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Determining ROI and Benefits of a SaaS Product Based on a Free Trial

SaaS (Software as a Service) companies are everywhere, and they offer all sorts of potential benefits. SaaS provides access to a fully supported and constantly updated piece of software, typically in exchange for a monthly fee. Companies like Hootsuite, Buffer, and SproutSocial offer nifty services to easily manage your social media channels. Services like MOZ offer incredible tools for taking the tediousness out of SEO. The phones in our pockets are loaded with SaaS apps aimed at improving our lives in various ways. We at Geniuslink provide a service helping digital marketers bridge the Purchasing Gap through intelligent links.

Ecommerce Geniuslink News Geo-Fragmentation Mobile Marketing Performance Marketing

How International Is Your Online Audience? 7 Tools To Find Out

Understanding the geographical makeup of your online audience is important for crafting the ideal marketing message. As a link management platform that helps digital marketers build intelligent global links, we know that.

So, how international is your audience? Where do most of your fans reside? Do you have a surprisingly large amount of fans in the UK? Are you wasting your money on marketing efforts in Spain? Do you need to make an Amazon Associates account for the German storefront? Do you need global links in your promotions?

Affiliate Linking Tools & Resources Performance Marketing

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Photo Credit: Daniel Broche
Photo Credit: Daniel Broche

In its most basic form, affiliate marketing is a reward system used by many e-commerce brands and businesses that acknowledge customers who have been sent to them via a third party. In exchange for directing purchasers to them, the merchant then shares a percentage of that sale with the referrer.

Affiliate links are abundant throughout the Internet. In fact, it’s likely you’re clicking affiliate links every day without realizing it because the very best affiliate networks provide a seamless, behind-the-scenes transition from host page -> affiliate tracking server -> storefront. Shopping and coupon sites, social media pages, musician websites, online ads, and, more recently, mobile apps are all suitable homes for affiliate links.

To be an expert on affiliate marketing (also known as Cost Per Action marketing or Performance Marketing, though some believe there are subtle differences), it helps to be familiar with the key players and understand the relationship between their respective roles in the process:

The Customer is you, or me, or any John Doe with an Internet connection, who likes to peruse the web in search of their favorite products and offerings that can be purchased online.

The Merchant is a brand, retailer or business who hosts an e-commerce storefront and receives customers coming on his or her own initiative, as well as customers referred from a publisher. iTunes and Amazon are two examples of major international retailers who run their own affiliate programs.

The Publisher, or referrer, can be any third party with an online presence (website owner, blogger, app developer, email marketer, etc.) who hosts a promotion, advertisement or otherwise normal link to a merchant’s store. In the case of affiliate marketing, that link also includes a little something extra in the form of affiliate technology. Among other things, that extra affiliate information is later used to reward the publisher for some or all of the purchases made by a referred source.

The Affiliate Network is the nerdy “monkey in the middle” between merchant and affiliate. The network is responsible for the backstage engineering work that allows millions of clicks around the world to be quickly and correctly translated and routed without you, the customer, being any the wiser. (The really, really good networks *hint, hint* also provide cool additional features like advanced tracking and reporting that allow for optimization and highly targeted affiliate campaigns.)

Across the wide spectrum of brands and networks that utilize affiliate marketing, there are slight variations in everything from rewards to guidelines, to payment models. For example, one merchant might reward an affiliate for every purchase a referred customer makes, while another might reward the affiliate on a one-time basis and yet another might administer commissions on all purchases made within a specific window of time.

Regardless of these differences, affiliate marketing is becoming predominant in online advertising because it’s an efficient model (compared to buying ads by the impression or click). Merchants are happy to devote a small portion of their earnings if it means they are receiving additional customers with minimum risk. On the flip side, publishers have a tremendous opportunity for opening an additional revenue stream of affiliate commissions.

Clothes, apps, books, music, games (the virtual kind, as well as that vintage 1950’s Monopoly set you’ve been scouring the web in search of), and more can all be purchased online. And where there’s an opportunity for an online purchase, there’s an affiliate opportunity.


Highlights From The Performance Marketing Insights Conference

New York City Image

Where in the world is Jesse Lakes, you say? Staying true to our Super Man theme of the week, our CEO / Co-Founder took a 36-hour break from the SXSW festivities to fly 1,700 miles east for the first ever Performance Marketing Insights conference and expo in New York City.  The conference schedule was packed with experts hailing from every corner of the performance marketing space.

It was great to see all of you in the Big Apple, we especially loved chatting it up with the HasOffers and Performance Horizon Group folks! For those of you who weren’t able to attend, we’ve put together highlights from a couple of the panels that caught our eye. Thanks again to the folks at PMI for putting on the conference.

Driving The Mobile Channel Through Online Media (Matthew Wood – Founder/ Investor, A4u / vouchercloud; Jason Spievak – CEO, Ring Revenue; Jeff McCollum – Founder, Cake Marketing; John Rankin – Vice President Americas, EMEA Adsmobi; Usher Lieberman – Director of Corporate Communications, TheFind; Moderator – Matthew Wood)

The panelists discussed mobile commerce as driving force for change within the industry. Publishers in 2013 are increasingly relying more and more on tracking and click metrics to drive marketing strategy to agile, mobile-savvy consumers. We learned that dating and gaming are among the top m-commerce verticals, while fashion and finance lag in innovation.

Actionable Insights From Big Data In Affiliate Marketing (Charles Calabrese – Vice President of Operations, Performance Horizon Group; Dave Naffziger – CEO, Brand Verity)

Here the discussion centered on the evolving definition and importance of “Big Data”. Charles Calabrese explained that data is only valuable to a certain point, when it becomes large and complex it becomes hard to process and therefore inefficient. The future of big data is smart data. This type of intelligent data, which is mined through more precise targeting, will allow e-marketers to answer questions and in turn, run highly optimized marketing campaigns.

3 Ways to Hack The Purchase Funnel To Boost Sales (Jenny Williams – Senior Merchant Manager, Skimlinks; Fiona Gandy – Account Director, 7 Things Media)

Jenny Williams and Fiona Gandy did a thorough job of dissecting the sales funnel and discussing which factors stand to make the biggest influence on a potential purchaser. Throughout the conference we heard a lot of talk about mobile and here was no exception. We learned that m-commerce has a shorter funnel. This is due in part to impulse purchasing, but also because the ease of use m-commerce apps are designed with reduces the number of touch points that stand to derail a customer from converting. The most interesting take away from this session was the correlation between affiliate coupons/advertisements and conversions: 42% of consumers are more likely to try and purchase a new brand after seeing an offer on an affiliate site.