As brand investment in partnership and affiliate continues to increase, affiliates have even more choice as to which leading brands they promote. The most productive partners are rightly focused on ensuring that they extract maximum value from their presences, technologies and audiences. Many such publishers also have highly advanced analytics engines that help extract stronger profitability from every avenue. In this environment, leading partners have the power to ensure brands do everything they can to ensure maximum mutual benefit. Here are six things partners will expect from brands in 2020. 

Comprehensive mobile tracking

Many brands now have cookie tracking in place that mitigates the challenges of ITP and other environmental changes. What most DON’T have is a tracking solution that covers all types of mobile transactions, including those where the customer journey includes an app. Mobile accounts for almost two-thirds of total digital transactions in 2019. Cookie-based tracking, which still accounts for the bulk of measurement in partnership and affiliate, can’t accurately track within apps and has significant limitations with respect to mobile web tracking, particularly on iOS devices. Without comprehensive tracking, many transactions are erroneously recorded as organic, meaning that partners are losing out on commissions they have earned. That needs to change. 

Access to more basket-level data

Many of digital’s largest partners have implemented advanced targeting solutions that can dramatically improve yield if brands share granular user and purchase insights. By understanding what users are browsing and buying, partners can better segment and deliver offers to the people most likely to respond. For example, we know of a successful travel partnership that leverages the content of on-site searches for remarketing and upsell opportunities. These tactics dramatically increase basket size and related commissions. Item-level data has helped other partners target offers to the specific demographics most likely to find such items appealing. 

More sophisticated commissioning option

Many brand marketers have key objectives other than maximising revenue, like acquiring new customers or increasing average order value. For partners, this can provide an excellent opportunity to make more money by pinpointing users that fit the bill. For example, bypassing a user profile or customer list to a partner, a brand could empower them to market to users that are new to their brand. Often, such users are worth considerably more than the average purchaser, so commissions can be higher. Another approach popular with partners is the distressed inventory model, in which advertisers provide a hot deal on short-shelf-life inventory like hotel rooms available tomorrow night. It’s better for brands to make at least some money on those previously empty beds, so partner rewards can be much greater. 

Prompt payment

There’s nothing more annoying to partners than brands that consistently pay late. No one likes having to beg for money that should already be in their bank accounts. Yet some brands take far too long to review and approve conversions. Others take extra time before authorising payments. A surprising number of brands practice both terrible habits. For in-demand partners, late or incomplete payment is profoundly irritating. If you are a payment slowpoke, don’t be surprised in 2020 if you lose your prime position, or get dropped altogether. Especially if your business operates in a crowded category with other strong brands that pay in a more timely manner.

Regular communications

Do you communicate with partners regularly via email or newsletter? Does that newsletter help deliver value with special promotions or business-building tips? And what about your biggest partners — do you give them the individual attention that can help drive incremental revenue? There’s constant competition for the best placements with leading partners. Brands that grab and hold those spaces usually have strong communication with their partners — large and small. Here, strength comes from both the quality and the number of messages and conversations. Excellent connections are just as valuable for you as for your partners. 

The great thing about your partners is that they understand that any good relationship is a win-win. Most partners are very collaborative and reasonable. But they have the right to expect brands to empower them for maximum sales and growth. When they don’t, they may find their partners aggressive in laying out their expectations — and getting them met.