Affiliate marketing receives a mixed reaction, which may be why many brands and retailers shy away from this channel.
In our most recent panel debate, our host Jules Pancholi questioned Lee Carter, Marketing Acquisition Manager at PrettyLittleThing, Sri Sharma, CEO & Co-Founder of Increasingly, Jessica Brown, Agency Partner at Awin Global and our CEO John Readman for their views on why they think affiliate marketing is seen as dishonest and how do we move past the negative reputation that this channel’s history has resulted in.
Why does affiliate marketing have such a bad reputation?
With years of experience in this sector, Sri believes that affiliate marketing receives a mixed reaction due to fact it resembled the ‘wild west’ and affiliates would take over a brand and your reputation would be on the line. He recalls a statement from 2007 when ASOS CEO Nick Robertson labelled affiliates as ‘grubby’.
In today’s landscape, Sri thinks that some businesses are still apprehensive when using affiliates: “In an event where you’re releasing your brand to others and saying, ‘represent me’, there’s going to be a concern.”
In his retail role, Lee admits to hearing affiliate horror stories from the past and believes this, and the ‘cowboys’ that have given it this reputation will always be at the back of your mind if you’ve worked in this industry for several years.
Lee also comments on other channels such as PPC which his hugely reliant on Google, giving it more leverage as a trusted source: “Everyone knows Google and it’s a trusted name. Whereas with affiliates, people think it’s one guy running a voucher code site from his garage.”
How has it changed and how can it help?
Sri has seen how the affiliate landscape has developed over the years and believes that it’s become mature and professionalised – affiliates are now large, well-run organisations and no longer one-man bands.
Lee coincides with Sri’s comments and says that businesses are now realising the incrementality that affiliates can add, who are now attempting to brush off their reputation: “Affiliates have had to clean up and the ones who are left are, the cleanest!”
Having crossed over from agency to SaaS (software as a service), Jess deems the opinions on affiliate marketing to be outdated and that there are established regulations on this channel. She also states that the affiliate network now offers a higher level of transparency with regards to advertisers and who they are working with and how much they’re paying.
Jess concluded with an important statistic: “Affiliate marketing has grown 8.4% year on year, which surely proves it’s no longer a small channel for advertisers.”
Every business is different, and we adopt that approach when creating and nurturing affiliate campaigns. Our team is here to help build out a comprehensive affiliate programme that will allow you to efficiently achieve your goals.