Hi Jessica, hope you’re keeping well. How are you settling into your new role at Awin?

Jessica Brown: Very well thanks, it’s been non-stop since day one working on some really exciting agency initiatives across new and existing partnerships. I’ve also been getting up to speed on all of Awin’s platforms and tech USP’s such as Bounceless Tracking and the Awin MasterTag in addition to the various departments – for example, I didn’t realise that Awin had a whole in-house Compliance team. 

On top of this, I’ve been co-hosting some of the Client Partnerships webinars, alongside the rest of my team Roz, our Client Partnerships Director, Joelle, our Retail & Travel Client Partner and Alex, our Telco & Finance Client Partner, which has meant I have been able to work really collaboratively even from home. I’ve never worked so hard, but am enjoying every minute! 

Having moved from the publisher side, what are you most looking forward to with Awin and working network side?

JB: I’m really excited to get out and meet with all our agency partners and share our plans for future strategic development across the network, as well as hosting some dedicated affiliate agency events, as soon as it’s safe to do so. 

In my Client Services role at The Groupon Reach Network, I was able to work across five publisher sites to discuss opportunities, with agency contacts across multiple territories. However, working network side at Awin has now elevated conversations to a whole new global level with the sheer volume of reach within our partner directory. As such, I’m looking forward to teaming up with tech and publisher partners to develop as many agency advertiser campaigns as we can – keep your eyes peeled for a case study showcasing this.

As Agency Partner, what are your key goals and plans for the next six months?

JB: Relationships, Insights and Innovation. My main priority is ensuring every agency from 1-1000 employees can clearly see the benefits of working in the affiliate channel and understand completely how it fits into the wider marketing channels that they manage. It sounds simple, but I think this is key to building out an affiliate presence. Alongside this and with dedicated agency insights, I plan to change the narrative from a heavy focus on advertisers and publishers to include agencies from an industry perspective – starting with tomorrow’s Global Agency webinar.

It wouldn’t be an Awin interview without talk around innovation and from some of my early conversations in my role as Agency Partner, it’s evident that as an industry we need to create new ways of working when it comes to agency affiliate activity. At Awin, we are flexible around the needs of our partnerships, which has resulted in taking onboard agency feedback and coming up with a bespoke setup. This approach and being open to working collaboratively with agencies, has now successfully formed part of our continued plans for growth for the next six months and beyond. 

The last few weeks has seen the affiliate marketing industry shift and adapt in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. What are your thoughts on the industry’s response during this period?

JB: Overall I think the industry has done an amazing job of continuing to run activity and support performance partnerships from agency, brand, networks, SaaS, publishers and tech providers. There has been a real sense of community, whether it has been a simple ‘how are you?’ check-in email during lockdown, or the full-blown virtual industry events.

We’ve seen such a mixed bag in terms of performance across affiliates and looking across all the different sectors, it’s largely been a case of reacting to changes in customer needs. However some of the tools such as our Coronavirus Hub and all the various webinars and updates from every corner of the affiliate landscape have proven to be invaluable resources throughout. 

What do you think are the key opportunities right now for advertisers and publishers?

JB: As part of the Client Partnerships team we continuously ask ourselves what the opportunities are for the industry’s advertisers, publishers and agencies. This is difficult to answer with so many impactful announcements happening all the time, the stand out one’s for me are affinity partnerships; brand-to-brand partnerships mean that complementary advertisers benefit from each other’s reach and presence. With our existing network and relationships in place, affiliate marketing is a powerful platform to drive forward new affinity partnerships. 

eMarketer also reports that social shopping will grow 13% beyond £10 million in 2020 and we predict that the tech providers we partner with via our Opportunities Marketplace will only benefit from this increase. With TikTok launching their new business accounts we can see social being utilised beyond what it is.

With lockdown beginning to ease and things adjusting to normal, how do you think affiliate marketing will operate going forward?

JB: From our monthly Awin trends insight webinars, we’ve seen lockdown challenge diversity across advertiser and publisher partnerships. Niche advertisers such as artisan food and drinks brands have grown with lockdown increase in demand and with Similar Web reporting that customers are now searching beyond the first page on Google. 

As we see restrictions lifted I hope to see this growth continue, as long as publishers play their part and continue to offer enhanced campaigns beyond the spike these brands saw from COVID-19 as we see the big affiliate advertisers return to allocate budget once again. 

Lastly, as we approach the second half of the year, what can we expect from the Client Partnerships team in the coming months?

JB: Now we have had a chance to build out our Client Partner relationships, the next step is facilitating further knowledge sharing between advertisers and we plan to do this at some of our upcoming round table events. You can also expect more sector content and insights, continued outside of the current coronavirus shopping trends series and extra visibility on influencer contribution to the channel. 

As a team, we’ve been running some educational workshops, for brands who want to upskill on affiliate marketing whilst working at home or for agencies and advertisers that are new to it. As the UK’s leading affiliate network there is a sense of responsibility to ensure there are no barriers to entry and this is really supported by our Access proposition, which is now live in five markets. 

As I mentioned, I’m hosting a Global Agency webinar tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8 at 3pm BST which will feature a panel of leading agency experts including ThoughtMix, Acquire, AM Navigator, Projector and iProspect. Anyone interested can register here

Finally, if anyone reading this is keen to hear more analysis of the latest industry insights, trends and developments from myself and the Client Partnerships team, they can sign-up to receive our newsletter here.