AI — artificial intelligence, machine intelligence — whatever you want to call it, we all know that AI is already changing multiple industries.
It’s very early days for AI. Now, we can’t completely predict how technology will develop and affect industries because there’s a difference between having a growth mindset and psychic powers. But what we can do is look at what’s currently happening in technology and how we can leverage AI into affiliate marketing and partnerships.
The last year has been tough for the industry with layoffs and a pause on venture capital spending, but it’s looking up, especially when it comes to going all-in on AI. Those companies got US $22.7 billion in 2023, and as mentioned in this article, San Francisco firms got half of that investment. Those billions mean a massive investment in tech.
We’ve talked about the jobs that are being created thanks to AI investment, but what else will be transformed by this technology?
How AI tech can improve affiliate partnerships efficiency
Time-consuming and data-oriented tasks will be most affected by it. AI speeds up those processes which frees up valuable time to focus on revenue and growth-marketing, as well as partnership strategies. Plus, there are the intangibles like managing and growing relationships with affiliate partners. Some examples include:
- Increased efficiency in product research: AI can be trained for pattern recognition. Instead of a person taking the time to figure out customer and affiliate partner preferences, companies can use AI to process the data and make recommendations that match those partners and customer needs. Plus, as the partnership relationship grows and changes, AI can make new recommendations based on historic and newest data.
- Affiliate partnership management: Artificial technology can monitor and alert partnership managers about inactive channel partners. As PartnerStack’s own An Mai, a seasoned customer success manager shares, if an affiliate partner isn’t properly activated in the first 30 to 90 days, they may never activate. AI automation can streamline the affiliate partner’s onboarding journey, ensuring that they are fully onboarded and comfortable with the affiliate program. While top-performing affiliates will have a close relationship with their partner manager, AI can maintain ongoing contact with less-performing partners through personalized, automated messages for different tiers.
- Better segmentation and audience insight: It’s important to get the right product for the right affiliate partner so they in turn can get it in front of their audience. AI can analyze partner behavior via algorithms. This helps affiliate marketers make better decisions when it comes to predictive marketing.
- Efficient data analysis: Internally, AI insights can also help affiliate marketers’ decision-making when it comes to investing funds toward acquisition or retention campaigns. It can also help by adjusting targeting in real-time during the lifetime of the campaign and analyzing campaign results and making recommendations as part of the postmortem.
You might also like: Ways partners closed deals faster through partnerships.
- Administrative tasks: Setting up meetings with affiliate partners, creating invoices or building proposals can take up valuable time. They are important elements in a sales cycle, but why not automate them? AI can automate the process and send regular reminders so partner managers can focus on other tasks.
- Template creation: Speaking of meetings, invoices and proposals, AI is perfect for setting up and executing items that rely on templates. This includes newsletters and other email marketing (like these helpful partner program email templates).
- Customer service: In an era where partners and customers are global, you need 24/7 support. AI-powered chatbots can provide personalized solutions and customer recommendations. They use naturalistic language through natural language processing which improves the customer experience. AI can then analyze the results, predict trends and highlight any potential issues before they become a problem.
- Content creation assistance: Basic copywriting, social media customer service responses and content like listicles can be created by AI. However, complicated campaigns and thought leadership content should still be created by people.
Consider these implications of using new tech in partnerships
While, as we described, AI tools can certainly be leveraged for many tasks, they’re not without their cons. Remember to consider these potentially negative impacts on your affiliate partnerships.
- Lack of trust: AI doesn’t have the sophistication to follow the diversions in conversation that can lead to a compelling article. Remember: AI is a great tool but it should be approached with a healthy dose of caution. It is new technology and that comes with issues and biases, and customers can smell inauthenticity
- Implementation cost: A company may not have the budget to immediately buy and integrate AI technology throughout all areas of the business. Costs can vary between $100 a month for a subscription all the way to $300,000+ for the full implementation of a customized version. Then there are the maintenance and consultation costs. It’s not cheap.
- Privacy: This 2021 article, Security and Privacy for Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities and Challenges written by various Australian researchers identifies the potential for data breaches from hackers, revealing a lot of customer and company proprietary information. In fact, Samsung banned the use of ChatGPT and other chatbots after programmers uploaded proprietary code which was then leaked. Banks have also restricted or banned the use of AI due to regulatory consequences of uploading sensitive financial information.
- Bias: While we’re using the term ‘AI,’ it’s not true artificial intelligence. It’s machine learning, which means it iterates based on information input. If the data is biased or poisoned, so are the results.
New technology is always exciting, especially when imagining how it may create efficiencies and AI is no different. We should expect the use of AI to increase in affiliate marketing. The smart thing to do is to embrace and leverage it in your processes, but always remember that it is a tool and still needs oversight.