Firstly, we hope you and the team are keeping well. How are things over at Impact during this time?
Florian Gramshammer: As a global organisation, it was important for us to monitor the situation, including in Asia and China. Our company implemented a mandatory working from home scheme ahead of government advice and this gave us time to prepare and layout new policies a little ahead of time.
I think we, as a team, adapted really well and quickly into this new way of working with a primary focus on making sure that our employees are safe, and that we look after our customers the best way possible.
The last few weeks have seen the performance marketing industry shift and adapt in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. What are your thoughts on the industry’s response during this period?
FG: By default certain sectors have suffered more than others however, I think on the whole, the performance industry lends itself well to this difficult situation and the industry has responded with strength and agility. That said Amazon displayed some questionable decisions when, in April, they announced they were cutting associates’ commission rates – on the same day their stock closed at an all-time high. The changes will have seen some partner revenues halved – wholly inappropriate behaviour in the middle of a global pandemic.
But Amazon’s behaviour was not indicative of the wider mood. Most partners, advertisers and agencies moved quickly to ensure that they were communicating with each other and that they were partnering with each other; protecting their relationships as well as their businesses – and of course their families. In an industry that is driven by digital and automation, it’s important to remember the strength of real relationships. Search campaigns and programmatic buys can be switched on and off at a click, but partnerships are people centric and the rules are different. While they have the most potential for innovative, creative collaboration, they are also the thing that will see you through a crisis. The nuance of the human relationship should never be underestimated in our sector.
We don’t often talk about the good work happening across the industry and I think that we need now to focus on the real success stories and highlight where partnerships have flourished.
From your perspective, what trends have you noticed in the last few weeks that have affected the channel? (programs, relationships, verticals etc.)
FG: Inevitably we are seeing an upturn in the fortunes of those sectors that are deemed a necessity either to physical or mental wellbeing. We began tracking six verticals in April and in our June update we saw Telco and Utilities were continuing to do well, and Home & Garden clicks continued to increase. Basket size in general is starting to pick up across the board and most verticals are getting back to a pre-pandemic level. We have seen travel bouncing back slowly and we hope that this will pick up steadily as lockdowns are easing and people are looking to book again – this mood is reflected in both traffic and transactions picking up.
We are encouraged to see people looking to book again and fingers crossed this begins to build in momentum, though we remain ever mindful of a second wave of the pandemic having an impact, particularly on the travel sector.
Let’s talk about Impact. Particularly during this time, how has your business adapted to the pandemic and what sort of strategies have you implemented to support your clients?
FG: Our priority first and foremost was our teams. Their physical and mental health was top of mind at what was – and continues to be – a worrying and stressful time. When we shifted to a remote-working strategy, it was important to maintain morale and step up communication between us all such that no one felt out of the loop or disconnected from the business and their colleagues.
Once we were happy that our employees were coping ok, we had to make sure we could continue to deliver service and success for our customers. Every business has had to adapt to the situation and many have had difficult challenges to overcome. Some of the companies we work with have furloughed employees that we talk to on a regular basis, but we’ve worked as quickly as possible to ensure that our customers were looked after.
We are fortunate that we’re in a position to respond and adapt to their individual situations as quickly as possible and we hope we have done as much as we can to mitigate against the difficult times.
With lockdown restrictions easing, what sort of opportunities and expectations can we expect in the coming weeks for the performance marketing industry?
FG: The performance industry lends itself well to a changing business environment, especially the security of CPA marketing spend in uncertain times. I think there are exceptionally valuable opportunities for partners and advertisers to explore. More companies that don’t typically operate in the performance space on all sides of the business, agencies, advertisers, and partners are starting to explore those opportunities.
We’ve definitely seen more media houses looking for partnerships and there has been an increase in brand-to-brand partnerships as well and we expect to see many more exciting new partnerships come out of this as well.
Lastly, as we enter the second half of the year, are there any updates from Impact we should keep an eye out for?
FG: Impact Growth this year is moving online and is fully virtual this year, and secondly, we are excited to continue our international expansion plans with the news of an office opening in EMEA . This will be announced soon so watch this space!