Following the success of last year’s event, Science Behind E-commerce, which brought together ad tech experts to explore affiliate marketing innovation and the future of the channel, affiliate network Awin returned this month (June 14) with its one-day conference The Affiliate Code – a day of actioned-packed sessions and experts from the world of affiliate, publishing, law and technology.

With over 300 guests of advertisers and publishers in attendance at London’s tech venue CodeNode, as well as a number of key brands and agencies – including Monotote, NMPi and RevLifter – The Affiliate Code played host to a forward-thinking agenda, mixed with keynote sessions and Awin-lead breakout talks which touched on several exciting developments from the network and its continued global expansion.

Technology and consumption

Following the opening remarks by Awin’s business innovation director, Edwyn McFarlane, WIRED’s executive editor, Jeremy White, began his talk discussing technology megatrends and how the recent shift in corporate structures around chief digital officer roles are now predicted as a fast route to CEO.

Jeremy was followed by Eitan Jankelewitz of Sheridans Law as he took on the subject of the daring subject of GDPR and the impact it’s had on the channel since coming into effect on May 25.

In the final set keynote sessions in the morning, Business Insider’s VP of e-commerce Breton Fischetti opened up on the future of publishing, stating that the average adult in the US now fits in “31 hours of activity each day”, with 12 hours being towards media and tech usage. In addition, Fischetti raised that consumption has reached  ‘peak media’ with more hours now spent on desktop and mobile.

Back by popular demand after his talk at 2017’s Science Behind E-commerce, Awin’s global content analyst, Rob Davidson delivered a light-hearted session on ad spend and its role in the popularisation of the internet.

Key stats showed that at $200 billion, the internet overtook television as the primary form of advertiser spend last year, with just 7% of it currently represented by affiliate marketing.

Attracting influencers

The breakout sessions followed after lunch which saw Awin representatives take the wing in an action-packed afternoon of talks.

Kicking off with one of the most discussed aspects of affiliate today – influencer marketing – influencer marketing specialist Carina Toledo provided takeaways on how advertisers can attract influencers for new campaigns.

Running through history of influencer marketing (which started all the way in the 1800s!), providing examples from fashion brands such as Misguided and Nasty Gal and successful payment models that can help brands achieve an attractive and measurable influencer marketing campaign, Toledo expressed the importance of storytelling while advertisers should associate themselves with the right influencers and add more KPIs to the campaign journey to maximise results.

Continuing on the fashion sector, account director Joelle Hillman gave insight into the channel in the industry which reached 448 million clicks through via Awin last year, proving that bloggers are seeing the highest increase in publisher rewards within the sector – up 96% year-on-year.

Travel specialist, Stamatina Retsa then proved how hotels & accommodation makeup for 40% of all Awin travel sales, with worldwide digital travel sales expected to rise to £618.57 billion by 2021 as the average UK customer visits travel sites 13 times a month.

Awin’s Edwyn McFarlane recapped on the affiliate networks’ ‘nine predictions report on affiliate marketing trends for 2018, highlighting the surge of smartphones in the channel from Google’s mobile-first update, with growth up from 28% to 47%.

The future of Awin

Bringing the day to a close, Awin’s Executive Board, consisting of CEO, Mark Walters, COO, Adam Ross and CTO, Peter Loveday discussed the future of the company which touched on the network’s growth in the US, entering in Singapore and Australia and recent acquisitions of zanox, Affiliate Window and affilinet, which Loveday confirmed after months of hard work that the merges will be fully completed within the next six months.

Expressing the success of Affiliate Code and the growth of Awin as a whole, Edwyn McFarlane told PeformanceIN that the network will continue to push the boundaries of people’s understandings of the industry while helping them learn and showing key insights  - “the bigger we get, the better the insights become,” he said.

Catch up on the day’s action on our Facebook page featuring speaker interviews and look up the hashtag #AwinAC18 on Twitter for more.