Once again, the affiliate marketing industry shows its' strength with a sold out conference to start the new year. Affiliate Summit West, the bell-weather of the affiliate marketing industry, is sold out 10 days before the January 9th start in Las Vegas.
The show is the bi-annual event where a who's who of affiliate marketing come together to discuss the lastest SEO/PPC and monetization techniques. In this meeting of advertising networks, affiliate networks, and tacticians, ideas are exchanged in terms of how to generate and monetize traffic.
This year's show is no exception with keynotes by Drew Eric Whitman, on the psychology of advertising response (one of my favorite topics) and Brian Solis, a principal at FutureWorks, who will discuss the latest trends in media and branding.
Althought the show is sold out, last minute cancelations crop up. If interested in attending, just check the Affilliate Summit site. If you are going to attend one digital marketing conference in 2011, I'd suggest making it this one.
Congratulations to the shows organizers, Shawn Collins and Missy Ward, for planning another great event (and be sure to say hello as of course, I'll be covering the event in this blog and via Twitter @JeffGrill).
On Long Island, my home, buying without a coupon is heresy. If you don't have a coupon in hand at Shop Rite, Kohls, or Macys, you can easily be voted off the Island for failure to demonstrate that you are frugal. I expect to be stuck behind someone at the supermarket checkout arguing that their out of date coupon for the product that kinda sorta matches the one on the coupon, is valid (my favorite was the woman at Dunkin Donuts that insisted on using the "free small coffee" coupon as a down payment against a medium coffee).
On Long Island It's common to over pay for whatever the latest "it" item is, but then feel good about the purchase since you bought it with a coupon or on a secret,that everyone knows about "friends and family" sale that just happens to be available to everyone. Bloomingdales will even hold your purchase so that you can come back and buy it on a sale day.
Unfortunately this coupon hysteria is now spreading on-line. The recent news that Google was trying to acquire Groupon was a wake up call to marketers that coupon marketers are starting to dominate PPC results and may start to influence SEO rankings as well.
Long story short, the coupon sites such as Groupon, ebates, Living Social etc are buying PPC keywords that say something like <your brand here> discount coupon. The consumer than clicks the link back to the coupon site for the offer. Given the millions being spent in PPC by the coupon sites, and the quality of the information provides, a consumer discount, these sites are supposedly getting high quality scores from Google. This translates into lower PPC pricing and a competitive advantage for these sites. Said another way, a company's acquisition costs can potentially be lower by working with a coupon site.
No where is this change more pronounced than in the affiliate marketing space, where coupon sites are quickly becoming the go to affiliate partners. For those just catching up to the affiliate conversation, affiliate marketers pay a percentage of sales to the affiliate partner in exchange for the lead or sale. It is estimated that 10% - 20% of all ecommerce moves through the affiliate channel. Affiliates promote product via PPC, SEM publishing, email, twitter, newsletters etc.
The coupon sites are also teaching the consumer not to buy before searching for and using a coupon. This is further reinforced by the ubiquitous "coupon code" request on the check out screen of most major on-line retailers.
Coupons are going be a top story in 2011. Marketers need to get on board fast...l..as in now.
A friend just shared this old You Tube video from Google's Matt Cutts, clearly indicating that the keyword metags are ignored in generating search results. I've heard this from SEO master Wil Reynolds at Affiliate Summit East, but needed to hear from the horse's mouth.