Top 5 Takeaways from Affiliate Summit East 2010

Over the last two days, the dust from Affiliate Summit East 2010 has settled and most of us have recovered from the jet lag and three consecutive days of late nights and early mornings (for some there may have been some drinking involved).  And now that we’re starting to settle back into an everyday pace, a lot of us are assessing just what we took home from the conference. Well, here are the top 5 things I took away from ASE 2010.

1. AdWords faces some tough competition

From Facebook Ads to Plenty of Fish, advertisers seem to be turning to user-driven-networks spread their message. And it’s no surprise why.

While AdWords only lets you target by location and intent, user-driven networks let advertisers reach users by both location (great for localized offers) and demographics while at the same time fostering a network affect of like-minded shoppers. So while Adwords only helps you reach users that are already aware of the kinds of services/products you offer, user-driven networks allow you to reach a completely untapped customer base through their social interests.

2. Facebook Ads are the new big thing

Despite the fact that Facebook Ads are bupkis advertisers are drinking the Kool-Aid. No matter if it was a session or a one-on-one interview, everyone seemed to be talking about Facebook Ads. Those who’d figured out the platform heralded positive results, and those who hadn’t figured it out weren’t ready to give up on it just yet and wanted to know more about how to leverage it.

In a nutshell, Facebook Ads let advertisers target users by demographics and personal network; and that affords them a bit more trust currency. And as we know, belief is essential to selling. For instance, your ad might tell a user that one of their friends “liked” your product/service, and that seems to help with conversions more than a run-of-the-mill banner ad or sponsored result. Of course, the flip-side of that is that your product/service can’t completely suck.

3. Email remains a vital component

Believe it or not, email is not just still important, it’s more important than ever. And the reason is that email notifications are an integral part of the social networking experience. Just think about it: whenever a contact takes any action on your profile or content on a social network, you get an email notification.

As Declan Dunn pointed out in his session, marketers should pay attention to users’ email experience for two reasons. First, email is obviously integral to keeping users engaged in whatever community you’ve built-up through social media.

Secondly, and more importantly, depending on the platform you use to manage that community, either you can’t advertise directly to them or it’s inappropriate/inadvisable to do so because it infringes on their community experience. So email notifications become one of your best opportunities to promote any product or service.

4. A picture is worth a thousand clicks

During his awesome session on Facebook Ads, Jeremy “Shoemoney” Schoemaker broke down the most important elements of a Facebook Ad. And the most important piece of the puzzle was, you guessed it, the image.

Essentially there are three elements to a Facebook Ad: the title,  the ad copy, and the image. From his own personal experience with Facebook Ads, Jeremy has found that the image impacts an ad’s performance much more so than the body or the title. So much so, in fact, that between the three elements, Jeremy focuses 70 percent on the image, and only 20 percent on the body and a mere 10 percent on the title.

5. Sex still sells

Credit: Adrants

Of course, this isn’t exactly a revelation. But sometimes, it helps to be reminded of  age old truths — if only to not lose sight of them.

For starters, there were no shortage of pretty face representing the CPA networks and merchants. One network even had a pair of bikini babes prowling the conference floor.

But sex seems to work even on a performance-basis (no pun intended). In fact, one of the examples Shoemoney offered during his session (linked above) was an experiment where he sent US traffic to ad pages where some of the ads featured a cleavage pic and some foreign text. The cleavage/foreign language pics got more clicks than the non-cleavage ads that had English copy.

So it seems that sometimes, it doesn’t matter what your call-to-action or value propositions. Users seem to judge books by their cover, and have their minds in the gutter.

The sum of it all

Overall, Affiliate Summit East 2010 is the best conference I’ve been to this year, and maybe one of the best ever. Unlike a lot of other industry conferences, everything was extremely well organized (from sessions to parties), and the networking opportunities abounded in both quantity and quality.

More importantly, all the intelligence to be gained through sessions came directly from the front lines. After all, these are affiliate marketers. They live and die by their performance, so there’s no margin for error. They’re very focused on results, and very quick to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

In a nutshell, everything I learned was about what is working, not what was fun or cool to do with someone else’s money. I’m looking forward to doing it all again in Las Vegas in January.

About CT Moore

A former Staff Editor here at Revenews.com, CT Moore is a recovering agency hack with over a decade experience leveraging search, social media, and content marketing to help brands meet their business goals online. He currently provides digital strategy consulting to start-ups, SMBs, enterprise level companies through his consultancy Socialed Inc.. CT is also an accomplished blogger and speaker who educates groups and companies on how they can better leverage different online channels.

Twitter: gypsybandito

5 Responses to Top 5 Takeaways from Affiliate Summit East 2010

  1. Annabelle says:

    I have to agree with the Facebook Ads – we've dappled trying to get the word out about our store and I have been surprised at just how many people have come in citing that our ad (especially the photo) caught their attention on Facebook. I find the best part is being able to ensure you're reaching a targeted market – that less IS more! Would have loved to attend the Summit – thanks for the recap!

  2. Anonymous says:

    It's awesome to see the company's in the space get so desperate for business that they need to break out bikini babes and midgets in order to draw attention to the fact that they're just another ad network looking to make a quick buck. Well done, guys, keep it classy.

  3. CT Moore says:

    @Annabelle, yeah, I've always been skeptcal of Facebook Ads if only because I think Facebook is getting the short-end of the stick in terms of getting the most out of their ad space value: http://revenews.com/ctmoore/why-facebook-adsp

    But advertisers definitely seem to be getting their money's worth.

  4. […] to : CT Moore from : Reve News Over the last two days, the dust from Affiliate Summit East 2010 has settled and most of us have […]

  5. I also agree with facebook advertising since facebook is such a big social networking site..and I guess almost everybody has a facebook account…so it is not useless that you will make advertisement on it…