May 28, 2014
Written by Tom Rathbone,
Senior Technical Solutions Specialist at Schaaf-PartnerCentric
Tom Rathbone provides our clients with a technical resource for not only selecting the network platforms that will work best given the client’s specific needs but also for ensuring that the network integration process goes smoothly. Since becoming our dedicated technical expert one year ago, Tom has completed more than 100 technical integrations on behalf of our clients.
We at Schaaf-PartnerCentric are an international organization. With employees and clients around the world, we are believers in the growing tide of cross-border trade, particularly in the affiliate channel.
The international e-commerce market is expected to expand more than twice as fast as the US online retail economy from 2012 to 2017, according to International Data Corp.
Additionally, eMarketer’s forecasts predict a 20% increase in worldwide B2C e-commerce sales in 2014 alone. That is attributed to “rapidly expanding online and mobile user bases in emerging markets, increases in m-commerce sales, advancing shipping and payment options, and the push into new
international markets by major brands.”1
Expanding internationally could be a huge opportunity for you.
None of this, however, is possible with the affiliate channel unless you have the technical capabilities. Let’s say you want to expand your affiliate channel to utilize affiliates (and their customers) in other markets. Great! We have a few quick questions for you:
- Are you prepared for that technically?
- Are you going to conditionally fire the tracking pixels yourself? Is that the most effective way to track? (In many cases, it’s not.)
- Are you selling your goods in multiple currencies?
- What exchange rate will you be using? Is it real-time? Are the amount parameters in your tracking pixels reflecting that?
- How about payment methods – are you using the payment methods preferred by the local customers – Boleto in Brazil, bank transfers in Italy? Are you set up to track those sales (and deal with the higher reversal rates)?
- How about the multitude of different pixel formats around the world? From our experience, they are far from consistent. Are you prepared to implement those concurrently?
- Do you have a product catalog available in multiple languages? And multiple currencies? And in the format needed for each network?
That’s quite a bit to consider, and there is much more yet. So, how do we at Schaaf-PartnerCentric approach these many conundrums?
1. We start with you. We’ll take a look at your business,where it is now and where you want to bring it. You may not be ready to launch in every market but by taking a look at your multiple language platforms, payment methods and overall strategy, we can formulate a plan that will get you where you need to be.
2. Plan to scale. Because of our experience implementing affiliate tracking in more than 35 markets, we can anticipate the scaleability issues. We’ll work with you to implement container pixel technology and build all potentially necessary parameters into that single pixel. That way we can use those parameters to programmatically deliver the necessary parameters for each network. This not only keeps your site clean, it keeps us out of your dev queue – and we know it’s a big queue.
3. Work as a knowledgeable intermediary. There’s a good deal of noise out there. We’ll work directly with the affiliate network tech teams to install the tracking ourselves in the container. If for some reason Murphy’s Law decides to rear its ugly head, and we do need to engage your tech team, we will filter out the noise and give them the concise, actionable requirements needed so they can get on with their other projects.
4. Use your business model. Many of these networks may not function the way you are used to seeing. Perhaps you want to pay out for different product categories. That’s simple to do in some networks and unreasonably complex in others. We want to make sure that each market you expand into is still functioning within your business model. It may take some fancy pixels, or it may take some workarounds. We’re prepared to work that out.
5. Rinse and repeat.
May 16, 2014
Schaaf-PartnerCentric client Miraclesuit is featured in today’s “Deals and Steals” on Good Morning America.
“Tory Johnson and O Magazine’s Creative Director Adam Glassman have deals on items that say summertime and have the seal of approval from Oprah. An array of products, perfect for the beach, are all 50 percent off, including sunglasses, flip flops and sandals, totes and hats, a “miracle” swimsuit that looks great on women of all sizes, and a fashionable coverup.”
The featured Miraclesuit product is the Slimming Swimwear, regular price $148 to $172, which was offered as a GMA exclusive deal at $74 to $86 + FREE SHIPPING – a 50% savings, at gma.miraclesuit.com (Promo code: GMA).
Here’s the product description GMA shared: “Constructed with a unique proprietary fabric that has more Lycra than most other swimwear, Miraclesuit swim garments provide a more trimming and slenderizing fit. The suit promotes its ability to make you “look 10 lbs. lighter in 10 seconds.” Supportive and comfortable, the Miraclesuit features side shirring to elongate the torso and slim the waist and tummy area. Sizes range from 8 to 24W. Select from vibrant styles in solids and prints. Free shipping!”
Kudos to Miraclesuit! Are you promoting Miraclesuit as an affiliate? If not, learn more about the Miraclesuit affiliate program and apply to join.
May 15, 2014
Online boutique Jane.com has just announced that its affiliate program is now being managed by affiliate program management agency Schaaf-PartnerCentric.
Jane.com combines everything that women love – trendy clothes, unique jewelry, baby bows, home decor and more. The site is full of unique handmade and boutique products at up to 80% off.
The Jane.com affiliate program pays publishers a 10% commission and is live on three affiliate networks: CJ Affiliate by Conversant, the eBay Enterprise Affiliate Network and ShareASale.
Jane.com is a daily deal website with more than 80 new deals going live each night at midnight MST. All deals are featured on the site for 72 hours or while supplies last.
Get more information about Jane.com’s affiliate program.
By Jillian McGary, Senior Affiliate Program Manager
As affiliate managers looking to clean up your affiliate programs and save money, we often think to cut out commissions and placements. Those are no-brainers. However, there often are other ways to achieve this. Many affiliate programs are leaving money on the table, and the people involved don’t even know it. Here are some things we often include in our strategy to optimize your affiliate program that can make a big difference:
1. If you have more than one network, remove duplicate orders. Running multiple networks can have advantages, but it can also cause problems. One notable concern is duplication, where one order is credited to two or more affiliates on different networks. You could be paying for the same order over and over across multiple networks. During a six-month period, I know of one brand with 39,000 orders that involved more than one network. All of these orders are subject to duplication between the networks. That amounts to $3,800,000 in revenue, potentially $340,000 in publisher commissions and $85,000 in network fees. If you have more than one network, talk to your nearest Schaaf-PartnerCentric affiliate manager about a container solution as soon as possible.
2. Reverse commissions for publishers caught violating TM policy. Many merchants regularly monitor TM violators using a solution such as Brand Verity so that frequent violators can be caught and expired from the program. On top of this, it’s important to reverse all the commissions publishers generate while violating your TM policy. Not only does this deter future misconduct, it prevents a shady publisher from exploiting your brand and pocketing the profit. It can add up over time. For just one merchant, we have reversed $25,000 in sales from publishers using TM illegally. That saved the merchant roughly $2,700 that can be reinvested into placements with top publishers.
3. Reverse commissions monthly for pubs expired by network quality. While doing routine reporting, I discovered a number of publishers producing for my merchant’s program were no longer visible. Upon closer inspection, it appeared they were no longer in the network at all. They had been expired by the network quality team. I couldn’t find the publishers in my program any longer but they still showed pending commissions that were scheduled to lock from the prior month. While a network may boot out fraudulent publishers, they leave all the commissions unless a merchant goes in and manually reverses them. For one brand, I found $1,400-$4,000 per month in commissions scheduled to be paid to network quality expired publishers. You can find these publishers and reverse their commissions by running a few quick reports at the end of each month. First, export a report with publisher sales for the month à Download a list of all joined publishers à Run a Vlookup to see any productive publishers who don’t appear in your joined publisher list any longer. Those are the network quality expired publishers.
4. Coupon stacking Coupon codes are a great way to boost conversion and reward publishers. We as affiliate managers certainly enjoy sharing them with our publishers. We mustn’t forget consumers love them, too, and they know where to find and combine them. At the end of the day, a consumer may combine your 10% off affiliate coupon with the $20 off code they got from your customer service and a Free Shipping code from your email blast. The solution: either make codes that can’t be combined or be sure the discounts are designed to stack without cannibalizing ROI.
5. Don’t pay publisher invoices via network bonus When a busy shopping season wraps up, it is tempting to pay all your paid placement IOs through the network as a bonus. It seems so convenient and publishers often prefer it, but depending on your network fee structure, you could be incurring 20%-30% network fees on top of the bonus amount. That means a $2,000 placement invoice may cost you an extra $600 to pay as a bonus via the network. You can pay it to the publisher via wire transfer or mail a check with a $0.49 stamp.
6. Regularly audit VIP commissions We often negotiate placements for commission increase, but it’s important to follow up afterward. If a VIP payout was given a year ago to a top performing publisher who has since dropped off, consider giving that payout increase to another publisher who is willing to push your client in return.
Jillian McGary has expertise managing affiliate programs for large merchants for Schaaf-PartnerCentric.
May 10, 2014
Happy Friday to you – and welcome to another edition of Affiliate Marketing Digest.
This week we’ve got a think piece about Affiliate Marketing Best Practices for Advertisers from Todd Crawford of Impact Radius. Definitely worth a read.
The National Retail Federation is urging Congress to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which would allow for sharing of Internet traffic data between companies and the government. This news comes just as it’s announced that retail data breaches declined in Q1 of this year.
That’s not the only lobbying that took place this week. More than 100 companies (including Amazon, Etsy, Netflix) are urging the Federal Communications Commission not to allow Internet providers to charge varying prices to Internet companies.
We also share a look at social as it relates to the future of online shopping.
And you won’t want to miss the reasons why luxury brands cannot afford to ignore affiliate marketing.
For your tip of the week, CopyBlogger offers guidance on how to turn bland text into sparkling online content.
If you’re going to be in London next week for Affiliate Management Days, look us up. We’ll be there!
Adrienne Erreca is just settling into her first week at Schaaf-PartnerCentric, where she’s taken on the key role of Director of Operations. In this position she’ll be managing the Operations team, which provides reporting, data analysis and support for Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s affiliate managers and clients.
She’s well-known to many in the affiliate marketing industry. Before joining Schaaf-PartnerCentric, Adrienne spent more than eight years as a member of the team at CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) in a number of roles ranging from Advertiser Account Representative and Senior Advertiser Account Manager to her most recent position, Advertiser Account Director.
We sat down with Adrienne today to chat about her new position and her experiences in nearly a decade in the industry.
Q: Hello Adrienne. We know you’re just a a few days into your new role but we wanted to ask how things are going for you so far?
A: “My entire perspective on affiliate marketing has changed already. It’s exciting to see that there are so many tools we can use to help advertisers.”
Q: What do you enjoy most about working in the industry?
A: “I enjoy working with the people most of all. Our industry is full of interesting and smart people. What’s also interesting to me is how affiliate marketing allows advertisers to test a lot of things at low risk. I think the more savvy advertisers see affiliate marketing as an incubator to test things. I love it when we can break through and have advertisers see this as a creative space and not a waste of time. I see it as an innovative space.”
Q: In your eight years in the industry, what has remained as true on day one as it is today?
A: “The basics. Being successful in affiliate marketing really comes down to building and maintaining relationships and doing the basic things that keep that going. I think that a lot of people focus on the latest trends and lose sight of the fundamentals of the relationships. You can build rapport and have things to talk about on a personal level and that will usually get you a better result.”
Q: What advice do you find yourself regularly giving to advertisers in the space?
A: “A common mistake I see is advertisers failing to see the differences between affiliate marketing and other channels. You really need a flexible budget here because you’re not going to be successful with a budget cap. That’s OK. This is a low-risk channel. You need to be open minded and embrace something that is new and different.”
Q: What’s one thing we don’t already know about you?
A: “I really had no idea I’d be moving to Texas! I never thought about it until this opportunity came along. I had been to Texas before but my first time in Austin was when I went for the interview. My first impression of Austin was really good. I love the tag line ‘Keep Austin Weird.’ That made me feel at home, and the quirkiness of it – the mix of country and urban development.”
Q: This is also your first time working from home, correct?
A: “It is, which makes for a new experience, too. I think all of the guidelines I’ve been given for working from home are true. Things like having a separate space for your office and starting the day as you would for any other job – getting up, getting dressed. Right now it’s an adventure. One thing I did tell myself is that for the next few weeks I’m going to break all of the rules and work in my pajamas. Why not? It’s part of the experience.”
In the next few weeks, Adrienne will be making the move from Santa Barbara to Austin along with her dogs – Miniature Pinschers named Ice-T and Coco. Read more about Adrienne and get her contact information at SchaafPC.com.
May 07, 2014
Affiliate program management agency Schaaf-PartnerCentric is sending representatives to the Affiliate Management Days conference next week. Affiliate Management Days, where affiliate marketing teams and executives come together to share case studies, insight and the latest tools and techniques to effectively and successfully manage affiliate programs, takes place May 13-14 at Chelsea Football Club.
Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s lead international officer, Peter Bexelius, will be attending the conference along with the company’s Senior Technical Solutions Specialist, Tom Rathbone.
Today Peter serves as Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s lead resource for special projects and international business initiatives. Peter, who is fluent in Swedish, is joined in our international efforts by Karima Hassa, who has spent more than three years growing our clients’ programs in France, Italy and Arabic-speaking countries, and by Danilo Melo, who has spent more than a year growing our clients’ programs in Brazil and Portugal.
Tom Rathbone oversees all of Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s integrations of new clients and migrations of current clients – with more than 100 program integrations under his belt across a variety of networks. He is deeply involved in every integration, from helping choose a network to pixel firing logic and placement, to testing, and eventually to program setup and best practices. He is also experienced utilizing broader scale solutions such as tag managers, container pixels and multi-channel attribution modeling involving all marketing channels while remaining platform neutral.
In addition to providing strategic solutions utilizing cutting-edge technology in affiliate networks, Tom also uses this same industry knowledge and experience to work with emerging market affiliates offering advanced technologies and to find ways for the entire Schaaf-PartnerCentric client base to benefit from these affiliates.
Peter and Tom look forward to attending Affiliate Management Days. If you’re going to be in London for the conference and would like to set up a meeting, contact Peter or Tom today.
May 03, 2014
Spring has sprung, and May is here. While you contemplate that we’re nearly halfway through 2014, kick back and enjoy this week’s Affiliate Marketing Digest.
Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s Senior Affiliate Program Manager Dan Fink offers a look athow Google algorithm changes are affecting your affiliate program and offers tips for coping with the effects of lost traffic.
A new survey by Impact Radius finds that 54% of marketers want to implement a tracking methodology that goes beyond last-click attribution.
ShareThis has gone to the trouble of calculating the cash value of a share, which makes for interesting reading.
We’ve got some bad news for moms this year. Kids are saying they’ll spend less on you this Mother’s Day.
Speaking of the kids, the FCC has made an update to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Find out how the change might affect your business.
For your tip of the week, we offer 50+ Common Mistakes Affiliates Make That Prevent Them From Making Money and
Nine Plugins for Growing Your Email List That Work So Well It Feels Like Cheating.
Save 25% on home furnishings, decor, gifts and more during World Market’s Friends & Family Event. Use code FNFSAVE between May 2-4 only.
Additional perk: Customers can also enjoy free shipping on $150+ in addition to the 25% off discount on Sunday, May 4th only. Same coupon code applies.
Learn more about the Cost Plus World Market affiliate program.
May 02, 2014
Affiliate marketing has been hit hard by Google algorithm updates that for the past few years have been targeting affiliate sites for black hat techniques and ‘thin content.’ Fortunately, there are enough articles about how publishers can recover to circle the globe 10 times over.
In this article, Schaaf-PartnerCentric Senior Affiliate Program Manager Dan Fink examines the effects of the algorithm shifts from the perspective of the advertiser, who sees affiliate traffic dropping off as a result of the changes. What do advertisers need to know? Why is it important to track these search engine changes? When will publisher traffic recover?
Google’s Algorithm Changes: Why We Need to Keep Track
Google’s first animal update was Panda back in February of 2011 and hit affiliate sites hard. Since then, Google has introduced two other update types named Penguin and then Hummingbird in 2013. Hummingbird is a completely different animal compared to Panda or Penguin as it completely replaced Google’s engine, whereas Panda and Penguin were simply updates.
Google also has thrown out plenty of unnamed updates that have hit programs hard. This includes an update in February 2014 that penalized page layouts with too many ads above the fold. There are also many unconfirmed updates, further increasing webmaster paranoia about these updates.
Both Panda and Penguin go after webmaster spam techniques hard. Techniques such as the use of hidden text, cloaking and doorway pages, content duplication, link farms and many other spammy techniques now destroy traffic rankings instead of rocketing a mediocre site to the number one spot. Further updates refined the algorithm in many different ways, making search results more useful for consumers.
How To Make Your Program Animal Update Safe
• Realize these updates are unavoidable. Some of your partners will be hit by them
• Supply as much content for your partners as possible. Refresh as often as possible and make sure everyone isn’t using the same pieces
• Educate your partners about Google’s informational tools such as their webmaster blog.
• Focus on blog placements and any content-related placements with affected sites
• Diversify your publisher portfolio. This way if an update really hurts a specific vertical, your entire program won’t be hindered
• Give it time. It can take affected sites months, or in some cases years, to regain lost traffic.
Here are some important links to help you sort through the various Google updates:
Contact Dan Fink, Senior Affiliate Manager at Schaaf-PartnerCentric, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (919) 367-6140.