Singles Day, held on 11/11, quickly became a formidable holiday for online retailers prepping for Q4. Almost solely celebrated in China, Singles Day is now the largest trading day in the world. Alibaba saw a 60% increase in revenue year-over-year, with the majority of those sales in the cosmetics category.
One of our e-commerce retailers saw phenomenal year-over-year revenue growth through the affiliate channel due to a few strategic placements. One complicated placement required 25 alterations to an affiliate’s commission rate, but was the major contributor to the 1050% growth in revenue for the holiday. Other efforts, like vanity codes and temporary cash-back increases to targeted affiliates, also augmented revenue.
We’re looking forward to similar successes with Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner.
We are happy to announce that the Better Rest affiliate program is being professionally managed by Schaaf-PartnerCentric.
Better Rest Solutions is the online seller of the SoClean 2 CPAP sanitizer. The SoClean is extremely unique, as it enables CPAP users (a sleep apnea (OSA) therapy) to sanitize their CPAP equipment hands-free and in the comfort of their own homes. A clean, sanitized CPAP along with its connective equipment is extremely important to maintain. If users do not address the clean maintenance of their CPAP, they tend to either not use their doctor prescribed CPAP equipment or they breathe in air that is contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and mold; which in turn exposes the user to becoming sick.
Benefits of the Better Rest affiliate program:
Earn 10% for every sale you refer to Better Rest Solutions
Whether your affiliate program is large or small, you have probably put some thought into your Q4 paid placement strategy. If you’re selling a niche product, this can be particularly complex, and a limited-to-no budget makes it even more difficult. Don’t worry. There are options available. But before you get started, here are a few things to think about:
Know your budget, and don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.If your budget is $2,000, consider four placements at $500 each or ten placements at $200 each.
Publisher inventory is limited, so only certain publishers are willing to negotiate. Offer what you can, and try to cover the difference in a commission increase as a show of good-will.
A placement that is right for one merchant may not be right for you.Different placements perform better from one merchant or product to another, however, if you have deep pockets, we have seen great results from Brad’s Deals in just about every Q4 placement across verticals.
Be prepared to offer your best deal of the year.Customers have extremely high expectations on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Don’t let them down.
If you do not have a paid placement budget, opportunities are still available. Many top publishers offer holiday placements in exchange for a commission increase and an exclusive offer or vanity code. Take advantage of this.
Mr. Rebates has commission-only inclusions for their holiday event, and loyalty publishers like Mr. Rebates typically offer a portion (if not all) of the commission increase to the customer in the form of cash back. Goodshop includes merchants in their “Goodshop Sunday” event (following Black Friday) in exchange for either an exclusive offer or double commission, which doubles the donation to charity. In 2014, Goodshop donated a portion of nearly every sale to the customer’s choice of one of over 110,000 participating causes.
When planning for Q4 placements, have patience with your research and negotiations and you can uncover a few diamonds in the rough.
If you’d like to see the our roster of 27 affiliates picked to perform this Q4, check out our Affiliate Draft Picks.
In a fantasy sports draft some of your later picks can be the most important. Like affiliate, most of the heavy hitters are well known and everyone is vying for their partnership. But, your long-tail players, those diamonds in the rough, can produce massive, unexpected results for your team and can make or break your fantasy season. In the affiliate space, these might be partners that haven’t quite hit your radar, but could show strong performance in your Q4 portfolio. Let’s take a look at a few that fit this description in the mobile category.
Kiip is a neat mobile advertising network that connects consumers with a favorite brand during a positive moment on their phone. For example, Kiip offers pop-up when I hit my water intake goal, thereby associating my personal win with a “reward”. As a publisher, Kiip provides brands with unique targeting opportunities during critical junctures of psychology. Kiip touts access to over 3,000 apps and over 90MM users, and I think it’s worth a test.
There are many merchants out there still not taking advantage of location-based mobile advertising. Whether you’re a retailer or a brand, hitting up consumers with a special offer in the moment is a great way to beef up sales. Spotzot has years of success behind its belt and is a pro at delivering ready-to-buy consumers.
If you run financial offers, you’ll want to look into working with Credit Sesame. Credit Sesame’s consumers are seeking financial education and a better credit score. Traffic from Credit Sesame is high quality for financial offers, due to the demographics of this publisher and the longevity of its users. With so much value offered to consumers (free credit score, free ID theft protection, personalized offers) consumers spend more time on this site overall, while also coming back to it for months to come.
Billed as the ultimate shopping hack, Jet.com is a great app for smart consumers. Working with Jet.com brings your brand in front of the eyes of a smart and savvy demographic of consumers that is continuing to grow at a fast pace. Also, Jet.com shoppers can earn JetCash by using their jetanywhere program allowing them to shop at over 600 brands outside of the Jet.com site.
If you’d like to see the our roster of 27 affiliates picked to perform this Q4, check out our Affiliate Draft Picks.
Looking for the right affiliates to get the job done? Preparing for Q4 is no small task and if you’re a smaller merchant that doesn’t have much wiggle room for paid placements, it’s a good idea to make a favorable impression with some of our top Q4 affiliates before it’s too late. Take a moment to review your affiliate list and see who your current top performers are. Reach out to them with new and exciting offers that are specific to each upcoming holiday. Provide exclusive promotional codes and semi-exclusive offers to ensure you’ll make sales this holiday season.
RetailMeNot is one of the whales in the space, and you’ll want to make sure they’re joined and active in your affiliate program. Once a relationship is established, you may be able to negotiate a holiday placement or two with strong commission increases and exclusive vanity codes.
Other top performers include: Savings.com, ShopAtHome, and CouponCabin, who offer special, seasonal placements for a more effective reach. But don’t wait until the last minute to recruit or negotiate deals, as these affiliate sites fill-up quickly and placement comes at a price.
I’d also like to suggest a few more noteworthy affiliates for you smaller merchants. Goodshop.com provides the shopping deals on the internet, and also makes a donation to the nonprofit or school of your choice for almost every purchase you make.
Offers.com is a leading online destination for consumers to save time and money. Offers.com serve up the top coupon codes, product deals and other offers from more than 8,000 stores and brands. Offers also strives to help the community through events like volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and awarding a $2,500 scholarship each year to deserving, savings-minded college students. Be sure to check out their Holiday Savings Centers and savings tips on the best ways to save, a few of their more popular holiday content pieces.
Also look into adding UltimateCoupons to your program. UltimateCoupons’ team of veteran bargain hunters is committed to hand-testing and delivering the latest and best coupons to their audience on a daily basis. They partner with thousands of top retailers, and have one of the largest collections of coupons on the web.
Take the time to create a memorable relationship with these top performing publishers and make a statement! You’re still a growing company building a name for yourself, so offer the best savings and biggest deals and beat your competitors’ prices. Drive traffic and increase revenue for your affiliate program this holiday season!
Influencer marketing refers to the process of identifying and leveraging key individuals that have influence over a subsection of a target market, as opposed to targeting the market as a whole.
Influencer marketing is about engaging with key individuals with an online presence, in the hopes of accessing and influencing their followers or subscribers, which will ultimately lead to more brand awareness and brand affinity. This type of marketing often calls for more personal engagement with the influencer, to develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
An “influencer” is identified as a site or person that:
Has an online presence with strong influence over potential customers
Has a defined website audience reach or social media footprint
Can offer strong brand affinity based on their following and target audience
Is perceived as an expert and has credibility and trust on a subject matter
Is a conduit of modern day word-of-mouth marketing
Influencer marketing is an important component to any online content marketing strategy, especially in the retail vertical. REACH influence marketing services, provided by Schaaf-PartnerCentric, can help curate the outreach to, and provide guaranteed placements on, influencer websites and social outlets. REACH allows highly targeted messaging for specific markets. Read more about how REACH helped a boutique fashion retailer engage with a handful of high-value bloggers to effectively represent their brand.
Welcome to our fourth “Meet The Team” blog post, where I interview new members of Schaaf-PartnerCentric and talk to them about how they ended up in the affiliate marketing industry as well as how their experience is here at Schaaf-PartnerCentric. In today’s Meet The Team blog, I have decided to interview Alex Reno who is the Project Manager of Technology for Schaaf-PartnerCentric.
What is your background and how did you find Schaaf-PartnerCentric?
“I graduated from UCSB and worked in sales for four years at SantaBarbara Magazine. After working in Publishing, I decided I definitely wanted to jump into the online world and work with CJ Affiliate. I was a part of the agency team at CJ Affiliate for a couple years and then moved into the integration side of the house for about 2 more. After working in the affiliate marketing space for 4 years, I now have the opportunity to be a part of the Schaaf-PartnerCentric team as the Project Manager of Technology.”
What do you do for SPC and what do you like the most about your position?
“It’s my job to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle fit together during a client integration. I make sure our integrations are moving along in an efficient manner with the highest quality from our team. It is our team’s job to make sure the client’s program is set up for success! I also work on post integration client requests. Additionally, I assist with developing our internal training processes and tools as well as new hire trainings and projects.”
“What I like most about my position is that I get to work with different clients daily and set them up for success in the affiliate world. Learning each client’s new business and how they run it is super cool! I also truly enjoy working on our internal training projects.”
What do you like the most about Schaaf-PartnerCentric?
“I love how Schaaf-PartnerCentric completely cares about their clients and always has their best interests at heart. We tailor the programs to make them successful for each of our client’s needs. I love how innovative and smart the entire Schaaf-PartnerCentric team is! We really keep up with the changing industry and I love collaborating with every person on different projects.”
What do you work on outside of Schaaf-PartnerCentric?
“I love running. Running is a way to clear my mind and relieve stress. I love bike rides, hanging out with family and friends, cooking, and reading. Travel is something I definitely would like to do more of down the line. Fun fact about me is that I have an obsession with organizing different things whether it be re-arranging my work files and desk, organizing a friend’s closet, or putting together a fun dinner party.”
What advice would you give to new hires here at Schaaf- PartnerCentric?
“I would advise new hires to not be afraid to dive in and ask about what people are doing within their role in the company. Always get feedback. Keep up with the changing industry and expect change, it will be for the better. Knowing exactly how your department works and what your contribution is to the company is very important. For remote workers, get into a routine of picking up the telephone daily and don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially because you are not in the office. People will appreciate your questions and feedback and this will help you grow.”
If you liked this blog, go check out my other Meet the Team articles. You can see what it is like being the Marketing and Events Coordinator here, learn more about the life of a Marketing Analyst here or walk in the shoes of our Graphic Designer here. If you want to get the latest Affiliate Marketing news, go ahead and give us a like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter.
As the affiliate industry matures, concerns about the value of the affiliate channel, and of specific affiliates, are coming up. Advertisers are questioning their capabilities in driving incremental traffic to their site. Technology and tracking developments in the past five years have given us access to the data that allows insights into the click path of a customer, which, in turn, enables us to understand the value of each online marketing channel. The use of this big data is still in its infancy, but allows senior online marketers to question the value of the sale that each affiliate brings to an advertiser’s website.
How to measure incremental traffic depends on a variety of factors: the program’s business model, brand presence, consistency in offers across marketing channels, available tools to measure and collect data, in addition to other considerations.
Incrementality is not solely related to new customers. Incrementality is about being included in the consideration set when the customer is shopping, as well as when they are purchasing.
A sophisticated marketer will use company and affiliate program goals, coupled with thorough attribution data, to effectively measure incremental sales in an affiliate program.
How To Determine Affiliate Channel Incrementality
The first step to assessing the affiliate program’s contribution to incremental sales is to define what incremental means to your company. Depending on business priorities, it could mean attracting new customers, clickstream placement, a correlation to internal reports, or any combination of the above. We recently spoke with a retailer who understood that incremental traffic for them was not a new customer, but related more to the life-time value of that customer. For them, a new customer garnered through steep discounting did not equal an incremental sale. What they were looking for through their affiliate acquisition strategy were more customers reflective of the LTV of their core.
Once an incremental sale is defined, put parameters in place for measurement. You can do this by leveraging tracking software and affiliate network features to gather the relevant data. You’ll then want to analyze the accrued data to direct program strategy. Look at the average touch points across channels, the typical initiators, and the typical closers. Work to define an average cost-per-sale across all channels by assigning a value to each touch point.
With a comprehensive strategy in place, resources can now be directed to improve avenues that drive strong incremental traffic. On a per affiliate basis, determine who is driving higher volume traffic and work to optimize that relationship. If an affiliate drives low value traffic, consider decreasing affiliate commissions to value that traffic appropriately.
A Real-Life Example
One of our clients was concerned that a category of affiliates was hijacking traffic at the last minute and getting full credit for the sale. We set out to define the traffic from this group, as well as to define traffic on a per-affiliate basis. We used the client’s internal attribution reporting and compared it to affiliate network data to identify patterns in incremental value per affiliate group. Some affiliates had a high percent of orders credited to another media channel, indicating low value traffic. Others, we determined, had high value referral traffic. We then segmented publishers based on the quality of traffic, lowering commissions for the low quality referrals, and increasing engagement with the high-value affiliates. After the first year, we saved the client $605,000 in unnecessary commissions, while increasing high-quality revenue 25% YOY.
Defining incrementality is a multi-faceted issue that requires a multi-faceted approach. With the right technique and the right clarity into the data, you can feel confident about the value of the affiliate channel.
If you’re interested in learning how Schaaf-PartnerCentric builds custom affiliate programs with a focus on incremental sales, please request a consultation.
July was an exciting month for all the team members at Schaaf-PartnerCentric. For all of our hard work in adding clarity for our clients, our partners, and our team during the 2nd quarter, we were rewarded with a mandatory “Half-Day To Play” as requested by CEO, Stephanie Harris.
Unlike your typical half-day off, we were required to go out and do something fun during our time away from the office and take pictures to prove that we weren’t sleeping or staying in the house. As you can see from the pictures above, we did everything from going out with our families, eating with friends, relaxing while enjoying the outdoors, to even the more adventurous kayaking and running around a water park.
After spending our time away from work, the team was excited to view the pictures and learn more about our lives beyond our computers. This time off also helped us collect our thoughts and push us forward to achieve high goals into the next quarter.
As much as we loved the half-day off, we had important business to get back to – cultivating and growing profitable and productive relationships for our clients and partners. Please note – the animals and kids shown in this collage were not harmed during the making of Half Day To Play, forced picture posing and doing whatever we wanted aside.
If you would like to view more adventures of the Schaaf-PartnerCentric team, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. If you liked this blog, check out our Meet The Team Series to learn more about our experiences at Schaaf-PartnerCentric. If you want to hear more about the latest Affiliate Marketing news, subscribe to our newsletter here.