Our Cheif Operation Officer – Paras Gaba had a great conversation with Parul Bhargava – Co-Founder & CEO at vCommission Media Private Limited to understand How Affiliate Marketing Industry & What’s the impact of COVID19 on Affiliate Marketing.
It would be a day in hell if we weren’t allowed to be online during these testing times of pandemic. If you are one of those who are online frequently on any kind of e-commerce website then you must be knowing about affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based platform that gives business rewards to the affiliate when a visitor or customer is brought to a domain through affiliate’s efforts. It is commonly known as the CPA network today.
But who brought this revolutionizing Affiliate Marketing in India, Its Parul Bhargava?
vCommission is the first Indian company started by Parul Bhargava to bring affiliate network India and spread it Globally. We had a great talk with Parul Bhargava, CEO of vCommission. Let’s know more about her company and its history. Most importantly how coronavirus affected the CPA network.
Q1 –Can you share some background on how did you get into this field? What was the seed idea behind vCommission?
I started my career with content writing in 2006. During that time I stumbled upon the domain of affiliate marketing. Thirteen years ago, nobody in India had tapped over this wonderful domain. For two years until 2008, I worked in the international market as an affiliate, majorly in the U.S. and U.K., I realized then that Indians didn’t get acceptance into International CPA networks. The seed idea to start the vCommission network in India came from there. In 2010, they found that the growing Indian companies themselves need a good affiliate network to help them. All this was a great opportunity and path-breaking journey for me as a 20-something-year-old. We had to struggle a lot initially because Indian companies didn’t pay as much as the U.S. or other foreign companies, but we didn’t give up on it. Our hard work and enthusiasm helped us put a lot of milestones and benchmarks in the Indian affiliate market.
The way the Indian affiliate market changed in 5 years is commendable. So in 2016, we decided to open our business globally. To date, vCommission is the only global CPA network that has its roots in India. This is a really important and proud benchmark for us.
Q2 – How much did Coronavirus lockdown affect Affiliate Marketing? What are your expectations for the future once the lockdown ends and we move towards the new normal?
Like most of the brick and mortar businesses, we were hit badly too. Since travel and eCommerce, bring our top verticals, all were at the standstill and we ended up losing a lot of business. Though, I certainly feel that affiliates are entrepreneurs run by high spirits. They will bounce back with a bullet’s speed and bring the industry back on track. But the good news is the affiliate market industry didn’t just sit idle during this time. They were working, researching, and innovating. They found out new verticals would work better after the lockdown gets over and which ones will need crutches and finance. The best part about all this is, during lockdown the online education about the affiliate market did well. People were eager to learn about the industry.
With the help of research, we figured people are also using this time to get physically fit. So we shifted our focus to the health and fitness segment. Unfortunately, we didn’t focus on the segment earlier but because of the lockdown the market got established and developed at a good speed. The people were focusing on making themselves more fit and healthy. We moved our strong hand into the gaming&nutra industry which didn’t have a strong contribution to vCommission earlier. So you can say that we had a makeover with our working segments. Some were gone and some were established with the hope to grow wonderfully during unlock 1.0.
Q3 – What changes did Affiliate Marketing face because of the lockdown? Did you benefit anything from it?
We have always been a very conventional company. We never believed in work from home routine. We were all about fancy offices and board room meetings. During this time we learned that when done properly with the right mindset, work from home can work as good as the conventional way. This was a huge mid-shift point for me personally. I am grateful to my colleagues that they quickly learned about business technology. They adapted to this new way of working, they never stopped brainstorming new ideas over digital conference meetings. These efforts only made it a smooth and successful transition.
Not just us, today we observe the industry has turned into an online working model. Since everyone is confined to their homes the only thing connecting us all is the internet. We all are exploring day and night for entertainment and connectivity. This is making the communication sector grow rapidly. And this has become another good sector for the affiliate industry to work on.
Q4 – What are your take on business operations to start-ups, SME, and corporate industry who come to you with their approach to Affiliate Marketing?
Many start-up industries don’t understand how the affiliate market works. Most of them come to commission with hopes of becoming a big brand overnight. This is a challenge that puts us under uncomfortable weather. We have to make them understand that as much as we try to add to your revenue, the affiliate marketer is not a magical realm. You won’t just achieve all your targets by depending upon our tricks and trade. The start-up industry direly needs education regarding the working and results of the affiliate market.
They need to understand that just because a person clicks on your product doesn’t mean they will buy it. Many start-ups make the mistake of leveraging everything on the affiliate market industry and then not gaining any results. And as a result, they give up on it very quickly. It is heartbreaking that our growing start-up industry is not well educated about how the affiliate market works.
There are many key points a start-up should keep in mind –
- How interactive is your website for the customer
- How easy it is to navigate
- How much traffic can your website handle
- How much margin are you leveraging on your product
- Why are people bouncing off from the check-out page and what are you doing about it
There are a lot of factors that affect the revenue of a start-up. We can get you the traffic but your conversion rate depends on various other factors as well. Many entrepreneurs only focus on the product which of course holds great importance. But the e-commerce business where there is no human connection to the product, the website needs to convince the customer that they should buy the product. This is the key point most of them are missing. I will be grateful if even through your channel I can convey this message to all the young entrepreneurs that they need to master the art of website creation and product display first and then come to the affiliate market industry for promotional purposes.
Q5 – Do you think people should start their career in the field of affiliate marketing in the middle of a pandemic? When everything is at a standstill will they learn something by entering the industry?
I feel that starting your career in the affiliate market during Covid19 is a really good decision. The point of being an affiliate is you turn around the traffic towards a particular base and then you make money out of it. It doesn’t matter whether you have your website or not, you are promoting products on a commission basis. Right now, three really good things are happening in your favor –
- You have more time in your hand because of the lockdown, you can focus freely into learning and researching
- People have more time and thus they are spending a lot of it online. This sudden increase in supply has dropped audience CPM/CPC rates.
- This is a good time to experiment and learn. You will learn at a good pace practically.
There is no make money quick course where you end up becoming a master of the affiliate industry. This lockdown is a golden opportunity for all those who want to learn and make money through the affiliate channel.
Q6 – What are the new opportunities in the technology segment that are expected to pick pace in the coming years?
I will put my bet on the Nutra and gaming industry, especially for vCommission. We had our fingers soaked in all the bowls of the e-commerce market. But we never really saw much stability in the gaming industry, being in the grey area. But because the people are looking endlessly for a new source of entertainment, at this time & from now, in my personal opinion, the iGaming industry will make the most out of it. The lockdown has presented itself with good opportunities in both the Nutraand gaming world. These segments were hardly under our radar for us earlier, but I think they will grow the most due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Thanks to Parul Bhargava to spend precious time with us and shares a lot of things about the Affiliate Marketing Industry.