In this edition of the Publisher Diaries, Niamh Butler-Walton chatted to Jonny Plein, co-founder of  Pouch.

Jonny started out his career by studying for a degree in economics with Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham. He then went on to study Mandarin, which led him to become interested in technology transactions across the UK, Europe and China.

He is a chartered accountant and is very interested in venture capital, start-up fundraising, and the performance marketing industry.

Now, here’s Jonny to talk about his history and the trends he is noticing within the industry:

What is your role and what does it consist of?

I’m Jonny and I am the co-founder and commercial lead for Pouch, the money-saving browser extension. Essentially, I am responsible for setting out our sales and marketing strategy, but I have an amazing team who does the day-to-day execution. 

I used to be our CFO, before Pouch was acquired by Global Savings Group in 2019, but my role has changed as we have continued to grow extensively over the past few years. 

What do you enjoy most about the performance marketing industry?

What I love most about the performance marketing industry is being able to partner with retailers who truly want to leverage our unique audience of savvy shoppers and technology. 

Affiliate marketing is being embraced in a variety of ways, with more ways than ever being developed to make sure customers have a comprehensive range of customer centric services and solutions that are helping to connect brands and retailers with their customers.

With personalised recommendations and exclusive content, we are helping people to make the best shopping decisions at busy times, offering frictionless savings for our audience and making saving really easy.

Who is your performance marketing hero and why?

Haha tough question! My co-founder and CTO Vikram Simha is my performance marketing hero for sure. We both joined the industry as novices when we founded Pouch in 2016 and he has learnt so much and become a real leader in the space. The tech he builds is world class and the work he has done on our new loyalty offering, Pouch Points, is second to none.

Also, Clement Labbe, our Head of Key Account Management who’s in charge of helping accelerate the company growth by taking Pouch key commercial partners relationships to the next level. He has an extensive background in performance marketing having worked network side for many years prior to joining GSG and I learn so much from him every day!

Who in your team deserves more recognition that they get? (The unsung hero)

Our designer Martina with no doubts! We run ads across multiple channels and have various different onboarding and landing pages to try and communicate as clear a message as possible to our users. Her marketing creatives are fantastic and her user experience knowledge means that we have been able to truly accelerate our growth!

We are definitely seeing shoppers’ expectations from retailers become more complex as consumers are now more than ever looking for relevance at every single touch point when engaging with brands. 

We are also seeing advertisers seeking more efficient ways to attract buyers, from discovery to checkout by working with publishers who can offer a loyalty or rewards programme. 

Those programmes typically create more repeat users and higher lifetime values and we have seen fintech publishers like Revolut and Klarna create affiliate rewards schemes to satisfy this demand as well. 

We are launching our own rewards scheme called Pouch Points which will allow our users to earn points with participating retailers that can be exchanged for gift cards or prizes. 

With Points, our members can spend more in order to save more, which will help drive conversions and high-value purchases across for our retailers and brand partners.

How has the role of affiliate networks changed over the last 12 months?

Due to the pandemic a lot of retailers who never sold online have built a digital presence and I’m sure affiliate marketing will be a core strategy for them to acquire new customers. 

We have seen many affiliate networks with the likes of Awin with Access and Grow by Tradedoubler having had a key role in providing these new-to-digital players with a low-risk, entry level solution and making sure those micro-SME partner with the right type of publishers. 

What one thing would you change about the industry?

I feel advertisers paint all extensions with the same brush. Whilst on the surface they may seem similar, they do all work quite differently, target different users and have different tools to create incremental revenue for advertisers. 

For instance, we found that some brands had a poor experience and results with other money-saving browser extensions but when running a split test with Pouch found us to be highly incremental. For the retailers we have tested with, on average we were able to increase conversions by 4-10%. At scale and over a long period of time, this increase would make a huge difference to the top line of any business. 

So I would encourage any reluctant advertisers in the industry to change their views, do a trial with each extension partner and carefully measure the results to see if they are happy with the performance and incremental value add before writing them off.

What’s your top tip for advertisers?

In addition to the above, we encourage our existing partners to be more creative and collaborate closely with us to reach the right pool of consumers that will drive market share, acquire new customers from competitors, and ultimately, maximise sales. 

We work with a large range of advertisers who have come to depend on Pouch to promote their best deals and discounts to their ideal customers and we have a good understanding of what works and what does not, so please consider us as an extension of your own team, be as collaborative as possible by communicating your goals and objectives with us, and by sharing promotional content as frequently and as early as possible, so you can get the most out of your partnership with Pouch. 

What other areas of the industry can you see yourself working in in the future, perhaps?

I think one day I would like to work advertiser-side but for now I’m very happy on the publisher side!

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