Affiliate Marketing After Coupons

Affiliate marketing as a mainstream channel is something we talked about a great deal in 2006 and 2007 when the industry was largely dominated by either email marketing or coupon marketing.

It has been fascinating to watch the combination of social media and content marketing really transform the paradigm of affiliate marketing from faceless high volume publishers to a more transparent stream of traffic and clicks. That’s been a positive development:

Affiliate Marketing Going ‘Mainstream’ Says VigLink CEO Roup: “Roup adds, ‘[Affiliate marketing] has gone from coupons to content. Though coupon sites were dominating up until a few years ago, what you’ve seen since that time is mainstream publishers, who deal in real content are starting to delve into the affiliate world.’  Huffington Post and Wanelo are among the larger media companies using VigLink products today which, he asserts, ‘proves’ that affiliate marketing is less on the fringes than ever.”

More to the point, the idea that the affiliate chain can include compensation beyond the last-click has been a hot button topic for over a decade now. Roup speaks on that as well:

But we suspect that coupon sites intercept a lot of the value that our publishers are creating and that the coupon site gets the credit. At this point, publishers are not compensated for any click other than the last one. We are working to try and understand that more deeply. Ideally, we would like to compute that value and be able to deliver as promised to the publisher. I wouldn’t say we’re there yet. We are doing some fairly detailed experiments with some merchants though.

It’s interesting to see the notion of affiliate marketing becoming both mainstream as well as realizing the pitfalls of having a core publishing center based on coupling. As the economies and scales of affiliates and performance marketing channels continue to evolve in the next few years (with the steady rise of social media and location based advertising), I suspect we’ll see a very real and solvent affiliate space that need not rely on coupons.

However, what does that look like?

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