Episode #30 – The Performance Marketing Spotlight with Andy Cloyd

About Our Guest

Andy Cloyd’s career journey is nothing short of fascinating. After starting with a brief stint in management consulting, Andy transitioned to early-stage venture investing. During his time as a venture capitalist, he focused on pre-seed through Series A investments at various venture funds. With a keen eye on the Martech and e-commerce landscapes, Andy developed a deep understanding of market dynamics and what it takes to build a successful company. This eventually led him to the world of performance marketing.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Andy’s path took a serendipitous turn. Moving into a house in Venice, California, he met Anders, who would become his co-founder. Together, they observed the changes in the performance marketing space, especially with the developments around iOS 14.5 and privacy regulations affecting major platforms like Meta and Google. Recognizing a shift in how brands would need to approach marketing, they conceived the idea for Superfiliate —a platform designed to create custom, co-branded landing pages for affiliate partners.

Launched in mid-2021, Superfiliate transforms affiliate links from mere tracking mechanisms into fully co-branded experiences. This innovative approach allows brands to provide personalized and high-converting landing pages for their affiliates, influencers, and ambassadors. Superfiliate aims to enhance the scalability and efficacy of performance marketing strategies by simplifying the creation of customized landing experiences and integrating various tools to manage outreach, product seeding, tracking, and payments.

For those interested in learning more about Superfiliate or connecting with Andy, you can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can also visit the Superfiliate website at superfiliate.com or reach out directly via email at andy@superfiliate.com.

 

Summary

Today’s episode is particularly special as we dive into the innovative world of affiliate and influencer marketing with our esteemed guest, Andy Cloyd, co-founder and CEO of Superfiliate.

Andy shares his unexpected journey from venture capitalism to performance marketing, inspired by the challenges and opportunities presented by iOS privacy updates and the evolving digital landscape. You’ll hear how a chance living arrangement during the COVID pandemic led to the inception of Superfiliate, a groundbreaking platform designed to transform traditional affiliate links into customized, high-converting landing pages.

Throughout our conversation, Andy delves into the unique features of Superfiliate, its integration into existing marketing strategies, and the types of brands that see the most success on their platform. He also shares insights into the company’s future roadmap, technological challenges, and evolving market trends.

Join us as we explore Andy’s entrepreneurial journey, the rapid growth of Superfiliate , and his vision for the future of performance marketing. Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just curious about the industry, this episode is packed with valuable insights and forward-thinking ideas. Enjoy

Transcript

Marshall Nyman [00:00:02]:
Hello. Joining us on the podcast today is Andy Cloyd, co founder and CEO at super Affiliate. Welcome to the podcast, Andy.

Andy Cloyd [00:00:09]:
Hey Marshall, thanks for having me on. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Marshall Nyman [00:00:13]:
Of course, excited to have you on today. Let’s get right to it. We’d love for you to introduce yourself to the audience.

Andy Cloyd [00:00:19]:
Absolutely. So I’m Andy Cloyd, as Marshall mentioned, the co founder and CEO of Super Affiliate. I am based in New York City and outside of performance marketing, I love jam bands in american history.

Marshall Nyman [00:00:34]:
Amazing. And so you originally got your start as a venture capitalist?

Andy Cloyd [00:00:37]:
I did, yeah. After a brief, brief stint in management consulting, I made a transition over to early stage venture investing. So I was doing pre seed through series A, investing at several different venture funds and always had kind of an eye on the martech and e commerce landscape. So you started to build not only a little bit of market awareness, but also just some insight into what it takes to build a company and was able to slowly transition that more in the direction of performance marketing over the last several years, three to four years.

Marshall Nyman [00:01:15]:
And so how did you end up in the world of performance marketing?

Andy Cloyd [00:01:17]:
Yeah, I would say I’d be lying if I said there was any rhyme or reason or strategy in that I was very fortunate during COVID I moved into a house out in Venice, California with a bunch of strangers. And one of those strangers happens to now be my co founder, Anders. He is our serial entrepreneur of the group. And about that time we were watching things really develop amongst iOS 14.5 and some other privacy developments in the performance marketing e commerce marketing space started to think about with Meta and Google maybe losing some efficacy, we knew that brands were going to lean into some other channels and we knew that things like performance marketing, affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, even turning to their own customers was going to be a place that brands would naturally look. They just were going to need to be able to make it a viable channel that could not only replace some of the growth that maybe was going to be taken away by a lack of efficiency on the traditional paid media side, but also being able to replace that growth in a scalable, sustainable way where folks can feel comfortable spending marketing dollars into those channels. So as we started to explore what exactly that meant, going one level deeper, we really did start to lean into some of this influencer and affiliate marketing space. We can get into a little bit of the specific direction that that exploration took us here in a second.

Marshall Nyman [00:02:50]:
And so is that what led you to start super affiliate?

Andy Cloyd [00:02:52]:
Yeah. So coming out of like a little bit of that exploration. Yeah. We were very fortunate to have a connection to some incredible engineers that were familiar with the space. Shout out to Victor and Sase, who were our first engineers. And Anders and I, you know, after going back and forth on some ideas and some ideation, decided to launch the company in mid 2021. I had, for better or for worse, committed to leave my traditional job in venture and come on as the CEO of Super affiliate. Once we hit a couple of milestones when it comes to funding as well as team build out and those milestones were hit and I took the dive into this world.

Andy Cloyd [00:03:31]:
So that was when we decided to start building super affiliate. And that goes back about three years ago now, which time flies when you’re having fun.

Marshall Nyman [00:03:39]:
What is super affiliate and what makes super affiliate unique?

Andy Cloyd [00:03:42]:
Yeah, so like I mentioned, after we starting to expose ourselves to some of these channels, you know, the genesis of super affiliate was really coming out of looking at what were the best brands doing that we saw that were succeeding in performance marketing, affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, you name it. And we really started to zero in on some brands so that everyone knows, like athletic greens. And, and what we saw they were doing is they were building custom landing pages for all of their affiliate partners, whether that was a podcast host or a affiliate or maybe a more traditional health and wellness influencer. They were building these pages that were bringing some continuity to that experience of I discover a product, I click a link, and when I land on this website let’s use Tim Ferriss as an example. I came from Tim Ferriss’s blog to Athletic Greens. I’m actually not there because of athletic greens. I’m there because I’m thinking about Tim Ferriss or I seek Tim Ferriss guidance and advice. And they had created such a way where these landing pages really had that social proof on there.

Andy Cloyd [00:04:47]:
There’s Tim Ferriss, here’s how he uses it. Here’s why he uses it. Here’s the product specifically that he uses. And when we dug one level deeper, peeling back the onion, we started to talk to more marketers that were saying, yeah, of course we know that building custom landing pages for each of our funnels or partners of course, is a best practice because it can improve conversion rates. It can really create that sense of attachment between an audience and a partner. And when you go one level deeper beyond that, you say, well, why doesn’t everybody do that? And ultimately, I think as a lot of people here listening on the pod will know that takes resources to onboard a partner is something is a task in and of itself to onboard that partner, to build a landing page, to get your attribution set up and to feel really confident that you’re shipping. You know, what, you know, to be a high converting experience for that partner is um, you know, it’s, it’s not a low light lift and it’s certainly not a light lift at scale. So even if you’re doing it for one, two or three people, you know, the thought of scaling that to hundreds or thousands of partners was just never going to be tenable for, for a brand when there’s, you know, one to three developers, maybe serving 80 needs across an entire marketing as well as maybe an e commerce operation as well.

Andy Cloyd [00:06:03]:
So as we started to zero in on that, we said, hey, what if we could build a product that quite simply transform an affiliate link from just a tracking and attribution mechanism into an actually fully co branded experience? And that’s what we’ve built. So with super affiliate, as you onboard affiliate partners, influencer partners, even like customer ambassadors and things like that, as soon as you add someone to your program and enroll them, that link that comes out the other side is not just tracking and attribution. It actually is a lightweight, customized, co branded experience that can feature anything from profile photos on social content that they’ve made for the brand, product specifics or bundles that are specific to that person. And ultimately all of that is built to one add scalability to that strategy for marketers, but then also to increase the conversion rate and ultimately drive revenue for these brands. Now, over time, as we’ve built upon that foundation, we’ve started to introduce a ton of other tools that really fit around that workflow. So thinking about everything from outreach, product seeding and gifting to make sure that product gets in people’s hands, of course, tracking, attribution, payments, all of these things that you had come to expect out of a tool that you’re running your programs from. And then now we’re actually really starting to think about some future ways to place take the product, particularly around social platforms, which I know we’ll get into here in a second.

Marshall Nyman [00:07:29]:
MarshALl so where does super affiliate sit within a brand’s current marketing strategy? Is it part of their affiliate program? Does it sit next to it?

Andy Cloyd [00:07:37]:
Yeah, it’s a funny question, and I think it’s so often dependent on the marketer that’s either reached out to us or that we’re talking to, because one of the fundamental theses of our company from the start was really we were looking at brands who were also using three, four tools to manage everything from a more traditional affiliate program to influencer management to ambassadors to maybe all the way even down to a customer referral program. We were kind of putting all this in a word of mouth category, and you think about the technology behind that. It’s actually not so different. At the end of the day, you’re using some sort of link or code mechanism to track attribution and ultimately reward people for that. So with super affiliate, you actually can run a referral program, an ambassador program, influencers, and more traditional affiliate programs inside. So depending on where our brand comes to us, if they have an existing affiliate program where they’re working with some huge publisher partners, sometimes we’ll sit next to that. If people are leaning more into where we’ve been seeing a lot of attention on the affiliate side into this more traditional influencer creator part of the ecosystem. In that case, we really are a full service platform.

Andy Cloyd [00:08:45]:
We’re often either coming in and replacing an existing platform or maybe somebody’s launching for the first time. And then from there, as we start to build relationships, we’ll kind of expand horizontally and say, hey, maybe we can save you a couple hundred bucks or a couple thousand bucks here a month by bringing that program over onto super affiliate. And then when you think about it inside the app, you’ve got different programs. You’re running maybe a more traditional commission or CPA based affiliate program, and then maybe you’re paying some creators one time fees and then a smaller commission, and then maybe you’re rewarding your customers with store credit or product. Even. So, it really, I wish that there was a simple answer, but frankly, we do a lot of things for a lot of people and we try to really isolate that messaging when we’re in a specific vertical, but overall have some flexibility within the application.

Marshall Nyman [00:09:34]:
What types of brands are sync success on your platform?

Andy Cloyd [00:09:37]:
Yeah, it’s a great question and I think this is one of the things as you build a business in the early days, there’s a, a huge sea of potential customers, and anytime you’re building something new, there’s going to be a lot of people interested in at least just exploring the novelty of it. So one of the things that we’ve really spent a lot of time zeroing in on over the last year is answering this exact question, which is who is going to win on this platform? And I think when we look at our customer base and who’s seeing a lot of success, it really comes down to just a couple of things. One is this a great brand that people want to be associated with? Whether that’s publisher, partners, bloggers, influencers, creators. If you have a great product and a great brand that resonates with those people, they’re going to be able to give the most authentic testimonial review, you name it, of your product. And that’s ultimately really going to drive the performance of these programs. And then what we’re doing is we’re layering in that technology to be able to actually capture that brand affinity in the actual conversion experience when this person is shopping. So we see one, just the power of brand and product and performance. I think the other thing we see is having a great marketer on the other side of the platform.

Andy Cloyd [00:10:49]:
I think a lot of people want to buy. I’m sure plenty of people listening in today can attest to this. You can buy the best piece of software in the world, but these are just not autopilot programs. This takes outreach. It takes taste in terms of understanding who’s going to be a good partner. It takes management of these relationships, it takes navigation sometimes of even like agents or people who are representing this. It takes collaboration with e commerce teams. So ultimately we really do need a good user or agency user on the backside of the tool to really make sure that this program is following best practices and taking advantage of everything that we’ve done.

Andy Cloyd [00:11:26]:
And then of course, I think as everybody listening here, it’s obviously coming up with a good offer and making sure that that’s going to resonate not only with your partners, but also their audiences.

Marshall Nyman [00:11:37]:
As an entrepreneur, what has been one of the most exciting parts of launching super affiliate?

Andy Cloyd [00:11:41]:
Yeah, I think for me, I’ll answer this in a sequential method. I think the most exciting part is just introducing something new. This is something that when we show most marketers early days, at least maybe before the product was fully there, we would, you know, you’re kind of concept testing and you say it and you hear that. Duh, of course I would love that. Like, it would be incredible if I could have a custom landing experience and build these funnels for every single one of my partners. But you know, how are you going to help me do that or how am I going to be able to do that? So I think just like the sentiment from customers that when you say this thing that you’re dreaming to bring into existence and it just really resonates and you’re not having to do a lot of convincing, you’re not having to do it, that really is what kind of like product market fit, or at least idea market fit can start to feel like. And then I think comes that next phase from idea market fit to product market fit where you’re actually making that a reality. And I think that is kind of where we’ve been.

Andy Cloyd [00:12:37]:
You know, the excitement has been concentrated in the last few months is really starting to see performance not just on like conversion rates and measuring things like that above, you know, sending traffic to a traditional lander or a PDP or an advertorial, but really seeing that quantitative metric lift, but then also really seeing that vision come to fruition. So creating beautiful high converting experiences that feel very brand authentic and partner authentic, where you really feel that cohesion between a partner and the brand that you’re working with, that just watching that go from idea to product that is effective and delivers on the value prop that we were promising. You know, the audience from the early days is been really gratifying and just an overall amazing experience.

Marshall Nyman [00:13:25]:
What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced in starting the company?

Andy Cloyd [00:13:28]:
Yeah, I mean I think as an industry outsider you’re coming to this world with at best tangential context on the performance marketing world at the highest level. And then if you drill down into traditional affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, things like that, it’s really been just like understanding the language. It’s finding people like Marshall who have been in the space for a long time and telling you what you don’t know and coming in with a beginner’s mindset of, hey, I think we got something here. I’ve got some great validation from some folks who have a lot more experience in the space with me, but I’ve still got a lot to learn. So I think just taking in a ton of context, embedding yourself and as we all know with this performance marketing ecosystem, it’s very tight knit. Not just from like we see the same companies and logos, but even the same people. You know, it’s like I come to an event, you know, I saw you at Martech Records event in La recently, Marshall, and you could just feel that like, this was a community that like, it’s beautiful to see from the outside. But you can also see this is something that I’m going to have to, you know, embed myself in and really get to know these people.

Andy Cloyd [00:14:34]:
So I think it’s just really been gathering that context to make you feel confident, like you don’t have any huge gaps in your understanding of how a market works. And you’re trying to be this outsider, just trying to force something in to an ecosystem that doesn’t want it or has been tried before and failed for reasons that you don’t know. So I think that’s been one of the bigger challenges for us.

Marshall Nyman [00:14:56]:
What is on the product roadmap for super affiliate?

Andy Cloyd [00:14:58]:
Yeah, product is really where I smile the most at our company. I think it’s like we’ve really turned up the heat on delivering. So we’re kind of coming out of a section where we’re doing all sorts of stuff that people just know come to expect from their affiliate platform. Initially we were doing all code and link based last click attribution. We recently shipped attribution windows, of course, to be able to give marketers more visibility into when conversions are happening and how to properly attribute. Now we’re really starting to lean in on pushing the innovation side of our tools, really leaning into social platforms, everything from things, understanding what content a brand is being tagged in, figuring out rights and usage for that content and making that an extreme live workflow to like really integrating into performance marketing workflows, you know, even paid media workflows as well. And then of course, you know, trying to make sure that we’re always staying on top of, you know, the trends within the space. Like obviously because we sit at this kind of intersection of traditional affiliate and influencer and really trying to like move the market in that direction.

Andy Cloyd [00:16:08]:
There’s things like TikTok shop that you just can’t ignore. It’s obviously come onto the space, people are talking about it and we are now starting to just make sure that we’re in lockstep with those teams on how they’re viewing their products and making sure that we’re figuring out the best way to integrate ourselves into the place that the market’s going and support those type of things. We’re spending a lot of time leaning into that as well as always continuing to build more higher level strategic partnerships with everything from traditional affiliate networks to other platforms to, you name it. Just really figuring out where do we fit in this ecosystem from existing player perspective, as well as trying to do some of the net new stuff that we’re doing at super affiliate.

Marshall Nyman [00:16:52]:
What are some challenges you’re facing as a technology partner in the performance marketing space?

Andy Cloyd [00:16:57]:
Yeah, I would say for us I think very similar dovetailing off what I just mentioned, there’s a lot of, you know, a lot of not only, you know, interpersonal relationships, but also company relationships and incumbents in the space that have been around for a long time and frankly built a ton of trust in the ecosystem. And I think because of that trust that folks have built, it definitely makes it maybe like a little bit less open to, like, adopting new things. And you got to be really buttoned up. So I think it’s, it’s really this like figuring out, hey, where can we fit inside of this existing ecosystem? Because there are such strong, entrenched players that, frankly, have a product that delivers on their products promise as well. So we’ve been on a great exploration journey of getting to know the executives that many of the platforms that many people here probably know and listen to and just really talking to them about, hey, this is how we see the world. How do you see the world and how can those two things converge? And I think over time, ideally we can start to productize some of the stuff that we do really well or some of the stuff that existing platforms do really well and figure out a way that ultimately doesn’t add complexity to a marketer’s life, but can increase the value and performance of these programs.

Marshall Nyman [00:18:15]:
Any predictions on where you see things are headed in the performance marketing industry?

Andy Cloyd [00:18:19]:
Yeah, I think for me, I think the model that performance marketers know and love paying for performance, given the nature of it, I think is very well suited to expand into other channels. You know, I think we’re already seeing it as we come from more of this influencer and creator world. You know, the days of brands raising a ton of money, paying $6,000 for a flat rate partnership with that may or may not generate any sales, maybe it gets impressions. I think we’re starting to see that start to converge with our more traditional performance marketing models where you’re thinking about things like CPA and you’re thinking about things like commission. And I think we’re also starting to see these marketers start to think about this differently as well. Influencer marketers are saying, hey, like, you know, the paid team is willing to go acquire a customer for $90 on meta. Why am I trying to pay my partners 10%? Why aren’t I doing a $50 CPA that actually gets these people excited and motivated to try to go and convert their audience and then just really aligning those incentives. And I think as the, you know, some of that flat rate payment type stuff starts to dry up a little bit, I think you’re really going to start to see people push into these performance based programs.

Andy Cloyd [00:19:30]:
And I think one thing that’s really interesting about that is that comes with a data driven approach to figuring out who are actually great partners for what brands and you know, really starting to think about like, what, what ultimately becomes a source of truth for people to find and partner with the best fits for, for their own brand.

Marshall Nyman [00:19:48]:
And final question, what has been your favorite part of working in the performance marketing space?

Andy Cloyd [00:19:53]:
I mean, I think once again, dovetailing back off to kind of my overall industry sentiment is it’s been an extremely welcoming place. I think coming in as an outsider, like I mentioned, you feel a little bit uncertain. What do I not know? Do I know anything at all? And you get the chance to work with people like you, Marshall, and tons of other folks in the space that I’ve gotten to know over the years that have just been like, arms wide open, like, hey, let’s just have a 45 minutes chat and I’ll walk you through my workflow. And there’s like watching people do their jobs and then being willing to show like, this is what it looks like to start a program from scratch and go all the way up and just, you know, that welcoming nature of it is really been incredible. And I think people frankly, like, really appreciate when people are trying to do something net new and innovative in the space and people get excited about that and they want to be a part of it. So nothing but love for all the people who have helped us along the way.

Marshall Nyman [00:20:53]:
A big thank you to Andy Cloyd from super affiliate for joining the podcast today. Some great insights into his background and how you can leverage super affiliate. What’s the best way for listeners to connect with you?

Andy Cloyd [00:21:03]:
Andy, thank you so much. Marshall. For folks that did want to connect or learn more about the product, you can always reach out to me. I’m mainly on LinkedIn, Andy Coydon, as well as Twitter. But also you can always hit the super affiliate site. So that’s super affiliate.com and we’re very responsive there. And andy@superaffiliate.com if somebody wants to take us straight to email, so reach out. I would love to chat, exchange ideas and, you know, show you more about what we’re up to at super affiliate.

Marshall Nyman [00:21:35]:
A very big thank you to our guests, CEO of Super affiliate Andy Cloyd and to our producer, Leon Sonkin. If you’ve enjoyed this content, please give us a like and follow. Thank you for joining us. I am Marshall Nyman, host of the performance marketing Spotlight and founder and CEO of Nymo and company signing off. Thank you and have a great day.