Commentary

Real-Time Automation, In-App Tracking Comes To Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing continues to play catch-up with search when it comes to tools and automation. Many marketers lack the tools that allow brands like Zappos to measure the number of consumers the media drives through the channel on its Web site, compare it to other marketing media, or serve up personal messages based on retargeting. Automation provides the means to take affiliate marketers beyond the analysis of top-line sales and metrics to mining the data on desktop and mobile to gain better results. One executive thinks her company can bridge the gap.

CJ Affiliate by Conversant's Affiliate Customer Insights tool moves affiliate marketing from analyzing top-line sales and metrics through the channel to digging into the data. It allows brands to see the impact of offline transactions as a result of online affiliate campaigns, and measures the average order value of consumers and the frequency of repurchases.

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The company also has a tool in beta that will give publishers the ability to identify new customers and target personal messages. When released it will require publishers such as Retailmenot to place code on their Web site to identify customers coming to their site in real-time. The code will enable CJ Affiliate to identify consumers coming to the site and push a personalized message.

"We realize marketers are trying to create a more personalized experience with consistent messages across search, display and affiliate marketing, so it becomes important to incorporate automation, yet use some of the aspects of affiliate marketing," said Kerri Pollard, president of CJ Affiliate by Conversant. "I don't want to blow a hole in the publisher's Web site, but it's perfect if I can send them the data, so they can leverage a unique look and feel to push new personalized promotions."

The company also has been working on mobile and reporting capabilities, along with application engagement. It offers tools that can track in-app mobile activity.

Pollard said the company has 160 million anonymous consumer profiles created by collecting data during the past eight to nine years. It contains demographic data and purchase history across channels and devices. It lets the company build audience profiles that lets publishers match against their own data. "We're starting with segments and it will get more granular," she said. "It lets us do the same matching done for years in display advertising."

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