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Interviews — 26 Oct 2021
Interview with the Founder of Affise Dmitri Zotov
In 2016, Dmitrii Zotov co-founded the affiliate marketing platform Affise. Since then, a humble startup turned into a multinational company with customers all over the world.
For all these years, Dmitrii has been running Affise and shaping the way the platform works for customers. Under his supervision, the company had become a leading partner marketing solution and transformed the industry.
We talked with Dmitrii Zotov about the changes in the partner marketing industry, the trends and challenges this field faces now, and the tactics businesses need to adhere to thrive in affiliate marketing in the future.
Could you please tell me about your background in the affiliate industry and how your professional way has led you to create Affise?
I’ve been in the affiliate marketing industry since my university days, starting in 2004. Being a tech guy initially, I’ve begun working as a software engineer. However, I was always eager to learn the business side better, so I started to gain experience as a media buyer. Years of practice in this field have led me to launch my own CPA network and media buying agency. It was a game-changer experience, which helped me understand the market and players, their needs, and pain points. I realized that the affiliate marketing industry needed a better solution — transparent, easy-to-use, and powerful enough to meet the new market challenges.
What contribution does Affise make to the affiliate marketing industry’s future?
From the beginning, our mission was to disrupt the affiliate marketing industry. We were the first who automated campaign data pipelines and let advertisers pay for actual conversions. It has made affiliate marketing more transparent and reliable for customers.
Another way we're shaping the affiliate industry is by making it more customer-focused, not only on the technical side.
We have a customer success team fully dedicated to helping our clients step to the next level. Our managers are not just assistants in navigating the platform. They are experts advising on advertising trends, the most efficient promotion strategies in a specific vertical, and more.
What are the biggest challenges the industry will face in the following years, and how can companies overcome them?
User privacy has become a significant challenge in the last couple of years. Apple launched a new App Tracking Transparency policy which limits access to user-level data. Major technology companies, including Google, have announced a tracking cookie ban. As the whole advertising and affiliate industry rely on analytics and mobile attribution, these changes hinder companies from making informed business decisions.
We’re working on new solutions to provide our customers with transparent attribution despite the lack of data. We launched SKAdNetwork integration to help ad networks access data from iOS mobile campaigns in the Affise dashboard. Another feature we created to solve the problem is probabilistic attribution.
What trends will shape the future of the affiliate industry?
Growing demand for user privacy makes traditional traffic sources either expensive or not transparent enough. Brands are looking for new lead generation channels and finding what they need in the affiliate marketing industry.
I see an increased request for cutting-edge technology. Our customers seek higher automation to reduce routine work and in-depth but simplified data analytics to make informed decisions faster. The affiliate marketing industry continues to adopt machine learning technology. At Affise, we use it to make predictions and help our clients determine their growth strategies and business transformation.
Another trend is growing reliance on social media as a customer acquisition channel. Since 2015, major platforms like Pinterest and Instagram have been working a lot to advance their eCommerce functions. Alongside developing Shops, Facebook is adjusting its advertising tools to bring more potential customers.
What traits are essential for a company to thrive in the affiliate industry?
Advertisers develop interest in affiliate marketing because they seek reliable, transparent, and outcome-based customer acquisition channels. Market players who understand these needs, put them first, and provide effective solutions to reach their clients’ goals will flourish.
Back in 2016, the affiliate industry was represented by a couple of major companies setting their own rules. We entered the market with the solution our customers needed — a transparent, reliable platform and a new pricing policy. It has helped us get ahead and revolutionized the whole industry.
What are the main things others can learn from Affise to succeed in the affiliate industry?
Affise has a culture code that says that the customer perspective comes first. This attitude is a must-have right now. Businesses need to remember that success is based on the value they provide to their customers. If it’s not offering the cheapest solution on the market, you need to double down on building customer relationships.
To stay on top, you have to make your clients' growth your own goal.
How would you describe Affise’s growth trajectory in the following years?
Initially, we were a solution for small and medium businesses, agencies, and affiliate networks. Now our focus has shifted to offering more value for direct advertisers in the large-enterprise segment. To achieve it, we are constantly updating our platform according to the specific needs and goals this type of client has. Also, we’re planning to launch additional services to give our customers more reliable solutions for their business growth.
To provide a better customer experience, we continue to expand geographically, open new offices, and offer better services. Recently, we’ve launched local support for the Indian market. It will help us assist our customers better and strengthen our presence in this region.
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