Day one of PI LIVE London was chaired by the brilliant CEO of Found, Tina Judic, and Heather Peebles, Head of Affiliate Partnerships at Reward Gateway. The pair took to the Rakuten and Tisper stages to open the event, sharing their welcoming comments with attendees and setting the tone for the day.

Heather commented: “PI LIVE is a favourite in the events world, and this year especially is full of incredible innovation. It’s so great to see the union of partners, colleagues, friends and even rivals; this is what makes the industry so special. A huge thanks to Tipser for sponsoring this stage, on which we will be hosting some captivating sessions, on the likes of Google Shopping and multi-touch attribution.”

Tina said: “Members of this industry are continually spearheading innovation, in not just one particular area, but all parts. We’re also an incredibly supportive industry which is a pleasure to be a part of. The pure focus on success, longevity and value is inspiring, and we are increasingly commanding attention. This is all due to one simple fact – it works.”

What did attendees take away today?

Brands need to focus on innovation in order to evolve

A common theme that seemed to arise during day one and a big takeaway for brands is that, considering the rapid increase in spend on affiliate marketing (10% year-on-year), they need to continue to evolve and innovate their affiliate programmes to drive performance.

In the session ‘A Blueprint for Success: How to Design a High-Performance Affiliate Marketing Programme’, a panel of global affiliate experts highlighted actionable strategies and best practices to help attendees build high-performing integrated campaigns.

The panel featured Global Director of Retail Partnerships at Reward, Steve Gardner, Kimberley Bechinie, Affiliate and Project Manager at Aktions, Senior Aktions – Affiliate and Projektmanager, Lautsprecher Teufel GmbH, Carolina Paradas, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Swapi, Nicole Wellman Manager, Client Services at Rakuten Advertising and Rakhee Jogia International Managing Director at Rakuten Advertising.

Steve commented on the current state of affiliate marketing and the fact that the industry hasn’t altered – it’s simply adapted from what it always has been. The panel went on to share some fresh insight into how to design the perfect affiliate marketing programme.

A common theme that arose was the importance of complete transparency. Sharing goals and KPIs seemed to be something the panel thought was essential in order to find publishers that are innovative enough to follow trends and support.

This can also be associated with when relationships are not working. For instance, Steve commented on the importance of saying no and being honest with partners in order to keep relationships in which you’re true to yourself.

Kim shared some thoughts on how it’s beneficial to get to know the market in more detail, as well as having various affiliates instead of a couple of larger ones. Niche publishers are valuable in a completely different way to the all-rounding giants.

The true power of community commerce

Community commerce is the blend of community, entertainment, and shopping, and TikTok is the prime example of a platform that utilises this to enable unique product discovery.

In this discussion, hosted by Rhiannon Gale, Product Marketing Manager at TikTok, Darren Quinton, Marketing Communications Manager UK at Starbucks, Rhys Westwell, Head of Social, Performics @ Zenith and Andrew McCreadie, Head of Media and Advertising at Student Beans discussed how brands can use community commerce to unleash their businesses and ultimately power their bottom line.

Countless brands have reaped the benefits of community-driven, organic trends on the platform, and in this session, Rhiannon shared that 67% of users said they use TikTok to discover new products. She spoke of the real value held by the platform, including the efficiency, exclusivity through no shared screen space and the pure impact the platform has.

Rhys commented on the pure potential of creator-driven marketing. He said that the true way to be successful when creating ads is to create realistic videos, not ads. It is the perfect opportunity to blend creator and performance strategies.

Darren commented on Starbucks’ strategy, pointing out that for them, authenticity is key, meaning they took a slow approach when beginning marketing on TikTok. Darren also discussed the importance of monitoring consumer preferences, and deciding how to then commercialise these.

To summarise, the panel said that e-commerce, social commerce and community commerce have all come a long way and to truly succeed, it is important to completely lean in and avoid being left behind at all costs. A user-base knows what they want, so allow them to lead you and also prioritise working with partners which share this view.

Continued success

It was a pleasure to hear from Mel Blue, Director of Affiliate Marketing at Optimus Performance Marketing, who is also the winner of the Rising Star award at this years’ Performance Marketing Awards.

Mel provided insight into how, when creating an affiliate marketing strategy, you should move towards a strategy that is continually tested and reviewed and how this can be done successfully.

Mel started off by asking the simple question: “Why not just change things up?”

Working on commission structure is a good place to focus on when moving away from ‘set it and forget it’. Your top publishers may favour your competitors without you knowing. This means that constantly reviewing is key.

Mel also spoke about reviewing commission rates and said that working with your network to run a gap analysis could really help. She said: “What’s the point in drilling down costs with 1% commissions if your publishers don’t want to promote you in the first place?”

Another reason to avoid the ‘set it and forget it’ mindset is that your affiliate channel may start dropping and you may not realise until too late. If you’re checking fairly often, you can make efforts to re-engage your publisher if things drop. 

In the Q&A section at the end of Mel’s session, she was asked which myths are most prevalent about ‘set it and forget it’. She said that the fact that it allows you to keep your affiliate channel moving is a myth. She commented: “People are moving away from this now.”

What do you have to say?

If you’ve been enticed by today’s roundup and would like to attend day two of the conference, tickets are still available for you to purchase online or at the door at a 50% discount. Day two promises to be just as insightful, so you really don’t want to miss out.

Virtual tickets are also available, meaning that you don’t have to miss out on the sessions, even if you can’t be there in person!

Purchasing a ticket during the event doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the sessions that took place prior to your purchase. All sessions will be available via the video vault when the show is over to rewatch for 12 months, so ticket holders, keep an eye on your inbox.

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow for day two of PI LIVE London!