable publisher brand is needed more than ever. From comparison sites to voucher codes sites, brand awareness of their sites is key differentiator to attract potential consumers. This needs a level of professionalism quite different to just having had a well indexed site were publishers could benefit from only organic traffic from search engines.
There is also a big trend about technological innovations adding value to our channel. This pushes professionals to apply complex technologies to optimize and deliver real value to the advertiser in the customer acquisition. This efforts require sometimes top end solutions and technologies to be driven only by well-structured and financed organizations. Display or email retargeting is just a small example about this kind of top solutions or technologies that are being applied in our industry.

Nils Lindhe: We see a clear trend of increased professionalism in the publisher landscape. This is driven by advertisers’ increased knowledge and competence, more sophisticated tracking/reporting tools and active efforts from our side to weed out low quality affiliates and give more attention to sound and stable affiliate business models, such as loyalty programs, bloggers, technology publishers (remarketing, retargeting) and voucher code sites. Publishers with sound business models like Kampanjjakt, active in voucher codes, and Bibo a CPA network of high quality bloggers are increasingly attractive to work with for our advertiser base in the Nordic region.

What’s Changed in the Way You Work With Premium Publishers as They Become Brands in Their own Right?

CL: Networks are accountable for all the work done with top, mid and long tail. There are different levels of requests and demand in all this types of publishers. But premium publishers as they became well known brands are requesting the network to deliver real and additional value for them.
Of course networks could still claim to their asset of big and well known portfolio of advertisers but the networks need to bind this relationships also with technology and solutions that multiplies the value of that premium publisher working through the network.
So for the networks, delivering consultancy services to this top publishers is something that I think is strengthen relationships and lock-in premium publishers when they become brands.

NL: As the leading performance network across the Nordics we’re able to prove our value to premium publishers as we represent some of the biggest and best of the region’s advertisers.  A great example of this is the broad relationship with have with the CDON group where we are working with eight of their brands, ranging from fashion and healthcare products to consumer electronics and white goods.  Plus, we’re adding to our client roster constantly.  We work very closely with our top publishers to make sure they get the right level of attention and get introductions to interesting new affiliate programs with premium commission levels. Ultimately, proving our value to these publishers comes from ensuring that we have a portfolio of attractive advertiser brands that they can work with easily and that earns them more money quickly.

Where do you see the Opportunity for Long Tail Across Europe?

CL: That´s a real value that affiliate networks should look for as our customers are expecting networks to manage all the channels and all types of clients effectively. Most of the networks goal is getting more consumers to buy products online at advertisers any time, any place anywhere.
We need to be prepared, technology wise, to cover this demand and enable innovative mid- and long tail advertisers and publishers in an automated and simple way. Just in order to offer the consumer a much better shopping experience.

NL: Long tail publishers are very interesting as you often see the newer, more innovative business models emerging at this end of the market.  As a company, we’re actively encouraging the long tail with The Zoo Project in the UK, which is fostering new publisher talent and which is likely to expand as a concept into other European territories.   Our studies show that expert travel and fashion bloggers and publishers are proving really popular with consumers looking to research and spend money on where to travel or what to wear, so there are still opportunities there to tap into particular niches.

What Could the IAB Europe do More of to Support Performance Marketing’s Growth?

CL: It would be very helpful if the IAB Europe could represent our segment with accurate numbers in terms of size and value the Online Performance Marketing industry including also the view about sales generated and ROI for our customers, mainly the ecommerce value.  This is a market with a very important growth rate in the past years and the industry needs to be understood and supported to still be a key pillar within the online advertising industry.
I think there are different levels of matureness with in Europe so all the research, trainings and publications that could come from IAB it would always help.

NL: IAB Europe could play a very important role in helping put performance marketing on top of the agenda for advertisers, media buyers, intermediaries and not least, regulatory bodies in light of the changes in privacy policies across Europe.
It would be a great step if they could help size the European market, in the same way that for example the IAB UK did recently.  Being able to understand and prove the major, positive impact that performance marketing has on the European economy is important.  Being able to make comparisons market by market would be the ultimate goal. We’d like to see more best-practice sharing around performance marketing too.

What Will be Your Network’s Main Focus for the Coming Years?

CL: As I said before, consumers are rapidly using mobile devices in their shopping habits. Through our zanox Mobile Performance Barometer we see that m-commerce continues to grow in importance for European consumers. We need to be close to this trend.
We also see that there are some value chain disruption models that could be link somehow to our business model. That is why having deeper looks to any of all the programmatic buying ecosystem and how it´s related to add value to our value chain is something that we need to meditate.
And of course, something that we cannot forget is, keeping building up real value with innovative affiliate publishers that will improve the consumer buying journey and will make our model even more consistent and sustainable.

NL: We will continue to build a high quality publisher network across the Nordics and across Europe, by enabling new and promising publisher business models in an easy and cost effective way to our advertisers.  We’re also the only performance network to be able to offer larger advertisers and digital media agencies the flexibility of being able to manage performance marketing programs in-house through our Tradedoubler Technology Platform.  We’ll continue to educate clients about how they can manage their preferred affiliate partners as a self-managed private network or can combine running their own key affiliates with the reach and performance benefits of our fully-managed international publisher network. 

We have a strong belief in the power of mobile commerce both in its own right, but also a key channel to weave together online and offline channels.  We’ve had some great successes working with brands to integrate performance marketing campaigns via smartphones to drive customers in-store and to help consumers get the best possible value, either on the high street or online.  Research from the Tradedoubler Insight Unit shows that 52% of connected consumers have at least one performance marketing app on their smartphone and that 55% have bought a product at a rival retailer after finding a better price via their mobile – so we’re working closely with marketers to factor these new, challenging consumer behaviours into our marketing planning and tactics to turn them into major revenue opportunities.