Primed to Purchase: Improving Mobile Affiliate Marketing – By Michael Jaconi

by Jenae Reid on October 18, 2017

Since the first iPhone was released in June 2007, the smartphone has become a necessity in consumers’ everyday lives. Mobile commerce has grown to unforeseen levels, expected to hit almost $334 billion by 2021 (on smartphones specifically), according to eMarketer. Because of this, brands have focused on their mobile presence.FeedFront issue 40 cover

However, when you look at today’s app economy, you’ll oftentimes see a siloed space, split between brands where users spend time, and where those users spend money. In fact, ComScore recently found a 44% gap between these two areas on mobile. This has caused a new issue for the affiliate marketing industry, having to find the technology to seamlessly connect the two sides without risking the consumer experience.

The Challenges at Hand

Affiliate marketing, a channel that’s been shown to account for nearly 20% of all retailers’ desktop acquisition, according to Business Insider Intelligence, only represents a very small fraction in mobile, due to the lack of technology making this possible.

First, mobile tracking has been broken, causing high missed order rates – and ultimately missed revenue. This has caused publishers to historically not focus on investing in their mobile properties. According to Ibotta, the third largest shopping app in the U.S. expected to do half a billion in mobile sales this year, 42% of transactions weren’t accurately tracked on mobile when relying on traditional affiliate technology.

Second, linking between apps is non-existent, and conversion rates are seemingly low for the amount of time (and money) consumers spend in mobile. It’s been shown that apps convert 300%+ better than mobile web, according to Criteo, making this channel reign supreme. However, the technology needed to successfully and accurately lead consumers to complete a purchase in-app has been absent from the affiliate marketing industry.

Lastly, the consumer experience has been at stake, leading users to slow-loading mobile web pages, or dropping them on an app’s home screen – neither of which are ideal. The inability to send a user to a specific product page in-app, with authentication preserved, has become difficult for big networks to solve. In turn, this decreases a consumer’s opportunity to purchase in a retailer’s highest-converting channel: their app.

Closing the Gap on Mobile

Mobile is leading the way with app commerce growing 70% year-over-year, compared to only 15% growth on desktop, according to ComScore. With Amazon focusing on fighting retailers on their home turf in the physical world, and with offline sales growing at a measly 1-2%, the call for action has never been louder. Solving for the highest-converting channel that retailers have in the fastest-growing form factor, mobile apps should be a strategic imperative for any brand hoping to succeed.

App-to-app partnerships among brands should be top-of-mind for any affiliate marketer looking to close the gap where users spend time and discover new things, and where they make their final purchase.

When done correctly, with accurate affiliation and attribution built to power mobile partnerships as companies like Uber, Jet, and Ibotta have shown, the sky’s the limit.


Michael Jaconi is the Founder and CEO of mobile partnership platform Button.

This article appeared in issue 40 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in October 2017.



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