Carissa Flinders has been in the influencer marketing space for years, starting with an internship on a Los Angeles PR team in 2014. She has worked with a variety of consumer brands, such as Nasty Gal. Today, she is the Team Lead for Influencer Partnerships at Awin.
In 2017, Awin acquired ShareASale. Recently, Awin and ShareASale, two of North America’s fastest-growing affiliate marketing platforms, integrated with Sideqik. Sideqik is an influencer marketing platform with many capabilities regarding campaign management and influencer discovery.
Carissa shares, “I’m able to work with brands across both platforms, and across both of those platforms, we work with over 20,000 brands. So, everything from enterprise to direct to consumer, quite a wide variety in company size as well as different verticals.”
She adds that they work with over 240,000 partners, including mass media houses, tech partners, traditional affiliates, and influencer platforms like Sideqik.
Through the integration with Awin and ShareASale, Sideqik’s platform now tracks direct ROI from influencer campaigns.
How Did the Partnership Start?
Carissa explains that starting in 2020, following the start of the pandemic, a lot of their clients expressed interest in influencer marketing platform features.
She says, “A lot of our clients started to ask – what do you offer in terms of influencer solutions? Can we work with influencers through the affiliate channel? We’re seeing influencers being paid out on commissions a lot more. How do we really blend these channels, so I think that’s something that we started to see become more and more prevalent.”
Awin began looking for different leading influencer platforms to partner with to provide these tools and solutions to their clients.
Many clients were looking for tools, “specifically around how do I find new influencers? How do I search for TikTok influencers, for example, or how do I drill that down to a specific vertical, or how do I manage my influencer campaigns, and so that’s really how the conversation started with Sideqik.”
She shares that the Awin team reached out to Sideqik and asked for a demo. They enjoyed the technology and began exploring what a partnership would look like between the two platforms.
The partnership’s primary goal for the Awin and ShareASale teams is to provide the best solutions for their clients, especially as the creator industry continues to evolve.
“We are starting to see more this blending between the affiliate and influencer channels, so these solutions we provide to our clients make this a really seamless and great experience where they can work for their affiliate teams, and their influencer teams can work together closely. Brands are often challenged with tracking direct ROI as well.”
She adds, “I know that often there’s a lot of pressure that comes with making the investment in an influencer marketing campaign, and this is a really easy way for brands to see direct performance to build individual relationships, long-term relationships, and really see the direct ROI as well.”
The direct impact on Awin’s business is the ability to provide greater flexibility and options to their clients, especially as these different worlds blend together more.
“We’d often find that there were two separate teams that weren’t really communicating, so there would be a social and an influencer team working on something, and then you have the affiliate team or a digital team that may be working with influencers in their channel.”
Combining different tools allows companies to streamline their teams and bring them together more, increasing the efficiency of their business.
Changes in the Creator Marketplace
When asked what makes this partnership essential based on changes in the marketplace, Carissa explains that she continues to see the blending of affiliate and influencer marketing as a critical shift in the marketplace.
“A lot of marketers are tasked with this challenge of accountability. They need to make investments, specifically in the influencer marketing channel, and they will have pressure from upper management. [The marketers] say, well, how do I see the direct impact of making a flat fee investment in an influencer campaign.”
Many marketers struggle to quantify ROI from influencer marketing campaigns.
As a result, many are turning to affiliate marketing channels and paying creators based on commissions to minimize their risk. However, this also gives creators a strong level of flexibility as they build ongoing relationships with their audience and companies.
“I think that we’ve heard a lot about this topic of burnout with a lot of creators, and so I think that the affiliate channel is a great way to provide them [creators] with a lot of flexibility where they can still continue to earn an income. They can monetize their content, and if I want to share this sweater that I am wearing. I can grab my affiliate link and still earn a commission.”
For creators, affiliate marketing is a great way to earn ongoing commissions while remaining authentic with their recommendations. Creators aren’t pressured with harsh deliverables either, making it a flexible gig.
Carissa shares that affiliate marketing and commissions are just one way she sees the creator marketplace changing. Overall, it’s a win-win typically for brands and creators because it allows them to track direct performance and ROI easily.
What’s Next for Awin
Carissa shares that Awin is going to evolve their influencer marketing offerings continually.
“Just continuing to evolve our influencer marketing offering, really listening to our customers and hearing what they’re asking for, and doing everything that we can to continue to evolve as this industry does.”