Affiliates gained traction during Ad-network business slow down, when there was a strong need to promote App Installs, thus becoming an important element of Digital Industry.
Affiliates connect Advertisers and Publishers on CPI model, using a connecting “tracking URL” mechanism. Partnering with Affiliates is an easy method to integrate with readily available third party tracking platforms, which solves the problem for App developers in terms of tracking performance and comparing the numbers. Most of the Direct App developers benefitted by Affiliate business and generated as much as Installs through CPI model.
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Affiliates doesnt involve in any Ad serving technology like Mobile Ad networks or DSPs. Further, Affiliate partners cannot track the in-depth data or final traffic sources clearly on which their promotions are exactly running on. Subsequently, Incentive promotion/ In-App promotion came into picture which helped the Publishers and Affiliates to achieve the Advertiser’s install goals. Still, User quality or Retention rate continued to be a challenge. Hence, App developers devised KPI goals for their App promotions, where they closely measured the KPI based on factors like user retention rate or CPT (cost per transaction), where users need to transact after they installed the app. Also, tracking platforms like Appsflyer, Kochava came up with the strict Fraud analysis tools for the App developers. This is a challenge to the most of the Affiliates, due to inherent lack of insights into traffic.
As the market swiftly transformed from Network to RTB (Real time Bidding), focus shifted to more transparency in traffic sources and deeper analytical insights. However, performance business on RTB is still a challenge to run CPI campaigns on CPM traffic sources. In the age of information, lack of transparency in traffic was seen a glitch in the Affiliate business. This led App developers to introduce more stringent KPIs. However the same trend is being extended to the more organised CPM traffic sources as well. It is definitely a roadblock for DSPs, though App developers continue to manage this success with Social Media traffic directly.
The dynamics of Digital Advertising is ever changing. Affiliates business has definitely left its footprints in this ‘Information’ Age, either as a disruptor or a game-changer. One needs to wait and watch and keep evolving with the tide.