Michael Kazula - Transcript

Good evening wherever you are in the world and welcome to another fireside chat. Today I'm joined by Michael Kazula, who's the founder of Olive Evo. Michael, you and I have been speaking for a while, right?

Right, but this is a good one. This podcast, this chat is all about how to actually set up and create a successful affiliate network, something Michael that you've got a lot of experience in.

But for the benefit of the audience, is it possible maybe you could just give like a brief overview of yourself and what is it you guys do at Olive Evo?

Okay, so first of all, thanks a lot for the invitation, Zach. I really appreciate it. I'll take a few minutes and just introduce myself and the brand. So, my name is Michael Kazula, I'm 39 years old, I'm married plus one, and I'm the owner and founder of OliveEvo.com. Olive Evo is basically a boutique affiliate network; it was established in May 2016. It's a very solid and reliable affiliate network as a whole. Today, we have more than 10,000 affiliates and advertisers registered. We have hundreds of active affiliates, and it keeps on growing.

I would still consider Olive Evo as a boutique network because we really niche-related. We are really focusing on certain specific verticals like finance, region, sweepstakes, mainly, and really keep it really focused. So this is basically me and Olive Evo as a brand.

Cool, well, I mean, you mentioned that like that's a big number, right? 10,000 affiliates, and you and I were kind of chatting a little bit before this, of like how much the affiliate or partner space has changed, right, in the last sort of 10 years. It's a big thing now, right? Because we mentioned, you know, companies like Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, these guys have got very large affiliate sort of programs.

So, generally, from a very high level, if someone's never really understood sort of what an affiliate network is, could you maybe sketch out like, in very layman's terms, what is an affiliate network and what are the advantages of creating an affiliate network?

So I think I'm going to take like one minute and talk a bit about the affiliate marketing space as a whole, and how it was associated back in the days to, you know, very specific gray, less legitimate products and services, and what do we see today on a general level, and then I'll tell you more about the affiliate network as an entity and the affiliate marketing space.

So, you know, back in the days, I'm talking, you know, clearly 15, even 20 years back when we're talking about the affiliate marketing space, it was really associated with really gray types of products or services, some less legitimate. And today, we see huge growth. Affiliate marketing as a whole, as a space, as a profession, became extremely popular. And in my opinion, today, even major brands, actually any brand that wants to penetrate certain niche markets and specific markets, in particular, they understand that they need this local marketing support from affiliates and agencies and networks, and media partners which are local and can bridge basically those gaps in terms of language and consumer culture, etc.

So we saw a trend throughout the last 10 years, I would say, JK, that almost any respectable, and even public companies and brands, are creating their own affiliate programs or networks because they understand that they need those partnerships with localized and embedded into these markets. So I think affiliate marketing as a space is phenomenal. It's really growing. And you know, when you add up the aspect of social, like the social networks, you know how information spreads, it's huge, right?

Now let's talk a bit about the affiliate network as an entity, right? So before I'm going to talk about the affiliate network, let's talk about the affiliate marketing space in very basic, we'll just take a minute, very basic terms. So in the affiliate marketing space, you have the advertisers from one side, and you have the affiliates or publishers, for example, on the other side. So the advertiser naturally is a product owner, service owner, business owner, who needs consumers in itself, its traffic, like any brand today, that's the number one need for any brand out there today.

On the other side, you basically have the affiliates. And the affiliates can be called media partners, or publishers, or traffic sources, or traffic generators. These guys are basically looking for products to promote. So you have on one side the advertiser, on the other side the affiliate, and the affiliate network is the actual chain link that connects both of these entities. And that's the main role of an affiliate network. It has a lot of roles on a general level, but if I'll fully simplify it, that's the main role.

Now, you know, the natural question that I guess most of you, the viewers, will ask, "Okay, so why do affiliates or advertisers need an actual middleman or a network to engage with? Why are they not working directly, the advertiser and the affiliate?" So it's a really diverse answer, but I would try to give a few examples that will explain and justify the existence of this middleman, and to highlight the importance of this middleman.

So when we're talking about affiliates, for example, so you know, affiliates, if you fully simplify it, the most important aspect for an affiliate is to get paid, and to get paid on time, and to get paid like he wants to, in his own currency sometimes, to his local bank, with no hustle. And a lot of brands, or affiliate programs, or advertisers, just cannot, you know, even if they go globalized, it's really challenging to find those processing solutions, and really, like, literally customize and suit each and every affiliate. So, you know, a lot of advertisers, for example, are willing to pay monthly net 30, or monthly net seven. Networks can pay weekly net seven, daily biologically, like collaboro. So sometimes affiliates will choose to work through a middleman because it's just more convenient and more comfortable and more secure in terms of processing.

Okay, an additional quick need is the inventory. When you engage with one advertiser, you have this advertising inventory. When you come to a network, it's a shop; you have like hundreds of offers, sometimes even thousands, right?

When we're talking about the advertiser's need, so you know, not all advertisers tomorrow morning want to operate their own affiliate program or network. It's pretty challenging. You need to deal with a lot of affiliates and partners which are globalized, with different needs. And again, if I think about the processing aspect, you know, as an advertiser, so if an advertiser is working through an affiliate network but just manage all of the affiliate marketing aspects of his brand, it just invoices one invoice a month for this network, and the network will deal with all the hustle of processing to hundreds of affiliates, right? So it's becoming really, really efficient and cost-effective for an advertiser, in terms of, you know, right now, build up the affiliate program and bringing account managers, and the whole aspect, you know, of running an affiliate network or an affiliate program.

So on a general level, like, this is a couple of examples of why it's so important to work through an affiliate network and why, you know, sometimes it's very, very beneficial for both sides. Definitely because I think affiliate networks, like when you said there, when anyone thinks of a middleman, usually people think of inefficiencies within the market, don't they? But when you think of it, like a supermarket really is a middleman, right? You and I could drive down to a farmer and say, "Hey, we want some tomatoes," and you and I can turn up in our cars. That doesn't really work at scale, right? And just like a supermarket, the supermarkets will know what offers are working or what products are selling, and for the affiliates and the partners, as you said, they've got this depth of choice. So it's not like I need to go to this farmer to get tomatoes this time of year; I just want to go into the supermarket and pick up some produce, whatever that is, right?

Exactly. So, I think what affiliate networks do, and obviously, we have many of them at Everflow, is to facilitate a one-to-many scale solution. For a publisher or an affiliate, you can access dozens of advertisers and hundreds of products, and for an advertiser, you can access hundreds or thousands of affiliates, right, all under one roof, and with all the things surrounding that.

So, we've mentioned these components of the affiliate network, the sort of account managers you mentioned, and the advertisers, and the partners, sometimes called demand and supply, right? How does one start building an affiliate network? What was the journey for Olive Evo? How did you start?

So the journey was pretty cool, you know, if... You know, I was a one-man show, basically, in the beginning. I took a risk, and I went for it. I came, of course, with plenty of knowledge and experience in this field because I've been working through this space in different entities and companies, and I just combined all of my experience, and balls a bit, you know, and I took a risk, and I went for it.

If I'll kind of list the components of how to build your own affiliate network, so no, let's start from the most basic aspect of it, the tech side. So when we're talking about connecting advertisers to affiliates, we're talking about driving traffic. All this traffic needs to be tracked properly