The Convergence of Influencer and Affiliate Marketing

Jul 28, 2021 12:00 PM1:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

The line between influencer marketing and affiliate marketing continues to grow thinner. As social media and micro-influencers gain prominence, there is more opportunity than ever to target specific audiences. Furthermore, the model of the industry is changing. Many influencers are willing to work with networks or be thoroughly vetted, reducing the risk for brands. Now might be the time to invest in this form of marketing — but what’s the best way to do it?

Acceleration Partners is a global affiliate management agency that’s helped countless brands build stronger partnerships. They have perfected their approach, leading to $3.8 billion in revenue driven to their clients. They’ve been able to adapt to the changes and construct better relationships between brands and influencers. Now they share those same principles with you.

In this virtual event, Jon Claydon, the Chief Development Officer at Acceleration Partners, sits down with Aaron Conant to talk about how to get the most out of your influencer and affiliate marketing. He covers the process from discovery of talent to negotiating deals to attribution. He also answers pertinent questions from real brands like “How do you track exposure from influencer posts” and “How do I keep my brand safe?”

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • Jon Claydon talks about the new ways to measure the success of influencer marketing
  • What’s the difference in value between macro and micro influencers?
  • The entire lifecycle of purchase behavior
  • How tracking and attribution works for brands without DTC
  • Tips and tricks for finding the right influencer for your brand
  • Maintaining brand safety when using influencer marketing
  • The differences between networks and upfront fees
  • Are goals and KPIs exactly the same?
  • Which verticals are best for influencer campaigns
  • What does the future hold for influencer platforms?
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Guest Speaker

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Jon Claydon

Chief Development Officer at Acceleration Partners

Jon Claydon is the Chief Development Officer at Acceleration Partners, a premier global partner marketing agency that works with businesses such as Expedia, DoorDash, Traeger, and more. He founded Streamline Marketing in 2013, a company that helps shape digital strategy for eCommerce brands. Streamline grew to be one of the largest firms in the affiliate industry and was eventually acquired by Acceleration Partners.

Jon is also the Chair of the Advertisers Council at the Performance Marketing Association.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Jon Claydon

Chief Development Officer at Acceleration Partners

Jon Claydon is the Chief Development Officer at Acceleration Partners, a premier global partner marketing agency that works with businesses such as Expedia, DoorDash, Traeger, and more. He founded Streamline Marketing in 2013, a company that helps shape digital strategy for eCommerce brands. Streamline grew to be one of the largest firms in the affiliate industry and was eventually acquired by Acceleration Partners.

Jon is also the Chair of the Advertisers Council at the Performance Marketing Association.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Wednesday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant, Co-founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect or a networking and knowledge sharing group of 1000s of brands who do exactly that we network and knowledge share together to stay on the newest stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, developments, anything that's shaping the digital landscape as a whole. I talked with 30 to 40 brands a week to stay on top of those trends, that's where we get the topics for call. So we'd love to, you know, find time to connect with anybody that's joining today, set aside 30 minutes or so just to, you know, do a deep dive on digital pain points as a whole or strategy, whatever is top of mind for you. We don't sell anything here at BWG Connect we're networking group. So, you know, just know, it'd be great to jump on the line and see what's going on in your space as a whole. And probably if you're feeling a lot of others are well as well. And we can go ahead and we can go ahead and get another, you know, form together like this as a whole. Oh, do they still be admitting people as we go here, but I just think I want to get started. Just so you know, we're starting three to four minutes after the hour, and we're going to wrap up with three to four minutes to go in the hour as well. So we're gonna give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. The other thing is we want this to be as educational and informational as possible, literally anytime, you know, you want to jump into the conversation, you have a question commentary, whatever it is, this is an open forum and open Roundtable. You know, we want to want to, you know, engage that conversation as much as possible. So the last thing here, you know, as we get to kind of the topic, just some background, you know, in talking with 30 to 40 different organizations and brands each week, you know, I think over the over the course of the pandemic, influencer marketing really took off. But then you had this convergence of the CMO or the CFO, you know, taking a step back and saying, Hey, where's that money going? What's the return on investment of it. And then there's been this convergence then of weight as an influencer, really just an affiliate, like they're driving traffic, but we compensate them in a reverse model. And so what does this look like is a horse, we got some, we got some great friends, great partners and supporters of the network as a whole. Over at Acceleration Partners, a lot of different become recommended from a lot of different brands that are out there. And so we just asked them, if they jump on the line today, kind of give us an overview of what they're seeing happening in this space, because they're, they're working with so many different brands in it, but also answer as many questions as we can throw at them over the next 15 minutes or so. So with that we're gonna we're gonna go ahead and kick it off. So you know that being said, drop questions, jump in with questions drop into the chat, or you can always email them to me And with that email that's including an hour after the call tomorrow, next week, if you have a question, you know, this or anything in the digital space, don't hesitate to reach out more than happy to jump on the phone quick and give you an answer. With that. Jon, I'll kind of kick it over to you, if you want to do a brief intro on yourself. Acceleration Partners, that would be awesome. And then we can kind of jump into some of the meat of this sounded.

Jon Claydon 3:14

That sounds great. And everyone, thank you so much for joining. It's It's great to be here. And I'm really excited to talk all things influencer and affiliate and this weird convergence that we seem to have happening these days. So I I'm a chief Development Officer here at AP, I wear a lot of different hats. But one of the main directors that I'm responsible for is trying to figure out how we sort of bring this, you know, ecosystem together of influencer in and how it works in our sort of traditional affiliate model. And what we do is a core function of our business on so just to give you guys a little bit of background on AP and who we are, if you're not familiar, we're the largest global partnership marketing agency. We're in 36 countries to an employee employees. I really, really the true global sort of leader in our space. And we've traditionally focused on what most folks would consider to be core affiliate marketing. You know, what you've known for the past 1520 years as affiliate, that's kind of what we've done on but as we'll get to, as we still haven't talked through this, that is rapidly evolving to be a much broader partner ecosystem. And we aim to be the leader in that space. So why why influencer? Why are we talking about this and how does it sort of impact affiliate on as Aaron teed up, we saw influencer becoming massively influential in the COVID world, right? brands were unable to sort of read your own ad content for various reasons. There's a lot of challenges with that and influencers became incredibly impactful in driving brand discussions and ultimately engagement in sales. But because of the continued investment in the influencer channel, CMOS, VP CFO started really asking the question, Where is this money going? And isn't actually being impactful? Is it is it actually driving bottom dollar revenue and in value on, you know, some of the metrics that traditional influencer agencies use, you know, in terms of engagement, gross media value, things like that are doesn't necessarily tie back to the bottom line. So what we are trying to do, and what we're being asked by our clients is to actually figure out ways to measure the effectiveness and the annual ROI of influencer campaigns, as we know it. And the affiliate channel is a perfect sort of medium for that, because we pay on performance are where they are at least driven towards performance and outcomes for the campaigns that we run. So obviously, creators are great in terms of what they offer to brands, they expose new customers to new products and content. They create amazing original, original content that brands can then repurpose, and reuse and advertise with. And they have massive influence over their audiences right there, their trusted consumers, listen to them, they purchase products that they recommend on, and they're incredibly effective. And in essence, they are affiliates. That's what affiliate marketing has been in. Since its inception, it's been people talking about products that they advocate for whether that was bloggers back in the 90s. You know, talking about books on Amazon, it was it was sort of born out of the same price. So it's really the same sort of model. It's just blend into this new industry that we now call influencer marketing on. So, you know, but what is this growing investment by right in terms of the continued dollars that are pouring into into the influencer world? We know there's a lot of spend going into it. The outcomes that are coming out of that marketing channel are sort of unknown at this point. And we're aiming to solve that. And so you have a couple of different options in the influencer world, you have, you know, Kylie Jenner on on one side, the macro influencer, millions of dollars for product placement, she's created around product lines. That's one side of things. And then you have micro influencers, which are going to have a much more engaged audience, they're going to be much more aligned to specific brands, verticals. And those those sorts of folks that we're really working with, and that sort of influencer, affiliate world. And that's the type of stuff that we're playing with. And where is where is the convergence really happening on in our ecosystem? Historically, influencer campaigns were what we would call like single game ticket sales, right? It's a new product launch, it's a new offering, we want to make a splash about a specific brand or new product or something that is that is happening. And it's a one off sort of thing. And where we see a shift happening now is towards the sort of long term collaboration, right? season ticket holders is our sort of example for that. So we want to see continuous promotion and work with influencers through their brand partnerships. And then that makes it a lot more scalable. It makes the revenue a lot more consistent. And that's the type of engagements that we're looking to drive. The way that we track and measure these campaigns, there's a number of ways in which you can do it, you can do it through traditional affiliate tracking links, which can just be posts. It's your story, you can have swipe ups, promo codes can be used to track to the individual influencer, or even creating unique landing pages so that you can know that conversions can actually happen from that specific influencer with a BAM decoder of any URL or something like that.

Aaron Conant 9:18

Two really great questions, you see, like the large influencers, like continuing the number of them continuing to shrink. And then the question comes in, like what's the value of the large influencers compared to you know, the micro influencers? And do you see them all becoming affiliates, you know, crystal ball a year from now.

Jon Claydon 9:39

So I my crystal ball is I think that there is going to be a continued divergence between the two of them, right? So macro, you know, the millions and millions of followers they are still going to be able to demand those brand dollars because, quite frankly, they have the reach and the audience that it is very, very difficult for brands to tap into in any other medium. I think that they, you know, Kylie Jenner, you know, demanding a million dollars for a post is warranted in many cases, if a brand is looking for that branding exposure, right, they want to get awareness out, they want to get that push out for whatever reason. Um, and I still think that there's a lot of value to what they're doing. Those are very, very specialized campaigns, there's a ton of work that goes into it and content development that goes back and forth. It's an enormous undertaking to develop something like that. It's basically creating a superbowl commercial, that's put on Instagram, right, um, where where we see growth is in the micro influencer set, which is, you know, maybe 25 50,000 100,000 followers where they can create content a lot quicker, the brand guidelines maybe a little bit looser in terms of what the structures look like in terms of how that editorial goes back and forth with the content it's actually created. And I think that there's actually going to be a lot more scale in that regard. And those folks are moving more towards the affiliate model, because the brand dollars that used to be available to them, I just aren't really there as much anymore. I used to, if you had 50,000 followers, and you have a certain audience, you might be able to put a $10,000 rate card in front of the brand and say, Yes, 10 grand for for, you know, two posts and a swipe up. And a lot of brands would be willing to pay that. It's not happening these days. The again, this comes back to being able to measure the impact of those campaigns. CMOS actually want to know, are those brand dollars being invested strategically?

Aaron Conant 11:44

Yeah. 100%. And so then it becomes the pay for performance model. I think most brands are comfortable paying into, you know, an affiliate referral fee. If it's traceable trackable, if it's legit, right? That it's, it's worth it.

Jon Claydon 12:03

And it's and it could totally be valuable as well to pay that $10,000 rate card is long as you're actually able to track the revenue and engagement and metrics that that sort of correspond with that upfront placement, right? It costs creators money and time and effort to create the content in general, it makes sense to pay them something to create that content. But what what our brands are asking us to do, or are to come up with either hybrid models where we're maybe they get paid, instead of that $10,000 rate card, maybe it's 5000 for the actual content creation, but the rest of it is earned on commission. And so that's what we're seeing a change and a shift in behavior for marketers. And that's what our clients are asking us to do.

Aaron Conant 12:51

Awesome. Yeah. And just remind anybody you have questions, you know, just you can jump in there, you can just, you know, email them to me or drop it in the chat there. But awesome, great. I think this tracking and measuring thing is, is key, right? I mean, I think you're right, the CMOS and are getting pressure across the board to be able to, you know, justify where the spend is going.

Jon Claydon 13:12

Right. And this is, and this is just specific to last click tracking measuring of revenue. Was there a question?

Aaron Conant 13:22

Oh, no, I think somebody was just came off you.

Jon Claydon 13:25

Okay. Um, so the other thing that we're able to do in affiliate platforms is we're actually able to track the entire lifecycle of purchase behavior, right. So using attribution models to look at what that sort of full cycle purchase behavior looks like. And as you look at influencer and how it impacts that purchase behavior, the ROI on that, again, $10,000 rate card may actually become incredibly effective, if you see how impactful that piece of content is, in terms of ultimately leading to the purchase, that may end up happening through paid search through another affiliate through organic email, whatever it may be. But knowing that the influencer touched that consumer behavior at a certain point during the journey also makes it really important. And again, the platforms that we use in the affiliate world that don't really exist in the traditional influencer world, track all of this and so it allows us to tell a much deeper story when we're going out and we're doing content buys with these with these influencers that are creating really, really great content that may start the conversation with a consumer but ultimately it converts through another paid channel. And if you look at you know, marketing from last click perspective, and that's the only way that you're looking at it from that lens. influencer is not going to look right. It's always going to be incredibly expensive, the ROI if you're solely looking at last Click is going to be terrible. But if you look at sort of a full cycle, and you look at the attribution of it, it actually becomes a much more effective channel.

Aaron Conant 15:09

So quick question comes in, you know, because there are a bunch of brands out there that don't always have direct to consumer, like, are you able to track sales for brands that don't have DTC?

Jon Claydon 15:21

So, so, so if they're doing like, online to offline?

Aaron Conant 15:28

Yeah, I'm guessing I can, I mean, Josh V, just want to jump in. And you can ask, you know, Josh.

Josh 15:37

You know, for a lot of brands that don't DSD and our products are sold at the Walmarts, and the Targets and the Amazons of the world, you know, how are you working with them to to get the data or, you know, what are the limitations?

Jon Claydon 15:50

Yeah, so there are there are some limitations, right, right. eCommerce obviously allows us to track sort of the full funnel on there are a lot of different systems that we could leverage and data points to, to allow us to understand on using things like live ramp, for example, right to understand that consumers on Instagram at Ulta, they went in store and purchased, there are ways that you can stitch things together, there isn't necessarily a full funnel ecosystem that is built yet. I know that a bunch of groups are working on that. And I do think in the coming years, we'll actually be begin to see that a lot more. But, yeah, this is a right now it works flawlessly across a DTC sort of world. If you're if you're thinking more retail focused, it's a little bit harder to track that ultimate end revenue. But there are ways to sort of stitch systems together to make it work.

Aaron Conant 16:50

Awesome. Yeah. Yes, that's tough. I mean, I was at, you know, large, CPG. company before with a dragon's minimal DTC presence. And that's always it's tough to track at the end of the day, right. It's what was the in store lift from? Right. And, and timing? And, yeah, it's stitching together on the back end?

Jon Claydon 17:07

Sure. And there's lots of things that you can do for in store. I mean, there are, there are partners where you can do coupon code redemptions, there are QR code redemptions, things like that. And there are systems out there in place, and we've had partners that we work with in the affiliate industry, they can help sort of tie all that together on it's not a perfect world, but it can be done.

Aaron Conant 17:33

Awesome, love it. Just reminders, others have questions, you can drop into the chat or just jump in. Awesome. Thanks, Jon. Okay, get back to you. And for those of you joining just, you know, a great conversation here, around, you know, the convergence of the influencer. And in how there's been a, a large pressure from the CFOs the CMOS to provide better data and, you know, justification on return on investment on the influencer space, it's out there. And that's led this this huge push to I shouldn't say push it, like pulling these influencers in to be affiliate marketers as a whole. And then that that brings in a different way of compensation, which is more traceable trackable, and what that looks like. So if you have questions about, you know, how to get started, or, you know, what is what, you know, what's the structure look like? or How long does it take just, you know, jump in, and we can we can answer all those as well. But Jon, I'll get back to you.

Jon Claydon 18:24

Great. Um, and so time off on that. And so sort of how it like when in our world and how we think this is going to unfold over the next few years. We really think that this is a full partnership lifecycle automation system, right. And so right now, if you run influencer campaigns that I'm sure many folks on the line have had been doing these on. It takes a lot of manual effort to create influencer campaigns, there is a lot of back and forth, there's content creation, there's editorial, you have to work through Asians, there is a plethora of work that goes into creating a campaign, let's say for 15 or 20 influencers for a brand, right, that might be a half million dollar buy, it might take six months to develop. It's a lengthy process, what the affiliate ecosystem allows us to do is to really kind of automate the vast majority of that, provided that brands are comfortable giving over a little bit more control on to these content creators, and in the same way that they've already given control over to affiliates who are already doing this in general, right. So, um, the systems that we've sort of built and the platforms that we use, help us to discover and recruit influencers, they contract and actually pay out influencers. They track them, they help engage with the audiences, they monitor them and protect the brand's investment. So if we're paying people to create a post, we want to make sure that post is actually created and it's tagged appropriately. And then they help us optimize that. So we understand which influencers are actually converting to whatever sort of KPIs or metrics that it is that we're measuring towards, on so. So that's the sort of ecosystem that we're trying to build. And that scales massively beyond doing, you know, influencer campaigns with 15, or 20, influencers that are handled through spreadsheets or through you know, one of the influencer platforms like GRIN or CreatorIQ, which are great systems, but they take a lot of manual effort and work to do them. And again, those systems are still great. I think they're still wonderful for those macro major launch campaigns, new brands, new new offers and products that are coming out. But we think of the sort of micro ecosystem of influencer as being more of an automated type of platform.

Aaron Conant 21:07

So a couple things I want to tackle here is things that that people struggle with one, you know, finding like this discover and recruit the contract pay piece, I think people kind of understand but then tracking who's working and who's not. And so that kind of matches up first of all, is that was a question that comes in is that exposure only trackable if the influence your drives a visit to the website, so I want to track it, but they want to track it, to make sure that it's tied back. But they also want to know who's working? Who's not. So first, you spent all this time effort discovery and recruiting, you know, you get them into a contract, and then you have to track it and make sure who's working and who's not. Right. What's the hit rate on that side? Who do you over index on? Who do you invest in, you know, the next round? So, you know, the first question is that exposure only trackable if the influencer drives a visit to the website, the next two that come in or around a, you know, discover, what is this? How do you best discover and recruit the right talent? And then how do you know who's working and who's not? And then the next one around brand safety?

Jon Claydon 22:14

Sure. So I think there's a few ways you can look at determining success in any sort of campaign. Right? And if and if your ultimate measure of success is driving revenue, then yeah, you need to have influencers using appropriate links, whether that's again, a traditional affiliate leg, a swipe up a vanity URL, a promo code, something like that, that tells us that conversion happened from that influencer, if that's your only measurement of goal. Um, the other thing is that you could be looking at it and anyone that's that's run influencer campaigns look at engagement, right? You know, how many likes are their posts getting? What's the sort of earned media value of those posts? How many impressions are they getting? Right? So those, those can be other ways in terms of measuring value of those of those partners? So, you know, those those are, you know, the two sort of primary ways in which we might begin to understand how effective those those influencers are. And again, there's always iterations and optimizations of campaigns, right. So you start with one sort of promotion, maybe it's for a particular product, and you see, maybe you work with 100 influencers, and 50 of them do absolutely nothing, they never make a post. And that's it, right. There's no, no success there. Um, the other 5040 of them drive one or two sales and 10 of them drive 95% of the volume that you see from the entire campaign. And then you go and you want to focus on those 10 and figure out how do you do more with them? And maybe for the other 40, that had some success, but weren't ultimately that successful? What didn't happen? Like, what what went wrong? How can we improve things? How do we optimize it? And so that kind of goes in the full cycle of things where we go and we iterate again, on what happened, how do we improve and how we how we build from that?

Bill 24:16

Can I add on to my question, this is Bill.

Jon Claydon 24:19

Yeah, sure.

Bill 24:20

About that exposure being trackable. So I was referring to that previous slide where you said, influencers, this some of the troubles that we've had, like when we're looking just at a last click basis, it's never really going to be successful. I'm thinking on the previous slide, where you can eventually track a conversion through paid or some other channel. How do you track that someone was exposed to an influencer posts, if they didn't click through from a swipe up like are you able to see if they were just exposed to the post and saw the post? At some point?

Jon Claydon 24:56

Great question. So there are a couple of pieces of tech that that we've plugged into affiliate platforms that do allow us to do that, just in terms of as long as that there's a hash tag associated with it. So we know that that sort of post was seen on, it's not a, a fully flushed out and built out system at this point. I think we'll eventually get there. Um, so that it's sort of like a view through impression almost, if you want to consider that a way to measure the ultimate conversion.

Bill 25:32

Okay, thank you.

Aaron Conant 25:36

Awesome. So next question, how do you balance brand safety when automation begins to occur, historical post future monitoring? So that's, that's a concern, a two fold, right? How do I, how do I discover recruit people that are on brand? And the next thing is, like, you know, automation kicks in? You know, how do you balance a brand safety aspect of that?

Jon Claydon 26:02

Sure, sure. So So in terms of, you know, aligning affinity of influencers with brand, there's a ton of discovery platforms out there that I'm sure anyone that faces us, whether that's brand or CreatorIQ, Tagger any of these other ones that allow you to sort of search and understand audiences and look at those those those influencers and make sure they align with with brands on. So making sure that you have that the right audiences is super important. There's also things that you can do like you can look at followers of have your own social media presence as a brand and understand of your followers who who are influential. And are those folks influencers? And can you work with them? Right? They already have an affinity with with the brand itself on so can you go and potentially partner with them?

Josh 27:00

I would say it's more so based on brand safety, you know, what the times in the past year and a half that we've seen and things that no more influencers are speaking out, or people are bringing to light conversations of topics or organization, or religions or things that are happening in the world. And, you know, a lot of scandals are coming out. People posted things back in 2017 2018, on Twitter, you know, excetera. And so that's a big manual kind of component, as part of the influencer model with agencies is to really understand, you know, that stuff before you getting into contracting. And so once it becomes automated, what are you doing to make sure that that's been bedded first? And then, you know, as there's a contract under you that they're not doing something that they might say something the next day after they posted something about your brand?

Jon Claydon 27:52

And yeah, great, great question. So so any any one in the affiliate world or influencer world, there is an approval process to actually let them in the program. It's not like anybody can sign up and become a an influencer of target right, there is a process to vet them and ensure that we are we're going to be engaging with the appropriate parties. Looking back at historical content that may have been created, that is questionable. That gets into a manual sort of workflow. For some clients, we've we may have been asked to do that. And in certain cases, to make sure that anything that's been done in the past on that doesn't necessarily negatively reflect on on the brand and present day, but there is a bit of given take with turning over sort of brand protections to these content creators in the same way that you would do with with affiliates today, right? We work with 10s of 1000s of affiliate partners right now, brands have been doing this for 20 plus years at this point. And there isn't really much of a difference there. Right in terms of what a affiliate is able to say compared to what an influencer is able to say it's it's the same thing. So it's sort of a trust game. Um, I would say if I were to give guidance, I would, I would ensure that you're working with trusted influencers that you understand and have worked with, and maybe have some sort of scoring mechanism that ideally platforms will be building out that will allow us to understand, hey, these influencers are great, they have great track records, good reviews from brands, they've had success, those sorts of things, I think will be built in the future. But you're absolutely right, like there is risk inherent with that. And especially for brands that are more sensitive to that sort of potential liability. It's something where you're going to want to monitor it a lot closer. So maybe instead of having 10,000 influencers, you might have 100 And that's really just sort of up to the brand and what their own comfort level is going to look like.

Aaron Conant 30:08

Awesome. Next question comes in, how are you building out the actual influencer network? Right? There are a staggering amount of individuals creating content. And part of the challenge is filtering out and refining the initial search. And then once captured, how do you convince the influencers to buy in to using the network versus the current upfront fee system that they've come to expect? So kind of multi layer there?

Jon Claydon 30:33

Yeah, great question. So so we're using a few different systems to discover and and engage with influencers. So one of our platform partners, which is an affiliate tracking technology, called impact, acquired an influencer company called activate and so they have a database of a couple 100,000 influencers are able to source from discover straight through there. We also use GRIN we use CreatorIQ. We build lists, profiles and demographics from those systems and then import them into Impact and, or, or Partner-Eye, or CJ or whatever affiliate platform we have to be using. And the messaging generally is something along the lines of Hey, influencer, our brand would really love to work with you, this is the terms of the deal, we want to pay you this. In order for us to pay you, you need to go and create an account here, here's how you go through that process. Here's a video walking you through the setup, here's how you access the system here is all the learning material you could possibly ever want to know on on using the actual system itself. And yeah, it's more of a manual process than a macro influencer, having agents say post this, you know, on your Instagram with this hashtag, and get paid 100 grand, but these are not those types of people. And so they're willing to go the extra mile to do a little bit more of that.

Aaron Conant 32:12

Awesome. Whoa. And are you seeing So another question that comes in over email? So are you seeing the micro influencers being more open to this or less open to this?

Jon Claydon 32:24

So every every micro influencer, you know, whether they have 1000 followers, or 100,000, followers, or whatever number, it is their audience, they all have a rate card in their head. And they all think that they should be paid at least that much, if not more, I'm for, you know, upfront with no conditions. And traditionally, they have been rather resistant to working on any sort of commission based structure or any sort of hybrid structure. I think that's changed pretty rapidly over the past six months, where those brand dollars have died up. And really there are, they're much more open to these days. Again, I think, especially last year, with COVID, with everything happening with advertising in general, it was kind of free money for influencers, they could really depend on getting contracts from brands, and they, you know, it wasn't a tough negotiation for that now, they're being asked questions, the ROI questions that we've been talking about are being asked, and they're having to prove themselves. And so, um, it is a it's still a discussion, it's not an easy sell. But it's something where there is a sort of take it or leave it from from the brand side, right? Like, if you are a tier one influencer, you're Kim Kardashian, sure, you can demand a million dollars, no problem, we understand that, that you have an agent, we're gonna work with you in that capacity. You have 50,000 followers, you have a great niche, you know, we want to pay you 10% of sale. But, but we really think you're amazing. And we're willing to give you an extra $2,000 to create a piece of content along with that. And so it's a lot of back and forth and something of a negotiation. I think, as we continue to scale on this continues to be a larger ecosystem, on the automation of things will will just sort of improve to the to the extent where it might be any new influencer that comes in that we approve, and we've that they might get $1,000 for their first post. And after that it's pure commission. There's a ton of ways in which you can structure them and end each brand is going to treat it differently. And that's part of our job as an agency to advise them on how we should be treating these partners. And ultimately, again, if we see success from someone they come in, it's it's commissioned only initially, but they create some great content and it performs really well. We're gonna go back Have them and say, hey, go do 10 more of these, and we will pay you at whatever dollar amount it is that the brand deems, you know, valuable for it. And it ultimately creates a much better relationship from that perspective.

Aaron Conant 35:13

Yeah, no, I completely agree. And it's just, you know, it's always important, I think to point out that this is something that's just started, that other people have been dabbling in for a little while. But now it's becoming more mainstream, where they're the brands are having the conversations now, like, Hey, this is the path that we want to get to. You know, and it's not just ripping a band aid off and say, Hey, we're no longer paying you for content, and we're only going to pay you for performance based on you know, attributable sales that come back to a post you did. And by the way, you know, you're going to help us track it. It's, hey, what is the walk? How do we get there? How do we get more into a partnership as a whole? That's, yeah,

Jon Claydon 35:53

right. And it is it is it is creating a partnership. And that's the way we always talk about it. Right? This is not a one off single campaign, we want this to be a long standing relationship on and And to your point, this is saying that this is a new thing. I mean, I'll call him out on it again, like this has been going on for 20 years, right? This sort of back and forth engagement with content creators, they used to be called bloggers now they're Instagram celebrities, right? But it's the same sort of give and take, right? They always want, you know, 20 grand for a piece of content. And we go in and we negotiate, and we pay them 500 bucks and 10% of sale. And that's why the agency does and that's what we do on on behalf of our brands.

Aaron Conant 36:40

Awesome. Love it. So another question that comes in which of the platforms you've mentioned, do you prefer or see best results with you know, it Impact CreatorIQ? Yeah, so I don't know if they're, you know, talk about that.

Jon Claydon 36:55

Yeah, so um, so in terms of, you know, affiliate tracking platforms, we are agnostic, I'd say about 80% of our clients are on Impact, they seem to be the sort of leading SAS play on the space partner is another great one. But we've worked really well with rocket and with Awin and CJ as well, on CreatorIQ is really sort of leading an effort in this as well in terms of trying to help build out the influencer affiliate ecosystem. And so what they have done is they've actually pulled in revenue API's from all the various affiliate tracking platforms into their system. So when you're looking at crater ipus, reporting dashboard, and you're seeing how a campaign is performing for a given influencer, they're playing in revenue from the actual affiliate platforms themselves so that you can see that sort of full cycle activity. So they're actually engaged in this as well. And they see it as a major path forward for where they want to go. And we think that Grin and tiger and the other guys are probably gonna fall asleep pretty quickly.

Aaron Conant 38:07

Awesome. So next question that comes in, you know, goals and KPIs are that are the main focus? It's a little is it different then strictly the influencer side? That's what people are trying to figure out are the goals and KPIs exactly the same.

Jon Claydon 38:27

So So goals and KPIs in terms of like this affiliate influencer world, I think we need a better name for that is what we're calling it. At this point on? Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think that the KPIs are going to be tied to some sort of outcome on in our world, as opposed to maybe more of a brand awareness and earned media value and engagement type of KPI, which is what you might see with traditional influencer campaigns, right. You know, you saw this many impressions and this many likes, maybe this many clicks. That's what the sort of typical KPIs and measurements are that you get on influencer campaigns. We want to take a step beyond that and say, Yes, you've got all those engagement metrics, but you also got the idea of this much last click revenue. And you also got this much attributable revenue from other channels that ultimately converted that customer but your influence or campaign influenced during that consumer behavior when they went to purchase that product.

Aaron Conant 39:41

So and so is the thought are we going in and a phrase, is it the affluencer?

Jon Claydon 39:48

I actually I that's great. I like that one a lot.

Aaron Conant 39:51

We should do it. So yeah, it's the affluence or affluence or affluence or like the influencer who acts like an affiliate. Yes, key takeaway, affluence or terminology? Are there other things that are like Top of Mind, just reminder, people can check, keep dropping questions there on the chat or emailing them to me, Aaron There are other things that are popping up on a routine basis. I know this is relatively new, are there other things that you know, you know, you guys just sit in this space where you're dealing with so many different people and brands that, you know, you thought would come up so far today, and it hasn't or, you know, key things that people should be aware of?

Jon Claydon 40:31

I mean, I would just say that, that we, you know, again, as a as an agency, we have about 200 clients and I have taught to in the past, say about three or four months with half of them on and every single brand is begging us to figure out ways to make this work. I think they all everyone understands the value of influence at this point, like is undisputed, it is incredibly effective at what it does when it's done well. They want to figure out ways to make it scale. And that's really what we're trying to do. And we're looking for partners to help us with that we are looking for brands to collaborate with us on that anyone on this call if you'd like to have a more detailed conversation and figure out ways in which we might be able to like put something together and test things like we want beta partners to figure this out. Because like, the affiliate channel is growing massively, the influencer channel is growing massively, and they are like coming together at a head. And and we think it is going to be a massive part of digital marketing. And we want to be at the forefront of helping to figure that out. So we'd love to collaborate with anyone that wants to have further conversations and figure out ways in which we can work together.

Aaron Conant 41:49

Yeah, 100%. I mean, anybody on the call today worth a file conversation, this is that this rapidly evolving, you know, Affluencer arena here that I think is going to be a lot more mature a year from now. And, you know, just the structure of, you know, balancing, hey, we'll give you a smaller upfront with a bigger back end. Is is awesome. You know, is there a certain question that comes in? You know, are you seeing this, you know, as we watch these two things come together, you know, is it is it happening more in CPG? in food and in apparel? Are there different, you know, verticals that you see this, you know, happening more readily and, or quicker?

Jon Claydon 42:34

Um, yeah, I mean, I think that certain verticals lend themselves to to influencer campaigns to be just just a little bit better, right? If you are a cosmetics brand, it works very well. Or if your apparel, right, it's really easy to see a pair of shoes and say, Gosh, I want that right now I have to have it on that sort of stuff, works works great. Things that are more considered purchase, where it's a long lifecycle, maybe a high high priced ticket item on, it's harder to realize the the immediate ROI and fine tune things, right. So, you know, we work with a number of brands in the travel vertical, and like, we're running these types of campaigns, and we're seeing results, it's just takes a lot longer to ultimately figure out what is actually effective there. So that the quicker to purchase items. And ones that are going to get the sort of attention of consumers very quickly, are the ones that ultimately end up converting really well, immediately. Um, I do think the CPG, vertical is is relatively untapped in our ecosystem in terms of the affiliate side of things, but I think there's a huge opportunity there, especially if we can figure out ways to tie in online offline and into retail.

Aaron Conant 44:08

So are there are there considerations or things people should be thinking about, you know, from the CMO standpoint, either how to approach this, you know, taking it to the CMO, you know, new developments in the space things that you see that they're concerned about, you know, kind of ways to explain what's going on, if a lot of you know people interested in in that this is, but you said it's not new, but it's that new business, but it's a new way of doing business, I think as a whole. And people are wondering, like, where does the budget come from? How do I request more budget? It mean, is it all coming from the same pot or is it the time performance marketing or?

Jon Claydon 44:54

Yeah, great question. I I wish it was coming from that performance marketing pot, unfortunately. is not for the most part. It's it's, it's starting to, though I think, oftentimes so so the usual path for entry for for our agency is we're talking to the affiliate team and the affiliate team happens to sit somewhere along with the social team, maybe the PR team, and they have different budgets, and maybe there's a brand team involved and but they want to be more influencer. And they start hearing about what we're doing on the affiliate side of things. And so budgets start getting shifted over, but there isn't really a like affiliate influence or affluence or budget that is that has been created at this point. Um, although I think as it becomes more prominent and more important, I think it will start to be that way. But I think marketers in general will look at marketing and two different fashions as we over the next few years, and one is going to be the more traditional branding awareness play that we're all very familiar with. And one is going to be an outcomes play. Right. And that is ultimately, you know, maybe it's revenue and conversions, influencer, maybe it's posts and engagements and, you know, giveaways and things like that. And, you know, I think I think the way that budgets will shift it along those two lines is where we'll we'll sort of see our side of the world take off, and hopefully have a lot of success with that.

Aaron Conant 46:31

Awesome, you know, just a reminder, if others have questions to the whole drop into the chat there, we can can get an answer. what's what's next in this space, that you think is coming down the pipe as a whole? Any new developments? I mean, we've seen a lot of, you know, consolidation on the back end, you know, all these different organizations, is that going to keep happening? How does that impact what's going forward? Love to hear, you know, your thoughts there. Right?

Jon Claydon 46:58

Yeah, um, I think there's about 87,000 influencer discovery platforms out there. Refer, there will be four or five in in the next, you know, two or three years, right. That's, that's, that will happen. And, and I think with that, those platforms will will get better. And they will, I think, start to integrate and tie in with the affiliate platforms. And we're seeing this already happening, at least the leaders in the space are starting to do it. And ultimately, like, I wouldn't be surprised if, you know, one of the major affiliate platforms or influencer platforms buys one or the other, right, they make a lot of sense, especially as those worlds start to collide on, I do see, um, you know, an increased need of understanding the entire lifecycle of consumer behavior, and how influencers impact that. We're really just scratching the surface, even with the attribution systems we have right now, which we think are pretty good. They're miles ahead of where they were, even a couple of years ago, but like, the example that I think Josh gave where it was, like, if an infant if an influencer, you know, shows something and they see, you know, an ad for toothpaste, and they go into a Walmart and buy that, like, how do we know that the influencer had anything to do with that? We don't necessarily know that. Yeah, I think I think as we learn more about data, we start leveraging these these third party systems, maybe it's live rap, maybe it's some of the other ones out there, I think that we will have a much better understanding of exactly how impactful all this is. But I mean, from from an industry and and, and the way that these incredibly creative marketers were able to influence consumer behavior. I mean, it's amazing, right? It's really kind of changed the way that people shop online in general. And I think that we are just at the forefront of seeing where it's gonna go and how it's gonna keep developing.

Josh 49:17

Yeah, yeah, I think, you know, it's super interesting. You know, for us, we focus mainly on awareness campaigns, and we're really going after those mega macro influencers, getting reach, putting, you know, our amplification behind posts, and really keeping an always on post because we measure through marketing mix, and we get that offline kind of sales attributed to the to what we're doing. But you know, it's so funny, I just had a conversation with my Chief Digital Officer yesterday. And the question was posed, you know, although we're measuring awareness and impressions, we're still getting a sense on measurement on where we can put a link to whether that's Instagram stories that we contract them for and they're swiping up or, you know, we're driving to Amazon For Prime Day through content for them, or we make Mac, to kind of let them choose the retailer that they want to choose, and we get data from that. And it's not promising, it's not breaking, you know, it's not millions of dollars or being sold or moving, you know, 1000s of units. It's very small. And so the question is, you know, like, if we still go after the traditional model of infancy, it doesn't pay out to measure bottom funnel, it just doesn't. And so for us, how do we then start measuring bottom funnel success, and paying appropriately? And, you know, the affiliate world makes all the sense. And, you know, right now, but there's so many limitations to that, and we'll measure with our other retailers in the walled garden. And so as we continue to kind of bring the brand to the forefront, or we create a vape shop our brand, I think that's when we start to open up box for this. But is it scalable? You know, is it is it going to make as much sense of going after an awareness campaign where we're reaching millions and millions of people that still will convert? And versus investing money down here?

Jon Claydon 51:06

Sure. Yeah. And totally valid question. I mean, I think, just to touch on one thing, just briefly set up like we've we've mentioned it before, the way that you commission affiliates these days, it's it's actually quite complex compared to how it traditionally has been right. So you can set commission rates, say for for an influencer, that is that is doing that campaign for you, Josh, where if if they get a click, regardless of what marketing channel, it may convert through, they still get commissioned for it. So you can actually set up rules to, you know, incentivize those influencers that we know are going to be upper funnel, they're probably not going to get the last click on that conversion, and still pay them on a commission basis. So that actually is a really effective way of still incentivizing them as well. It's another tactic that we use when we negotiate with these parties. If they're a little bit leery about working on a more performance oriented fashion.

Aaron Conant 52:09

Well, I let everybody know, we're gonna get out of here with three to four minutes ago. So we got about a minute left here. I'm gonna kick it over you, Jon, like key takeaways. I mean, thanks to everybody who was able to jump in great questions, all around great conversation, again, like this is a new developing space, you know, the team over Acceleration Partners, longtime, you know, great supporters on the, on the affiliate side, and now just kind of at the forefront of what's happening with the convergence of the influencers and the affiliate space as a whole. So, like, he was saying 100% worth of follow up conversation around what's going on this base, you know, maybe there's a way Yeah, I mean, we didn't get to a lot more sorry. They're not, here we go. There's, there's the last slide for you. So she, you know, we can connect you with Jon as well. I'd also love to have a conversation with anybody on the line, more than happy to do a little strategy session as a whole, I talk with 30 or 40 brands a week, start up the Fortune 100 to help them out with that, but then kind of help with pain points. And then on our side, we really love to get the next topics for calls as well. So look for a follow up email from me. But yeah, okay, key takeaway here as we wrap up the next, you know, 30 seconds are so

Jon Claydon 53:19

Yeah, again, I mean, I, I really appreciate everyone taking the time, great questions, and it was super engaging. Like I said, I'm super excited about the space, I think we all really are. And it's gonna be exciting to see where things go over the next 12 months. And, I mean, we're, we're advancing so quickly these days. It's gonna be it's gonna be really fun to watch how everything plays out. So please keep in touch, and we would love to keep the conversations going.

Aaron Conant 53:50

Awesome. Well, thanks, Jon, for all the information day. Thanks for being open. Just asking as many questions as we could. Thanks to everybody who dialed in. hope everybody has a fantastic Wednesday, Everybody stay safe. Looking forward to having you on a future event. If you're in Boston, or Chicago or RetailX shoot us a note we're doing some in person dinners, you know, small format stuff with you know, 15 to 20 people as a whole. We'd love to, you know, meet face to face. With that. We're going to wrap it up. hope everybody has a fantastic Wednesday. Take care now. We'll see you. Bye Bye. Thanks, Jon.

Jon Claydon 54:19

Thanks, guys.

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