In December Martech Record is focused on examining growth drivers in the partnership marketing space. Our articles, events and reviews will take on these topics with the mission of helping your brand, agency or publication take advantage of these trends in 2021. The following are some of the themes and questions we will be tackling along with 2021 predictions.
Organic Industry Growth
e-commerce is the key growth driver for the channel and 2020 feels like an acceleration of inevitable trends. But the big question is: how much of the shift to e-commerce did affiliate capture? There were clearly opportunities and this should be a “grow the pie” year for the partner market.
Growth from New Markets
Partnerships are colliding with other channels like PR. Deftly managing relationships with publishers presenting them with a consistent media plan is crucial in nurturing and growing your relationships. Channel conflict can destroy a relationship with a partner.
Improved technology and access to new publishers opens new verticals. Specifically verticals with more complex sales and higher price points. B2B & Health Care are prime examples.
Growth from Acquisition
Since late 2019 the industry has seen a series of investments and acquisitions. Trends are becoming clear.
Publisher trends: Integration of data and tools bring merchants closer to the buyer.
Honey acquired by Paypal for $4B demonstrates the value of owning the the point of sale.
Retailmenot acquisition by J2 reinforces the importance of scale in the media business.
Platform/Network trends: Consolidation and global expansion are the focus.
Acel-KKR invests $50M in Partnerize, which they used to acquire BrandVerity and Pepperjam started a phase of industry consolidation?
Impact’s acquisition of ACTIVATE demonstrates the growth in relevance for long tail publishers.
Awin continues to make global acquisitions indicating that more global affiliate programs are anticipated and reinforcing consolidation as a trend.
Agency/Service trends: Consolidation of agencies and expansion into adjacent channels as agencies attempt to build more strategic relationships with customers.
MountainGate Capital’s investment in Acceleration Partners indicates investors see opportunities to connect affiliate with adjacent channels.
All Inclusive Marketing (AIM) Acquisition by Vision7 is another indication that there is value in scaling across channel.
Gen3 Acquisition of Affiliate Manager a year after acquiring OPM Pros indicates an attempt to push back against pricing pressure on OPMs.
Partner Marketing Predictions for 2021
To arrest downward pricing trends a traditional “network” acquires a SaaS platform (or vice versa). (Partnerize’s acquisition of Pepperjam led the way).
A SaaS platform acquires an agency and provides full service affiliate in direct competition with the networks. The difference between SaaS and Network continues to dissolve.
One of the global agencies makes a bid for an OPM as global ecommerce grows in importance and margins on search and social shrink.
To stabilize pricing on service, LaSalle Capital continues to consolidate traditional OPMs who have stayed close to traditional business models.
Acceleration Partners makes an acquisition into an adjacent channel.
Publisher consolidation by vertical accelerates with financial providing a path.
Integration between mobile networks and desktop will happen via acquisition.
Affiliate marketing sheds its reliance on big box retail. In doing so innovates and becomes Partner Marketing.
Our focus on growth will kick off with a zoom panel discussion on Weds 12/9 at 3pm EST, join here.
Ideas, survey data and content is sourced from our panel of experts. If you’d like to contribute to the discussion by applying to join one of our expert panels, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.