Oct 11, 2021

Adam Ross, CEO of Awin, on the Future of the Partner Marketing Industry

Bethany Cowan

At this point, few can argue with the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic changed just about everything.

Almost overnight, millions of workers found themselves operating out of their homes indefinitely. Consumer behaviors changed, often in wild and unpredictable ways. Quickly, most industries got a sense that Pandora's Box had been opened. That a shift had taken place and there was really no coming back from it.

Some industries struggled, needing to suddenly reinvent themselves in dramatic and often unexpected ways. One industry that may have actually benefited from all of this, however, was affiliate marketing.

Recently, Adam Ross - CEO of Awin - sat down to give his unique perspective on the situation. He was instrumental in turning the company into the world's largest affiliate network, operating with over 1,000 employees across 15 territories and on three separate continents. Given everything going on right now with the pandemic, he was asked a simple question - "How do you see the affiliate marketing industry developing over the next five years?"

His response was simple: the future of affiliate marketing is a bright one, indeed.

Entering the Brave New World of Affiliate Marketing

From Adam Ross' point of view, it's truly an exciting time for affiliate marketing.

He believes that the pandemic has accelerated a number of trends - and ones that work in the favor of the industry. In fact, he believes that the time is now to capitalize on those trends - with the huge influx in the number of partners and the diversity of those partners being chief among them.

He does, however, think that there are certain challenges that the industry collectively needs to overcome. He indicated that he thinks that sometimes the affiliate marketing industry can create its own echo chamber - meaning that professionals spend so much time talking to themselves that they spend less time helping and educating their actual partners. To capitalize on the new opportunities that have presented themselves, we need to be proactive about making sure that advertisers understand the value of what we're driving as a channel. We need to be able to show it in context with all the other activity they're doing.'

Of course, this requires a number of things. Sophisticated attribution software is chief among them. It needs to be objective, and it needs to allow professionals to prove their arguments with the data that comes out of those systems.

But overall, since the onset of the pandemic, brands want to invest more in affiliate marketing than ever. They're taking it more seriously than they have in the past, and those that fall into that category are seeing better results because of it. That almost immediately gives way to bigger budgets and more exciting campaigns, not to mention a stronger willingness to take on innovation.

Regardless of how you choose to look at it, that's a very exciting moment in the history of affiliate marketing. It's a healthy, thriving ecosystem - which is really what the goal has always been.'