12 Nov, 2020
Written by Pippa Conway
With Covid-19 impacting business the world-over, CJ Affiliate caught up with Josh Littler, co-founder of digital marketing agency and affiliate publisher Digital Mojito. Here, Josh discusses how 2020 has been so far, what he believes is in-store for 2021, and how the subscription product industry is well-suited for the world we now live in.
In one word, how has 2020 been so far?
Insightful. The first quarter of the year was like any other. Advertisers received their budget allocations for the next 12 months and, as always, were looking for innovative ways and ideas to spend that budget effectively.
Little did we all know what COVID would bring to the table as it flipped the world upside-down, and would force us all to shift our normal approach and embrace this 'opportunity' with new techniques and strategies for the immediate future.
While we do live in a dynamic world as it is, we’re fascinated at how our advertisers have adapted to the sudden change imposed on us all in 2020, and as a result we’ve experienced an exponential growth and a record-breaking Q2 and Q3 in terms of revenue for our business and have offered our services to an abundance of new clients.
What has been the biggest change for you as a publisher in the recent months?
In a nutshell, we’ve noticed a considerable adjustment from traditional offline marketing budgets over to online channels as potential users and buyers were not leaving the house nor commuting to work. This meant advertisers had to reassess their 'pre-paid billboard strategy' and shift part - or the majority - of the spend to secure their audience’s attention on a PC or mobile device, on a performance basis and on NET payment terms, ensuring, therefore, paying exclusively for results and maintaining a favourable cashflow. An after-effect of this is that we have also accomplished substantial growth as a digital marketing business.
The above, combined with a colossal spike in the subscription product industry that we specialise in - in some cases registering a 300% increase - has meant we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with new merchants, evaluate different verticals and brainstorm with like-minded professionals, thus further amplifying our service offering as a publisher and agency, which in return supports our growing portfolio of clients.
With it being a challenging environment overall, have you seen any positives arise?
The following quote comes to mind which can conveniently be applied to both retailers and website users alike - “Sometimes bad things have to happen before good things can.”
For retailers around the world, we were placed on lockdown and as brick and mortar businesses suffered the consequences of this, as users, we grabbed our smartphones, tablets and laptops and browsed like it was Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Singles Day and Valentine’s Day combined, rewarding online merchants with a surge of intent shoppers to their websites.
This gave merchants the golden opportunity to generate new sales, but most importantly, capture new leads and expand their database of prospective customers to nurture.
For users, despite the unfortunate situation of many being placed on furlough or losing their job, many have embraced this time at home to further develop their skills and knowledge, thus fully preparing them for the previously unattainable but incredible, professional opportunities which now lie ahead.
Additionally, it has also given many the time to reflect and develop new game-changing business ideas which, in time, I’m sure will shape tomorrow’s world and revolutionise industries.
How has Digital Mojito been able to support advertisers through a time like this?
Clearly, the current global situation has come with a series of challenges and unprecedented circumstances. The best way we’ve been able to support our advertisers at a time like this is by offering flexibility.
At Digital Mojito, we’ve needed to be exceptionally good listeners, but most importantly have had to take a more agile approach regarding our advertisers’ campaigns without compromising on quality or performance.
It’s true, budgets are leaner, but due to an increased demand with advertisers moving their budgets online, we’ve been able to effectively onboard and manage these new accounts while still increasing our revenues by working with smaller budgets but with more clients.
The most noticeable increase was registered from verticals such as the entertainment, health, beauty, fitness, nutrition, food and lifestyle industries.
What will be your predictions for performance channels next year?
Going into 2021, I feel it will be more about the results, such as leads and sales rather than exposure and awareness by paying for a thousand impressions or per click.
From the majority of the consultations we’ve had with advertisers wishing to explore and test other ideas within the digital marketing landscape, it’s always welcomed when we explain that they can pay for completed actions such as sales.
As an affiliate marketer and publisher, of course, it makes more sense for us to make our margins and commissions from guaranteed revenue CPM and CPC campaigns, but when an advertiser on a tight budget is willing to give us business, we feel it’s important that we take into consideration how we can spend that budget productively, and the only way of doing that is on a CPA, CPS or CPL and taking our margins from that.
A good example of this is our unique offering of influencer marketing on a performance basis only. We work with a network of over 100,000 influencers worldwide and we’ve found that when an influencer gets paid only for the actions they deliver, firstly they put out improved, more engaging and natural content. Secondly, they connect with the advertiser on a more personal level. A benefit of this methodology is - yet again - a lower risk for the advertiser, but with the added benefit of millions of eyeballs which supports exposure and growth.
We strongly feel that, despite the implausible awareness CPC and CPM offers merchants, paying on a performance-basis across the board is what small and medium advertisers will come to value in 2021, and in years to come.
What verticals do you think will grow during the rest of 2020 and into 2021?
In our opinion, there is one industry that has experienced exponential growth in 2020 and that will continue to do so into 2021, and that is the subscription product industry.
The fact that users no longer need to leave their house to shop for groceries, pick up their medical prescriptions, shop for socks… that already existed, but being able to just pay a monthly fee for a service without needing to do anything at all, aside from receiving a box through the letterbox every 30 days, can only be explained in one word: convenience.
The user’s convenience combined with the fact that merchants are guaranteed a recurring purchase from their customers every single month is a no-brainer for all parties involved.
Every single day more and more businesses are jumping on the subscription product bandwagon with innovative products and ideas which combine well with traditional verticals like food and drink, health and beauty and entertainment. However, what’s even more exciting is when you combine a subscription with the travel or eco industries, so that you can go a holiday every three months or plant your own forest in Madagascar… all by paying a convenient recurring fee. That just makes sense.