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Advanced affiliate marketing shows potential beyond display ads

If you like your three-character acronyms, C2C is the attractive new one that everyone's talking about on the marketing block. It refers to a process where one consumer makes a recommendation to another consumer via a web tool or social network.

Companies like Hotwire, Intuit and Zazzle are using C2C marketing in crazy and creative new ways to drive viral social campaigns. They discussed these methods in a Tuesday ad:tech workshop entitled "Best Practices for the Advanced Marketer.”

Display ads are getting a deservedly bad rap these days, but custom T-shirt and accessories printing-house Zazzle found a way to make those static display ads work effectively. Late last year, they began embedding sidebar display ads into their order confirmation emails. The click rate was more impressive than most display ad campaigns. After all, everybody opens and reads their order confirmation emails!

Intuit, makers of the ever-popular TurboTax software, did a Zynga campaign with virtual cash that offered real results. Players of the popular game FarmVille were offered virtual FarmVille currency for completing their taxes on TurboTax. The company had modest expectations for the campaign, but was astonished to see that tens of thousands of FarmVille fans signed up and did their taxes. Some even complained that they had already done their taxes, and asked if they could undo and redo their income tax filing just to get the FarmVille points.

Video games on Facebook might sound like a flaky marketing strategy for tax preparation professionals. But creative affiliate marketing shows these companies aren't just playing games.

This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out allvoices.com/adtech for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech San Francisco event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.