Life at Awin

Paul Stewart

Affiliate Strategy – BT and Awin by Paul, Account Director  

Scoping wins in both the ‘Best Managed Affiliate Programme’ and ‘Best Technology and Telecoms Campaign’ at the Performance Marketing Awards was a monumental achievement for the Awin and BT account teams. Although the entries were based on a specific year’s strategy, ultimately winning them was a culmination of a long history of reinvention, refinement and innovation, fostered within a long standing relationship between advertiser and network.  

So what set us apart?

1. We don’t operate in isolation. 

The BT programme has always operated as a partnership between network and advertiser – we’re seen as a wider part of their marketing team, and as such are involved with cross-channel meetings and feed in to BT’s overall online strategy. As data and more accurate reporting allow greater appreciation of complex consumer journeys, it’s only by starting to remove the walls between online channels within an organisation that a programme can understand how actions in affiliates can complement other digital channels. 

Affiliates and PPC at BT operate from one budget and one target. Working closely with Maxus (BT’s media agency) PPC campaigns include affiliates in the brand space and require advanced analysis of the customer journey, irrespective of which channels are involved. Understanding how one digital channel can complement another allows for more efficient budgeting and ensures that the limitations of a last-click, single device view, don’t result in valuable touch-points remaining hidden. 

The combined Awin and BT data teams work closely together to understand the value of customers beyond just the last click. For two years the team have looked at churn analysis (how long someone stays with BT) as well as life time value and used this information to inform decisions on the programme.  

2. Our actions are driven by three key ideas: 

I. The best decisions are made by those with the most information 
II. One size never fits all, be bespoke, be clear and keep the lines of communication open. 
III. Trial and analyse, rather than wait and see. Data wins arguments. 

In practice this means we don’t follow convention. If industry standard is to speak to your top 3 publishers once a week, we speak to 20. If most programmes provide a standard reporting template, we provide customized reporting to everyone.  We do this to align them with BT’s key objectives for the quarter and we allow Account Managers the freedom to look at commercial models that best suit each publisher, not one size fits all. The affiliate channel is unique in the range of promotional methods that operate through it and it’s by recognising this diversity that a programme as mature as BT’s can continue to grow.

3. We find new opportunities. 

Be it Black Friday deals for a telecoms provider, delegating £15,000 of budget to each Account Manager to use on new initiatives, or implementing cross device tracking, we always aim to be first. It’s through a fail fast strategy that the BT programme is able to find these new opportunities.  

What’s it like to work on a programme like BT? 

I’ve worked on the BT programme for just shy of 4 years and it has never once felt stagnant. The affiliate industry is now worth over a billion pounds to the UK economy and it’s the speed of this growth that has meant advertisers have to be agile or fall by the way side. In the hugely competitive area of telecoms, this means you see some amazing innovations (with the budgets to back them) and because of this your days are diverse, sometimes pressured, but most importantly - constantly rewarding.