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Inside Retail & Silverbean

The affiliate alternative – the high-performing channel you should be using

As a marketing space, Australia is quite unique compared to other countries – traditional media still plays a huge role in the advertising landscape. TVCs are still very important in Australia, and there’s a far stronger reliance on it than in many other markets. What this means for the digital space is that it hasn’t evolved to the same maturity levels as are typically seen elsewhere in the world.

This has led to a less fragmented digital landscape, dominated by the Facebook and Google duopoly. While the UK at least has Amazon to help balance that power struggle out, in Australia these two giants control the landscape alone. This directly affects the price of advertising in this country: with 81 per cent of Australian advertiser budgets going to these two giants and with a relatively small audience in Australia, more advertisers are vying for the same target.

As both Facebook and Google are auction based, this pushes up the costs-per-impression (CPM) and costs-per-click (CPC) for both platforms. Research shows that Australians face some of the highest costs across these channels – CPMs for Facebook in Australia are three and a half times the global average, the highest in the world. On top of this, the Covid-19 pandemic saw the Australian market flourish with an e-commerce boom; an estimated 25 per cent of retail sales are now expected to be made through e-commerce by 2024.

When you take all this into consideration – the spiralling costs of those channels, the surge in demand and the diminishing effectiveness of each – it has a huge impact on retailers’ bottom line. They are certainly paying more, but they’re getting a lot less in return.

In this environment, an alternative strategy proven to drive exceptional results has to be good news. Such is the offering of Silverbean, an international agency specialising in affiliate and partner marketing that commits to a 100 day impact on sales – a guarantee the firm claims it’s never failed to deliver on.

Silverbean’s unique Partner Progression Model (PPM) serves to allow an advertising program to deliver maximum impact at the affiliate level. Then, the firm consistently optimises that performance in terms of ROI and how the technology is used at a granular strategic level to support key business objectives.

“Affiliate marketing is a purely outcome-based channel,” explains Silverbean’s associate director Annabel Gray, “so the success is shared between the retailer and the partner. For any successful sale, the affiliate partner receives a commission. You’re only paying for what you get, which makes it a low risk with a high return. Having that combination makes it really attractive for advertisers to get into.”

Affiliate marketing has been used by retailers across the globe for almost 30 years. Over that time, innovations within the digital space and new technology have transformed the channel far beyond the days when it was equated with low quality traffic, discounts and voucher codes.

The channel now has reach far beyond quick-win sales, allowing retailers to engage consumers throughout the sales funnel. Advances in mapping a customer’s journey now provides a much more holistic view of how marketing partnerships are working and any gaps that need to be filled, so advertisers can adapt their strategies to look at attribution, modelling, or commissioning.

“This is opening the gates for a far wider definition of the potential partner types that you can work with,” says Gray, “so it means that a lot more upper funnel partners, such as content partners and influencers who wouldn’t have been awarded for their activity previously, are now coming to the table and getting involved.

“I think that’s what makes it such an exciting space, because anyone with an audience who is relevant to your business can, through partners, gather to drive mutually beneficial outcomes. Each partner is completely unique in terms of how they work with their audience, so there’s endless opportunity in terms of how you can optimise that.”

Silverbean’s approach is expected to prove critical for the retailers it works with in helping them forge their way ahead in the wake of Covid-19 – given the enormous impact it has had on e-commerce, with some observers reporting a 10 year leap forward within one 90-day period during the pandemic.

“I think this year is going to be challenging,” says Gray, “because last year, there was such a massive revenue growth in e-commerce, but no one’s going to see that this year. So brands need to be a lot more creative about how they’re using their budget, to get more return from their investment. And they’re not going to get that from Facebook or Google: online retailers are demanding an alternative. The affiliate channel is going to be a stand-out approach for retailers trying to cut through the noise.”

Click through to the Silverbean APAC page for more information here.