“Biggest ROI in Affiliate Marketing is Relationships You Build with Your Partners,” - AdStart Media on Fast Growth in Mobile Subscriptions Vertical

Affiliate Network Insider — 08 Oct 2020

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“Biggest ROI in Affiliate Marketing is Relationships You Build with Your Partners,” – AdStart Media on Fast Growth in Mobile Subscriptions Vertical

Adstart Media is a fast-growing network and a direct advertiser in the Mobile subscriptions vertical that proved itself to drive users for mobile brands around the world. AdStart Media is striving to attract and retain quality traffic sources and advertisers with high-value products and services.

Each day new players are starting to conquer the affiliate marketing industry. They all aspire to achieve great success and hope that someday their names will appear along with the affiliate marketing leaders. Now we could hardly imagine that days and years ago all of these giants were newcomers as well. What were they dreaming of? Which problems did they have? What were the key factors to their success? What was the affiliate marketing industry like back then?

We continue sharing the answers to these and many more questions in our series of articles, Affiliate Network Insider*, that touch upon the working life of the biggest and most prominent affiliate networks and agencies in the industry. For this edition, we’ve talked to Victor Trifonov, Head of Operations at AdStart Media to find out how mobile content landscape has been changing over the years, why marketers should diversify products & traffic, and how you can benefit from programmatic advertising.

– Can you tell us about your journey into affiliate marketing?

“Biggest ROI in Affiliate Marketing is Relationships You Build with Your Partners,” - AdStart Media on Fast Growth in Mobile Subscriptions Vertical
Victor Trifonov, Head of Operations, Adstart Media

We started our journey in the mid 2017 and I can openly say it has been a lot of fun. The industry was quite different back then and especially for our top selling vertical, the mobile subscription services. This did not stop us from developing our in-house mobile subscription offers and after 3 years in the industry, we can proudly say that we have more than 10 active markets. Together with that we managed to diversify within different verticals and as of today, you can find almost everything in our product portfolio – Lead Generation, App Installs, Credit Card submits, Streaming and Video on Demand services, and many more.

– What is the most challenging when you open your own network?

In all fairness, it was not that hard in the beginning, we had a small and established group of advertisers and traffic sources that we could trust from day one and this gave us the opportunity to have an easy start.

Back in the days it was quite easy, everyone had click-flow offers that were converting crazy on almost any type of traffic, nowadays the landscape in the mobile subscription services has significantly changed and with it, AdStart Media as well. The big challenges started once the mobile content industry started to change in the end of 2017 and early 2018. We started focusing on handpicked offers and traffic sources in order to prove to everyone in the industry that the Mobile content was not dead. As of today, I can proudly say that anyone who still claims this is welcome to our statistics and results, they will prove him wrong!

This was also the time when we started growing our team. As for me, this is the biggest challenge for each company in the industry – building and maintaining a strong team!

“Biggest ROI in Affiliate Marketing is Relationships You Build with Your Partners,” - AdStart Media on Fast Growth in Mobile Subscriptions Vertical

– Tell me the funniest story happened to you during your work in affiliate marketing.

There are many, but surely the one that I could openly highlight happened during our first team building. We decided to go to a small beach town in Vietnam and make a long weekend out of it. On Thursday the whole team was preparing everything for the departure and closing the week. One of the projects that had to be closed in that week was our initial integration with the CPAPI of Affise, last thing on Thursday was the integration of 5 different vendors in the marketplace of the CPAPI feature and we left for our long waited team building. We had a great party on Thursday, when we woke up on Friday, our portfolio was increased from 1000 active offers to 50 000 active offers and you can only imagine how much traffic was flowing to all those offers, while the whole team was supposed to be parting. This Friday is a day that no one in the team will forget, it was the best team-building activity and the most amount of fun to try to optimize 50 000 offers from your phone, while on a beach. All in all, we did the damage control in 3-4 hours and everyone loves to come back to that story. To that day, everyone laughs out loud each time we remember the look on our faces seeing 50 000 active offers.

– You work mostly with mobile subscriptions vertical. Can you please share what’s trending in this vertical now?

Yes indeed, Mobile subscriptions vertical is our “bread and butter” as we like to call it. The positives about the mobile billings in the last couple of years is that more and more vendors are turning to Mobile payment based purchases, especially in markets where the Credit card penetration is low, we are observing a really diversified portfolio of products that you can purchase through your mobile bill.

This year, the obvious winner in terms of promotional angle and content are any type of Video on Demand or Streaming services, that are built on a mobile subscriber base, rather than the Credit Card billing model we all know Netflix is charging us. In general, the trend is that there is more diversified and interesting content that you can purchase with your mobile device. For example in the Nordics , specifically Norway and Sweden, the public transport has an opportunity for a mobile subscription where you both travel and use news and music content with a single charge on your phone.  In terms of regions, the Middle East is a strong competitor for the first place, but there are other emerging markets in Africa and SouthEast Asia that are definitely interesting to explore.

The biggest news that has been a buzz in the industry for the past couple of months is that Mobile subscriptions and Direct Carrier Billing will be back in the United States, multiple carriers have already agreed to bring it back and it is only a matter of time to “Make America Great Again”. 

“Biggest ROI in Affiliate Marketing is Relationships You Build with Your Partners,” - AdStart Media on Fast Growth in Mobile Subscriptions Vertical

– Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?

My phone is extremely boring. The majority of apps messengers – Telegram, WeChat, Whatsapp and many more, having in mind our industry is all over the world, different regions, have different preferable messengers. Instagram is the only social network that I use on my phone. Outside of that, there are a lot of self-improvement apps that I am using on day to day basis, such as Mimo (basic coding), Elevate (self-improvement), Groovepad (basic music production), Calm (meditation app).

– What are the biggest affiliate marketing talking points that you’ve noticed recently? And on a more personal level, what do you think will evolve in the industry this year?

This year is a bit different than any other. The reason for that – COVID19. With this global pandemic happening, the needs of the basic internet user drastically changed. Surely the emerging verticals this year are all around the “stay-at-home” campaigns. And what is better than Streaming and Video on demand, when you are stuck at home for months?

A lot of “Kids” services also got a lot of attention from parents, who were stuck with their kids at home and were ready to explore any content as long as they can engage their kids for a couple of hours with something. Together with that, all types of Gaming content exploded as well.

– “Programmatic” is a buzzword that has being hyped lately. It seems like it appeared out of nowhere and now everyone is talking only about it. What’s the reason for that?

The reason for that is one and only, it will make our lives easier and more simplified. I had a friend saying: “The more bots you create, the more you are going to sleep at night”.

The Programmatic ad buying is basically that, you teach a machine how to manage and deal with all your digital advertising, opposed to the manual handwork we have all been doing. Surely it is something that each company should review and explore, as the world is moving towards more and more automation and the Programmatic ad buying is at the moment what it seems the solution to automate our Digital Marketing Industry.

“Biggest ROI in Affiliate Marketing is Relationships You Build with Your Partners,” - AdStart Media on Fast Growth in Mobile Subscriptions Vertical

– You top tips for affiliate networks to increase their ROI?

Join AdStart Media and I will share it with you personally.

As a network, you don’t have a lot of room to play around with the ROI, more or less everyone works on a Fixed margin with very small room for negotiations.

On our end we evaluate the ROI, not that much based on the actual money profit, but on the relationships we create with our suppliers, both on the traffic and the product side. For me this is the biggest Return on Investment are the relationships you build with your publishers and advertisers, while being the one in the middle, trying to make everyone happy.

– What’s the most innovative way to attract affiliates to a network?

In our experience, weI have learned that there are 3 extremely important things for each affiliate.

First and foremost – Payment terms and timely payments. Second – Good product portfolio. Third – Resourceful manager, who can help with the traffic optimizations and cares about your ad spent. There isn’t anything innovative in those three and we did not feel like we needed to reinvent the wheel.

We constantly work to ensure the above 3 points to all affiliates and we always live up to our promises, afterwards there isn’t a better promotion than the word of mouth.

Our motto is – One happy affiliate will bring you hundred more!

– What do you think is the main secret of your success?

A lot of the answers above explain it, but if I have to narrow it down to one word it is consistency. As long as you have a strong action plan and vision right from the beginning and you are surrounded by a strong team of people, there isn’t anything that can not be achieved by consistency.

* AFFILIATE NETWORK INSIDER is a project, covering success stories and inside life of the biggest and most prominent affiliate networks and agencies in the industry.

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Head of PR and Marketing Communications

Anastasia Zaichko is a creative B2B marketer, passionate about helping companies achieve their sales, growth and visibility objectives. Weekdays she's all about identifying new opportunities for marketers to grow and get more value from affiliate channel. Weekends include traveling, partying and instagramming about all of the above. She strongly believes in the power of content, networking and the Universe.

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