[WATCH] The Challenges of Localization for the cross-border Affiliate – AGS Europe
In an AGS Europe 2021 panel which was held in Malta, the moderator Lee-Ann Johnstone, CEO at AffiliateINSIDER, and the panelists Sarah McChesney-Gordon, Client Services Director at Fresh8 Gaming, and Mikael Jamsanen, Head of Growth at Yolo Group discuss the topic “The Challenges of Localization for the cross-border Affiliate”.
Johnstone opens the panel by saying that during this panel, they will be talking about “the challenges of managing affiliates across multiple borders”. She asks McChesney-Gordon to speak about “some of the biggest challenges that we need to face when managing affiliate programs across borders”.
McChesney-Gordon says that coming from a tech business herself, they “find technology pretty challenging” and she says that as tech providers they need to “try and understand the requirements a lot earlier”. She adds that if operators make their challenges and problems transparent, they can find a solution much quicker, and this would also help affiliates.
Johnstone turns to Jamsanen, who has a crypto background, saying that he really has an “interesting perspective on how the affiliate industry has changed from 10 years ago”, and asks him to talk about some of the challenges of “localization and cross-border marketing with affiliates in different regions”. Jamsanen says that compared to 10 years ago, the affiliate business is now completely different. Nowadays, it is not anymore websites, but streamers, social media, TikTok, YouTube, etc. He adds that this brings challenges in how to monitor, how to scale, and the type of campaigns to run”. He adds that this is all technical; and that tech is “not up to date on the industry level that we are today”. He says that in his opinion this is the biggest challenge that he sees in the future.
Johnstone says that “if you’re managing a huge database of affiliates and they [all have] different types of traffic sources in their database, and they all want to be paid with different types of payment methods, you kind of think that the technology providers would move forward with the times; and they haven’t”. Jamsanen adds that it all comes down to the affiliate managers and their skills and this becomes a challenge when “you need to educate and train your affiliate managers to [manage their] affiliates”.
Follow the whole panel discussion here:
Johnstone says that “from a legal and compliance perspective, even the advertising and the ad compliance that needs to happen, isn’t sometimes available in tech; there’s plugin tools such as Fresh Air that kind of helps with those things”. McChesney-Gordon adds that their job is becoming more about consultancies as much as a tech provider and she agrees with Jamsanen that it comes back to expertise. Johnstone adds that “training is one of the biggest things that [she] think[s] we’re lacking in this industry”.
Jamsanen says that the platform that supports your strategy to actually implement your marketing is the game changer of the future. Johnstone adds that this also “impacts regulatory compliance because if your affiliates […] can’t be actively managed in the tech, how do you actually manage the cross-border regularization and also the compliance?” She adds that we are “at a cross point where we need to really have a look at affiliate platforms […] and actually think about how do we educate our affiliate managers to be more aware of what the rules and regulations are in different regions and actually become specialists”. McChesney-Gordon agrees with her that “affiliate platforms definitely need some development” adding that “there’s a lot of cross industry learning that we could take”.
Johnstone says that “as we’re sitting here talking about the future of what affiliate marketing looks like, it’s already being built by really clever people”. She mentions a company that created a platform that allows you to instantly pay clients in a fraction of a Bitcoin. McChesney-Gordon adds that “a few operators started to move away from kind of last click conversion to interaction model; so actually, rewarding the affiliate for driving retention”.
Johnstone adds that what we are now seeing is “a change of culture because affiliates are starting to realize that they’re no longer just traffic brokers”. They need to build their “first party data in order to build their business and make it sellable for the future”. She says that sometimes there aren’t ways to manage all cross-border affiliates and affiliate managers end up having to “apply a one size fits all approach” which could “be detrimental to your margin and your bottom line, especially when there are different costs associated to running a business”. She says that “you need to have the flexibility to allow your affiliate managers to make the right commercial deals”, adding that it is a “challenge right now for managing affiliates across borders”. Jamsanen says that it all comes down to training, as Johnstone herself mentioned previously.
Johnstone says that the affiliate managers need to listen to what their affiliates are saying “because they’ve got the breadth of experience working across multiple brands”; an affiliate relationship needs to be built. Affiliate managers simply cannot dictate work, they have to listen to the affiliates. McChesney-Gordon adds that this is a sign of a good affiliate team which has an “open practice communication”. She also says that there needs to be a knowledge share between affiliates who know their product, and operators who know their market; and this would be lucrative for both.
To conclude, Jamsanen says that to manage cross-border affiliates in a more strategic way the tech, the tracking, and the customer journey need to be up-to-date. He says that this is achieved by one united platform that also supports crypto. McChesney-Gordon agrees with tech, and in particular with tracking, especially its attribution side. She also adds that the quality of the affiliate managers and the training they are given is important. Johnstone closes the panel by saying that she would like “to see a much better relationship management between affiliates and operators”, and she advises to stop the one size fits all fixed fees.
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AGS returns to the United Arab Emirates:
Drawing the leading figures of affiliation to the Middle Eastern metropoles for cutting edge technology, the 2022 AGS UAE expo plans to unite thousands of content marketers, conversation optimisation and lead generation specialists, media buyers, affiliates, SEO gurus, and influencers. Through three days of educational panels, inspiring keynote speeches, workshops, and networking events, the expo seeks to create the foundation that the Industrial Revolution 4.0 can be built upon. Join us from the 20th to 23rd March 2022, in UAE.