As we approach the final two months of the year, attention rapidly turns to next year’s marketing plans. Predictions for 2014 will be coming thick and fast over the coming weeks so I would like to take the opportunity to get in there early with four key trends we expect to see within performance marketing throughout the coming year.

Internationalisation will gather pace

We have covered internationalisation previously and this is something expected to increase further over the coming year. There has been a significant increase in the number of affiliate applications we have received from overseas and this has been coupled with growing interest in British brands.

With the UK widely considered to have the most sophisticated e-commerce infrastructure in the world, the rise in internationalisation is hardly a surprise. 2014 will see advertisers become more sophisticated in their use of data to help them break into additional markets in the coming year.

By identifying publishers active within key markets, advertisers can really start to take a foothold in new territories.

Realisation will set in – attribution isn’t about splitting commission

This one is more in hope than expectation but it is always concerning when we hear an advertiser who believes the answer to attribution is taking their affiliate campaign and splitting commission amongst the publishers involved in the path to conversion. There are numerous issues that arise from this way of thinking, namely the creation of an opaque, confusing and potentially messy commission structure that does not ‘optimise a campaign’.

Attribution should not be complicated but modelling an appropriate solution can be time consuming. When looking at implementing an attribution solution there are three key rules to follow – attribute across each of your digital channels, understand the value contribution (what constitutes value in terms of your KPIs?) and finally, don’t split your commissions but set them to reward the value associated with each publisher.

2014 is likely to see the attribution discussion rumble on so make sure you are looking at the wider picture.

The rise of mobile

There is no denying mobile commerce has come a long way over the past few years. Indeed we have seen incredible growth in traffic and sales through mobile devices across the network. Back in January 2011 just 2% of traffic and sales were through mobile handsets and tablets while we are now seeing one in every five sales originate from a mobile device.

2014 will see mobile commerce evolve further. Advertisers will be looking towards a “mobile first” strategy – not only optimising their sites for mobile traffic but also looking how to utilise mobile capabilities in terms of targeting by device and location. Affiliate tracking will be added as a standard rather than merely an afterthought and publishers will become increasingly savvy in developing their mobile offering to take advantage of the increase in traffic as consumers continue to turn to mobile.

Emergence of cross device tracking

With the rise in mobile commerce one of the largely unanswered questions is how incremental these mobile sales are. Are customers who would typically purchase from a desktop just migrating to mobile devices or are they additional shoppers? Cross device tracking will enable questions such as this to be explored in greater depth and provide answers.

Additionally, cross device tracking will be instrumental in helping advertisers to target consumers across multiple devices. Someone who researches at home on their iPad, checks further details on their phone during their commute to work and eventually purchases at their desktop on their lunch break can be tracked across multiple devices. Being able to identify the consumer across multiple devices and alter the messaging depending on their stage in the purchasing cycle as well as the device they are using is an incredibly powerful tool for advertisers in their quest to being able to convert them.

This is by no means an extensive list of what we can expect to see in performance marketing over the coming year, but there is certainly plenty to be excited about for 2014.

Matt Swan

Matt Swan


Matt Swan is a Client Strategist at Affiliate Window.