When CEO Alicia Navarro started Skimlinks 10 years ago, affiliate marketing was a transactional game. Drive the last click before a sale, scoop up the credit.
But that scenario didn’t reflect that content producers tend to bring value higher up the funnel.
“Affiliate is very good at rewarding and incentivizing last-click behavior,” she said. “But if you’re a marketer trying to properly allocate budget across all channels, it can be really deceiving.”
Giving retailers information about which publishers were actually responsible for the awareness that ultimately leads to a conversion, however, means that they can appropriately reward quality editorial content, Navarro noted.
In its early days, Skimlinks automated affiliate marketing processes like inserting tracking links into content and then keeping those links up to date.
But, increasingly, publishers use the service to capitalize on the purchase intent data generated by browsing and click behavior as readers engage with content. Skimlinks hosts a data co-op for its publishers to share that information, which in turn can be used to create anonymized segments based on predictions of future shopping behavior. Publishers get paid when their intent signals contribute to a segment used by a retailer in a programmatic exchange.
“With retargeting, you’re only getting people who have already gone to a retailer’s site,” Navarro said. “With what we’re calling ‘pre-targeting,’ you’re getting people who have been researching particular products or brands – the people who want to buy, they just haven’t clicked on a link yet.”
AdExchanger caught up with Navarro to talk all things affiliate.
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