Ever since it was founded in 2003, the Affiliate Summit Marketing Conference became the event affiliate and online marketers all over the world anticipate attending every year. And why wouldn’t they? Graced by the presence of affiliate marketing pillars and industry experts, the Affiliate Summit is a melting pot of different trends, best practices and resources in affiliate marketing and then some.
Thus, a lot of affiliates and other related specialists go out of their way to reserve a seat and hear what the industry’s authorities have to say, as well as to strengthen the community they share.
A decade has already elapsed and the Affiliate Summit continues to thrive and to enhance the field's practitioners. Affilorama decided to ask the affiliate marketing hotshots spotted in this year’s convention what lessons they learned from the previous term and what better stuff they see coming in the future of the industry.
1. What were your key takeaways from Affiliate Marketing Summit 2013?
2. What are your predictions for affiliate marketing in 2014?
Takeaway: My biggest takeaway from the Affiliate Summit is: You get out of it, what you put into it. While I've been to over 10 shows, this fact hit me while I was moping about the blogger's room, thinking I wasn't really getting anything out of this particular summit. But once I packed things up, hit the floor and started talking to some people, things turned around!
Forecast: In 2014, I think we'll see affiliate marketing continuing to shift towards affiliates building big corporations and the "little guys" being further cut off. Much like we're seeing in the US, the middle class in affiliate marketing will also be disappearing.
Geno is the founder and president of the award-winning affiliate management agency AM Navigator. He is also the founder and chair of Affiliate Management Days. You can follow Geno on Twitter @ePrussakov.
Takeaway: To be honest with you, this was my shortest [attendance of the] Affiliate Summit ever. I was at the conference for literally just a few hours (I came in to speak, I had a few meetings, and then I headed back) but even during that short time at the summit I was once again overwhelmed by the volume of international networking going on. It is amazing to be a part of the industry that is quickly gaining more ground worldwide!
Forecast: The industry will continue to mature and develop, embracing such up-and-coming channels and areas as (1) mobile (which in certain markets already accounts for 23% of online sales), (2) social (shopping, gaming, podcasting, reviews), (3) local (local search, geo-targeted advertising, being relevant "here and now") and (4) offline (via pay-per-call, cross-channel campaigns involving location-based marketing etc.).
Ron is the founder of the websites Affiliate X Files and Marketing Tilt. He also has been an affiliate marketer for 12 years. For the last three of those, however, Ron has been specializing in the creation and marketing of mobile-responsive WordPress sites. You can follow Ron on Twitter @affiliatexfiles.
Takeaway: Firstly it is now more apparent than ever before that not just affiliate marketing but any business online is going to need to be top quality.
What I mean by top quality is not 1000-word pages of content, but content that is helpful to the user and will be shared across multiple social networking sites. The days of simply creating a website and adding reviews then getting backlinks is now over and the next phase of online business has begun: USER ENGAGEMENT.
Forecast: In a nutshell, for me it is DIVERSIFICATION. You are going to have to shift your focus firstly to web design, making it mobile-responsive as well as user-friendly ... Next is being more active in the social media area through top-quality content followed by videos.
Video marketing has [been] and still is a very good way to diversify your business. As an example we created a YouTube channel four years ago when I first realized that videos will be the future. That time, we uploaded a video every week; we have a total of 255 videos to date. Each video has a link to either a homepage or internal page [of] one of our business sites and we have seen a 40% increase in traffic in the last six months on this YouTube channel alone. We were going from 6,000 visitors a day to averaging 10,000 visitors a day. We have never been affected by any updates ... if we have it has only been a positive effect.
My biggest prediction for 2014 is that you can no longer rely on Google to send you traffic; if you do, your affiliate business will have a very limited life span. There are many other platforms online that can send as much or even more traffic than Google can to your business without the fear of being penalized for your efforts.
Zac is an online marketer with 15 years of experience under his belt. He is the CEO and founder of Moneyreign Inc. You can follow him through his personal blog, zacjohnson.com, and on Twitter @moneyreign.
Takeaway: In the world of business and Internet marketing, it's all about connections and who you know. This isn't just from a "connections" and "deals" perspective ... it's also about building your own little personal community of friends that you can work with and bounce ideas off of. It's always great to meet up with these same friends and make new ones during the Affiliate Summit. It's one thing to attend the event and sessions, but if you leave without a whole new set of connections, you are simply missing out.
Forecast: In 2014, affiliate marketing will continue to be strong. The more successful affiliate marketers will continue to move away from promoting affiliate offers and build their own brands and products. This is fine since a whole new wave of affiliate marketers are always coming in anyway. There will also be more focus [on] and movement into the mobile space. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ will continue to be a huge benefit for all online marketers to grow and connect with each other.
Shawn is the cofounder of Affiliate Summit and co-editor in chief of Feedfront Magazine. He was also the organizer of the Affiliate Summit Marketing Conference this year. You can check out his blog, Affiliate Tip, which he updates every day so that you can have your daily dose of affiliate marketing news. You can also follow him on Twitter @affiliatetip.
Takeaway: Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend and enjoy the Affiliate Marketing Summit this year, since I was the one running it. Thus, I won't see the sessions until they are out on video about a month later.
As an affiliate marketer, how does it feel to organize something that every affiliate marketer looks forward to every year?
It is an honor to be able to put together the Affiliate Summit. My partner, Missy Ward, and I created it and made it evolve so that it would be the conference we'd like to attend—the one with unique and interactive aspects that make it a more enjoyable and productive experience.
Forecast: I think 2014 is the year when ignoring mobile is no longer an option for affiliate marketers. There is too much activity to disregard it, and if affiliate sites do not have a mobile-responsive design, they are going to see diminishing returns.