“Do not build features, build solutions – this is probably the most important”
1. Tell us about your role in Affise?
As a Head of Marketing Communications and Public Relations in Affise, I am responsible for developing and implementing marketing and brand awareness strategy in the company. I work alongside a fantastic team, and together we broadcast industry insights and our expertise to help marketers identify new growth opportunities and get more value from affiliate channel and performance marketing technologies.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I started my career in Marketing in 2013. By now, I have the background of launching marketing and PR campaigns in different types of companies: from hospitality businesses, international foundations, start-ups to huge MarTech companies. I am very thankful for this experience as it has shaped me as a professional and helps us gain ground on Affise’s growth and expansion goals.
But, I guess, the most exciting and rewarding experience I have had so far is when I came to Affise. I was one of the first employees in Affise, which was positioned as a start-up back then in early 2017. And I was lucky to see and be a part of its growth and evolution. It was quite a journey, I would say! We managed to cut through the rest of the noise in SaaS, we grew to a team of 120+ professionals from different spheres of affiliate and performance marketing, and we keep on implementing our knowledge into creation of most advanced technological solutions for the performance marketing industry.
3. How do you think technology is upgrading the marketing sector?
Technology brings automation and accuracy to the majority of marketing activities. It allows marketers to avoid human mistakes, handle vast volumes of data and analyze it fast and easy. Imagine, for example, launching a drip marketing campaign. Without automation software, it will take you hours a day to manage and optimize sales funnel as you need to consume so much data and implement a variety of strategies to different groups. Then comes the next challenge – data. Precisely, the ability to turn data into useful insights. Marketing technology helps us build marketing strategies wisely based on the analytics we receive from all our actions.
Talking about performance marketing, the competition on the market is very high. So, in order to be ahead of the competitions, you need to think faster, analyze better, make decisions wiser. Marketing technology helps a lot in that when applied appropriately.
4. How has advertising changed for today’s digital era?
The most significant change we can observe right now is the shift towards delivering personalized ads and more granular targeting. Thus, you might have noticed the recent hype around programmatic advertising. Programmatic media buying allows marketers to deliver a specific message and creative to the right person, at the right time in the proper context. This methodology should provide far more precision and personalization of messaging and media, resulting in more efficiently targeted campaigns.
5. Can you explain how data analytics and AI has empowered online advertising?
These two together, data analytics and AI, made online advertising stronger and more effective. Nowadays the web knows a lot, if not everything, about us. And when approached smartly, this data can be analyzed and with AI tools used for providing relevant and useful insights. Advertisers know who their customers are and they target them instead of thousands of irrelevant users.
Data analytics and AI also significantly improved programmatic advertising, allowing both sides to benefit. For advertisers, this benefit is an opportunity to place their ads at a reasonable price at the most matching platform to users that are very likely to be converted. The same beneficial it is for users, because they actually start to see what they need. You are no longer haunted by ads that have no relevance to you, instead get products that you do look for on the internet.
6. What features of your performance marketing platform differentiates it in the market?
It’s not the particular features that differentiate Affise in the market, but the all-in-one solution that Affise presents. Affise is a full-scale technological platform for managing partner relations, organizing and automating the whole cycle of ad campaigns, processing and analyzing big data on a high-security level and turning it into more accurate, faster and data-driven decisions. So, we offer the whole ecosystem for affiliate marketers, that helps them to hold all their activities in one single place. Besides, Affise is a robust technology capable of processing huge data volumes. And I don’t speak lightly, 11.6 TN clicks were processed via Affise in 2019.
We also have very remarkable subproducts – such as CPAPI and Data Fusion. The first one is used for automation and prompt transfer of offers from sources of offers to recipients systems. The second, for pulling all data into a single view from Affise into AWS and Google Accounts and transferring it for further procession to the BI tools.
7. Can you share some tips with our audience that can protect them from Ad frauds?
First of all, carefully validate new affiliates you work with. Check their websites, brand alignment with your program, relevant content profiles in social media. If you observe some discrepancy, it’s an early clue and you may reconsider accepting this affiliate to your program.
Second, keep an eye on your data for unusual changes, traffic volume can’t skyrocket out of nowhere. Monitor metrics growth, especially ones that require human involvement, such as conversions or sales. If there are any traffic surges, then fraud is likely to have occurred, and you need to immediately interfere.
As possible measures to foresee fraudulent attacks, constantly monitor referring sites and URLs, as well as track IP addresses. If you see an invalid referring URL or multiple transactions from the same IP address, immediately do the validity check.
But frankly speaking, I would recommend using dedicated for this purpose tools. There are plenty of rules-based or ML services available as a stand-alone service or as a part of affiliate management platforms. Now affiliate platforms offer fraud prevention features or ready-conducted integrations with fraud tools, you can choose what is more relevant for your business. With a fraud prevention tool, you won’t need to spend a lot of time on constant monitoring. And what is more important, you are on the safe side, that fraud won’t affect your ad campaigns.
8. What advice would you like to give to the technology Start Ups?
Do not build features, build solutions – this is probably the most important.
Spend a lot of time researching the market and your clients’ needs. The technology should relieve the pains of your potential consumers and help them in day-to-day routines. It shouldn’t seem complicated for your customers, but should solve core problems of their business.
We’ve talked a lot about AI and automation – and this is the future. You should invest in automation of the time-consuming processes both for your team and customers. For your team, you will save priceless time that you can spend on other more important tasks. And as for your clients, they will appreciate the features that cut their time. This may be even a decisive factor when choosing a technology vendor.
And the last, maybe a bit controversial, especially following the automation advice, but still, don’t forget about human relations especially when building customer support. Invest in developing tools that would help your account managers, rather than replace them.
9. What digital innovation in the Martech scape you think will make its mark in 2020?
The rise of AI and BI tools and smarter decision-making. AI will be trending in many spheres. As users, you will particularly see it from display advertisement and video ads, email campaigns. The content you consume in the form of advertising will become much better and almost tailor-made for your profile. The main aim behind this is to receive loyal, engaged customers who will keep returning to your brand.
Chatbots. All generic customer queries are to be taken by bots. With the AI technologies, it can be done so smoothly, that customers may not even notice the difference. But I believe it’s a common courtesy and good sense to let users know that they talk with a bot. Many companies do that very successfully, outgaming a bot like their personal assistant, so that the customers enjoy the tone a bot communicates with them.
Voice search ad campaigns. In 2020 we expect to see marketers doing paid voice search ads. As voice search has already proved to have a high share in search results, marketers expect voice search advertisements to take a firm position in paid ads. Especially the high voice search impact we expect to observe in eCommerce.
10. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?
We are very excited about opportunities that AI presents for performance marketing. We also take part in creating AI-centric ad campaign management. We see many advantages how networks, advertisers and agencies can benefit and earn more applying AI in their campaigns. Smartlinks, CR optimization, granular targeting are on top of the list and have been already successfully implemented at Affise. AI opens up many opportunities for stronger data-driven campaigns, thus we can’t be more than happy for perspectives it can bring.
11. What major developments are you planning in terms of enhancing your capabilities?
We have huge plans for this year. Mainly we are planning to saturate our platform with new features directed at solving critical problems that fall under the four pillars of the performance marketing industry: in-depth and predictive analytics, flexibility and customization within the platform, the speed of decision-making and automation of all operational aspects. We aim to upgrade the platform in the way it can fit any affiliate vertical and niche. Thus you will observe development of new products, releases of new features, extending the capacity of the current features, improvements in the statistics section up to its full customization. We won’t reveal all our ideas at the present moment, but stay Affised, it’s gonna be exciting!
12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
We got an incredible team. Each and every is cut out for the particular job they do. We have the most responsive Support team, most caring and customer-obsessed Customer Success team, most progressive Marketing team, most skillful and diligent developers and so on.
We are really lucky to have such a great team. The team that helps you with any problems, occurring in the working process. The team that always has your back. The team that is driving to one and the same place, and this place is called Success. Affise is the exact kind of team.
13. We would love to catch some glimpses of your much talked about chic and fabulous work culture
I like how you call it “chic and fabulous”:) I guess, it may look like that from the first sight: we attend 40+ conferences each year, receive numerous international awards, travel around the globe to increase brand awareness and business connections, participate in podcasts and video interviews, and so on. But beyond that, it is a very hard work requiring tons of time of preparations, building an actionable strategy and diligent team work. You can catch some glimpses of our work life on our official Instagram account.
14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
You won’t find anything interesting, I guess. Just tons of messengers: I got at least eleven apps for communication that I use day by day. Networking and communication is king in our modern life. It’s just incredible how all the borders are now vanished and you can reach out the person million miles away in just few seconds. Although I still believe that personal communication is more effective in terms of building up good relations, we can observe how online means of communication make us less introverted. Which opens up new business opportunities for all of us.