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CJ Affiliate’s 2020 Year in Review

Dec 22, 2020
Written by CJ Affiliate

It’s hard to believe we’re nearly on the other side of 2020—a year that challenged us all beyond what we thought conceivable.

In March, alongside the rest of the world, CJ offices closed due to the pandemic and CJ’ers began working from home for the long haul. Despite a trying year, we still found so much to celebrate—whether it was our friends and family working on the front line, moms and dads, Juneteenth, Pride Month, LatinX Heritage Month, or the Holiday Season. As a company—and an industry—we banded together to tackle the biggest obstacles of 2020 head-on and we are better for it.

Thank you to our wonderful associates and clients across the globe—it would not have been possible without you. As we near the end of 2020, please take a moment and reflect on everything we were able to achieve together.

COVID-19 Response

Right when it seemed as if the world stopped, CJ'ers kicked into high gear to provide our clients with the tools they needed to respond to the effects of COVID-19. 

Product Launches

Even in a year like this, our innovation never ceased. Our talented Product and Engineering teams remained hard at work launching future-focused, customer-centric solutions to make it easy for our clients to focus on growth. Here are some highlights: 

  • Recruit Partners: Enjoy a publisher search and discovery experience that’s smarter and much more fruitful.
  • Promotional Property Commissioning & Program Terms API: This is the next phase of innovation in commissioning functionality, expanding Situational Commissioning capabilities by allowing advertisers to define commission rates by promotional property, with no additional integration effort necessary.
  • Product Search API: We designed these tools to help publishers easily enrich site content for the most optimal consumer experience, discover new products that align with promotional style and content, and improve organic search rankings.
  • Enhanced Publisher Onboarding Experience: We completely overhauled the publisher onboarding experience so from the moment you sign up for a publisher account, your introduction to the CJ network—and affiliate marketing in general—is more accessible and user-friendly.
  • Customer Analysis Insights: This reporting suite solves the perennial need for marketers to better understand the new, lapsed, and returning customers they reach through the affiliate channel, and better target them with offers crafted specifically for where they’re at in the customer life cycle—and where they are in life.
  • Refreshed Deep Link Generator: This update brings a new look and feel as well as incorporates top-requested features.

Client Wins

We wouldn’t be here without you. Here are some highlights from our advertisers, publishers, and agencies:

  • New to the Network: We launched nearly 800 new advertiser programs in 2020, adding to even more world-class brands in the CJ network. Check out some of the brands that were added in Q1, Q2, and Q3 of this year.
  • Success Stories: These clients saw great success with CJ this year: LaCoste, Norton's, Olympia Sports, and RS Components just to name a few. 
  • Publisher Spotlights: Check out how these publishers are keeping their affiliate game fresh.
  • Giving Back: These companies stepped up in a big way to give back during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • CJ Expertise: Congratulations to our newest CJ agency ambassadors who proved they are true experts on CJ’s platform and capabilities.

Even More Thought Leadership

In addition to our thought leadership supporting COVID-19 response, we also put out these thought provoking pieces: 

  • Junction Live: We launched our first ever podcast, with six episodes live to date.
  • Incrementality Calculator: Check out our affiliate incrementality calculator to give you an idea of the compounding effect the affiliate channel can have on your business.
  • A Study of Affiliate Customer Journeys: This whitepaper explores the data behind single and multi-publisher customer journeys in affiliate.
  • 2020 Holiday Intelligence Report: Using insights from Holiday 2019, our annual Holiday Intelligence report shared what a COVID-19 era peak season could look like and how affiliate marketers could prepare to convert seasonal shoppers.
  • Q4 Peak Shopping Benchmarks: We created this interactive report to provide insight into shoppers’ buying activity from Nov – Dec 2020.

Industry Awards

Just a quick pat on the back for ourselves where we received some impressive industry recognition:

    • Best Performance Marketing Campaign, USA with RevLifter and AT&T - Keeping the US Connected
    • Best Technology & Telecoms Campaign with RevLifter and AT&T - Keeping the US Connected

Events

The year for events started out with a bang and we were able to squeak in a couple of in-person events before the pandemic.

  • Affiliate Summit West 2020: We had a blast in Las Vegas this January, where we held client meetings in our private meeting lounge and hosted a partner happy hour and session. CJ's VP of Publisher Development, Kelly Merkel moderated a content commerce panel alongside Jessica Seib (Buzzfeed), Leilani Han (Wirecutter), and Jacqueline Wladis (Condé Nast). The biggest hit of all was our exhibit hall donut wall, showcasing a beautiful array of colorful donuts from Carl’s Donuts. Yum!
  • CJ’s Los Angeles Regional Event: This took place at Culver City’s SmogShoppe in early March, giving LA-local clients the opportunity to mix and mingle, take home a sweet potted succulent, and enjoy a fireside chat, "Making the Case for Affiliate". CJ's own Jeff DeBo, VP of Corportate Development moderated the mini-session with Jeremy Aaronson, VP of Sales & Marketing from Upsellit, and Michael Ridgewell, Strategic Consultant formerly of Fandango and Disney.

Once lockdown began in mid-March, all industry events were rescheduled, cancelled, or updated to a digital format.

  • First Ever Digital CJU: Our industry-favorite event, CJU, had a big pivot, and became the CJU20 Digital Series, hosted over three days in September. The series featured thought leadership from industry experts that highlighted how affiliate can be leveraged to drive growth during our new normal and beyond, and included sessions on diversification, privacy, and DE&I in affiliate, among many others.
  • We also virtually participated in Payoneer Beyond, Invoca Summit, PI Live Global, FinCon, and CardCon.

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If that what was accomplished in 2020, we can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store!