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The next big opportunity in the partnership economy for affiliate marketers and partnership leaders is hiding in plain sight. It’s on your mobile device and mine. It consumes three hours of every day for the average mobile user. And for innovative companies like Ticketmaster, it’s already a vital partnership platform. 

It’s the app, of course. And with mobile expected to capture nearly 75% of total e-commerce transactions by 2021 according to AppAnnie’s State of Mobile 2019, apps are poised to take off as a key vehicle for a new generation of partnerships. But taking advantage of this emerging opportunity does present challenges. One reason businesses have been relatively slow to partner up this way is the bevy of technical issues involved with creating a smooth integration and seamless app-to-app customer experience. But the issues are by no means insurmountable. We have a few tips to help you navigate the “blue ocean” of mobile partnerships.  

Five building blocks of a successful mobile partnership

  1. Consider APIs vs SDKs. API-based tracking solutions will typically position you best for growth in the mobile partnership world and aren’t burdened with some of the issues that SDKs typically bring. For example:
  • APIs are easier to deploy. Because APIs are essentially platform-agnostic, they can easily be deployed across any environment – iOS, Android, Windows CE, even emerging devices such as Roku, Apple TV, and others.
  • API changes are immediately propagated. Because code changes to fix bugs or add functionality occur server-side on your mobile partnership solutions’ servers, you don’t have to wait for users to upgrade their app to the latest version.
  1. Simplify your deep linking. Be sure to provide your partners with a single link that can route partner traffic to the most relevant place in your app or to the app download page on their corresponding app store (and then to the correct place in your app).
  2. Employ flexible tracking. You’ll want your tracking solutions to work well with the most
    common adjacent mobile technologies. Look for solutions that integrate well with mobile measurement platforms (MMPs) and customer data platforms (CDPs). Integrations with MMPs and CDPs mean trackers can watch for first-time app-open events (which is usually a signal that an install has occurred) and can call out to your mobile partnership solution’s API.
  3. Establish flexible contracting. You’ll want to design your mobile partnership contracts to incentivize both in-app conversions and installs. It’s important to encourage your partners to funnel their valuable traffic into your app, where users are more likely to complete the desired action, and to increase the install base of your app (thus improving your app’s standing in the app stores).
  4. Measure across devices. It’s important to reward partners that add value to app
    conversions even when the touchpoint occurred on a different device. Be sure you can collect insights on consumer journeys at the person-level and across all of that person’s devices. It’s also vital to define the payout rules to attribute credit to your value-driving partners, even if the user ends up converting much later using a different device.

Avoid the pitfalls of mobile partnerships

App-based partnerships also present unique landmines you’ll want to address from the start. These include dealing with the “app not present” user journey and protecting against install fraud and install attribution fraud. Read our post “What’s a Blue Ocean Market? Mobile Partnerships, for One” to learn more about keeping these issues from derailing your mobile partnerships.

Many brands are still most comfortable with partnerships built on the familiar ground of the web, and are thus partnership teams are still hesitant to take advantage of the mobile app opportunity. But the time has never been better, and Impact has plenty of resources to help you understand and conquer the mobile app universe. Start with A Partnership Leader’s Guide to the Wild World of Mobile Apps, then Exploring the Deep Linking Frontier, and go deep into the blue ocean with Mobile Partnerships: Your Blue Ocean of “App-ortunity.” 

Want step-by-step help? Contact an Impact growth technologist at grow@impact.com.

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