This week as part of our Meet the Member series, we speak to Ben Smye from Global Savings Group. He’s the Head of Marketing and talks to us about GSG, why the company chose to join The APMA and what trends he thinks will be important in 2024.

Tell us a little bit about Global Savings Group
Global Savings Group provides consumers with access to the best savings, cashback, deals, product inspiration, and reviews. Through our global network of coupon sites, shopping communities, cashback portals and shopping tools, we help consumers find the best products and retailers. We also help brands reach consumers across the buying journey while showing clear ROI on their marketing spend. We currently work with more than 13,000 brands worldwide and generate billions in sales for them annually.

What do you feel you bring to the affiliate mix?
As a group, we offer solutions for advertisers at many different stages of the consumer journey. As a result, we can help them reach their specific goals, whether that’s converting more customers, improving AOVs, or simply getting more awareness. We also have huge reach as our products are used by millions of consumers each year. To summarise, we bring: scale, a broad range of solutions for advertisers, and dedicated account managers to help brands find the right solutions to reach specific goals.

When you speak to your clients, what is their general feeling towards the affiliate and partner marketing channels?
It depends. On a day-to-day basis, we tend to work mostly with affiliate marketers who understand the affiliate channel and the value it brings. So, they are advocates of the channel already and our conversations tend to revolve around how we can improve results and ROI further. When it comes to people who are not affiliate specialists, there are a lot of different opinions. Some senior marketers and execs question the value-add of affiliate marketing. Others see the channel as under-utilised with growth potential, especially given the increasing cost of other channels like Google and Meta Ads. For those who don’t yet see its value, we are happy to work with them on tests to show the impact a good affiliate program can have on their results.

What could The APMA be doing to help build closer relationships with them and secure bigger budgets?
I think The APMA should consider slightly different approaches depending on the audience. For affiliate folk, who already understand the industry and the options available to them, The APMA can help by organising meet-ups for publishers and brands. They can also help with educational content/support on hot topics in the industry. But beyond that, I think we should look to grow awareness of the channel further. To do that, we need to go out of the circles we’re used to working in and try to target marketers who don’t yet use or understand affiliate and partner marketing. There, The APMA can help by coordinating content creation efforts and hopefully getting placements in relevant media. The reason I think The APMA could have an advantage in getting media placements is that I think it will be seen as a trustworthy source that is less biased (than companies looking to do the same thing).

Why did you want to become a founding member of The APMA?
We want to have a voice in the industry and feel The APMA can give us this possibility. We also want to grow awareness of the affiliate channel; there are still plenty of brands that don’t use the channel yet and we’d like to get more of them onboard. I hope we can work with The APMA to get useful information about the channel and the value it can deliver out there.

Are there any specific APMA projects that you want Global Savings Group to be part of?
Naturally, we’d like to be involved in many of the topics. Tracking, for example, is close to our heart as tracking issues affect us and our users, especially users of our cashback platforms. We also plan to support on the content, PR and marketing topics. We have a lot of insights into many different markets, can spot trends and changes and support partners strategically – even beyond their affiliate programs.

What is the number one topic you think the industry should be tackling in 2024?
Well, tracking has already been discussed a lot and we know it is going to be one of the key topics for The APMA. I can’t disagree with that, given the upcoming changes to cookies and the huge importance of accurate and reliable tracking. I think the impact of third-party cookies being deprecated/blocked will be limited, given that the major affiliate networks already have alternative solutions in place (and have done so for a while). However, tracking still isn’t always reliable, so improving it and perhaps standardising it further would be a huge win for the industry.

What other trends are you anticipating will be front of mind?
Over the last 12-18 months, brands have started to become more careful with their budgets. They are looking for clear ROI and more are prioritising profitability over growth. I think this general trend can benefit the affiliate channel, where ROI has always been a focus. I also think as more brands embrace affiliate marketing, they’ll become more picky with the type of affiliate marketing they do. As a result, you’ll find more people specialising in specific types of affiliate marketing. Finally, I think there’s a possibility that the affiliate model could evolve. Today, most programmes either run on a CPC or CPA basis, but there are now more affiliate solutions that target the earlier stages of the consumer journey. It might be necessary to find new ways to measure and reward affiliates generating results in these earlier stages (such as brand awareness, which is notoriously difficult to track).

Thanks to Ben, if you want to find out more about Global Savings Group, or drop them an email to discover more about their services, why not visit their APMA profile.