December 28, 2013

Read this Week’s Affiliate Marketing Digest

Author : Tom Rathbone

AffiliateMarketingDigestheader

Happy Friday to you! It’s the LAST Friday of 2013. Next time we “see” you atAffiliate Marketing Digest, we’ll be starting a new year. Before we do, we thought you might be interested to join us for a look back at some of the biggest stories of 2013 as shared in this newsletterBy a huge margin, mobile commerce dominated the headlines this year – but it was hardly the only news that mattered to affiliate marketing this year.

As we all know, bloggers are an important part of performance marketing. Here’s a look at some top bloggersand the practices they employ to succeed.
Speaking of bloggers – we’re looking forward to attending the New Media Expo (NMX, formerly BlogWorld)Jan. 4-6 in Las Vegas. This is just the beginning of trade show season for the new year. Here’s our list of affiliate marketing conferences and trade shows to attend in the new year. We hope to see you on the trade show circuit in 2014!

We’ve got the story of Overstock’s plans to begin accepting bitcoins for web purchases in the new year.

And we’ve got some good tips this week, including how to succeed at affiliate recruitment and a look at four memorable Twitter campaigns of 2013. (You can follow us on Twitter @schaafpc.)

Our Community section is spotlighting a few industry notables this week – including some exciting news (hint: rock-a-bye baby!) for Katharine Spanish, eBay Enterprise Affiliate Manager, Operations & Project Management at eBay Enterprise Affiliate Network, is expecting a baby. Congratulations, Katharine!subscribeAMD




December 27, 2013

The Biggest Stories of 2013

Author : Tom Rathbone

biggestnewsJPG

Just like you, we’re looking forward to the new year and all of the exciting things that lie in store for affiliate marketers in 2014. It’s going to be a great year.

 

But we also like to reminisce (please don’t judge us!). So, before we close the books on 2013, we spent some time going through the 52 issues of the 2013 editions of our Affiliate Marketing Digest weekly newsletter.
In doing so, we identified many important headlines.

 

Here are the biggest news stories of the performance marketing industry in 2013.

 

1. Mobile! Mobile! Mobile!
By a 7:1 ratio mobile commerce was the subject of more stories than any other topic in performance marketing this year. From the tremendous growth to its worldwide adoption, mobile commerce was the buzz in a year when mobile ad spending reached $7 billion in the U.S. alone.

2. Supreme Court Denies Amazon Affiliate Nexus Tax Petition
Earlier this month the U.S. Supreme Court denied petitions by Amazon and Overstock to appeal New York’s affiliate nexus tax law. New York was the first to pass such a law. Today more than 80,000 online affiliate marketers in the U.S. who have had their incomes devastated by various states’ attempts to regulate interstate commerce.

 

3. Asia! Asia! Asia!
2013 was the year several e-commerce companies in Asia rose to prominence in the U.S. LightInTheBox became the first company to hold an IPO in the U.S. this year, and Alibaba entered the U.S. marketplace.

 

4. The Performance Marketing Association Turns Five; It’s Changing Role
The Performance Marketing Association turned five years old this year and continued to be champion for an industry that continues to grow and mature.

 

5. FTC Tightens Regulations That Affect Affiliate Marketing
The Federal Trade Commission was also very active in 2013, introducing new legislation that affected affiliate marketers – from the crackdown on alleged spam text messages to new disclosure rules for digital advertising and a suit against online poker sites that resulted in the seizure of $13.62 million in assets.

 

6. Google Panda, Penguin Change SEO Landscape
Affiliate marketers and advertisers who relied on natural search traffic as part of the marketing mix struggled in 2013 to navigate, endure and recover from the numerous Google organic search result algorithm changes(called Google Panda and Penguin).

 

7. Google Affiliate Network Shuts Down
The announcement in April that Google Affiliate Network would shut down at the end of July put the industry on alert as hundreds of advertisers were faced with network migration decisions.

 

8. A Year of IPOs (LITB, Twitter, RetailMeNot)
It was a year of big IPOs. There were huge IPOs such as the Twitter IPO this fall. In the industry there was the $230 million IPO for RetailMeNot.

 

9. We Were Asking: Is Attribution the Future of Affiliate Marketing?
The tracking of sales – and the crediting of sales to affiliates – will always be central to affiliate marketing. In 2013 the industry examined the future of cookies and asked: is attribution the future?

 

10. E-commerce Continues to Show Strong YOY Growth
The industry is encouraged by phenomenal growth of performance marketing year over year that continued in 2013.subscribeAMD

 




December 24, 2013

See You Soon in Vegas for ASW14

Author : Tom Rathbone

Affiliate-Summit-West-2013-logo-300x164

The holidays have been huge for affiliate marketing. Brace yourself: 2014 is going to be even better.

We’re hope you’re all going to be kicking off the excitement of the new year by attending Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas. We’ll be there!

That’s right – just 12 days into the new year we’ll join other affiliate marketers from around the world in Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit West 2014. Let us know if you’d like to meet up with us. We’ll be taking meetings throughout conference Jan. 12-14.

For affiliate program management agencies such as ours, Affiliate Summit is always a valuable experience. We spend time with our clients, go over plans for the new year and share nice dinners. We meet industry friends including network representatives. We always find publishers doing exciting things in new ways.

This year’s keynote speakers are:

  •     Steve Denton, Vice President of Marketing Solutions, eBay Enterprise
  •     Derek Flanzraich, Founder & CEO, Greatist

And this year ShareASale is hosting another potentially epic party. This year we’re asked to dress as our favorite super heroes.

See you in Vegas!




December 21, 2013

Affiliate Marketing News: Mobile, Mobile, Mobile!

Author : Tom Rathbone

AffiliateMarketingDigestheader

Happy Holidays to you from all of us here at Schaaf-PartnerCentric. We hope you enjoy your time with family and friends next week – and we look forward to working with you to make 2014 the best year yet.

We’ve got a number of news items to share in this week’s Affiliate Marketing Digest.

Mobile mobile mobile. Year of mobile. Everything mobile. You get the point. We’ve all got mobile on the mind – and for good reason. As all indicators continue to indicate, mobile commerce continues to grow. This wek Rakuten LinkShare released its Cyber Week results – and, no surprise, mobile commerce was the key factor in this year’s stellar performance. Same story at Affiliate Window, which reports that the tablet conversion rate reached 8.7%.

You’ll also want to check out Affiliate Window’s great infographic, which illustrates Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday results.

Speaking of the holidays, new research suggests that holiday retail tactics are breeding mistrust among millenniuals.

In our tip box this week we are highlighting two nifty bits of advice: PerformInsider’s tips to help you NOT suck at Affiliate Summit West, which is now less than a month away. And Bruce Clay wants you to know about a great little tool that helps you create infographics for free. Check it out!

It’s your community – and the people in it had some noteworthy events to share this week. Top of the list this week were two birthdays: Todd Farmer and Kris Jones. Join is sending them happy birthday wishes.

Check in with Affiliate Marketing Digest each week at SchaafPC.com to get all of this and much more orsubscribe today to receive Affiliate Marketing Digest each week in your e-mail Inbox.




December 18, 2013

CJ Report Explores the Role and Value of Coupon Sites

Author : Tom Rathbone

To work with coupon sites or not to? It’s a question we hear often – and as affiliate managers we stress the value of coupon sites and encourage clients to find a way to work with them.

The Strategic Insights team at CJ.com has just shared results of a survey in which 1,000 shoppers were asked about their use of coupons and coupon sites.

Among the key take-aways:
– Loyalty or familiarity with a brand does not stop price comparing behaviors
– Shoppers in the shopping basket are still seeking the best deal and are open to being influenced to buy from different retailers.
– Coupon sites introduce brands to new customers.
– They also keep an advertiser in the mix when shoppers are comparing prices.
– Shoppers seek the best price possible, regardless of familiarity with a retailer.

The statistics offered in the survey reinforce what we as an affiliate management agency know to be true – that coupon sites are an important part of the e-commerce equation.

Of those surveyed by CJ, 98% said they find coupon sites an essential part of the shopping experience. Furthermore, 58% of those surveyed consider coupons “extremely useful” when researching and shopping online.

We urge all clients and affiliate marketers to review the new CJ documents, which cover such topics as:
how coupons influence retailer choice
how coupons drive new customers
how coupons affect shopping cart abandonment
how coupons affect brand loyalty

ABestWeb has created a thread that enables you to share your thoughts about coupon sites and CJ’s report. You can read and join the ABestWeb thread, Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Coupon Sites.

Read the CJ documents here:
http://schaafimages.astonishdesigns.com/TheRoleofCouponSites.pdf
http://schaafimages.astonishdesigns.com/WhyYouShouldntIgnoreCouponSites.pdf




December 14, 2013

Affiliate Marketing News: The Week that Was

Author : Tom Rathbone

AMDheaderSM

You enjoy getting good news, right? Great. We’ve got great news to share in today’s Affiliate Marketing Digest.

Online sales increased 71% YOY last weekendaccording to comscore – and Cyber Monday II was the third billion-dollar day in web sales this year.

The good holiday season news will continue to roll in – and we’ll be sure to share it with you – but it’s also good to keep an eye on the new year. Our own Kris Ritchie, affiliate manager extraordinaire, shared her tips for Planning for a Successful 2014 in the ShareASale blog series #Bestof2013.

While we’re on the topic of good news, we just learned that the Schaaf-PartnerCentric blog has been named a Top 25 Affiliate Marketing Blog of 2013 by Affiliate Summit. We want to thank those of you who voted for our blog. We appreciate your support!

Don’t miss the latest issue of FeedFront magazine, which is now available online. Schaaf-PartnerCentricDirector of Operations Stephanie Harris contributed a great article about the DiSC personality assessment and how it can help your company as it helped ours.

In other news this week we’ve got the scoop on CAKE’s program to migrate DirectTrack customers to the CAKE platform.

We’ve also got an interesting look at how Target.com is making use of Pinterest. If you’re a Pinhead (is it OK to call you that?), you won’t want to miss this.

We’ve got tips to help you monetize Christmas gifts and fine-tune your mobile strategies for the holidays and beyond.

We’ve also got a new feature for you called Community where we’ll offer shout-outs to people in the industry who are changing jobs, getting promoted or being awarded for general awesomeness. Check it out in this week’s Affiliate Marketing Digest.

As always, thank you for reading Affiliate Marketing Digest, and make it a great day!




Happy Holidays from Schaaf-PartnerCentric!

Author : Tom Rathbone

2013card

Confession: We get a big kick out of the holidays.

First, there’s the excitement of seeing a year worth of planning come together for our clients and partners as the holiday shopping season nears. All the promotions, coupons, special savings, big deals, etc., – everything we need to do to make sure our clients have a successful Q4. There’s great satisfaction in seeing the clients succeed – exceeding goals and beating results of holidays past.

Then, amid all of that important work, there’s the fun we have in spreading holiday cheer.

It starts with our company holiday card. Each year we start brainstorming themes for the card in September. So many jokes – so few of them funny. But with patience and time we always manage to find a theme that fits.

You may recall our greeting cards of holidays past. In 2010 we’d just merged two companies – Schaaf Consulting and PartnerCentric to become Schaaf-PartnerCentric – so the 2010 holiday card was merger-themed. In 2011 we spent much of the year pitching in on the enormous task of educating legislators about the effects of state affiliate nexus laws – and our holiday card for 2011 attempted to make light of that weighty issue. In 2012 our company had its first retreat at the new headquarters in Austin, and the 2012 holiday card shined a spotlight on Brook’s growing obsession with mechanical bulls.

This year we’re giving you a break from our admittedly wonderful sense of humor because we had the perfect photo to share. Our entire team (including spouses and children) spent a few days at Walt Disney World this fall for a company retreat and celebration. It’s so rare to have everyone in one location at the same time – so we wanted to share our group photo with the 2013 holiday card.

We’ve got another holiday tradition: our holiday cookie exchange. It began in 2011 when someone (we’ll credit Stephanie Harris because it was, in fact, her idea) decided it might fun for the team to do a cookie exchange. The idea was simple enough. Each member of the team would submit one cookie recipe. It could be a family recipe, a favorite recipe, a recipe that was intimidating and therefore never attempted – or a recipe found online on a whim. All of the recipes were collected and sent to a baker who would bake each recipe and send a few of each cookies to each member of the team who had submitted a recipe.

Needless to say, it was wildly popular and with chocolate-stained fingers, the team let the word go forth that the cookie exchange must go on.

In 2012, we took the holiday exchange to the next level and shared our favorite recipes – and those gorgeous, delicious cookies – with our clients. Once again we had a hit on our hands.

This year the holiday cookie exchange continued to grow. Right now the packages are en route- more than 9,000 cookies in all are going out to more than 100 recipients. Here’s the roster of cookies on this year’s cookie exchange and the reasons why we chose them. If any of these recipes catch your fancy you can bake them yourselves and enjoy the gooey cookie goodness.

Thank you for sharing in our holiday traditions. We wish you Happy Holidays – and a wonderful New Year!




December 13, 2013

Cherishables Green Mondays Still Running – Don’t Miss Out!

Author : Tom Rathbone

It’s not too late to promote Green Monday offers from Cherishables.com. You’ve still got time to offer photo cards and gifts at discount prices.
Here are the details:

Green Monday Promo using code CHEER15 is good today (Dec. 12) only.
Get $15 off Orders $30+ and Free Shipping with code CHEER15 at Cherishables.com
Coupon Code: CHEER15
Tracking URL: http://www.shareasale.com/u.cfm?m=47844&u=UserID&d=177877

Green Monday Promo using code HOLLY15 is good Friday, Dec. 13 only.  
Get $15 off Orders $30+ and Free Shipping with code HOLLY15 at Cherishables.com
Coupon Code: HOLLY15
Tracking URL: http://www.shareasale.com/u.cfm?m=47844&u=UserID&d=178335

There’s still time to order the Cherishables photo cards and photo gifts in time for Christmas.

Please note the holiday shipping dates for photo cards:
Ground Shipping: Order must be placed by 11:59 EST on 12/13
3 Day Shipping: Order must be placed by 11:59 EST on 12/15
2 Day Shipping: Order must be placed by 11:59 EST on 12/16
Overnight Shipping: Order must be placed by 11:59 EST on 12/18

And here are the photo gifts shipping dates:
Ground Shipping: Order must be placed by 11:59 EST on 12/12
2 Day Shipping: Order must be placed by 11:59 EST on 12/14
Overnight Shipping: Order must be placed by 11:59 EST on 12/16 Details below:
Cherishables (formerly PhotoCardsDirect.com) is an online retailer of high quality personalized photo greeting cards and E-Cards.
If you haven’t already joined the Cherishables affiliate program, apply to join today.




December 12, 2013

Collections Etc. Affiliate Program Planning Ahead for Busy Spring Garden Season

Author : Tom Rathbone

large_logo

The Collections Etc. affiliate program is under new management and is making plans now to help affiliates have a great spring with the brand’s garden season products – from birdhouses, barbecue accessories and feeders to garden stones, lawn ornaments and planters.

Collections Etc. offers more than 1,500 products that sell for less than $14.99 in hot categories such as home decor and gifts. Consumers who have a lodge or cabin style den, or who enjoy primitive decor, will find rugs, curtains, wall art and other decorative accessories to complete their look.

The Collections Etc. affiliate program is already active on the CJ and eBay Enterprise affiliate networks – and affiliates can earn an 8% commission. The program is now under Schaaf-PartnerCentric management.

Collections Etc. has a great selection for those who have country kitchens with themes such as apples or roosters and for gardens decorated with fairies, angels, butterflies and animals of all types. Collections Etc.’s solar lighting items are among our best sellers. When it comes to Holidays, Collections is your low cost source for unique home decor and gift items.
Collections Inc. also has Christmas merchandise including decor featuring Santa, snowmen, tin soldiers and more. Other best sellers are As Seen on TV items, well priced bedding and apparel. The ever expanding assortment now includes more health, beauty and comfort items.

View the many product offerings at collectionsetc.com. Learn more about the Collections Etc. affiliate program – and apply to join – at affiliate program management agency Schaaf-PartnerCentric.




December 07, 2013

All the Affiliate Marketing News That’s Fit to Read

Author : Tom Rathbone

AffiliateMarketingDigestheader

When last you read Affiliate Marketing Digest, you were in the grips of Cyber Weekend madness. We hope your Cyber Week was a productive one. And now, as you take a
well-earned breather from all of the holiday stress, here’s a look at the news of the week:

A new study from CJ demonstrates clearly that coupon sites are not ‘margin killers’ but are a powerful force among value-conscious consumers.

We’ve got a mixed bag of news on the affiliate nexus tax front this week. While Amazon reinstated affiliates in the state of Illinois, the U.S. Supreme Court officially denied the Amazon/Overstock petition.

Speaking of Cyber Weekend, we’ve been sharing the statistics from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is now officially the BIGGEST online shopping day in history, having grown 18% compared to 2012. Among the big winners this year is Pinterest, which tripled (yes – tripled!) the revenue it sent to online retailers. Shall we agree to put a pin in this one as not only one to watch – but one to get active with in the future?

We all love a good white paper in the morning,and Affiliate Window has a new white paper for us this week called How Value Attribution Will Shape the Future of Affiliate Marketing. It’s pretty much required reading.

We’ve got a look at the social force behind Amazon.com, which drives a huge volume of social sales. While we’re on the subject of big brands, it probably doesn’t come as any surprise you to learn that big brands have the edge when it comes to search engine rankings. Read some of the many reasons why.

We’ll close with some actionable tips to make things sweeter for you in 2014, including five ways to get creative with your paid search campaigns AND 14 steps to improve your LinkedIn presence.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading!