“Grow your business through quality partnerships” – Jay Burke
Jay Burke, Director of Marketing of AvantLink, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Jay Burke, AvantLink’s Director of Marketing, says that their largest verticals are outdoors, fitness, fish & hunting, health, wellness & beauty, and general support; their growing verticals are lifestyle, fashion, automotive (overland), cycling, and snow sports. They believe in a quality-over-quantity to save them time and money to their clients – follow his story below.
How did AvantLink take off?
AvantLink was started in 2005 out of a need in the affiliate marketing industry for a network that placed heavy emphasis on quality control, ethics, and game-changing innovation. The network’s strict adherence to working only with qualified, pre-screened affiliate partners combined with the most advanced, data feed-driven tool suite in the industry helped AvantLink achieve quick success.
What is AvantLink’s approach to affiliate marketing?
AvantLink’s approach is simple, grow your business through quality partnerships. Three unique international networks feature category-leading merchant advertisers that are all backed by thousands of accomplished affiliate partners.
What makes up AvantLink’s platform?
AvantLink is made up of our Arches platform and our CEO, Scott Kalbach, has said “Arches brings the next generation of data architecture, tracking, UI/UX, and performance marketing technology to the AvantLink platform”.
Which are your verticals and what are your areas of expertise?
While we’re known to have a strong foundation in the outdoor space, we excel in many other verticals as well. Early on, we gained momentum with outdoor businesses due to our strong relationship with content publishers/affiliates and the use of our Datafeed Tool Suite. Today, we have synergy with partners in a wide range of business segments. Our largest verticals are Outdoors, Fitness, Fish & Hunting, Health, Wellness & Beauty, and General Support. Our growing verticals are Lifestyle, Fashion, Automotive (Overland), Cycling, and Snow Sports.
Tell us a bit more about your business model, concept, and culture.
Our affiliate partner base is diverse, comprised of content sites and niche blogs as well as top loyalty, deal, coupon, sub-affiliate & third-party technology affiliates. We reject approximately 70% of publisher applications to ensure a quality-over-quantity environment for our advertisers, saving them time and money.
How can affiliate marketing help someone’s business? How does AvantLink do it?
AvantLink helps merchant advertisers grow their business by connecting them with high-quality affiliate partners (publishers and influencers) who earn a commission from sales generated by referrals to their site. This is done through placing ads and tracking links on affiliate publisher websites.
What incremental value will you provide to advertisers and publishers?
Incrementality can be measured in many ways and can often be measured differently by every organisation. For example, many organisations may measure several incremental values that include increased sales, conversion rate, average order size, clicks, impressions, number of affiliates, percentage of active affiliates, and ROAS.
However, all these metrics combine and relate to the ultimate measurement, which is new customer acquisition. This is AvantLink’s number one measurement approach, and why we stress the tracking and reporting of this metric in addition to all the other areas of reporting. Over 1 out of every 4 sales of AvantLink’s top ten merchants comes from a new customer, and we are very proud of that.
AvantLink also understands that each account will have additional goals that are deemed incremental, so our team works together with our advertisers to set KPIs around those incremental goals and builds customised strategies to achieve these goals.
What is your approach in the initial stages of a new partnership?
While it’s important for an Account Manager to understand general goals (i.e., sales) for a new advertiser, it’s even more important to fully understand a company’s ethos and values. Once this is fully understood, it quickly becomes clear who their ideal consumer is along with the best affiliate partners to help the advertiser achieve their sales goals.
And every publisher is so different so when establishing a new partnership, it’s crucial to understand the demographics of the publisher’s audience including age, sex, income range, etc. Next, it is important to understand the products and verticals that drive and engages the publisher’s readership. Ensuring that the advertiser’s products and promotions fall in line with these initial data points can help ensure the start of a successful partnership.
How can AvantLink benefit Affiliate Grand Slam’s attendees?
I think we offer a unique group of network partners, whether merchant advertisers or affiliate partners.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day? Have you implemented AI-driven features?
Technology is a huge part of AvantLink’s day to day experience. Publishers and Advertisers use our platform daily to check reports that use AI Predictive Modeling and to create custom links or ads.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most in-demand skills. Why in your view?
My opinion on this statement would be because of the rise in the popularity of influencer marketing. We are seeing a growing number of “influencer” type affiliate partner applications. Those would be affiliates that are typically only working with one medium and it is usually a social platform like IG or YouTube.
What makes a successful affiliate marketing campaign?
That’s an easy one if you work on our platform, we like to see our advertising merchants using a strong mix of affiliate partners that starts with a good base in content publishers or mass media. From there you can branch out and utilise different strategies that make sense for the brand.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? SiGMA Europe, Africa, Asia, or Americas – which of these four expo shows would you likely book on your diary for 2021, COVID-19 permitting?
We have not attended any of your shows yet, being a smaller network, we’re constantly looking for value in the show attend. We have your shows on our radar and will be looking at those that make sense for us to travel to in the coming months.
Tell us a bit about yourself – after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies, favorite book, favorite quote, etc.
I’m relatively new to the performance/affiliate marketing space. I’ve been a marketing professional for over 25 years now in a multitude of capacities, so it has been refreshing to jump into something unfamiliar and learn the intricate details of performance marketing. I’m an avid outdoor person and focus on alpine and alpine touring in the winter and a lot of mountain biking and fly fishing in the summer. This is a quote I love, and always applicable in some way, whether it’s personal life or business. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky.
Malta Week – Save the dates:
For the first time ever SiGMA Group is bringing its 4 leading shows together for the mother of all conferences. From the 15th to 19th November, SiGMA, alongside AGS and AIBC will bring the best in the business to a first-class meeting point at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre (MFCC). Malta Week is a chance for investors to leverage the significant crossover potential for multi-faceted business deals and to double down on opportunities to connect with some of the leading affiliates, policymakers, thought leaders, suppliers, and operators in the industry. Register now!