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 can hardly imagine that days and years ago all these giants were newcomers as well. What were they dreaming of? Which problems did they have? What were the key factors of their success? How did they become globally known? 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 touches upon the working life of the prominent players in the affiliate industry. Stay Affised not to miss newest pieces at our blog! And today we are talking to Nissan Lavi, Co Founder of Thing or Two Agency.
Nissan Lavi, Thing or Two
– Nissan, can you please tell a bit of an origin how you started your work in affiliate marketing and grew it to your own agency?
I started in the industry seven years ago at a company called Marimedia (today’s Taptica). Back then, I was working at the traditional advertising and writing Facebook posts for Big Brands in Israel. I was considering to change direction and Marimedia contacted me with the invitation for an interview, and now here we are seven years later.
Together with my two partners, we decided to open our own network where we could do things “our way.” The idea was to mix the old traditional advertising world with the ad tech world. We were only three people when we started, and now we are a team of 23 people.
Nissan Lavi together with co-founders of Thing or Two
– What’s in the name “Thing or Two”?
The name “Thing Or Two” says a lot about our advantages. We know a thing or two about the industry, we have overcome a lot, and we keep on learning every day more and more. Also, one of our competitive advantages is our own fraud detection solution that protects our advertisers.
– What challenges did you overcome at the very beginning?
Our biggest challenge was to get partners to agree to work with a new network. No one wants to be the first one to run with a new company. They all want you to gain some experience with other clients first.
– Your experience in the industry is already seven years. How has the industry changed since then?
The industry changed a lot. When I entered the industry, it was all about mobile content and PC cleaners. RTX and Appnexus were the kings of traffic, and fraud was barely an issue. In the first 2-3 years, I didn’t even know what “deduction” means.
Nowadays everything revolves around fraud and KPI’s, no one talks about creatives anymore. The rates on CPA’s are going down, while the CPM’s are going up and the restrictions are getting harder and harder. It’s definitely more challenging today than it used to be.
– With such a profound background in affiliate marketing, I bet you have a bunch of cool stories. What’s the weirdest thing happened to you?
I think my weirdest story happened when the whole API on API connection started, and we were working with some networks both as an advertiser and as a publisher.
By mistake, we added one network as a publisher to a campaign where they were an advertiser, and they bombed the offer with fraud. Obviously, I got an angry email from the advertiser manager telling me that all the traffic was fraudulent, and she was going to deduct the whole amount. I apologized for the mistake and explained that the publisher on the campaign was them, so she can deduct whatever she wants. The funny thing is, she refused to accept the deduction as a publisher, saying all her traffic was 100% in-app. I realized that I was dealing with a company that deducts their own traffic, but refuses to accept the deduction. It can’t get weirder than that.
– How do you attract affiliates to your network?
We don’t really attract affiliates to our network. We try to go as direct as when can, if we can.
– Who is “TOP Affiliate” for you?
Mainly, they are affiliates that deliver exactly what they promise, without any games.
– How do you work with advertisers?
We are trying to be on top of the campaign all the time. Our job is to manage accounts. If an advertiser spotted an issue before us, it means we failed our job as a service provider.
– Your forecast for 2020: how will the industry change?
I have seen so many changes in the industry, that I can only assume 2020 will be nothing like 2019. I believe the market will go back to paying publishers on CPM this year. CPI/CPA proved themselves inefficient for both the demand and the supply partners. Shopping will keep on growing, and so will Social. Casino and Sport betting will suffer another hit from upcoming regulations on the App store.
Nissan Lavi attending summit in London
– Your top tips for affiliate networks to increase their ROI?
I would say, concentrate on developing tools that help account managers, and not on those that might replace them. Because in the end, it’s all about the people, technology means nothing without people.
– What do you think is the main secret of your success?
Perhaps, that I don’t see myself successful. Every day is a new battle, and we always learn and improve. I saw empires of 200 employees shrinking to 2-3 employees. Things are dynamic, don’t overpraise yourself.
* AFFILIATE NETWORK INSIDER is a project, covering success stories and inside life of the biggest and most prominent affiliate networks in the industry. Make YOUR story heard by emailing to email@example.com.