ASW was a jam packed three days of thought leadership, networking and fun. In connecting with current and new partners, this annual conference enabled us to align growth and optimization strategies with our clients early in the year when it counts most. A special highlight for our team this year was the exclusive launch of the 20th anniversary edition of the Awin Report (our annual guide to the global affiliate industry), which recaps and celebrates 20 years of affiliate marketing, and at its inception, 20 years of business for Awin and ShareASale.
Read all of our highlights from the conference below.
Awin Report Launch VIP Breakfast
Hosted by Awin US President Alexandra Forsch, a select group of partners were invited to join us for a special launch event that spotlighted this fourth edition of the Awin Report. As such, Alexandra was joined by one of the Report’s editors, Awin Global Content Analyst Rob Davinson, who explained the themes and focus of this year’s commemorative edition.
Examining the last two decades in the affiliate industry and in the wider digital space, Rob highlighted how changing trends had been tracked by, and subsequently shaped by, Awin’s own offering to its clients… from international growth and the popularization of smartphones, to tracking and publisher diversification. Alongside that, he emphasized the pivotal role Awin’s employees, past and present, played in supporting the company’s growth and development.
Rob then interviewed one of the Report’s key contributors, Founder & CEO of All-Inclusive Marketing Sarah Bundy, who described the changing perceptions of the channel in her time as having shifted from being a disorganized ‘Wild West’ to a fully professionalized and increasingly popular digital haven for brands and publishers alike.
Awin CEO Mark Walters finished of this inspiring session with his perspective on the current and future state of the industry, and ended the morning with a mimosa toast of good fortune to all attendees.
Awin + ShareASale Coffee Lounge
Following the release of our groundbreaking tracking technology, Bounceless Tracking - which is aimed at overcoming tracking limitations through ad blockers and web browsers while ensuring consumer privacy, and is powered by our Tracking Optimization Plugin via the Publisher MasterTag - many of the conversations at the Awin + ShareASale Coffee Lounge centered around how we drive strategic growth for all channel partners across our trusted platforms.
We also chatted on some of the additional program optimization opportunities exclusively afforded to clients on Awin and ShareASale, including attending and sponsoring our signature event ThinkTank, participating in ShareASale’s Merchant Program Academy, and more.
Top minds from the Awin Group spoke on the latest affiliate marketing trends. Our sessions included:
Knock It Out of the Park: 11 Pro Trips to Improve Your Game
“What is the right affiliate program source? How can I improve my website traffic and, subsequently, my ROI? ” These are just some of the talking points Awin’s Jeannine Crooks and her panel cohosts Mike Allen and John LoBrutto covered in their publisher-focused session.
Additional topics covered that are must-know for partners looking to find success in affiliate marketing included:
- Choosing the right merchants
- Optimizing website functionality
- Maximizing conversions
- Negotiating commissions
- Understanding success metrics
From Brand Loyalty to Consumer Loyalty
With a plethora of choices the internet now offers consumers, the concept of brand loyalty has undergone a radical transformation in recent years. Increased competition across all sectors has empowered customers and made it harder than ever for brands to rely on their loyal consumer. In this session, Awin’s Global Strategy Director Kevin Edwards discussed how - thanks to the relationships cultivated by comparison sites, coupon affiliates, YouTubers, social influencers, etc., with their audiences - brands have been able to leverage these partnerships via the affiliate channel for their benefit.
“Online arbitrators provide benefits to millions of people every day around the world for free. And the affiliate channel is home to many of them, helping brands constantly connect with customers (both new and old), and ensuring that they remain competitive online.” Kevin Edwards | Global Strategy Director, Awin
Keynote Panel: Partner vs Affiliate – Is It One or the Other?
A hotly debated topic at the moment in performance marketing is how we should reference and position our industry as ‘affiliate marketing’ or ‘partner marketing,’ and whether there is a difference between the two. In a panel moderated by Acceleration Partner’s Bob Glazer, Awin Global CEO Mark Walters stated he feels ambivalent towards needing a distinction between ‘partner’ and ‘affiliate.’ Ultimately this conflict in the industry only further divides us at a time when it’s more important than ever to unite under common focuses –advanced attribution solutions, increased consumer privacy regulations, and robust data analysis – to build up confidence in affiliate marketing at the C level and ultimately drive more investment into the channel.
“Affiliates are partners, and partnerships create relationships. What we call it doesn’t matter, and we should be proud to be called either.” Mark Walters | CEO, Awin
Awin + ShareASale Party
As always, we had a blast kicking off another Affiliate Summit with our clients, partners and friends at the Awin + ShareASale Party. Guests enjoyed craft cocktails, a DJ, and ample networking for a night to remember in Las Vegas.
Affiliate Summit West was another fantastic event for Awin and ShareASale. Thank you to the Summit team for their partnership and for consistently putting together this valuable conference that elevates our channel and drive continues growth for all its participants. We look forward to seeing everyone at other conferences and events across the next 12 months.
Miss your chance to connect with us at ASW? Contact our new business team.