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This time last year, I was recapping a year of unprecedented challenges and changes brought on by COVID, and a parallel epidemic of social woes. 

We’re still wearing masks in most places, but things are moving in the right direction, in and out of lockdown. Our kids are back in school in most regions, and there have been significant advancements in vaccines to protect ourselves. And we are securely on the right path as we continue learning how to best adapt.

Here at impact.com, we’re balancing remote and in-person work, enjoying virtual and now in-person events responsibly, and learning every day how to remain flexible yet move our business and our industry toward our goals for the future. 

As 2021 comes to a close, I want to share with you some of the forward progress we’ve made this year.

Partnerships have arrived

What’s finally been made clear this year is that every brand needs a mature partnerships strategy to be competitive. The world has finally woken up to the power of the partnership economy and how it creates a better, more authentic way to engage consumers. B2C brands are getting it. B2B brands are getting it. Even the media is getting it. 

Partnerships have arrived and impact.com is now the global standard partnership management platform, supporting a million partnerships for more than 2,000 customers. We are also the only platform today supporting all partnership types across the partnership lifecycle, from influencers to commerce content publishers to B2B partnerships.

Stronger than ever

Macro trends in the industry have certainly provided tailwinds for our business and the partnership economy as a whole. That in addition to new funding that valued our company at $1.5 billion, new acquisitions and strategic partnerships, and record growth has left us as strong as we’ve ever been entering 2022.

We added 65 new agency partners to our roster this year and more than 700 new brands, including EcoHotels.com,  Kaspersky, Puma, Skyscanner, Swarovski, Tempur Sealy, The Pas Group, Virgin Australia, and many others.  We expanded our technology capabilities by acquiring Trackonomics, the leading partnerships SSP for publishers, and Affluent, the top agency-focused analytics and automation platform for partnerships. 

Thanks to those acquisitions and our 2020 acquisition of the Activate influencer platform, impact.com now provides partnership management technology to all major players in the partnership economy. 

Our global footprint has also expanded. We opened new office locations in Denmark and Sweden, hired more than 300 new employees around the world, and invested in a company-wide 26-week paid parental leave policy that will help us remain an employer of choice. We are also continuing our efforts to make impact.com a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion. (If that sounds good to you, we’re always looking for great talent!)

Educating an industry

The rapidly growing community of impact.com users and partnerships professionals in general needs access to skills and training. That’s why we launched the industry’s first certification program and free online academy for affiliate marketing and partnerships. The impact.com Partnerships Experience Academy has already trained over 1,600 learners, all for free.

We also launched our first podcast this year called The Partnership Economy, where we explore the power of partnerships through candid conversations with industry leaders. 

A year of integrations

Another way we’ve expanded our reach this year is through an array of exciting technology and commercial integrations. 

We joined Shopify Plus as a certified app partner for influencer and affiliate marketing, which means Shopify merchants can seamlessly access our SaaS platform and launch partnership programs. 

We launched something similar with BigCommerce, providing their merchants with technology to automate the entire partnership life cycle, and we have new integrations with LearnUpon, WordPress, and Adobe Commerce. In addition, impact.com now powers an updated premium offer experience for Google Pay users. (Want to participate? Send us a note: Googleoffers@impact.com.)

Perhaps most significant is our tech integration with HubSpot, through which their users can integrate with our platform to quickly launch a partnership program, tracking each partner’s value as leads travel through the sales funnel. 

Those integrations have also contributed to another important advancement we made this year. We’ve expanded the support we can provide business-to-business brands and partnerships, which require some unique capabilities. The B2B and SaaS companies that work with impact.com can now earn from the entire B2B funnel and get full visibility into the customer journey.

Recognition and research 

A total of 15 major industry awards came our way this year, including “Best Performance Marketing Technology” at the Performance Marketing Awards, “Best SaaS Platform” at the International Performance Marketing Awards, and “Vendor of the Year” at The Drum Awards for Digital Industries. G2 ranked us in the top spot in the partnership relationship management software and affiliate software categories and as a top influencer platform. 

Even more rewarding is the joint recognition we earned with some of our most innovative clients and agency partners, including TUI, Canva, and DMi.  

We’ve also gained recognition for our contributions to the partnerships industry knowledge base. We released a pivotal research report focused on commerce content with FORTUNE. This research validates our decision to double down on commerce content, as more than 57% of publisher respondents expect revenue from commerce content will grow by at least 25% each year for the next two years. A quarter of them foresees an annual growth rate of more than 50%.  

We’ve also been doing research over the past two years, and with a lot of support from our team, we have a book coming out on February 15. It’s called The Partnership Economy, and it takes the first comprehensive look at the new business landscape where sales, customer acquisition, engagement, and brand loyalty are fueled by trusted third-party referrals. I’m really looking forward to the book release, which in many ways represents the kick-off of a very important year for impact.com. 

Now, a breather

Growing, learning, adapting, and adjusting—thriving this year has required intense effort and focus from our teams. It’s time to relax and refresh for a bit. So we will be closing our offices for the final two weeks of the year, returning January 4. We appreciate your understanding and assure you we’ll be back in the new year ready and refreshed.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. We’ll see you in 2022.

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