Patryk Hoffmann, CEO at MyLead, joins the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Starting MyLead as an SMS payments' service, Patryk Hoffman decided to transform it into an affiliate network, and today it is one of the fastest-growing networks - follow his story below.
How did MyLead first take off, and what pushed you to get into the affiliate space?
MyLead has been operating in the affiliate marketing market since 2014. We started in Poland. Since 2018, we have been present in the English-speaking markets, and also in Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian markets.
MyLead was initially a service for SMS payments (PIN Submit). However, to grow and offer more, I decided to transform MyLead into a complete affiliate platform based on different monetization models, to which anyone could join without the several days' verification. Transformation into an affiliate network was not obvious at that time, there were already several large affiliate networks on the Polish market, with which it seemed impossible to compete. The practice has shown that it was an excellent decision - we are one of the fastest-growing affiliate networks, we have 120,000 publishers, and each month we acquire about 8,000 new ones. We are winning elite awards, such as the Rising Star statuette at the Technology Fast 50 Central Europe 2019 gala.
How is your company structured, and what aspect of business development are you currently focused on?
When it comes to the company structure, it is divided quite classically - there is the affiliate managers department, marketing department, programmers department, and so on. Each department is managed by one person - a team leader. We work in a very independent way, so apart from the fact that team leaders implement their ideas and visions for a given part of the company, it is also greatly influenced by the employees. Every week we arrange meetings at which we discuss new ideas for MyLead. Then we choose the best ones and implement them so that every employee can have a real impact on MyLead.
As for our plans for the nearest development, there are several of them:
- Content Lockers - content lockers are a very large part of the affiliate marketing industry; they allow for monetizing websites using incentivized traffic. A client wishing to access a given content - subpage, file, video, anything else - must complete at least one task from the list. At MyLead, we have already introduced our own content lockers, which we built from scratch. They have a fresh look, lots of customization options, special affiliate offers added just for them. It is the most important point in our development plan, and we hope that many users will enjoy our solution;
- Mobile application - we already have the applications for Android and iOS, but soon they will get full capabilities of the publisher's panel. It means that mobile apps users will be able to use MyLead without computers and having to use the mobile version of the site. Applications are an essential part of our marketing communication and building user loyalty;
- New market - we plan to expand our operations to the Italian market and launch MyLead in the Italian language version.
What can operators do to increase support with affiliates?
A high level of publisher support is very significant, but it is best to create a situation where contact with support is only needed if there is no answer somewhere on the site. For this reason, it is a good idea to:
- prepare an FAQ - answers to basic questions;
- create tutorials and tooltips - training materials, for example, in the form of text which thoroughly discusses the process of creating an account or joining an affiliate program; and
- to share video tutorials - training materials in video form, which is much more straightforward than the text itself.
On MyLead, we use all of the above ways to relieve the support as it decreases the number of repeated queries to our team members. Thus, they save a lot of time.
It is also a great idea to have the materials that teach the publisher how to earn money and work in affiliate marketing. There are many ways to do this, on MyLead, for example:
- we have a system of transferring the knowledge - it can be a company blog or initial training for new users as a form of greeting that gives them a lot of valuable information about affiliate marketing;
- we prepare ebooks - very comprehensive guides about specific ideas for making money on affiliate marketing; it’s time-consuming but helps building our image as experts, and of course is useful for our users; and
- we record podcasts and webinars - a very modern and interactive form of transferring the knowledge.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
Testing and automation are the basics. It is important to continuously test the traffic, as well as different affiliate programs and monetization models, as they have a significant impact on our profits. Some networks, like MyLead, provide extensive statistics. They can also take advantage of the offer trackers, which always provide much more accurate information and allow them to automate certain activities. It seems obvious, but still, a lot of affiliates find something on which they earn and then stop looking for new solutions. In affiliate marketing, whoever stops, loses.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Technology plays a huge role in our industry. For example, modern solutions enable us to automatically check the publishers' traffic and eliminate fraud. Without technology, we would need dozens of people involved in traffic verification. New solutions and ways of making money are constantly appearing. It is worth using them because they give more profit opportunities both to the publisher and affiliate network. Ongoing development and the use of emerging technologies are, therefore, crucial in this industry.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2020 and beyond?
The affiliate marketing is flexible, innovative, and is changing continuously; technology is driving this development. When it comes to solutions that will become important in 2020, we should mention voice search. It is expected that in 2022 as many as 55% of American households will be equipped with a smart speaker. This is a technology that is rapidly gaining in popularity and is growing every month. SEO will definitely change in that case. It is predicted that in 2021, as much as 30% of Google searches will be voice searches. The way the website is positioned will change, and it will have a direct impact on affiliate marketing, as many websites contain affiliate links.
An interesting solution is also Messenger bots - systems that provide automated responses to customers and allow for earning money on affiliate marketing. Some MyLead publishers are already making money with Messenger bots as they allow them to monetize all kinds of affiliate programs. For example, such bots can advise which dietary supplement to use or in which online store to buy.
Nevertheless, technology can be a problem. Some web browser developers are aiming to gradually block cookies (or at least introduce their better management), and affiliate programs are largely based on cookies. What's even more, currently, Firefox offers the possibility of so-called private browsing, which means that no data is stored in the browser, and all possible tracking systems can be blocked. Fortunately, this option is disabled at the start.
Have you seen major changes in the way people do business due to COVID-19?
Of course, the pandemic has greatly changed the way the company is managed. Almost the entire Internet industry introduced remote working. In our case, it was relatively easy - we already used the company's communicator, task management system, and time management tools. For some companies, even those strongly connected with technology, it was a complete novelty, but now it is said that working from home can become permanent.
It was also necessary to communicate differently with employees. Stability in today's times is the basis, and paying frequent attention to it can result in increased effectiveness of the entire team.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? Would you consider attending SiGMA Manila or SiGMA Malta at some point?
We have never been to SiGMA, but we regularly contact our partners from around the world, and they often recommend the event. They often point out that it is worth taking part in it due to the extent of the event and the people who attend it. We will certainly try to be there at the nearest opportunity.
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About SiGMA Europe - Malta
SiGMA Group has announced the postponement of its Europe summit, which was planned to be held in Malta on 17-19 November 2020. The show will now open its doors early next year in February, running from the 16-18th, making it the first event to headline the 2021 gaming calendar.