It’s great to have Partnerize involved with PI LIVE this year as a premier sponsor. What are you most looking forward to at the event later this month?

Sean Sewell: PI LIVE presents an incredible opportunity for us to connect with our advertisers, publishers and agencies. By bringing together so many industry leaders, we can all learn from each other and the sharing of ideas in this forum is outstanding. It’s a great place to strike up deals with new brands and retailers, but beyond that, I look forward to strengthening existing relationships and forging new ones. There’s always top-notch content, networking and of course, the International Performance Marketing Awards are always a highlight.

Why do you think events like PI LIVE are still important for the industry?

SS: In-person events are critical in our industry because partnership as an industry is propelled by personal relationships. We can’t underestimate the importance of bringing together people from all walks of the industry to share knowledge, challenges, issues and to just be together for a couple of days. Further, events like PI Live enable us to see the bigger picture and get an up-close look at what’s going on across the entire landscape. I always return to the office after these events feeling invigorated and excited about the future. 

It’s certainly been a busy few months for Partnerize for a number of reasons. Tell us about some of the exciting developments?

SS: Yes, it has, thanks for noticing. This has been a big year for us in terms of major product advances. Here are just a few of those major steps forward: 

  • Intelligent Partner Discovery: We recently shared the news that we launched the industry’s first AI-powered partner recommendation engine, called Intelligent Partner Discovery. This tool has been well received by our clients, who have been inviting partners to their campaigns with great 
  • AI-Powered Smart Alerts: We’ve also rolled out enhanced Smart Alerts that automatically detect, flag and notify brands of potentially fraudulent activity and issues that require attention.
  • Improved Commissions Suite: Our reimagined commissions suite enables powerful new ways to commission based on LTV, AOV and gross margin of the shopping basket. 
  • User-Centric UI: We’ve also made extensive improvements to our UI for reporting and insights.
  • Mobile Measurement: Last but not least, we’ve introduced industry-leading mobile capabilities, including mobile influencer support, an improved mobile UI and 100% conversion capture for web-to-app, app-to-web and app-to-app. Additionally, we have deep integrations with the leading providers of mobile app measurement, including Branch, Appsflyer, Kochava, and Adjust, for those clients that work with those providers. 

Market response to these has been very strong. In the last quarter, we have won an ASE Pinnacle Award for Innovation, the Digiday Technology Award for Affiliate and the number one slot in the Northeast Tech 50 in the UK. And we have high hopes to repeat our win of Best Performance Marketing Technology at the IPMAs. The competition in that category is fierce, but we have our fingers crossed. 

There’s been a big push for partner marketing with more businesses exploring the opportunities available in order to maximise revenue. Should advertisers take note of the recent developments surrounding this?

SS: They absolutely should. Partnership has been growing and evolving in major ways in recent years and brand investment in the channel is rising significantly. This is a strong indicator that brands taking advantage of new forms of partnership, such as with influencers, premium content publishers and loyalty programs, are seeing tremendous value in the channel. 

Taking it a step further, those who work with a partner automation solution are able to more efficiently manage their programs, improve relationships with partners, benefit from better tracking methods, optimise commission strategies and ultimately see growth in revenue. The opportunities presented by partner marketing are so vast and I know we’ll see brand investment continue to shift this way.

There have been a lot of talking points within performance marketing this year, particularly around GDPR, transparency and cookie tracking. How has Partnerize responded to these issues?

SS: I think GDPR has been helpful to the partnerships industry because our industry does not rely on personally identifiable information to drive outstanding performance.

On the cookie front, there’s been a big shift away from third-party-cookie-based tracking as a result of Safari’s ITP and changes in browser data collection policies. In my view that helped a lot of advertisers finally prioritize moving to server-to-server and first-party-cookie based tracking. That’s been something on the agenda for a lot of companies, but the ITP policies helped provide a powerful catalyst. 

The ascendance of m-commerce globally has also had big industry impacts. Mobile measurement is on everyone’s mind and having multiple options to provide comprehensive mobile measurement has been a boon for us. 

How has the role of the performance marketing channel evolved over the last 12 months and where do you see the industry heading next?

SS: The channel is evolving at an incredible pace. It wasn’t long ago that performance marketing began and ended with affiliates. As the definitions of partnership and performance marketing have broadened, that expanding umbrella has helped advance the channel in new and exciting ways. Partners now regularly include content publishers, influencers, loyalty platforms, cashback, and coupon sites and the list goes on. 

That doesn’t mean that affiliate is slowing down. Not by a longshot. But it’s only part of the story. An important part, but just one part. 

Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a heightened acceleration in brands moving away from a traditional network environment and, with that, the rise of supporting service providers focusing purely on partner and affiliate management. I think we will continue to see a shift from the traditional performance-based payment model. This could lead to the decoupling of services from technology, to provide more agnostic management and execution of strategy. Machine learning and the constant focus on platform automation will help brands rely less on resource heavy structures and embrace working smarter vs. harder.

Lastly, what are you hoping to get out of/from PI LIVE this year?

SS: I always love getting face-to-face time with our customers, partners and extended industry family. PI LIVE is the place to hear what’s top-of-mind in the industry, engage in debate and learn from one another. It’s also great to get together with people from different regions and hear their unique challenges and maybe get a fresh perspective. PI LIVE is ultimately about bringing amazing people together and those amazing people are what excites me about my work every day. 

Don’t miss out on PI LIVE on October 22-23 at Old Billingsgate, London. Tickets available here.