Conferences and Networking in 2020 Covid-19 Edition

Affiliate Marketing Conferences and Networking in 2020: COVID-19 edition

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Hate it or love it, attending affiliate marketing conferences is necessary for growing your business. And if you care about it (and we know you do!), you’ll keep coming back for more knowledge, experience, contacts, networking, and all that conference jazz. 

In case you’re still in doubt whether it’s really worth the hassle, or if you’re wondering how to network and connect professionally in times of coronavirus, just have a look below. 

Also, check out our affiliate marketing experts’ views and recommendations on networking in 2020!

What are the benefits of attending affiliate marketing conferences?

Affiliate marketing conferences are not cheap. They’re crowded, often miles away from your location… and yet they’re considered an absolute must-do for everybody in the industry. 

Attending industry events, various sessions and workshops… or even parties (more like it, huh?) can get you really far in affiliate marketing. It’s just as an important part of growing your business as having a carefully calculated budget or continuously monitoring the performance of your campaigns. Such conferences allow you to connect with representatives of all parties involved in the success of your advertising efforts. And there are way more benefits to it than just going places and attending the fun events.

Brand Exposure and Business Development

Regardless of your experience in the industry or at conferencing, each time an organization sends its representatives to a large-scale event like that, it’s for marketing and business-growth purposes. 

Conferences give us a unique opportunity to connect to hundreds of people who most likely have the same goals, search for what you offer, or can help spread the word of what your company does, all in one place, at the same time. 

If we divide the benefits of attending conferences into two categories of what we give and what we take, then brand exposure and business development are definitely the first one. Always give other people the chance of getting to know you and your product, to capitalize on the benefits later. 

Contacts and Partnerships

Meeting like-minded people who share goals and means of reaching them is the key to success for various industries, affiliate marketing included. Especially that we don’t often get to meet the people we work with on a daily basis. And behind each great business, there’s a number of faces and real people who make it work every-day. 

That’s why getting to know these people in person, and adding a human-side to the long-distance, online-only working model, might really be a game-changer. And once a good working relationship is established, that might be a great starting point for the more advanced business partnerships, as well as getting introduced to a network of contacts we’d never had access to before. 

Benefits of attending conferences

Networking

Meeting people you already work with in person, giving your business exposure, gathering leads, having the word spread around, or getting introduced to new contacts… all this and more counts as networking. And you never know what business opportunity awaits you until you approach that stand and talk to people who came there for the very same purposes as you. 

Proliferating professional business contacts and then rendering them into social networking can bring both measurable benefits as well as intangible returns on your conference investment. Making new contacts, partnerships, or networking in a broader sense means we can take a lot out of attending industry events.

Market research

Advertisers, publishers, less and more advanced affiliates, traffic sources, trackers, spy tools, ad networks, direct and indirect affiliate programs, experts, speakers, influencers, your partners as well as your competition… everyone’s there. You get to meet them all at once, discuss nurturing issues, latest trends and innovations. Also, you’re able discuss the best offers for your business, or spy on whose offer, product or services are better than yours. 

Experience 

The more you see, hear, learn, talk, discuss, wonder, nurture, and follow while attending an industry conference, the more experience you get. No one tells you where the limit of getting that hands-on experience is, and it’s ultimately up to you how much your business can benefit from being a part of such events. 

Knowledge and insights

Organizers of various events make their best to provide you with the best speakers, sessions, and workshops during which you’re able to get a lot of valuable information and insights into the business world. But it’s not only the direct pieces of training and speeches that allow you to gather that knowledge. It’s a combination of all the benefits listed here and your own acumen for collecting bits and pieces that are valuable to your business.

New tools and strategies for your business

Every company comes armed with new tools and features they want to promote during a conference. That’s why it’s a great opportunity for you to learn it first-hand, maybe strike a deal, or simply research new possibilities. Also, if you’ve got an idea for a feature that would help your business, but isn’t offered by any of your panthers yet, or simply how to improve an existing product, share your thoughts with the representatives. Conferences offer great opportunities to exchange ideas and maybe get new ones for improving your own business, too! 

And trust us, anyone would be more than happy to provide you with a unique function their competition doesn’t offer yet.

Top affiliate marketing conferences — review

No matter what’s your niche, where you’re located, or when you’d be free to attend an event — there’s always something happening that’s most definitely worth checking out. Here are our must-attend choices!

Affiliate Summit

Affiliate Summit

  • Date: four events throughout the year, the Las Vegas edition is planned for February 2021. The rest to be announced.
  • Venue: Las Vegas, New York, Singapore and Amsterdam.
  • Ticket price: depends on the pass/plan
  • COVID-19 update: 2020 events canceled, the 2021 edition is on!

It’s one of the most popular and universally recognized conferences to attend for marketers all over the globe, offering four unique locations — Las Vegas, New York, Singapore, and Amsterdam. Apart from the incredible sessions, the meet market event is one of the most anticipated parts of the conference. And, according to the organizers:

Affiliate Summit runs the biggest performance marketing events in the world. Attendees can expect to network and learn from top companies and key decision-makers from the affiliate marketing industry.

Affiliate World Conferences

AW

  • Date: two events throughout the year, the European edition is planned for July 2021. The Asian edition is to be announced.
  • Venue: Barcelona and Bangkok
  • Ticket price: depends on the pass/plan
  • COVID-19 update: 2020 events canceled, the 2021 edition is on!

Affiliate World Conferences connect the industry’s finest with everyone seeking knowledge and experience. The conference’s offer includes talks, panels, workshops, networking events, and a market exhibition allowing thousands of like-minded professionals to meet and discuss affiliate marketing business during two editions of the event — both in the amazing cities of Barcelona and Bangkok. As organizers claim:

Affiliate World is a bi-annual affiliate marketing conference held in Europe and in Asia. We organise world-class gatherings that focus on affiliate and ecommerce marketing.

MAC Affiliate Conference

MAC

  • Date: Moscow, 25-26 August 2020. For Kyiv the date is coming soon.
  • Venue: Moscow and Kyiv
  • Ticket price: depends on the pass/plan
  • COVID-19 update: the 202o edition is on!

A big and popular event, focused mostly on eastern European markets. The MAC Affiliate Conference offers two events — the Moscow and Kyiv edition. Both include the market exhibition event, and the possibility to connect with tens of partners and companies your daily affiliate ventures wouldn’t be possible without. According to organizers:

Unique exhibition venue where you can meet 200+ networks, traffic sources, advertisers, and services.

iGB Affiliate 

  • Date and venue: Amsterdam, 22nd – 25th September 2020.
  • Date and venue: Berlin, 19th – 22nd October 2020.
  • Date and venue: London, 3rd – 6th February 2021
  • Ticket price: depends on the pass/plan
  • COVID-19 update: the 2020 and 2021 edition is on!

It’s dedicated mostly to iGaming affiliates, hosting three events in London, Berlin, and Amsterdam (previous editions included also Lisbon). The iGB Affiliate events bring gamers, operators, affiliate marketers, programs, and all those involved in one place, at the same time. Should be especially interesting to those looking for educational sessions but also marketers seeking to explore this specific niche. As organizers promise:

With all events we constantly strive to not just produce the traditional events which are at best dull and are rarely enjoyable but rather create an experience for all delegates from start to finish.

Online Networking for affiliate advertisers in times of COVID-19

This year and the COVID-19 situation became a real game-changer for all kinds of businesses. Cancellation of various industry events, or resignation on the attendee’s side, prevented many marketers from growing their business and experience. Normally, conferences, market exhibitions, or after-parties were the perfect opportunities for that kind of business activity. 

Sadly, this year is different. While the need for growth and demand search is greater than ever.

That’s why marketers all over the world needed to look for new ways of continuing their business development plans and executing marketing strategies. Luckily, we’re in the online business, and the online reality gives us plenty of opportunities that have always been there — although perhaps not fully utilized. Have a look at the examples below and check whether you’re already using them… but also if you’re making the most of your digital networking possibilities!

Affiliate marketing forums

Affiliate marketing forums are essentially meant to serve the same purpose as affiliate conferences — they’re there to educate, connect, and help you grow your business. Although it cannot be argued that the atmosphere of the brick and mortar event, packed with people, amazing marketing hacks, and the one of a kind possibility to meet all your professional contacts in person is truly amazing, the forums are always there. Global lockdown or no lockdown, 24/7/356.  

Forums are, in fact, packed with hundreds of knowledgeable affiliates, true industry experts who are willing to share their insights and support you whenever a question pops up. No matter if it’s a trifle puzzle or something that stirs the whole community, people are connected and alert non-stop. Affiliate marketing forums offer real-time, instant, and proven support that’s a great way of getting valuable information, hands-on experience tips as well as possibilities to grow.

And they’re much cheaper than attending conferences, no doubt about that.

Affiliate marketing communities 

Apart from affiliate forums, various community groups and chats (Facebook, Slack or Telegram groups to name a few examples) can also be used for networking purposes. They work on slightly different premises than forums but are a great way of staying connected and up-to-date with the latest trends nonetheless.

If affiliate marketers want to reach a bigger audience, do detailed marketing research, connect to fellow advertisers, or get through to experts they’d like to inquire about something… there’s nothing stopping you from doing just that. 

The only difference is that the situation forces us to use different means than while attending a conference. Although the means of reaching such goals had to be adjusted to the situation, the end result may be well-satisfying if only a bit of work is put into it. 


What Do Affiliate Marketing Forums & Communities Offer?
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Direct approach 

Remember that we’re all in the same boat and everyone appreciates the possibility to grow professionally, especially given the current situation. That’s why if you’ve already talked with someone during past events, don’t hesitate to contact them directly! 

Affiliate Marketing Webinars and virtual sessions

Also, don’t forget about the alternatives to brick-and-mortar events. Once the lockdown occurred, the community rushed to provide us with a number of webinars, tutorials, and virtual meetings that would answer the questions and needs of marketers.

These are great tools for building connections, getting new ideas, sharing experience, and industry insights. The same sessions that you’d attend during a conference (or even more, actually!) can be watched from the comfort of your house. Giving you the opportunity to educate yourself and grow professionally even when attending real-life events is momentarily unavailable. 

Expert recommendations

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a difficult year for staying connected to your partners and fellow marketers. Many affiliate conferences and industry events got canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, or even if not, people decided not to attend for safety reasons. That’s why we’ve decided to ask some of the industry experts to share their insights on the situation and what alternatives they’d recommend. The three crucial questions were:

Check yourself what’s changed for the industry’s finest and how they cope with networking in times of coronavirus.


Luke KlingLuke Kling, industry expert & founder affLIFT


Have you given up on attending conferences and industry events this year?

Yes, I was hoping to make it to Affiliate Summit East this summer in New York, but since that has been canceled and Coronavirus is still pretty bad here in the United States, I am not planning to attend any conferences physically. However, I have attended many of the new digital events and those have been pretty fun!

How do you make up for the loss of networking and business development opportunities in 2020? 

I am doing it the old fashioned way and doing cold outreach. I’ve noticed an increase in the number of companies who are contacting me about opportunities to advertise and join the affLIFT community as well, so it seems that’s what others are doing too. There is still ample opportunity to network. The platform/channel you use is just different right now.

What alternatives would you recommend? 

My recommendation is a bit biased but join affLIFT. We have 35,000 affiliate members and hundreds of companies from throughout the industry. We’re seeing our Partner companies on affLIFT connecting and doing cross-promos and things like that. Even if you can’t physically meet, we have a live chat and messaging system that makes it easy to connect. That’s what I’m doing and it’s working well considering the current environment we’re in.


Attila O'dree

Attila O’dree, super affiliate & founder of iAmAffiliate


Have you given up on attending conferences and industry events this year?

Sadly, yes.

How do you make up for the loss of networking and business development opportunities in 2020? 

I’m an introvert so I always preferred networking online via Skype, Telegram, Facebook,  forums like iAmAffiliate. I do miss, however, hanging out with my online affiliate friends in person though, the affiliate world was an awesome event each year I looked forward to for example. 

What alternatives would you recommend? 

Nothing can replace in-person conferences, however, joining the right groups on Telegram that focus on the thing you want to get into/ you’re running, is the way to build more of a network. I have a lot of ‘networking’ to thank for to one particular group on Telegram. It helped me meet some great new people that are into push and dating offers, which gave me insights that we implemented and helped increase our profits.


Colin Dijs

Colin Dijs, super affiliate & founder of Dijs University


Have you given up on attending conferences and industry events this year?

Looking at the global events due to COVID-19 I’m positive my Deberoo team, responsible for the Dijs University, DijsU Forum and Landerize services will not be attending any conferences this year.

Even if for some reason a company would host a conference, it would open my team up to too much risk, I think that’s a big factor for the larger companies, even if there’s a conference not to send them out. Looking at the (insurance) issues etc.

Nonetheless, we are already preparing the first two quarters of 2021. The conferences are one of the best parts of this industry. Apart from the crazy parties, it’s always nice to see contacts you talk to on a daily basis in person and grow, nurture business relationships.

How do you make up for the loss of networking and business development opportunities in 2020? 

I’ve been invited to speak at numerous online conferences, in addition to that my team has increased its efforts to reach out to their contacts by phone, not only for business calls but also for a little chit chat now and then.

What alternatives would you recommend? 

The online conference model is a nice new feature to replace the actual conference events. However, they are different. It’s more like a webinar style, with multiple speakers talk about their topics one by one.

Relationships in this industry are crucial, who you know and who knows you. Hence I always encourage people to look for new contacts, you never know what you can do for them. When you go in with the mindset to help others, you’ll see that sooner or later the favours are returned. 

I’ve recently got into contact with Shawn Michael Stallard through a mutual friend. Our talks about the affiliate marketing industry have been great and given each of us many different insights that, coming from a different point of view would otherwise be hard to establish.

Connect. Learn. Earn.


Ian Fernando

Ian Fernando, super affiliate & founder of ADvengers hub.


Have you given up on attending conferences and industry events this year?

I’m not too sure what’s going to be happening with coronavirus until the end of the year, but specifically physical conferences, yes, I probably will not be attending any this year because of travel restrictions. 

Virtual conferences, I’ve been joining a couple of them here and there, even participating in some of them as well. There are a lot of virtual events that are doing a good job of trying to get people to communicate and network, but I have seen it being a challenge. I have noticed it has been more of a webinar style conference and it loses that face to face interaction.

Which for me is very important.

How do you make up for the loss of networking and business development opportunities in 2020? 

This is a hard one, because it is a hard way to network when you’re just online. Yes, we have a lot of communication tools on Facebook, Telegram, Skype, and even Zoom, but it’s not going to replace face-to-face communication and face-to-face business. I found these virtual conferences to be a one way street. I am not bumping into anyone that I see interesting or overhearing a conversation, then interrupting them to be part of their squad.

What I tend to do is try to keep a close community and strengthen my relationships with people in my current circle. I also try to create a community where I am currently at, San Juan Puerto Rico. This way I can keep up with everyone that is in the industry, and keep up with strategies and news. I try to network locally but the opportunity is and will become limited after.

What alternatives would you recommend? 

Creating small communities and trying to see what I can do with my established circle. This is why I created ADvengersOnline.com, to have an online community where users do get into interaction with already established media buyers. It allows a flow of communication to intertwine and hopefully some new business opportunities.

I also have been communicating in Facebook groups a bit more, and sticking to my circle of friends in STM forum, and just my own circle in general.


Servando Silva

Servando Silva, super affiliate & founder of industry blog servandosilva.com


Have you given up on attending conferences and industry events this year?

It’s not that I gave up on attending conferences. My 2020 plans included attending 2-3 conferences in different parts of the world after taking a hiatus last year, however, as you know, things got crazy at the beginning of the year and so far it’s not allowed to have conferences or meetings with more than a certain number of people.

I have “attended” a couple of online shows or conferences though, as a way to network with some people in the industry and keep myself updated about new trends and what works.

How do you make up for the loss of networking and business development opportunities in 2020? 

Affiliates and anybody who works online certainly has the advantage of being able to communicate and network online and see it as “normal”. While it’s not the same as having a person in front of you, I would bet most of the transactions and business happen online anyways, yet gathering in person helps to put a face to that Skype/Telegram username and sometimes create stronger bonds.

What alternatives would you recommend? 

Besides all of the events, online people keep organizing, you can stay on top of the latest news and trends by participating in groups (Telegram and Facebook are commonly used). Stay in touch with friends and people through social networks and sign up to a few forums such as AffLift or STM.


Bartosz Bielecki

Bartosz Bielecki, Head of Marketing at Zeropark


Have you given up on attending conferences and industry events this year?

Our conferencing plan for 2020 was extremely packed, compared to previous years, but sadly, we’ve managed to attend just one (Affiliate Summit West) before the pandemic shut everything down. As Zeropark, we’ve made a decision to use this year’s conferencing budget for other areas of business development, so even if some of the events later this year go through as planned, we’re unlikely to be there.

How do you make up for the loss of networking and business development opportunities in 2020? 

Conferences have always been an important part of Zeropark’s business development, but there are other ways of finding new opportunities. We’ve intensified the collaboration with some of our partners, we’re trying out various digital events, and as always, we’re very active in affiliate communities. Our recent follow-along contest with affLIFT, for instance, proved that forums can be a great platform not only for learning but also for finding new business.

What alternatives would you recommend? 

There are plenty of ways you can interact with other affiliates and the industry vendors. 

My first recommendation would be the forums such as: affLIFT, iAmAffiliate, STM, Affiliatefix or DijsU. You can find lots of active members there to go along with vendors’ representatives that provide very important insides from their products. If that’s not enough, there are plenty of Telegram, Skype, Facebook and even Slack groups (shout out Advengers Online). You can also try digital conferences that are continually popping up this year. 

One extra tip: build your relationships with reps from your affiliate network and traffic source — they tend to have tons of information that can really help you grow as an affiliate.

 

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