Meet Drew Thorne-Thomsen, Vice President of Business Development & Partnerships at Invoca , a company that powers pay-per-call campaigns on Rakuten LinkShare, CJ Affiliate by Conversant, ShareASale and multiple other network, SaaS and in-house-based affiliate marketing platforms. At the upcoming Affiliate Management Days SF 2014 conference (March 19-20) Drew will participate on a “How to Improve the Advertiser-Affiliate Relationship” panel.
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Question: What do you see as the main areas of opportunity for affiliate marketing and affiliate marketers in 2014?
Drew Thorne-Thomsen: I think we are going to see a continuation of what we’re already experiencing – multichannel cooperation. To evolve as a marketer you have to expand your understanding between channels. If you’re an SEO expert you also need to have a firm grasp on social media. If your focus is on content, it’s vital that you also understand how content fits in with your email efforts.
As a marketer, you need to understand how the different avenues can work together effectively.
Question: Tell us more about Pay Per Call, how it works and why merchants with or without affiliate programs should care?
Drew Thorne-Thomsen: If you’re a merchant and phone calls are an important part of your business, unless you’re leveraging Pay Per Call, you’re leaving money and opportunities on the table. Pay Per Call provides merchants visibility and accountability within your marketing channels.
When a consumer chooses to engage with your product, brand or service over the phone, how are you measuring attribution and closing the loop with your marketing spend?
Pay Per Call helps accomplish this and acts as the connective tissue between your online and offline marketing efforts.
Question: In your experience, how do Pay Per Call programs compare to purely online affiliate programs? Discuss such KPIs as CTR, conversion rate, AOV, etc.
Drew Thorne-Thomsen: Pay Per Call dovetails perfectly into the performance space and was founded and predicated on the same principles of transparency and accountability. To that end, the same metrics that you use in affiliate marketing are also relevant to your Pay Per Call campaign efforts.
For example, conversion rates, which in Pay Per Call range on average between 10-15% compared to 2-3% online conversions. Other more Pay Per Call specific metrics include average call duration, key presses and aggregating call data. All provide in order to score the quality of the call.
Question: In your AM Days SF 2014 session you will look into the types of advertiser campaigns that work best from an affiliate perspective. For a sneak peek, can you give us the top 3?
Drew Thorne-Thomsen: When we are talking about the types of campaigns that perform well in a Pay Per Call, we are really talking about what I call the 5 pillars of Pay Per Call, which include:
- Insurance (home, auto, medical etc.)
- Financial services (mortgage, credit cards, Refi, Payday loans)
- Home Services (homes security, satellite TV, custom furnishings, roofing, plumbing etc.)
- Travel (car rentals, hotels, vacation packages, etc.)
Question: If you were to leave online advertisers/merchants and affiliate managers with one piece of advice for 2014, what would it be?
Drew Thorne-Thomsen: Don’t be afraid to take risks in testing the boundaries of your business model. Test, optimize, grow, parlay and repeat.
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The upcoming Affiliate Management Days conference takes place March 19-20, 2014 in San Francisco, CA. Follow @AMDays  or #AMDays on Twitter as well as Facebook.com/AMDays.
When registering, make sure to use the code SMBTRENDS to receive $500.00 off your two-day and all-access passes. See the rest of the interview series here .