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Adconf Recap – How To Make Affiliate Marketing work for you in 2021

With the 4th Adconf affiliate marketing conference done and dusted, we’ve gone back to the drawing board to bring more great content your way for 2021. This article will cover what went down at the latest Adconf. Good luck on your affiliate journey and please feel free to reach out to us.

Over 500 online advertisers, media buyers, and digital marketers registered, but if you weren’t able to check out the live event, you can catch the full recording right here

So, without further delay, let’s jump straight into it with our first speaker.


Luke Kling from AffLIFT

Super affiliate, international speaker, serial “solopreneur” and triple threat digital marketer Luke Kling is the founder of AffLIFT and a force to be reckoned with in today’s constantly changing affiliate sector. Having managed close to 100 000 affiliate relationships over the last 17 years, Luke went into the fundamentals every budding affiliate needs to start their journey to success. These were the key takeaways from discussion 1.

Going from red to green with basic affiliate fundamentals

From the start of the presentation, Luke boiled down affiliate marketing strategy into three fundamental aspects that don’t seem to change, although the landscape, software, tools, and verticals around them might. These are…

  • Tracking Clicks
  • Tracking Conversions 
  • Optimizing for better results

Luke went on to cover these core points in further detail, starting with… 


There is so much more to clicks than you would think. Each click provides a real-time opportunity to track and collect invaluable data to help refine and perfect your campaign. At the end of the day, it’s all about the data, and the more you have to go on, the better equipped you’ll be to run profitable campaigns that convert. 

When buying ad traffic ALWAYS consider what you’re buying and make sure each click will help you in your online advertising journey. Buying clicks and hoping for conversions without understanding what the data represents won’t be a good use of your time.


Tracking metrics have changed a lot in recent years, but still, remain one of the single most important indicators for running a successful campaign. As an affiliate, you need to have a quality tracker that is able to correctly identify data points and equip you with the knowledge you need to improve your campaigns. 

Pro Tip? Use every single tracking token or UTM parameter that you can. Basically, when a user clicks on your campaign URL with a token added to the end, this will send a signal back to your ad tracking tool that the URL was clicked. This way, you’ll always be able to know exactly where your clicks are coming from, which segment of your traffic is performing the best and where to allocate your campaign budget. 

On the traffic sourcing side, one major improvement has been…

CPA Pricing

The new and improved CPA Pricing model allows affiliates to automatically optimize their campaigns, based on their CPA goal or target, and moving into 2021, this new feature will be further adopted and integrated by the world’s top traffic sources. Learn more about CPA Target Bidding right here.

That being said, you still need to know how to use your tracker to do your own optimizations and learn why the algorithms are doing what they do.

On the tracking side, another awesome feature that you can use to your advantage is the…

Auto Optimization Feature

Automatic optimization has finally become a reality and this bodes well for the global affiliate community moving into 2021. 

This feature eliminates the daily slog of crunching out the numbers, rehashing previous campaigns, and analyzing your data for hours at a time. The auto-optimization feature allows affiliates to streamline the process by using their trackers to pull the most valuable data in real-time.

Moving on to landing page creation and the fundamentals needed to create an eye-catching interface. 

Landing pages

Having a high-quality, attention-grabbing landing page is the difference between a scalable campaign with good ROI, and one that falls by the wayside and doesnt gets noticed. Even if all your optimization tactics are spot on, it’s almost impossible to get profitable, direct linking without a landing page. 

Look to gain the upper hand on your competition with something unique. There are a few skills that can help you stand out from the crowd. These are the ability and willingness to…

  • Learn basic copywriting and headline creation.
  • Learn basic HTML.
  • Test different angles. 

Landing pages don’t have to be complicated and with so much software on the market today, the process is easier than ever. 

Predictions for 2021

In a nutshell, I firmly believe that affiliate marketers will have a better year than the last. 

We’re not sure where push notifications will be in the next few months. My advice is to make the most of them while they’re around and to make the uncertainty work to your advantage. That being said, there are a bunch of different formats to capitalize on in 2021 and it’s just a matter of finding which works best for you. 

As more and more affiliate networks and trackers integrate the CPA Pricing and Automatic Optimization feature, the affiliate community can look forward to some profitable returns when utilized to full capacity. 

And last but not least, Spy tools are going to make a lot of money in 2021 and corner a larger portion of the affiliate market than they already have. It’s vital to research and analyze your competition moving into 2021. 

And finally…

Take Action!

If you’re serious about becoming a better affiliate, work towards setting up 3-5 campaigns per week on average. Learn as much as you can and keep refining your game. 

Also, be patient. Let the results come over time and set boundaries so that you don’t overoptimize your campaign. And finally, test new verticals, angles, offers, and landing pages as often as you can. 

For a premium affiliate community, head over to AffLIFT and set up your account today. 


Maxime Chevallon from Adcash

Max is the COO of Adcash, a job that entails a heck of a lot of organization and nerves of steel. Together with his superstar team, Max sees to it that the Adcash machine runs like clockwork. 

Adcash is an online advertising platform that delivers effective ad content to every corner of the earth, with the help of a 100,000 + network of high-quality websites. They cater to media buyers, affiliates, and publishers, with 200+ million unique users per day. Reach out to one of the team here and we’ll help tailor your impressions! These were the key takeaways from discussion 2.

Recap on a roller coaster year!  2020’s trends & 2021 takeaways

Max recapped the developments of each quarter of 2020 and helped us look ahead to 2021. This is what he had to say.

Q1-2020. The beginning of the end for push notifications?

Introduced in 2013 by Apple and other major organizations, Push Notifications have been around for a while, but as Luke mentioned in his presentation, we’ve never seen such a drop in the effect of the format as we have in 2020. The format has been abused and this has triggered complaints from the end-user, which in turn has triggered a few new browser restrictions that we haven’t seen before. 


The below 3 browser updates started muting push notification and this has played the largest part in their decline. 

  • Firefox 72 (January 2020)
  • Google Chrome 80 (February 2020)
  • Google Chrome 84 (July 2020)

The subscription for push notifications dropped by 64% in total. That being said, there is still demand in the sector and a profit to be made by affiliate marketers, but the opportunities for scaling are starting to become fewer.

Q2-2020. The COVID Effect

Moving onto Q2 and the effects of COVID-19 on the industry as a whole. 

Some interesting developments around this time have been the spikes of traffic that have been coming from specific countries. Strong verticals have done even better than they used to, and some verticals that were booming dropped dramatically.

Some of the verticals that ended up thriving are displayed below.


Gaming saw a 34% increase in onsite demand and it will be interesting to see what happens in the upcoming quarter. 


Then, on the other side of the equation, some of the verticals that lost the most traction during the height of the pandemic include the below. 


The verticals that involved the most human interaction were obviously hit the hardest, with people being discouraged the world over from gathering in large crowds. The 2x verticals most affected by this had to of been sports betting and fixtures, as well as travel and tourism. 

Q3-2020. Back to Normal Life (ish)

As the world breathes a sigh of relief with the onset of the Holiday season, Quarter 3 is seeing a strong rise in online shopping and subsequent marketing from all the big sales entities.

The two verticals that saw the most fluctuations remain Gaming and Sports Betting respectively. Interestingly enough, Gaming saw a major spike in Q2, but with more and more people returning to work and normal life, the number of game downloads and subsequent conversions has lowered significantly in Q3.

Adcash - Adconf Affiliate Marketing Conference - Gaming Q3 Results

Sports, on the other hand, has climbed drastically in Q3 and will continue to do so moving into next year. With more and more fixtures set to go ahead in 2021, sports betting is at an all-time high and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Adcash - Adconf Affiliate Marketing Conference - Sports Betting Q3 Results

Takeaways for Q4-2020 & 2021

As far as takeaways go for 2021, the below trends will continue to thrive and gain traction as the year continues. 


To summarise, keep an eye out for trends that help people stay at home, stay comfortable, and stay entertained. Whether that be Video on Demand, ordering in, shopping online, etc. 


Dasha Nazarova from RedTrack

Dasha Nazarova is the current Head of Marketing & Partnership Communications at RedTrack, one of the top affiliate marketing & tracking platforms in the world today. These were the key takeaways from discussion 3.

The holiday season is here and with it, a lot of emotions toward buying. Do everything you can to reap the benefits of the holiday season optimization rush. The clients to target will purchase according to 3 emotional stages. These are…

Stage 1: Hurry up! It’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas!

Stage 2: OMG, is there any money left after the holiday season!

Stage 3: Let’s (try to) make ad strategies great again in 2021.

For the first time ever, more than a quarter of holiday sales will occur online in 2020. In fact, US consumers are expected to spend a collective 43.3% more with online retailers this holiday season, a total of $198.73 billion. So, how do you as an affiliate make the most of this massive spike in digital traffic? It starts with…

Campaign Optimization

When it comes to campaign optimization, first, always consider your bidding strategy and make it work for you. There are two options you can choose from. 

Option 1:
Bid high at the very beginning to receive quick results and cut off bad-performing placements.

Option 2:
Bid low first, cut off everything with CTR less than 1-2%. Every day increase the bid by 25% or so to ensure traffic from higher quality zones. 

Product Choice

As far as your product choices are concerned, it helps to know what’s popular and keep your finger on the pulse of cutting-edge trends. Know what you’re selling and how to sell it with maximum visibility. 

Some of the verticals to pay the most attention to this Festive Season include:

  • E-commerce 🛍️
  • Sweepstakes & virtual gifts 🎁
  • App downloads (delivery & e-com apps) 📱
  • Dating 💔

These verticals can be further subdivided into categories like:

  • Apparel 👚
  • Furniture 🪑
  • Tech 💻
  • Health & Beauty 💄


Some of the trends you want to keep a lookout for and capitalize on include: 

Staying away from politically charged ads

Try to exclude political audiences from your ads. There is just too much competition in the market, with massive firms running multi-million dollar ad campaigns. This tip is mostly specific to audiences in the United States as they are the ones with the highest purchasing power and incentive to run these ads in the wake of the most recent US presidential election.

Hype up the New iPhone!

It’s the most anticipated product to come out this season, and any online marketing you do around it will surely grab attention. Try and use this product launch and others like it within the Sweeps and Pop vertical if you can, and as a general rule, remember that any hot sellers are worth pursuing around the Holiday Season.

Make the most of App Downloads. 

The Netflix show, “Queen’s Gambit”, is all the rage at the moment and follows the story of a female chess prodigy in 1960’s America. Yes, the show is good, but the app install traction it managed to generate is truly phenomenal! After the show aired, chess app downloads increased by 65%. This is a perfect example of how keeping in touch with trends can bring in brilliant results. 


Lastly, when it comes to creatives, the best visuals you stand to generate will come from the data you’ve acquired on your audience. An ad might look good to you but not resonate with your audience. Keep your creatives simple and try not to overthink it. Use creatives that strike a chord with a specific target segment with visuals that appeal to what they are interested in. 

Always run a limited offer this time of year and make sure your copy creates a sense of urgency with your audience.

Pro Tip for 2021

Google will be releasing a new update and one of the prerequisites is that every banner will need to have a logo of the product on their creatives. So, keep this in mind as you move into the new year. 

That’s it for this edition of Adconf. We hope you found this article helpful and, if you’re looking for further guidance to maximize your ROI, then check out the full webinar recording right here

All the best for your holiday season advertising adventure. 


Join the conversation


Profile picture of Zach G.

Zach G. on Sep 16, 2021 at 10:18 am

That is an awesome piece of work. I would love to see a tiny update for 2021. You are writing about predictions so just to see how did the reality turned out!

Profile picture of Geoff Kukard

Geoff Kukard on Oct 25, 2021 at 10:50 am

Hey Zach, thanks for the feedback. Sure thing and good call. We'll run some updates and get 2021 V2 live soon.

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