“In 2019 we celebrated 10 years of building the largest public affiliate network in the Czech Republic and Slovakia” says Robert Studený, COO and founder of VIVnetworks.com.
In 2019, we at VIVnetworks.com celebrated a big milestone – ten years of building the largest public affiliate network. When we started in 2009, I couldn't even imagine where we would be in ten years. Our beginnings were rough. At the time, almost nobody knew what affiliate marketing was. Most people haven’t even heard the term “affiliate”, so they weren’t very eager to take the risk and invest in this new business model.
Sometimes people looked at us, as if we were from another planet. Some even called us crazy. In year 2009 online stores were just beginning to push the CPC advertising model and here we were, talking about affiliate marketing. In all fairness, companies like Invia and Vivantis were a big help, being something of affiliate pioneers in using our solutions. After the first three years things things took a turn for the better and today, I’d say 90% of online marketers in Central and Eastern Europe know what affiliate is. But describing our beginnings would take another article.
The year 2019 was the most hectic in the entire existence of the VIVnetworks and we had to travel a lot. But we gradually strengthened our presence in the CEE region, hiring several new colleagues in Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Zagreb and Athens. We managed to build a great sales team in all these countries, led by a new Sales Director, a professional with extensive experience in the CEE region.
In the main office in Prague we welcomed a new hire – a Support Specialist, whose job is to provide better and faster support to the publishers. Our Affiliate Managers can now concentrate on the campaigns and the development of our advertisers’ affiliate programs. Our team grew up to thirty members. Hiring so many new Affiliate Managers was necessary, as we grew by double digits in 2019 and we needed more manpower to ensure the implementation of the advertisers’ affiliate campaigns across the whole the region.
2019 in numbers
The efforts of our publishers increased the turnover from affiliate marketing of the advertisers’ online stores by almost 3 billion CZK (120 000 000 Eur). The publishers generated more than 1 800 000 orders through affiliate marketing. In 2019, we paid 145 million CZK (5 800 000 Eur) in commissions.
Transfer of responsibilities and development of other countries
In 2020 we, the founders of VIVnetworks, Robert Studený (COO) and Vladan Hejnic (CEO), plan to gradually transfer more of our responsibilities to the Sales team and the Affiliate Managers, so we can to focus on further development. We are grateful to be able to rely on a core group of senior employees, who have been part of the team for over 7 years and whom we can trust completely.
We successfully launched Notino’s first affiliate program in Russia. We are working hard to expand on the Greek market, as we see it as a great opportunity. We hired two new colleagues for Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia.
Casting a wide net in the CEE region and working hard gained us the opportunity to collaborate with e-commerce giants like AboutYou, eObuwie, Hotels.com and World of Warships, which operate in many countries. We expanded the BonPrix affiliate program to include the Czech Republic.
With our help Booking.com has launched affiliate programs in several new countries, namely Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia and the Baltic states.
As every year, Ukraine proved itself a challenge, yet the annual growth reached several hundred percent. A few new programs were launched in Bulgaria, but so far the country remains behind expectations, as its potential is definitely bigger.
In Czech republic and Slovakia we joined forces with major players as Datart.sk, XXXLutz, AAA Auto, Huawei, Sportisimo, Orsay, Alza (for the Hungarian market) and many others.
Influencers and affiliate
Our project Contentiamo.com, a platform that brings together content creators and executes both performance and brand campaigns, successfully engaged 550 influencers. Working with influencers is mostly about educating these creative individuals about the commercial side of their work. Our advertisers praised the results of their collaboration with several winners of the Blogger of the Year award.
I must once again thank the advertisers for tirelessly supporting our collaboration with content creators through various business models. In January we organized yet another educational workshop for influencers.
Fourteen Prague conferences and sixteen workshops are behind us, plus five more conferences in Bratislava, Slovakia – and that's still not enough! Our mission is to educate the market, and to do that, we need to organize at least two conferences a year. We are planning even more workshops in the CEE region in order to increase the recognition of affiliate marketing and the opportunities it provides, beyond the borders of Czech republic and Slovakia.
VIVmail.cz and Targito
Our sister company, VIVmail is doing well, successfully spreading Targito – its intelligent automated email marketing technology. It took Targito only two years to position itself at the forefront of email technology, used by medium and large companies. The unique algorithms working with big data were the fuel that enabled for this technology to win many awards this year. The credit goes to VIVmail’s great team of developers and project managers.
100% by year 2021!!!
Our game plan is to double the company's turnover within two years. All the steps we took in 2019 were aimed at this objective. I believe with the excellent affiliate marketing team we have, we can reach this goal. But we are still making missteps along the way. We realise it and in order to keep evolving, we're always listening to the feedback. With this strategy, I believe we can achieve our ultimate goal.
I consider the affiliate model the only fair form of cooperation between an advertiser and a publisher, and our role is to deliver the technology and support. We are investing everything we have in promoting this business model.
ten years of experience in e-commerce and twenty-eight years in private business