Will brands band together to keep Amazon at bay? Partner marketing forecast

Australian brands joining forces, WeChat becoming a primary platform for Australian marketers, and measuring influencer ROI. Simon McDonald reveals his five partner marketing predictions for 2019.

Ecommerce in Australia is growing at a faster rate than in other regions. For example, in 2018, growth is expected to be 8.6% and 6.1% in the US and UK respectively, according to Statistica. Australians, while spending less, are contributing to an expected 8.9% ecommerce growth rate. To help expedite further accelerated online spending growth in this region, affiliate and partner marketers are seeking new and innovative ways to attract and engage shoppers.

Here are five predictions for partner marketing in Australia in 2019.

Brands embracing partnerships to keep Amazon at bay

Amazon has only been around in Australia for about a year and, surprisingly, doesn’t wield the same influence with consumers that it does in other regions. According to a recent BigCommerce survey, only 24% of Australian respondents made a purchase there in the last six months. Without a doubt, Amazon has its sights set on growth in the region.

Related: Amazon still biting at eBay’s heels – new consumer report for Australian ecommerce »

Shopping line holding bags report

The door is open for retail brands to continue to hold their own and even grow despite the efforts of Amazon, the online titan. Retailers are investing more heavily in ecommerce, with data showing that it accounted for more than 45% of incremental sales growth across regional retailers in 2018.

With retailers seeking more efficient sales models, partnerships and affiliate marketing can help. The variety of program types covered by partner marketing – such as coupon, loyalty, cashback and influencer – lends itself to experimentation and optimisation. When leveraged properly, these channels have proven to be highly efficient, great for customer acquisition and strong drivers of conversion.

Amazon will almost certainly see steady growth in Australia, so retailers need to take whatever approaches they can to holding and increasing their advantages in the region wherever possible.

Related: Black Friday flop: retailers see 13% drop in sales as Amazon enters market »

Bookstore reading counter Black Friday

Measuring influencer ROI will become a priority

Influencer adoption in Australia has been a bit slower compared to other regions. This may be due to brands having difficulty measuring these programs effectively.

Nevertheless, Australian marketers are starting to warm to influencer marketing, and BigCommerce data shows that Australian consumers rely heavily on digital input along their paths to purchase. Brands that have started experimenting with influencers are realising the importance of effectively measuring ROI. Whereas influencer programs may have been measured by social teams and metrics in the past, it’s become clear that a performance-based approach will be more results- and revenue-oriented.

By implementing scenarios like unique influencer tracking codes for programs, the ability to tie these activities to actual results becomes easier. With a focus on education, we’ll start to see brands moving influencer partners toward a CPA (cost per action) model more focused on measurement and ROI.

WeChat becomes a core platform

With more than three million users in Australia, WeChat continues to grow and gain influence. Marketers are starting to understand the power of WeChat and look for ways to leverage its potential to drive sales – and partnership arrangements represent a key way of doing so.

WeChat is also immensely popular in China, and with Chinese tourism on the rise in Australia, the opportunity for Australian businesses to reach people via this platform is skyrocketing.

Australian brands that are ahead of the curve are partnering with Chinese influencers for their marketing efforts and seeing great results. Chinese consumers in Australia can use WeChat Pay, making adoption by Australian retailers even easier. WeChat Pay also makes it possible for brands to make leverage QR codes and other unique partner offers to drive their programs.

Non-traditional partnerships and exclusivity

Historically speaking, larger brands in Australia have relied on multiple networks and subnetworks to drive significant traffic since there is a smaller pool of affiliates to work with than in other countries. This lack of exclusivity forces networks and tech providers to continue to innovate and prove value to brands to remain in these large brands’ good graces. Striving for excellence in this way also brings the potential for exclusivity if one network or provider can emerge as a brand’s clear-cut favorite.

The environment in Australia also encourages a focus on non-traditional partnerships and makes it important to find tech providers that are set up to enable partnerships that reach beyond standard affiliate agreements. For example, working with influencers and forming strategic brand-to-brand partnerships both require the ability to measure activity, provide proper attribution and have efficient methods of paying partners.

Mobile gets even bigger

Mobile commerce continues to grow year-over-year in Australia. With this growth, the opportunities for brands and retailers will also continue to grow and evolve. The entire Asia-Pacific region is widely recognised as one of the largest mobile markets in the world, and Australia is no exception. In fact, 39% say they shop on mobile nearly as frequently as they shop on a desktop.

As shoppers in the region become more comfortable with mobile commerce, brands should be sure to find tech partners and agencies that understand how to work with apps. Use of mobile promotions – for example: unique voucher codes and in-store cashback offers – will continue to enhance partnerships and offer new revenue channels.

In addition, experimenting with a variety of mobile transaction and performance models – CPI (cost per install) and CPA – will help partners prove their value and will also incentivise non-traditional partners.

Adapting to shifting buyer behaviours will help pave the road to success for brands in Australia and open the door to partnerships of all types. With 2019 right around the corner, and strategic planning in full effect, marketers should consider increased investment partnerships as a powerful tool for growth.

Simon McDonald is VP revenue APAC at Partnerize

 

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Image credit: Jamie Street