Matt Frary Disrupts the Affiliate Marketing World with Purchase of Elite Media Partners from Brook Schaaf

Purchase brings large-scale affiliates under one roof, aggregating affiliates’ sites and increasing their negotiation power with multinational brands

Today, Matt Frary, CEO of SmarterChaos.com, a digital marketing company and affiliate marketing agency, announced that he has purchased Elite Media Partners, a monetization agency and FMTC asset, from Brook Schaaf. With this purchase, Frary brings large-scale affiliates under one roof, opening the way for better representation and negotiation of terms with advertisers in the space.

According to Geno Prussakov of AM Navigator, advertisers spent $5 billion in 2016 on affiliate marketing, making the channel one of the most important digital channels in a marketer’s toolbox. The primary issue, Frary points out, is that the industry is often fragmented with millions of affiliates that are vying for the brand’s attention and budgets. Affiliates end up having very little leverage. Elite Media Partners focuses on aggregating medium to large affiliate sites to increase their negotiating power and to drive incremental revenue that they would not have already received from those brands.

On the effects of the purchase for SmarterChaos.com to make new services and tools available to affiliates, Frary said,

“We are so excited to acquire Elite Media Partners. This is another major disruption of the affiliate ecosystem as we aggregate tens of millions of users across many different large affiliates’ publishers and represent them to the branded advertisers, outsourced program managers, and top affiliate networks. No one has brought together the power of the affiliate like Elite Media Partners, and we aim to grow the consolidation very quickly. We are so pleased to work with Brook and the FMTC team to purchase the Elite Media Partner assets, as we know that our businesses at SmarterChaos.com, SheIsMedia, and Pollen-8 are uniquely positioned to build on the goodwill that Brook and his teams have built with well-known online marketplace clients. The FMTC technology and Publisher Toolkit will remain a part of our ecosystem as we build the business.”

Brook Schaaf welcomes the purchase, saying,

“Elite Media Partners has brought meaningful value to its publisher clients, but our larger company is better suited to focus on other products, in particular FMTC’s data feeds and our Publisher Toolkit. I’m pleased to transition this business to Matt and his team, and I know they’ll do a great job with relationship management on behalf of publishers.”

Stepping in as General Manager of Elite Media Partners is Karen Hoxmeier. As Hoxmeier expresses her thoughts about the new venture,

“Having collaborated on various projects over the past six years with Matt Frary, I’m really excited to be heading up Elite Media Partners. I plan to be an integral part of each of our clients’ businesses. Building new revenue streams for publishers and providing innovative marketing solutions for advertisers is what I live for.”

Frary is the CEO and founder of SmarterChaos.com and SheIsMedia.com and is a national expert on brand management and customer acquisition. SmarterChaos.com develops customer acquisition marketing programs designed to drive sales and increase ROI with savvy implementation that incorporates affiliate marketing, search engine marketing, influencer, social media and email marketing. SheIsMedia.com is an affiliate marketing resource for female bloggers, reshaping the landscape of women-focused performance marketing.

Schaaf is the Co-Founder and Owner of FMTC.co, the data services company and parent company to Elite Media Partners, as well as Co-Founder of the recently-sold affiliate management agency Schaaf-PartnerCentric.

Hoxmeier is an 18-year veteran in the affiliate marketing industry, starting when she launched MyBargainBuddy.com, an online deal site, in 1999. Over the years, she has consulted for startups entering the affiliate marketing space, operated as an Affiliate Program Manager, served on CJ’s Publisher Advisory Board, and participated in panels at CJU and Affiliate Summit. For four years, she served as COO at FMTC,  and helped launch Fresh Press Media.

SmarterChaos.com represents top affiliates, brands and media partners around the world, including:

  • Tile
  • Miracle Ear
  • Donald J Pliner
  • eBags
  • Lillian Vernon
  • JewelScent
  • FabFitFun
  • and many more

Elite Media Partners represents well-known coupon and deal providers and online resource sites, including:

  • CouponCause
  • SendEarnings
  • InboxDollars
  • Spent
  • Healthgrades
  • Subscription Box Society

About SmarterChaos.comSmarterChaos.com is an international digital performance marketing agency that focuses on driving customer acquisition for large brands. SmarterChaos.com was launched in 2010 by industry veterans to address the needs of advertisers to navigate the affiliate, search and social media landscape in a profitable way. Our services include affiliate marketing, social media marketing, lead generation, app installs, influencer marketing, retargeting, programmatic media and more. SmarterChaos.com is located in downtown Castle Rock, CO, and is a member of the local Economic Development Council, the Performance Marketing Association and the Forbes Agency Council. For more information, visit http://www.smarterchaos.com or contact Sheila Kirby at sheila@smarterchaos.com.

About FMTC: FMTC specializes in aggregating affiliate content and making it available to affiliates and bloggers through a series of services and tools, including FMTC’s coupon data feeds and Publisher Toolkit’s merchant database and reporting toolset.

Is Influencer Marketing A Performance Marketing Strategy?

Is Influencer Marketing A Performance Marketing Strategy?

You bet it is!

To be fair, I’m a pretty die-hard advocate of Performance Marketing, and tend to see hints of its existence and absence in every marketing strategy known to man. That being said, I truly believe that Influencer Marketing checks off all of the boxes needed to be considered a performance marketing strategy.

#1: Performance Tracking

Let’s start with the simple mechanics of Performance Marketing: tracking. Without the tracking component, Performance Marketing wouldn’t exist. In order to understand what performs, what works, what doesn’t work – we need to track activities.

When it comes to affiliates, we track impressions, clicks, sales, leads, conversion rates, LTVs, refunds, times spent on pages, bounce rates, and so on. Affiliate managers are able to track and analyze the performance of each affiliate in their program, each product those affiliates promote, each offer the affiliates broadcast, and the cross-sections of each of those performance measures.

The same can be true for Influencer Marketing. In fact, many savvy advertisers have begun using their affiliate program tracking links and attribution models to track the performance of their influencers alongside and/or in conjunction with their affiliates. Whether or not they use their affiliate tracking and reporting platform, advertisers can assign each influencer their own tracked links, landing pages, hashtags, and coupon codes to track the activities of the visitors and customers back to the referring influencer.

In my humble opinion, if an advertiser isn’t implementing tracking mechanisms into their Influencer Marketing campaigns, they are doing it wrong. Placing performance tracking at the heart of Influencer Marketing will be key in seeing this popular strategy stick in the long run.

#2: Performance Compensation

There’s a interesting proclamation from member, Matt Frary of SmarterChaos… it goes something like this: Affiliate Marketing is a compensation model. That quip has been shared by Todd Crawford of member, Impact Radius from both the Affiliate Manager Days stage and the Influencer Marketing Days stage.

The statement resonates in both settings.

While many affiliate marketers may argue that there is so much more to affiliate marketing than the compensation model, it’s hard to argue with the fact that merchants and advertisers ask affiliates to go out and promote in a wide variety of ways – but they all compensate the affiliates based on their performance. Commissions on the sales they refer, bounties on the leads they generate… merchants compensate affiliates by sharing a piece of the revenue they refer.

Whether influencer marketers funnel activities through their affiliate programs or not, they too can and ultimately DO compensate influencers based on performance. At the most basic level, compensation stops when an advertiser determines that a particular influencer isn’t performing at an expected rate and simply stops hiring the influencer. At a sophisticated level, influencers are compensated based on the amount of business they refer to the advertiser with commissions on sales, bonuses for reaching thresholds, and tighter partnerships like co-branding, “celebrity” appearances, and other public-facing activities that tie the influencer’s brand to the advertiser’s brand (and visa versa).

As Influencer Marketing matures, I predict that we’ll see many of the same evolutions in tracking and compensation as we have in Affiliate Marketing. Again, savvy advertisers have already picked up on this and are running their Influencer Marketing strategies as an extension of their affiliate programs.

#3: The Third-Party Endorsement

While both influencers and affiliates have been asked to use ad units like banners, infographics or video spots, advertisers (should) agree that the most valuable content in both of these strategies is that which the influencer or affiliate creates. And out of that publisher-generated content, the best is the endorsement. That third-party voice saying, “This product is great. I tried it and liked it, and I think you will too.”

Whether it’s in words, a video, or a photo – influencers and affiliates who communicate with their audiences with passion, intelligence, and authority are the heart and soul of both Influencer and Performance Marketing.

Just as I predicted a similar pattern in compensation models, I predict a similar crack down from government authorities on Influencer Marketing as we’ve seen on Affiliate Marketing. The FTC’s focus on disclosure is a clear indication, that these third-party endorsements that both strategies rely on are viewed as one, regulation-worthy practice in the eyes of the consumer protection agents. How long before the tax agents begin to see the similarities?

 

Rachel is a partner at Rust Built Ventures. She has been an active participant in the affiliate marketing industry since the late 90’s with executive leadership roles at KowaBunga!, Lurn & FMTC. Her advice and views have been shared in FeedFront multiple times as well as from the stage at Affiliate Summit.