February 08, 2016
Latest posts by Lisette Howard (see all)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 20, 2016
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 email@example.com to see how we can work with you to help your affiliate program thrive in 2016.
October 29, 2015
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.
April 28, 2015
Latest posts by Lisette Howard (see all)
Applying the Google Mobile Algorithm to an Affiliate Program
With the most recent Google ‘mobile-geddon’ algorithm update, it’s more apparent than ever that mobile strategy is a must have when building out an affiliate plan. After all, 2015 is the year of mobile. With smartphone usage up 76% and in-app engagement up 52%* (the fastest growing sector of mobile marketing), a lackluster mobile affiliate strategy means missed revenue opportunity.
For the affiliate channel, this means re-thinking how to engage the consumer. Engagement moves beyond a traditional purchase and onto app downloads, app engagement, mobile video, in-store purchases, and so on.
What Type of Affiliate Should You Be Working With?
With the shift to mobile, smart devices have become shopping assistants. We use them more then ever for price comparisons, shopping advice, promotions, and offers. According to Google Shopper Marketing Council, 84% of smartphone shoppers use their phones while in a physical store. Affiliate partners like Valassis and Ibotta are tapping into this trend to marry the online to in-store shopping experience. The use of beacons in-stores is becoming more relevant as well. Stores can now connect with shoppers in real time to provide promotions, coupons, and maps all through their mobile device.
Advertising in-app has been happening for years, but just as of recent has it really scaled to a new level. Affiliate partners Tapjoy, Fyber, and Woobi have been working to perfect the in-app experience by providing native ads and engaging content. The great thing about in-app advertising is that you can target the right user at the right time and not be intrusive or annoying while doing it. New advanced targeting capabilities allow advertisers to hone in on their ideal customer. In-app also no longer just means app downloads, but also includes rich media ads, app engagement, retargeting, video, and much more. Users are able to choose who they engage with versus being forced to interact with an ad.
As mobile continues to become more prevalent more DSP’s (demand-side platform) will pop up in the market. These companies, like Deep Forest Media, help provide a technology that allows advertisers to personalize their mobile campaigns across devices, making it a true omni-channel experience. Expect to see a new level of targeting in the coming months.
How Can You Help Affiliates Optimize Their Sites
The Right Creative
With smaller screen space on mobile and tablet it’s important that you are providing assets to partners that are mobile optimized.
- Banners that are static, non-flash
- Better image sizes: 168×28, 300×50, 250×250
- Less noise
Mobile Optimized Site
Ensuring that your site is mobile optimized is not only important, but also crucial when trying to make it a seamless user experience. If your site is not mobile optimized you will be at a disadvantage.
- Categories are easy to click through
- Shopping cart funnel is clear and concise
- Affiliate tracking link is on all mobile check out pages
- Product and deep links redirect to mobile site
As companies become better at targeting expect to see a higher level of user engagement and conversion rates. Brick and mortar companies will also be expected to have a mobile app to engage while customers are in-store. Advertisers will begin to notice a bigger shift in sales coming from mobile and less from online, transitioning from eCommerce to mCommerce.
At Schaaf-PartnerCentric we want to help you stay ahead of the curve with industry trends. Having a mobile strategy in place is crucial and we want to help ensure you are acquiring new customers and providing an optimal experience for your users.
If you’re interested in determining how Schaaf-PartnerCentric might help your affiliate program, please request a consultation.
* comScore: The U.S. Mobile App Report, August 21, 2014
* Google Shopper Marketing Council, April 2013