Hello there folks! I was a huge fan of affiliate marketing and spent a lot of time and money creating sites with the aim of making money online. Many of you might be dedicated to the same plans. In today’s interview, I had a chance to speak with Alexander Bachmann, the founder and CEO of the global affiliate network admitad. He has been engaged in business since age 15 and started his first company at age 17. At age 20, he founded a holding that included several companies in Germany. Then, in 2009, he began the launch of admitad; it was officially founded in 2010. Since that time, admitad has globally expanded to 6 offices worldwide and headquarters in Heilbronn, Germany. Beside all these, we both love Audi cars. 🙂
I want to thank Alexander for taking time to answer my questions.
Q: When I was young, I had a strong passion for making money online. I read many blogs and ebooks, but 99% of them were only self-serving to the authors, and I couldn’t make a single penny by doing business online. This is a common problem during the initial stages of affiliate marketing or any kind of online business. Can you share with us how you made your first win online?
A: Since age 11, I had a dream that one day I would run my own business. I’ve always been interested in computers, the Internet, and hi-tech. As I said earlier, I started Cost-Per-Action marketing when I was 15. I had a simple website, moderated it, attracted traffic, and deleted malicious messages breaching the rules. Finally, I decided to move forward and opened a free-hosting-based forum. I was so dedicated to it that at the time my parents worried about my school grades and even took away the modem to force me to complete my homework. Even at such an early age I already knew that CPA was what I would like to do in my life. This wasn’t just a hobby, this was my passion. So, finally, I changed my academics to computer hardware courses, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do. I had a big idea and I wanted to turn it into reality. So, I became a publisher at Zanox.
This became the starting point of my career at CPA. I attracted clients to Internet providers and mobile companies. Soon, I learned everything about this market and started to look for business opportunities not only in Germany but internationally as well. I noticed the lack of Cost-Per-Action networks in Russia and decided to develop my business in this market. The initial stage took a year and a half and I moved to Russia with my business partner. We started with the online games niche. It was very promising and we achieved the first results very rapidly. Of course, since admitad had to develop this industry from scratch, there were certain difficulties related to publishers’ fraud and prevention of these malicious activities.
We had to adapt very quickly to tackle these challenges and sure enough, we did it. Then we decided to expand admitad’s boundaries and to move outside this single niche. I believe, that to be the best at something is good, but as a businessman, one needs to diversify his business activities and continue to grow. Currently, admitad has offers from various online marketing niches including e-commerce, games, travel, apparel, finance, etc.
Q: You started admitad 7 years back and now the platform has more than 580K active publishers. What’s the secret strategy behind the tremendous growth of your company?
A: The tremendous growth and success depend on various important factors. From my previous response you can see that despite some difficulties, the admitad team has always remained on the path of innovation and development. We believe that in order to be dynamic and successful in affiliate marketing, the network needs to have intelligent support, positive relationships with partners, and up-to-date services and technologies. These factors will inevitably allow the company and the industry to perform well.
We always provide solutions that optimize advertising in terms of cost-effectiveness and time
management, and we also know what kind of needs publishers and advertisers have. Therefore, we strive to provide suggestions for the most effective and convenient solutions. Our goal is to help advertisers and publishers evolve because together we boost our mutual success and arrive at a win-win situation.
The long journey of 7 years took plenty of effort and dedication and, of course, the clients and publishers’ trust in admitad. This solid foundation continues to help us grow worldwide. You know, in some macro-regions, admitad is a pioneer in CPA marketing. This means that the admitad team developed the industry from the very scratch in those macro-regions. We aim to continue making a positive impact worldwide. Globally, we now have over 600,000 publishers and 1,500+ advertisers. It is noteworthy that more than one hundred exclusive programs introduce their offers only at admitad.
Q: What makes admitad unique from their competitors?
A: Since the very launch of admitad, we have been continuously introducing innovative services and tools for publishers and advertisers. Many of these solutions have been uniquely developed in-house and are exclusive only to admitad. The Adblock Due Diligence policy, retargeting solutions, cross-device tracking, and fraud-prevention tools provide higher conversion to publishers and help advertisers target their end-customers in the most effective way.
For instance, unlike other affiliate networks, admitad provides advertisers and publishers with an unparalleled opportunity to meet and develop personal contacts with each other. Some examples are admitad’s corporate events, such as admitad Lounge and admitad Expert, as well as trilateral meetings, which admitad managers help organize. Moreover, publishers can apply for offers which are introduced by prominent global brands and, to experience cross-border working in different geos. As for advertisers, admitad grants them the possibility of expanding their business in new and rare markets, receiving ad spaces and high-quality traffic from all over the world via the admitad in-house platform. Personal managers, apart from deep expertise in the selected niche of their business, also speak different languages and help our advertisers with all linguistics-related questions.
We built a network that highly values its clients and aims to provide them with transparent service. Advertisers and publishers can easily retrieve all statistical and analytical reports on their ad campaign through our special analytical service or simply via their user interface.
Another thing that makes admitad unique is our Exclusive programs: Publishers can apply for our exclusive offers. These offers are presented at admitad only. We provide publisher advocacy and facilitate them to apply for the global offers and work with the international clients.
Premium payments for publishers is another benefit at admitad: We guarantee payment for your approved conversions even if the advertiser has not transferred the whole amount to the bank account. No matter when the payment is received, we pay the publishers on time. We follows the weekly payment method with a low threshold of $20.
Corporate events: Any industry grows on the basis of healthy relationships and satisfying results. To have a sound relationship between you and your partners, there is always a need for regular meetings and events to discuss all the issues and challenges in person and to resolve them effectively. We are highly focused on this because, since 2014, admitad expert and admitad lounge events have taken place twice a year to strengthen business relations between all admitad network participants. At admitad Expert, admitad publishers and advertisers get an opportunity to exchange their business insights and meet with key players and experts from the affiliate marketing industry. The admitad Lounge is an affiliate party that has traditionally become a platform where admitad advertisers and publishers meet in casual settings and will receive an opportunity to network.
Q: Internet marketing and Google have changed a lot in the last few years. Where do you see affiliate marketing in the next 5 years?
A: Certainly, as 2017 draws to a close, I am starting to think about my business plans and the affiliate marketing industry as a whole, for this next year coming up. I have chosen 5 trends that, in my opinion, will be the most valuable for affiliate marketing in 2018.
Mobile Traffic – Digitization and Internet penetration are globally developing trends. With the changing scenario, mobile devices take over the market and overcome the demand for desktop sources offering more flexibility in accessing the Internet and providing more freedom to the user.
Transparency – admitad and other reputable affiliate networks provide transparent payments and reports. Our manager support and traffic security department prevents fraud activities and ensures accessibility of admitad statistical data and services 24/7.
Cross-Device Tracking stands at the crossroad of mobile and desktop traffic sources. We provide tracking across both mediums. The Cross-Device tracking tool enables our affiliates to connect up to 5 devices to a single account and be effective everywhere: working from the office, or even working remotely on the beach.
Adblock Due Diligence – admitad helps deliver the right image of digital marketing to its target audience and facilitate a responsible, reliable, and transparent system with all players in the online advertising sphere.
Customer Journey is an important marketing concept, which changes the entire industry; at admitad, we are constantly developing technologies and solutions to assist our advertisers in ad campaign optimizations.
Increasing safety of the affiliate marketing industry – with regard to India, after admitad entered this market and immediately became one of the important influencers in CPA and affiliate marketing 2 years ago, we are still developing this industry, its safety, and transparency.
Q: Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out with affiliate marketing?
A: Affiliate marketing is important for any business, whether it’s a startup or a well-established business. Affiliate marketing can give the marketer a significant ROI for whatever the business is searching. The determination and desire of the admitad team to push the limits is something that can characterize our work. We work towards a result.
CPA is a chance to work anywhere, anytime, and for any amount of time. When I travel, I take my laptop and waterproof cell phone and continue working on projects while relaxing by the pool. So if you are really determined to evolve and earn more, you can, anytime, anywhere. All you need is an unwavering determination. Push your own limits, work more, and learn more. We should never stop learning and experience new things in our life.
Q: How difficult is it to work with big e-commerce companies like AliExpress, GearBest, etc? Any interesting stories that are unique to working in the affiliate industry?
A: The admitad PR team has recently interviewed our affiliate partners from GearBest. You may know that GearBest headquarters is located in China. So, admitad is a channel of cross-border e-commerce for such companies aimed to expand their sales and business offers internationally. When we take the large e-commerce segment at admitad and the Chinese malls, it is important to pay attention to those numbers. According to the recent admitad research and data team’s forecast, admitad Chinese businesses will earn about 500 million dollars by the end of 2017. I believe that results in numbers are a strong indication of admitad’s quality than anything else. In the case of cross-border trade from China via admitad, our advertisers have ROI 1 to 10. This is the general gauge that can characterize such companies as AliExpress, Gearbest, and other admitad partners from China.
Having such partners as AliExpress, GearBest, Booking.com, ASOS.com, Zaful.com, Zalora.com, Tomtop.com, Qatar.com, Big Basket, Flipkart, Nykaa, Paytm Mall, and 1 MG is an interesting mission because these companies set the bar high and we develop both professionally and technically with them.
Q: How do you handle customer complaints at admitad? What kind of support system do you have in place?
A: Coming back to the initial stage of admitad development, I remember that it would take big players in CPA industry several days to respond to a client’s query. I tried to do the opposite and respond as soon as possible. We are reforming admitad support in order to not just make an integrated service, but also add features that will enable fast resolution of technical issues and responses to clients’ queries. This is slightly vague, of course, but the process is in full swing, and soon we will be able to share more details with you.
Q: How do you acquire leads for your business and which source brings the most traffic to your website?
A: Affiliation is key and the CPA marketing model was initially designed to acquire a lot of leads from various ad spaces and publishers. It was an advertising model where publishers are paid for an ‘action’ taken as a direct result. In CPA, an advertiser needs to pay only for the final results. This distinguishes CPA from other affiliate marketing models because other models acquire payments not for ‘actions’ and proved results but for other marketing activities that do not necessarily bring sales to an advertiser.
There are 3 significant features related to acquiring leads:
- Ad space concept: Ad space is a website or other online platform owned by a publisher, from which this publisher can direct traffic to our CPA offers. To give the advertisers a variety of platforms and showcase their ads, we have various categories of ad spaces. We have over 6,000,000 publishers who provide ad spaces to our advertisers. The types of ad spaces include websites, contextual advertising, social networks and groups, YouTube channels, doorways, email sending, arbitrage systems, Drop Shipping, and other subcategories.
- Publishers training: In 2017, in order to give publishers vast knowledge about CPA industry and admitad’s processes, along with our common mentorship activities, we opened the admitad Academy for Publishers where they can watch web seminars, receive CPA literature, and seek valuable advice.
- We guarantee high-quality traffic and fraud prevention: We are highly focused on publishers and traffic quality; for this purpose, we have various anti-fraud tools and a special unit within admitad that maintains a check on traffic and blacklists those publishers who have been involved in fraud activities.
Q: What motivated you to start a blog? What strategies do you use to promote content on the admitad blog?
A: For any business and its growth, the influencers are the most impactful element, after its services; the more people the business can influence positively, the more successful it will become. In the business like affiliate marketing/affiliate networks, it is important to have effective communication between the partners (publishers and advertisers) to create a sound business relationship that grows. Apart from the blog page, we also have our official Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to share the insights and keep the partners updated. Client-oriented, admitad not only focuses on the business but also educates our affiliates and everyone else who wants to learn more about CPA.
Q: What’s a roadblock that admitad had to overcome, and how does your experience shape the way you work now?
A: I started admitad as a startup project that soon became a global affiliate network. It was a pioneer CPA affiliate network, which developed affiliate marketing in such countries as Russia, Ukraine, and India. We now continue to innovate and develop affiliate marketing tools and technologies with border trade and expansion in Asia Pacific countries and Europe. There have been various roadblocks in the affiliate industry that we have overcome. For example, before we started in India, the advertisers had begun to lose confidence in affiliate networks and affiliate marketing due to blind spots, little knowledge about CPA, little transparency, fraud activities, etc. So my goal was to change the industry with transparency, educate people about the CPA market, upgrade the market scenario, and let people earn fairly.
Q: Thanks for taking time to answer my questions. One last question, what will be the next big thing for admitad?
A: In the developing world, we cannot rely on what we have; we should keep developing and innovating new things to step ahead in the corporate industry. Since its launch, admitad has kept on innovating things to improve the work process and industry. Major things that we have accomplished presently include, in-house platform, tracking tools, RTB platform, admitad lounge and admitad expert events, ongoing global expansion in Southeast-Asia and the UAE. We are also interested in the SDK technologies for mobile apps in the near future. Overall, we desire to have everything on one platform, which will ultimately be an extremely time-efficient solution for advertisers.