The Publisher Diaries: Jonny Matthews


In this edition, Niamh Butler-Walton chatted to Jonny Matthews, Founder or gocertify. With a strong history in the sphere, Jonny is an expert in all things performance marketing.

After completing a degree in Business Management at the University of Birmingham, Jonny went on to work as a freelance designer, getting stuck into designing marketing materials, sparking his interest in creating effective campaigns.

In 2016 he co-founded Adplicom, an influencer marketing software which boasted clients such as Lego and Time Magazine.

Since then, he has worked at Pouch and Global Savings Group, before he went on to found another influencer marketing software, goshare, and finally gocertify.

The company is currently driving over $2 million in monthly sales for Benefit Cosmetics, Kurt Geiger, Farfetch, HelloFresh and more. Now here’s Jonny to talk about his history and the trends he is noticing within the industry:

What’s your role and what does it consist of?

I’m the founder of gocertify, a software that helps retailers attract their most sought-after customer groups with an exclusive discount. We only launched gocertify 12 months ago, so my role has changed a lot over the past few months. Initially, I was working on our verification technology and working out how we can reward customers based on age/occupation. Now it’s more about hiring new members in sales and tech. I’m looking forward to getting back to designing new features, as this is what I’m most passionate about.

What do you enjoy most about the performance marketing industry?

I love the collaborative nature of the industry. Whether you’re a retailer, publisher or technology provider, everyone seems to be happy to team up, offer feedback and share ideas. Being able to connect with global retailers so early on has been a huge enabler for our growth.

Who is your performance marketing hero and why?

Tough one! We’ve had so many heroes help us over the past 12 months. I’d have to shout out all the account managers at the affiliate networks. Ever since the start, they have been spending time learning about the features of our tool and the benefits to retailers. As well as this, they provide invaluable feedback on improvements we can make. Many of them are huge advocates for our software and better at selling gocertify than I am! 

Who in your team deserves more recognition that they get? (The unsung hero)

We’re fortunate to have an incredible remote team. Colin, who has been working with me on gocertify since the start, deserves a huge amount of credit. We never expected it all to take off so quickly and his help with finances and providing customer support to shoppers has been vital. Also, Chris, our partnerships manager, who only joined the team a few months ago but has already managed to take on all account management, as well as sign up loads of new clients.

Advertisers are becoming increasingly data-savvy. Retailers aren’t just working with publishers to increase sales, but also to gather insights about their shoppers. Through closed group publishers and technology providers like gocertify, they can work out whether a shopper is a teacher, student, under-26, or over-60. This information is being stored in customer profiles to run personalised marketing. Our favourite has been Kurt Geiger sending out newsletters to NHS employees with exclusive NHS only pricing.

As new cookie changes come into force, I think this a trend that’s only going to grow. Retailers will no longer have access to the granular targeting they are used to on Facebook/Google. Brands will turn to gathering zero-party data and insights into consumer preferences. With this, they can run their own targeted campaigns without the need of a third party.

How has the role of affiliate networks changed over the last 12 months?

The pandemic seems to have strengthened relationships across retailers, networks and publishers. The uncertainty in the market has led to brands looking for ways to acquire customers without risk. With uncertainty, allocating six figure budgets across most marketing channels with no guarantee of sales was a huge risk, but paying affiliates for each sale is always a safe bet.

What one thing would you change about the industry?

The industry has evolved a lot over the past few years. One change I’ve noticed is the number of software providers signing up to affiliate networks, for example RevLifter, Increasingly and Smarterclick.

Currently, the affiliate industry is set up with typical voucher code site publishers in mind. For retailers to see full potential from these partnerships, there needs to be a change in the infrastructure to support this. For example, commercials need to go beyond the ‘last click’ to prevent traditional publishers and tech providers from competing for the last click on-site. Often newer publisher types focus less on being the last touchpoint on a customer journey but instead help increase on-site conversion and maximise lifetime value.

What’s your top tip for advertisers?

Treat publishers as an extension of your team and be as transparent on your current company goals as possible – there could be a clever way we could help! Whether that’s a need to increase AOV, drive shoppers in-store or promote a certain product range. We’re always ready to hear about a retailers’ problems and will build a strategy around that.

What other areas of the industry can you see yourself working in in the future, perhaps?

I’m going to be focusing on gocertify for a few years! But in the future, I’d love to set up my own e-commerce store.

We hope you enjoyed this installment of the Publisher Diaries. If you would like to get involved please get in touch via our Typeform.



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