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Hard Truths for the Affiliate Marketing Industry

This week, the Affiliate Marketing Podcast gets frank as Lee-Ann is joined by Edwyn McFarlane, founder of Coam, an affiliate marketing network where retailers can find and book placements with influential content sites. With over 15 years of experience in the affiliate marketing industry, Edwyn has a few nuggets of hard truths to share, including being honest about the value of your product, the value of your customer, and the red flags that affiliates and retailers should look out for.

Listen in here to find out more.

Edwyn’s take on the latest Google Analytics update

There seems to have been some bad reviews going Google’s way for adding a feature that confuses marketers, but Edwyn can see the merit in it.

Edwyn explains: “I’m sure you already know the latest iteration of Google Analytics, which seems to have upset a lot of people. But I personally quite like they have a metric called First User Source, which is the referring source, or the website that bought somebody to a retailer’s website for the first time.”

“And it tells eCommerce store owners quite a lot. Because when I look at those metrics for retailers that I’ve worked with when I was agency side, what I was seeing is that there are some sites that come out of that really poorly when compared to the traditional last click models.”

The red flag of affiliate marketing

Are there any red flags that affiliate partners and retailers should be looking for? Edwyn sure thinks so. He outlines his “golden nugget” for listeners as: “’Where does a website get its traffic from?’ is the most important question you should always be asking.”

“On the retailer side, if all of their traffic is coming from brand related terms, the chances are they’re not really that strong with their content-based approach and they’re not really ranking very well for more generic terms. And what does that maybe say about their products and their level of interest in those products from their perspective users? So, for me, that’s almost a bit of a red flag if a retailer’s traffic is almost entirely brand-led.”

What is the value of a customer?

Well, a customer’s invaluable, isn’t it? You’re not a business without customers. But a business needs to work with numbers, which means setting a value to a customer, so where does that value lie?

As Lee-Ann explains: “A lot of the affiliate managers I still speak to, they don’t even know what their lifetime value of a customer is and sometimes they’re overpaying and making no profit.”

To which Edwyn said: “Just recognize that there is really no other stream of traffic on the internet right now that can bring as many users to a website for the first time than this type of activity. And if you want that, just be ready to pay for it because it’s not cheap. It has upfront costs. But if you look at those costs in the right way, if you split them amongst numerous months, which these partnerships deliver for, you will undoubtedly find success with them.”

If you are interested in more affiliate and social media marketing insights, take a look at our blog for all the latest news and advice. Or for a more personalised approach, book a free call with a member of our team.

Or, for the very best advice from industry peers, register to join us for our ELEVATE Summit in July. Elevate aims to bring you the latest affiliate, performance, and partner marketing insights from across the globe and it’s all available to stream from our website.


Listen to find out more about:

  • The need for businesses to be honest about their products’ worth
  • Why should eCommerce businesses focus on content-based partners?

Key segments of this podcast and where you can tune into go direct

[5:00] – The thought behind Coam and the advantage of followers over traffic

[15:00] – Brand-led retail as a red flag

[25:00] – Edwyn’s most valuable piece of advice for affiliate businesses

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