I was lucky enough to attend the very first Affiliate Management Days (AM Days) last month in San Francisco. It was a unique experience to engage in a professional forum of peers of all facets of affiliate programs. Attendees included a range from super affiliates to networks to Fortune 500 merchants. I think this type of face to face collaborative education among such a diverse group of peers is imperative to an industry that mostly relies on online forums and blogs to stay current. This conference was essentially a crash course in innovative topics in online marketing paired with the opportunity for intimate collaboration and discussion. It was great to hear both experienced viewpoints and fresh outlooks from people of so many different roles in our industry. In comparison to many of trade shows such as Affiliate Summit or Ad:Tech, the structure of AM Days as being primarily a professional forum and secondarily a networking event was very refreshing and beneficial to me.
There were dozens of interesting presentations over the two day conference covering trends in affiliate marketing, affiliate recruitment, analytics, optimization, mobile marketing, and program development. I felt that every speaker was able to share a uniquely insightful viewpoint as each speaker was a seasoned professional on the topics they discussed. However, I was slightly turned off by the amount of sales pitches thrown out in the presentations. I understand we are marketers and it is only natural to us…however, there needs to be a differentiation between educating others on your product alone vs. educating others on the subject matter as a whole. I think that in the future, holding true to the idea of a professional educational forum will be more stimulating for attendees.
The topics of discussion I found to be most interesting include affiliate marketing for mobile apps, interpreting trends and metrics, landing page optimization, and the utilization of web analytics. I was able to take away many best practices presented and utilize them to enhance our network. With the bulk of my experience being in the download space, it was super interesting to see how these types of tools and metrics differ among various verticals. There was definitely a large presence of attendees in the eCommerce space which was insightful. There were also a lot of attendees who came to learn about building out their very first affiliate program which was interesting to chime in on their questions and ideas about starting a program from scratch. It is always inspiring to hear from different viewpoints to get a better full-circle idea of the needs and wants of our industry.
I very much look forward to the future of the AM Days conferences which ought to be popping up around the globe throughout the year. Our industry is already so collaborative in nature and a forum like this is a great way to expand resources and take part in the formation of our industry’s future. AM Days is scheduled to come to the East Coast this Fall and make its return to San Francisco next Spring. I would highly suggest attending future AM Days conferences to anyone in the affiliate marketing industry looking to experience an innovative, collaborative, and highly educational experience.