Partnerize Snaps Up Pepperjam, As Affiliate Networks Fly Off The Shelves

Partnerize said Tuesday it has purchased the affiliate network Pepperjam for an undisclosed price.

Partnerize’s tech uses automation to help clients optimize their relationships with marketer partners, like affiliates, ecommerce ad deals or influencers. Pepperjam has a traditional affiliate network business where publishers link from their page to a product page, and a network of more than 250,000 influencers.

Partnerize has had a busy year. In January, the company raised $50 million at a $240 million valuation. And three months ago it acquired BrandVerity, a trademark monitoring and compliance tech company.

Brands are taking more control over channels such as affiliate or influencer marketing, especially retail and consumer brands that are ramping up ecommerce or direct-to-consumer businesses, said Partnerize co-founder and CEO Mal Cowley.

The sudden popularity of the metric BOPIS (buy online pickup in-store) shows how more major consumer brands are shifting money that used to go to in-store displays and retail trade marketing to the web.

“More brands will turn to this channel, and we’ll be able to offer an end-to-end solution,” Cowley said.

The deal for Pepperjam is the latest in a recent spree of affiliate marketing acquisitions. In May, the retail marketing company Connexity bought Skimlinks, a longtime leader in affiliate sales, and earlier this year the publishing house Meredith acquired the affiliate and content recommendation company SwearBy, among other deals.

Even pre-COVID, marketers were in-housing affiliate sales, ecommerce advertising and influencer deals, said Pepperjam CEO Matt Gilbert. Marketers need to consolidate those channels because attribution models don’t accurately credit mid-funnel marketing such as sponsored content or influencers posts, where consumers often start a path to purchase.

With the affiliate network catching many of the last clicks before a transaction, a larger platform can more accurately attribute upstream, to identify which influencers, publishers or ecommerce partnerships led to sales, Gilbert said.

Customer acquisition costs on the big platforms, Google, Amazon and Facebookagram, have also been trending up for the past few years, he said. So there’s opportunity in the market to be a platform alternative that’s consolidating costs and improving ROI.

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