Putting a unique spin on a traditional conference, the IAB hosted its Nonference last week (October 29) which saw companies such as Awin, Acceleration Partners, Optimise, RevLifter and the7stars take part in a self-confessed hands-on session — bursting with insights, skills and knowledge that you can take whilst ensuring a bit of fun along the way as well.

Taking the theme of Cilla Black’s classic TV show Blind Date to host an unorthodox affiliate session titled Brand Date: Finding Your Perfect Advertising Partner, the idea of the day was to present and match a client’s advertising objectives with the perfect publisher partner. 

Contestants Carina Toledo (Awin), Stef Kellaris (Awin) and Simon Bird (RevLifter) were invited as guests in an almost TV show-esque setting with Opitimise’s Dan Alborough playing show host. Participants were split into three teams on three tables, given a bespoke advertising brief, and tasked with asking probing questions to a panel of publishers looking to work with them. 

The overall theme of the session was to provide a more interactive and unique way of forming new affiliate partnerships work to a program, whether it’s brand awareness, selling more products or targeting new audiences. The conference showcased cross-collaboration from different representatives of the affiliate industry to offer something of high value and innovate as the channel continues to evolve.

“One of the IAB’s unique strengths is the ability to bring the whole digital industry together to achieve things that individual companies couldn’t do on their own,” said Mike Reynolds, head of industry initiatives at IAB.

“By design, Nonference gives a platform to different channels and enables them to showcase their strengths to an audience that might not otherwise be exposed to the breadth of options that digital offers. I think we need more events where the industry talks about how everything works together and the affiliate channel is positioned as an important part of the media mix,” Reynolds continued.

On the interactive sessions, Awin content analysis Rob Davinson said: “The aim of the session was to really convey the diversity of opportunities that the affiliate channel offers advertisers. Audience participants representing fictional brands from three distinct sectors were invited to quiz a trio of publisher types (influencer, mass media and incentive) on how they could each deliver on that brand’s specific objectives,”

“The Blind Date format meant we could have a lot of fun in the process and the team did a great job of animating the debate with some comic one-liners and classic innuendos that Cilla herself would have been proud of. The audience engagement was great and I think they all came away with a better idea of what affiliate marketing is and how it can support a wide array of advertising goals,” he added.   

“Affiliate marketing is a cost-effective and highly valuable channel for brands, but it often gets less limelight in comparison to other digital channels. As an industry, we should work together to raise awareness of its benefits to the wider digital industry and this is why cross-company collaboration is so important. We all have the same goal, to improve understanding of the affiliate industry and by working together we can share the best resources to achieve this goal,” commented Sophie Parry-Billings, senior marketing manager, EMEA at Acceleration Partners.

“Cross-industry collaboration also ensures we have a diverse mix of opinions from different companies and areas of the industry, a true representation of our industry instead of one companies perspective. Projects such as the cross-industry Nonference session are a great example of how working together can bring great results for the industry,” she concluded.

Check out the event review and photos of the IAB Nonference here.