With Valentines Day right around the corner, you’ve likely seen more than a few gift guides floating around the web. Top bloggers and publishers leveraging holidays to promote their favorite products and brands is nothing new; and lately more advertisers have wondered how to get in on the action. This whole idea is called “influencer marketing” and its effectiveness has brands adjusting their marketing strategies to ensure they are adopting this powerful channel.
Influencer marketing is simple, really. Instead of a brand seeking out an entire target audience (say, in the way a television commercial would), they seek out those who have purchasing influence over a group of individuals. In the case of retailers, these influencers often look like top publishers who write a blog with a highly engaged audience and/or have a large social following. Because the influencer is trusted by consumers, their recommendations and advice directly impacts the purchases their audience makes. The effectiveness with influencer marketing stems from the message coming from a trusted middle man who has vetted the product thoroughly versus a brand flaunting it’s own products.
How Do I Find These Influencers?
This can be the tricky part, at least according to 73% of advertisers. While almost all merchants buy into the idea of influencer marketing, finding the key individuals can be difficult. There are several things to consider, including:
Market Reach- How big is the influencer’s circle? Advertisers should be looking at page views, Facebook friends, Instagram followers, etc.
Engagement – Once you know how big the influencer’s audience is, you should consider how engaged they are. If a blogger has 500,000 monthly page views but a dismal comment rate and click through rate, they may not be the best fit.
Relevancy – Does the rest of their content seem like it would be a natural fit for your brand? Influencer marketing is a partnership, so when aligning yourself with an individual it is imperative to make sure they are a good match for your company as a whole. This is arguably more important than any other factor when selecting an influencer.
Expertise – Is the influencer going to take the time to become a product expert? Influencer marketing thrives on authenticity, so you will want a commitment that whomever you work with will truly get to know the features and benefits of your product line so they can accurately represent them to their audience.
How Does This Fit In With My Affiliate Program?
Believe it or not, influencer marketing and performance marketing go hand in hand. Often times influencers make fantastic affiliates, but because of their reach they are less likely to find your program on a network and sign up directly. Proactively seeking out these individuals and partnering with them at influencer level lays the perfect foundation for recruiting them as an affiliate later down the line.
Similar to other marketing channels, there is power in numbers. When consumers read about a product on an influencer’s blog, then see an affiliate link on another website they visit – your product, brand and messaging are all front of mind. For this to be successful, you have to ensure that the messaging is consistent among all channels – internal, affiliate and influencer.
How Schaaf-PartnerCentric Can Help
You may wonder where SPC fits into all of this. While we are proud affiliate management experts, we also recognize the need for strategic influencer marketing support for our clients. Last year, we took that need and turned it into a product offering we call REACH. REACH essentially covers all of the elements of influencer marketing for you: determining an appropriate offer, contacting and partnering with influencers, monitoring results and comprehensive reporting on activity. Interested in learning more? Let us know here or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out some of our awesome REACH results. Nearly 60% of advertisers are increasing their influencer marketing budget this year, don’t get left behind!
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on influencer marketing and any questions that you have in the comments. And because no blog post is complete with out an infographic, continue reading on to see some impressive Valentines Day spending stats put together by another company who loves influencer marketing just as much as we do, The Shelf:
As we transition into the second month of 2016, a few major trends in performance are beginning to emerge. Affiliate marketing is no longer simply capturing a sale on a publishers website; it has evolved into a much more complex space. Here are Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s top predictions for affiliate marketing trends to watch in 2016:
The term “influencer” became a buzzword in 2015. It went from something progressive brands were testing, to a necessity when planning a marketing strategy. In 2016, we can expect to see the rise of influencer marketing becoming a focal point in overall online strategy. Advertisers understand the value of partnering with trusted content marketers to promote their brand – display ads are out, original content is in! It makes sense; people are influenced by those they trust. It’s no longer about what the brand is saying, but what others are saying about a brand. 90% of consumers look to friends and virtual strangers for advice when making a purchase according to Nielsen.
The big question becomes how to tie influencer marketing to performance if you aren’t tracking sales. Going back to the idea that affiliate marketing is much more complex than it used to be, it’s important to note where in the funnel users first saw a brand and where they were influenced in making a purchase (i.e. attribution). Users typically learn about a brand on an influencer site and from there the user begins to do additional research.
Mobile and Video
Mobile continues to be an important topic as there are still over 4 billion people who have yet to connect to the internet. More people to adapt equals more opportunity. Everyone by now knows mobile is important, however in 2016 we are going see the value of video on mobile. 50% of all mobile traffic comes from video and by 2018 experts believe this will grow to 79%. Mobile is often source of entertainment and the best way to capture a user on mobile is through video. Users are not only watching videos on a mobile device, but they are engaging with them. 65% of all video viewers watch more than 75% of the video. This year advertisers and affiliates need to make sure they are incorporating video until their overall strategy or there is a big chunk of sales being left on the table.
Online to Offline
Advertisers with a brick and motor location need to be doing online to offline promotions. An omni-channel strategy is essential and with today’s technology it is easier than ever to accomplish. Most stores with an online presence have enabled beacon technology to ensure they can send offers to customers while they shop in real time. No longer are the days where you have to cut out a coupon from the newspaper to receive a discount. Getting in front of customers is easier than ever and it’s important you are working with the right partners to do it.
Now that you know our top three predictions for 2016, we would love to hear yours! Are you ahead of the curve and already employing an omni-channel strategy? Or maybe you’re looking for help taking advantage of influencer marketing? Where ever you are at in the changing affiliate marketing landscape, we’re here to help – you can leave us a comment or send us an email at email@example.com.
Unless you spent 2015 living under a rock, chances are you’re well aware of adblocking and the shift it is causing in the digital marketing landscape. But what does adblocking really mean? And how does it affect you as a performance marketer? Let’s explore…
Break It Down Adblocking, in the simplest sense, is selectively choosing content when visiting a website or an app, in turn ‘blocking’ the content the user would not like displayed. Most of the time this is done through a browser plug-in, which checks against a blacklist of domain names/ companies and removes sponsored images and ads before they are displayed on a given page.
But Why? There are a few big reasons consumers choose to use adblockers. The first is privacy. Often ad networks are collecting data on each impression, click and page visited – which can then be matched on the back end with user data. Understandably, many consumers would like their online browsing and purchasing history to be private and install adblockers accordingly.
How Does Adblocking Impact Affiliate Marketing? Bloggers, website owners and publishers produce a large chunk of free content that utilizes ads to generate revenue. As adblockers continue to rise in popularity, the way in which publishers are compensated for the content they produce will have to change accordingly. Websites, advertisers and publishers will all have to prioritize the consumer experience and truly consider how ads are best received. Influencer marketing and native ads will continue to rise in popularity. As we’ve seen in the past, affiliate marketers tend to be at the forefront of digital trends and this will be no exception.
Whether you are an advertiser or an affiliate, we’d love to help you as you navigate the changing performance landscape and figure out how to best approach adblocking. Whether it is through REACH or simply adjusting your current affiliate marketing strategy, we’re here you to help.
January is a time for reflection: a new year, new ideas, and a new gym membership. As I don’t consider shopping for discounted cheap chocolates the day after Valentine’s Day a holiday, we can safely say that the holiday season is now behind us. And as always, there is much to learn other than to avoid the strange uncle every year on Thanksgiving.
In the midst of the holiday season, Schaaf-PartnerCentric had a merchant approach us for advice regarding the best way to capitalize on the affiliate feeding frenzy surrounding Black Friday and Christmas season. The way they saw it, there were 2 potential methods to increase revenue: doubling the commission payout to publishers promoting, or running a contest such as a $50 bonus paid to publishers making their first sales.
On the surface, the reasoning seems quite valid. It is the busiest time of the year, so publishers must be pushed to promote the brand. How can we influence affiliates to promote more than usual? Well, the age old idiom of offering the mule a carrot can encourage behavior with rewards.
Unfortunately in the barnyard of performance marketing, this logic does not always apply. In order to test this theory, we conducted an experiment with a large program during another large retail event: Back to School Events.
In previous years, we had given all publishers a significant commission increase over the holidays. After enough instances of pushing new program terms and insertion orders, the Account Manager began to wonder if this was actually effective. Eventually, the decision was made to divide publishers into 3 groups:
Group 1: Publishers were offered a new $7 off $70 coupon code.
Group 2: Publishers were offered a commission increase, however they had to manually accept the increase.
Group 3: Publishers received nothing.
After the Back to School event came and went, the results were in and quite definitive. Group 1 which had the new $7 off $70 coupon code saw the largest YOY increase in sales. Their sales were up much more than the program average – nearly 15% Year Over Year – which was a huge figure for a program that size. Their Conversion Rate and Average Order Size also increased due to the higher $70 threshold in the coupon. Publishers also created more blog posts, placements and newsletters since the coupon was a new, exciting offer.
Meanwhile, Group 2 saw only 20% of the publishers actually accept their commission increase. Of the publishers that accepted the increase, their sales growth was not significantly any better than Group 3, the publishers who received nothing. Across these other two groups the Year over Year growth was near 1%.
Publishers in Group 1 not only saw their sales increase dramatically, but also responded to the new coupon code with promotional content. Publishers generally want to provide the best products and offers to their readers, and the discount code was highly motivating to them while also appealing to customers.
Based on this study, the recommendation would be to provide the content, in this case a coupon code, that not only interests the customer but also solves a problem for the publisher. In a sort of win for John Maynard Keynes and demand side economics, providing a discount for customers spurred more spending by increasing their buying power with the lower prices.
So perhaps by using the carrot, you can indeed lead a mule to water. But if you want the mule to drink, you will need something to spur that thirst, and a discount on water just may be the solution.
We are excited to announce that Schaaf-PartnerCentric is now managing the Journelle Affiliate Program. Journelle is an emerging leader in the luxury lingerie business, bringing a fresh approach to the category through fashion-forward merchandise selection, sophisticated store design and exceptional customer care. The name, taken from the archaic French word “journellement,” meaning daily, is a nod to the belief that wearing lovely lingerie is a everyday luxury. Founded in 2007 by Claire Chambers, Journelle’s mission is to help women feel wonderful from the inside out….starting at the underpinnings.
Journelle currently operates a portfolio of retail stores and a rapidly growing online business dedicated to helping women love and wear beautiful lingerie everyday. In 2014 Journelle added its own collection of lingerie and sleepwear to its offering of established and emerging designer lingerie brands.
With 2015 behind us, now is the time we look back and analyze what strategy and extra hustle turned a typically strong fourth quarter into a record breaker. One of the benefits of representing so many different verticals and brands is that the Schaaf-PartnerCentric team gets to experience and apply many different strategies. Below are a few samples of some key strategies that really made a difference for our partners during Q4:
Activator – One strategy that worked out tremendously well was purchasing placements with non-productive partners. Sometimes in programs you’ll have publishers that for a myriad of reason may not be active coming into Q4. A great way to get on their radar is to utilize a strong offer with purchasing a placement. Even if the placement doesn’t come back ROI positive, (in this case it did) usually this puts you on the radar with that publisher and you are now much more entrenched on their site so you’ll see sales far beyond the fourth quarter. In the end, the overall revenue you get out of that simple placement purchase is so much more than looking at the short term run of that specific placement.
Growth – Early adoption of expanding our client’s global reach really helped set the bar high for many clients in Q4. Focusing on not only the large sale dates in the US, but also around the world helped us grow sales with foreign deal sites and drop shippers. Opening discussion with these sites and activating them was only the beginning. Throughout the final quarter, we also communicated offers with them in such a way that made them feel as important as they were to us, resulting in many extra placements and impressions.
Technology – Earlier in the year Google Mobilegeddon had already taken place, so our team and clients were already well aware that the mobile landscape was going to be very important to Q4 success. With mobile sales for online retailers increasing over 100% year over year and a third of consumers shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday through mobile devices this was a good bet to make. In order to utilize this channel as effectively as possible our clients created mobile specific offers and creative, picked up a lot more site to store utilization, and made sure their sites were mobile certified to increase the volume of mobile specific publishers we could partner up with.
The above strategies are just a drop in the bucket in terms of what our clients utilize during Q4. If you’re interested in trying new things – maybe you’ve never had an offer before and want to see how it performs – we’ve found that the fourth quarter is a great time to give it a go. If you need support along the way, it’s never too early to start planning! Shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can work with you to help your affiliate program thrive in 2016.
Schaaf-PartnerCentric is pleased to announce that we are now managing the Pebble Pillows Affiliate Program. Pebble Pillows is a global online company that delivers creative pillows & stuffed toys directly to consumers around the world. Founded in 2010, Pebble Pillows has offered customers a convenient way to shop for a wide selection of lifestyle products.
Pebble Pillows follows the global fashion front and adds more attention to the human care, which can be easily noticed through its professional products of pebble pillows and stuffed toys.
The Pebble Pillows affiliate program will be run through Affiliate Window and managed by SchaafPartner-Centric Affiliate Manger, Daniel Bryant. The program will feature:
10% Commission on all products
45 Day Cookie
Wide Variety of Creative
You can sign up for the Pebble Pillows affiliate program here.
We are pleased to announce that Schaaf-PartnerCentric is now managing the OfficeFurniture2go.com affiliate program. OfficeFurniture2go.com is your trusted source for office furniture with more than 25 years of experience. We have an extensive inventory of Office Desks, including best selling designs in the Office Source Office Furniture Collection and Bush Office Furniture Collection. Our quality products meet your business furnishing needs.
We also offer free lifetime warranties on all of our products, giving you the peace of mind that your order will be protected by our policy if repair or replacement is needed. You can also rest assured that we only work with vendors who meet our standards for quality delivery – ensuring that your order arrives on time and damage free.
8% Commission Payout
45 Day Cookie duration
Data Feed Available
The OfficeFurniture2go.com affiliate program is being managed by Schaaf-PartnerCentric Affiliate Manager Megan Sabo, to sign up for the program go here.
We are excited to announce that the BuyDomains Affiliate Program is now live on Impact Radius! The program was launched by Schaaf-PartnerCentric this month and offers a $175 payout for domain purchases and a 45 day cookie period.
BuyDomains offers the largest collection of Premium Domain Names. Since 1999, BuyDomains has been helping business owners and entrepreneurs create their online presence and find the domain name that is perfect for them. Find millions of high-quality domains offered for sale.
BuyDomains.com has enabled thousands of business owners to find a domain for their business that they wouldn’t have otherwise known was available. Premium domain names are an investment, and one that can pay off through more site traffic and sales, and provide benefits for years to come. Just like finding the right location is a critical decision in establishing and growing a brick-and-mortar business, securing the right online address is a critical first step in creating your online brand.
The program is managed by Schaaf-PartnerCentric affiliate manager Elia Badran. To sign up for the BuyDomains affiliate program, click here.
According to Comscore, overall sales for the craziest US-shopping period, Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, were up 10% YoY. Cyber Monday saw over $3B in sales, making it the largest single-day online sales event in history.
Schaaf-PartnerCentric saw a 27% average YoY revenue growth through their managed retail programs, 17% higher than the initial benchmarks released by Comscore. Similar to the industry trend, Cyber Sunday and Cyber Monday were strong performers, showing a 145% and 25% YoY increase, respectively.
SPC attributes the strong growth to leveraging in-depth performance data and strategic partnerships with key players for each vertical. In addition, bulk-discounting and effective commission negotiations led to a 9% increase in their clients’ Return on Ad Spend.
If you’re interested in discussing these benchmarks in more detail, contact us today.