Episode #4 – Toolbars: Cookie Stuffing or Just Good Business with @ToddCrawford

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Toolbars: Cookie Stuffing or Just Good Business with @ToddCrawfordAre you curious about how toolbars impact affiliate marketing? Do you want to know more about pay-for-performance strategies? Are you ready to learn the truth behind claims that affiliate codes and tracking cookies are nefarious attempts to steal revenue? If you lack the knowledge of how toolbars work, then you cannot defend an affiliate’s right to use them.

The affiliate marketing game plan changes frequently, and each passing year brings some new strategy to the table that impacts pay-for-performance advertising. If you hope to find any kind of success within the affiliate industry, knowledge about how to use these tools and what people are saying about them is a compulsory part of the job.

If you’re ready to take your affiliate business to the next level in 2014, then you’ll want to invest 20 minutes to listen to this edition of the Chaos Makes Sense podcast, where your host Kimberly Henrie interviews Matt Frary, CEO of the leading outsourced affiliate agency SmarterChaos and Todd Crawford, Founder and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Impact Radius, Inc., former Founder of Commission Junction and recently appointed to the Performance Marketing Association.

The topic of this episode is toolbars and their impact on the pay-for-performance industry. Before diving into the meat of the podcast, the discussion turns to the Performance Marketing Association. Tom urges everyone to visit the website and, if possible, become a member.

According to a November, 2012 article published on Harvard Business School’s website, “…pay for performance compensation still makes sense to most of us…but there is a difference of opinion about how it works and how it should be structured.”

Do Toolbars Earn Millions for Affiliates?

The episode kicks off with a discussion about a Forbes article from December 2013 titled “Affiliate Theft Could Be Costing You Millions“. The author of the article suggests that toolbars are a questionable tactic used by affiliates to rake in millions of dollars in commissions and other revenue. Matt shares that articles with fantastical titles, such as this one, that sensationalize topics in one broad stroke really get under his skin.

Matt goes on to explain that articles like this are little more than scare tactics and asks Todd to chime in. Todd shares his feelings on different types of brands, and that performance marketing takes real work, just like any other type of marketing. He then segues into where he feels the problems arise, and why it’s easy for outsiders to point out those problems.

The two go on to discuss why it’s important to focus on the positive aspects of affiliate marketing. Todd shares that while it is important to focus on the good, when negative aspects come to light it does not have to necessarily be a bad thing, and then goes on to explain his reasoning behind the statement.

How to Add Credibility to Your Toolbars

Then Todd shares that the PMA’s goal is to outline standards that everyone can say they adopted. It will not be a law, but when affiliates say they comply with a set of standards then it adds credibility to their program because it answers client questions such as:

  • How should an affiliate toolbar behave on the webpage?
  • Is it easy for users to install or uninstall a toolbar?
  • What type of affirmative action does the toolbar introduce?

Next Todd explains what toolbars cause the least amount of problems, and which ones cause issues and send affiliate programs out of control. As Kimberly points out, toolbars are not bad affiliate tools. Matt and Todd both agree, sharing some of the ways affiliates might use toolbars or have used them in the past that impact current pay-for-performance results. As Tood points out, the best way to avoid problems is to know your partners.

New Technology to Help Forge New Partnerships

Todd’s company offers software that is a little different. He answers Matt’s questions about how this software will give advertisers a better view of affiliate marketing. The technology is unbiased, he explains, which helps different channels in the affiliate industry forge mutually beneficial partnerships and sever ties to partnerships that hinder progress.

What that information in mind, Matt revisits the idea of toolbars. He asks for Todd’s thoughts on a specific blanket statement that people make about toolbars and incrementality. Todd replies by explaining what this new software will offer to advertisers.

Is it more valuable to keep sending the same customers to the same advertisers? Or is it more valuable to continually send new customers to advertisers? That would be like asking “which came first, the chicken or the egg” as the answer would depend on which advertiser you asked.

The episode wraps up with a quick discussion about what aspect of technology Todd feels presents the best opportunity for growth in 2014, both for his company and the industry in general. Matt agrees, and chimes in that it is an exciting time to be in the industry.

Are you curious about how toolbars impact pay-for-performance? Take 20 minutes to listen to the full podcast to learn the answer to this question and receive other valuable bits of advice from two industry leaders. You’ll be glad you did!

The post Episode #4 – Toolbars: Cookie Stuffing or Just Good Business with @ToddCrawford appeared first on SmarterChaos.

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