Returning for its sixth year and with nearly 1,000 attendees present, Affiliate Huddle delivered an exceptional and insightful day of diverse discussions, actionable takeaways, and collaboration in the heart of Westminster at the QEII Centre. Hosting a number of topical themes and panel discussions that featured a thrilling line-up of speakers, PerformanceIN captured the highlights from the day.

So what went down and what were the key takeaways?

Affiliate models and taking the next level

TopCashback group commercial director and Affiliate Huddle organiser, James Little kicked off the morning with his opening speech before a busy morning of sessions. Acceleration Partners managing director of EMEA, Helen Southgate started the conversation on innovation and why affiliate programs need to change for now and the future, stating that the affiliate model needs to work for everyone involved to make it really successful. 

Tradedoubler client development director Mouna Laaragat shared some top advice on how businesses can take advantage of seasonality whilst the first panel of the day saw affiliate founders Graham Jenner (TopCashback), Duncan Popham (Total Digital), Anthony Goldman (Noise Media Group), Ciaron Dunn (Genie Ventures) and Tina Judic (Found) share their knowledge and experience of how they’ve built their respective brands and helped take the CPA model to the next level.

After a brief coffee break, it was time for a breakdown of four quickfire presentations from publishers in the industry. Deepak Tailor from LatestFreeStuff highlighted the growth of messenger marketing, referencing Facebook’s as a simple and powerful tool to convert Messengers into email subscribers in one click. Global Savings Group gave a brief talk on the history of voucher code browser extensions and how they’ve become one of the most popular tools in affiliate marketing with brands using them to retain savvy users from competitive websites. Meanwhile, account manager Jake Barber from RedBrain introduced the premium CSS partner as they work with retailers in purchasing Google Ads on a performance-based model. Lastly, George Sulivan, founder and CEO of The Sole Supplier discussed how they responded to Google’s algorithm changes by creating an app and using push notifications to capture and understand consumers on a granular level in addition to creating a dashboard to understand the run of paid ads at campaign level.

Influencer marketing coming into affiliate

After the publisher sessions, the influencer marketing panel took to the stage. Catherine Comerford, global digital marketing manager (affiliates) at FitFlop; Ben Jeffries CEO and co-founder of Influencer; Sheetal Sahota director, publisher services at Rakuten marketing; Arron Shepherd, co-founder of The Goat Agency, and moderator Scott Guthrie, an influencer marketing consultant, shared their views on influencer marketing budgets, measuring ROI, integrated influencer strategies, and best practice as both affiliate marketing and influencer marketing become more integrated. 

Meanwhile, HypeAuditor CEO Alex Frolov covered the transparency and compliance side of influencer marketing, stressing the importance of real data and proper checks such as checking audience demographics, quality, engagement authenticity, the value of price and content relevance.

The evolution of performance marketing

Having moved on from BT, performance marketing consultant Caroline Mulvihill shared an open and honest presentation around the evolution of performance marketing and how the channel developed within the telecoms company. Mulvihill discussed the journey of building affiliate and PPC teams to drive sales before evolving the ecosystem in response to the introduction of cashback and price comparison sites as well as changing the perception of affiliates within BT. 

Later on, Kate Irvine, commercial contracts manager at Awin delivered a strong session on the etiquette of affiliate marketing, touching on the fundamental building blocks as well as bad practices to be avoided. Irvine also discussed deduplication and how affiliates need to be more diverse and collaborative within the changing landscape as well as sharing her tips on proofing deduplication and tracking to ensure everyone is supporting their clients.

Impact’s managing director of EMEA Florian Gramshammer then discussed the power of partnerships as he shared insight with real-world examples on how brands can better stretch the boundaries, working with the likes of influencers, media houses and ambassadors to building relationships where both parties benefit and overall become a key business driver.

Wrapping things up, the last panel of the day featured James Beanie, customer success manager, Impact; James Bentley, UK strategy director, Awin; Jacob Jeffery, director of client development, CJ Affiliate; Scott O’Brien, business development director, Partnerize, and Angelika Porfyratou, senior manager, Rakuten Marketing. They all answered attendees’ burning affiliate questions. In an interactive discussion, the panelists all shared views around the product and services from platforms and networks which determine a brand’s strategy in choosing the right partner to work with. Other areas mentioned included the high turnover of account managers moving to other business and nurturing people within their practices; tech publishers who are steering innovation in the channel; the opportunities of brand-to-brand partnerships; the growing expectations of personalisation in the affiliate space and finally, the evolution of the affiliate marketing channel as we look ahead into 2020 and beyond.

With a packed out agenda and plenty of points discussed, Affiliate Huddle 2019 showed collaboration and change as the event showcased many aspects of the industry landscape, supported by a refreshing roster of new faces who shared their views and opinions on the developments of affiliate and performance marketing.

PerformanceIN was the official media partner of Affiliate Huddle 2019. Catch up on all the social media activity via the hashtag #AffiliateHuddle. Check out our interview with organiser James Little here.