As CJ Affiliate continues to keep global perspective at the forefront of affiliate strategy, we joined forces with Latin American company Afilio.
Founded in Brazil in 2008 by Julien Turri, Afilio is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro with local offices in São Paulo, Argentina, and Spain. At CJU17, we sat down with Afilio founder Julien Turri to gain some insight into how brands can successfully tap into these emerging Latin American markets.
CJ: How did your background lead you to launching Afilio?
Julien: I was born and raised in France and studied business administration there, with a six month exchange program in New York. I moved to Brazil in 1997 to work for a large company. It was there that I decided I wanted to start my own company. So, in 1999 I started an online auction website. By the end of that year I sold it to a French company, which was acquired by eBay in 2001.
Back in 2000, we had launched an affiliate program on my auction website, so we had a little bit of experience, but not much. I looked at the US market, looked at what CJ was doing at the time, and noticed real potential. I saw there was nothing similar in Brazil. We spent all of 2007 trying different platforms and it wasn’t very successful, so we decided to launch a specific project just for performance. In 2008 we launched Afilio dedicated to performance campaigns. At that time, it was really new in the market.
CJ: If all goes according to plan, what does the landscape look like for Afilio in the next three to five years?
Julien: If we look at 2017, we have a really strong base in Brazil. Afilio has the largest network there, and we're growing throughout Latin America (LATAM). LATAM is much smaller than Brazil for us today. In three years, we want LATAM to be maybe 40, ideally 50%, of the total revenue. When you look at the whole of LATAM, Brazilians have the people, the economy, the ecommerce. The rest of the market is fragmented, but there should be as big an opportunity in LATAM as there is in Brazil. If we expand the right way.
CJ: How much of that (fragmentation) is due to connectivity?
Julien: You have a few countries that are growing fast in regard to connectivity. Mexico is catching up really quickly and so is Columbia. Argentina changed presidents, the economy is growing again, and they're super-connected. Then you have Brazil, this big monster in the middle. There's 200-million people. On desktop, we have about 100-120 million people connected. On mobile, smartphone usage is already at 50-60 million and growing about 40-50% a year. When we look at that in three years, the number of internet users in the region will have grown a lot, especially on mobile, where the data plans are getting subsidized and people are going straight to mobile for Internet. We’ll likely see two or three times more people engaging (in marketing) with a smartphone.
CJ: Is revenue more or less mirroring the percentage of division between desktop and mobile? Are people transacting?
Julien: Overall, 30% of people are coming to our site through mobile. But the rate of transactions on mobile is still much less than on desktops, so the conversion rates are much lower. Mobile has smaller numbers (compared to Europe and US) for transactions, but it's going to grow.
The growth plan is to become stronger in LATAM. But there's also a commerce type aspect. We have a lot of ecommerce clients, but we're pushing what we call “non-ecommerce” clients, like banks, insurance, subscription services. In Brazil, these clients and their agencies are just starting to do online marketing. So we have a huge opportunity to get those Advertisers into our platform.
We're seeing the creation of a lot of new Publishers in LATAM, another growth avenue. The traditional Publisher verticals and sites (i.e. deal, cashback) are getting stronger. It was also interesting to hear Waleed talk about the Cross-Device technology at CJU17. We often consider cross-device because we want our clients to see the impact of our work, especially in multi-device transactions. We think that functionality will drive results in the region in the next three years.
CJ: Speaking of consumers’ behavioral patterns and buying habits, how are you measuring that behavior?
Julien: Brazilian users spend a lot of time on social media. We're experimenting on incentivizing, and monetizing, user-to-user tracking links and driving sales for Advertisers on Facebook, Instagram (which is really influential in Brazil), and YouTube. We're trying to understand how we can scale those groups of small to very large Influencers, to harness the power of social media and drive more traffic and more conversions for Advertisers. There's a huge market to explore.
CJ: Now that Cross-Device tracking is widely available, it should help Advertisers gain clarity on the engagement and initial influence of Publishers, as well as the conversions into transactions. How do you position (with Advertisers) the idea of working with Publishers that may be more familiar with paid sponsorships than working on a performance basis?
Julien: We're having a lot of discussion with Advertisers and ad agencies about attribution. A lot of the things our Publishers do are at the beginning of the funnel. They're driving interest in the Advertiser’s product, and then, after hitting stops in the purchase path, they get the last click. But if it wasn't for the first click, they weren’t going to get the sale. So we’re trying to figure out how we adapt the model to reflect that Publishers are actually helping push the users through the funnel. There’s a lot of space to grow if we can help all clients understand the various touch points with the customer along the journey.
Check out part two of this interview for more strategies on how to tap into the LATAM market.