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.
October 02, 2015
Latest posts by Krissy Stonebraker (see all)
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!
May 11, 2015
Latest posts by Kris Ritchie (see all)
Loyalty, coupon, content, technology, blogger, social – there are so many business models being used by affiliates, how do you know which will be the best fit for your business, and more importantly, drive sales to develop an effective partnership? As an agency that manages affiliate programs across multiple industries and verticals, we are responsible for quickly understanding the business model of an affiliate, comparing that to the strategy of our programs, then determining if they are a viable fit.
Here are five questions we use to benchmark the potential of an affiliate for a program:
Is the affiliate responsive?
Are they dedicated to making it work? Even the best affiliate sites can underperform if the affiliate is asleep at the wheel. If either side cannot communicate and keep development of an activation or optimization process moving forward, then it will be difficult to understand the potential of the partnership. Lack of communication will result in frustration and inefficiency.
What is the affiliate’s historical performance across other programs?
Keep an eye on top industry performers to make sure they are in the program and driving traffic. These affiliates have typically achieved the highest network earnings and have proven their value by driving revenue across numerous programs. Use network earnings in context as an affiliate may be particularly strong for a certain vertical that is not necessarily a fit for a different program. Don’t categorically decline an affiliate after one bad experience and plan to revisit any missing affiliate categories within a specific timeline. Business strategies shift on both sides and what may not have been a good fit in the past, could prove effective for the future. Work to create diversity in the affiliate program to minimize risk with affiliate categories and individual affiliates. Working with different types of affiliates across several categories uncovers more opportunities for the program in the long run, while providing a healthy foundation to grow on.
Is the affiliate’s business model a good fit for the product and program strategy?
Don’t be afraid to ask the affiliate about the demographics of their visitor base. Ask how they are driving traffic to their site. Make sure the program is aligned with their model and the type of visitors they have on their site. For example, most lead programs do not perform well with incentive sites. An incentive site, a site that rewards members for performing an action, opens the door to low- to no- value actions for lead programs. If a member is rewarded for filling out an interest form for a car loan, the actual desire to buy will likely be non-existent. This clogs the lead funnel and drains an affiliate budget. On the other hand, a retail program may do well with incentive sites.
What is the affiliate’s potential?
Affiliates with a solid base of visitors and a roadmap to continue to grow traffic to their site illustrate that the partnership can grow along with them. Having a significant and engaged audience can be difficult to cultivate, but is necessary when choosing partnerships that have the best chance of driving high quality actions. As a program manager, choose partnerships with long-term potential. Some affiliates may be very enthusiastic, but get a feel for their potential in the initial stages and try to focus on the partners with a proven track record or at least a solid plan for growth. Don’t be afraid to push to establish partnerships you feel strongly about, even if the model is new to the program or industry.
What does the affiliate need for the partnership?
Do they require a datafeed? An exclusive offer? VIP payout rate? Trademark+ allowance? If you can’t allow certain tools, it could be a waste of both of your time to engage. In other words, identify the deal breakers before you get too deep into the conversation. If an affiliate asks for many custom items prior to working with your client, try recommending a phased approach and leverage the tools you already have for optimization to minimize the risk and prove the affiliate’s value. The advertiser will likely be more receptive to custom requests once they can get a feel for the type of volume the affiliate can drive.
The success of our affiliate programs rely on our ability to quickly approve or disqualify an affiliate for a program, and to direct resources toward affiliates that have the potential to drive high-value actions for our clients.
If you’re interested in learning more about Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s affiliate recruitment techniques, please request a consultation.