July 13, 2016

Performance Marketing: The First Wave of 2016 (Infographic)

Author : Dana Pezzin

Marketing Coordinator at Schaaf-PartnerCentric

As we all know, performance marketing is an ever-changing industry. There is no shortage of new trends, changes, acquisitions and surprises. We’ve already seen some really exciting things happening in 2016 and thought an infographic would be a great way to share it all with you…

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April 21, 2016

The Top 6 Biggest Misconceptions in Affiliate Marketing

Author : Megan Sabo

At Schaaf-PartnerCentric, we will be the first ones to tell you that affiliate marketing can be a bit confusing. We’d go so far as to say that the complicated landscape for performance marketing is part of what keeps us in business. With that said, we thought it would be beneficial to shed a little light on the top affiliate misconceptions we see. To do so, we chatted with Megan Sabo, one of Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s experienced Account Managers. Continue reading to learn about the top 6 misunderstandings (and the truths that accompany them!) she’s observed in the affiliate marketing industry…

Misconception 1: Affiliate Programs are high risk and low ROI. The truth…

  • The affiliate channel is inherently low risk due to the structure of a traditional pay-per-performance affiliate program, where you only need to pay commissions when an affiliate generates a sale or lead (sales are inherently less risky), and don’t need to pay for clicks or impressions
  • There is a huge opportunity for high ROI given that there are ongoing costs are typically only for affiliate management services and commissions, no other associated costs.

Misconception 2: Affiliate could cause arbitrage and conflict with other digital marketing channels. The truth…

  • You can setup restrictions regarding how the brand is promoted via other channels like paid search trademark terms restrictions, email marketing requires compliance with CAN-SPAM and prior written approval from the advertiser. You should also setup attribution for your affiliate program to help mitigate this issue.

Misconception 3: Coupon sites have either less value or no value when compared to other publishers in an affiliate program. The truth…

  • You should create strong promotions for products/ areas where you’d like to see more sales (such as a product that isn’t performing well in other channels) and only allow coupon affiliates to promote these types of promotions. You can also segment the commission structure and offer coupon affiliates lower commissions than other affiliates.
  • The best way to keep coupon sites from taking sales from the affiliate channel and other channels is to control the messaging on the coupon sites through the promotions you offer.

Misconception 4: You only need to provide affiliates with text links and banners, and you can use the same creative/ text link copy through the year. The truth…

  • For better conversion rates, you should try new link types such as video, content, smart links, etc.
  • You should also create new banners, text links, and offers on a quarterly basis (or more frequently to match what you’re doing in other digital channels) to prevent stagnant performance and coupon fatigue. Pull performance reports to see which banner sizes, text link copy, and offer types perform best and replicate for future needs. Bonus: Ensure your product data feed is regularly updated (daily is deal!).

Misconception 5: Your affiliate program needs to be in as many networks as possible. The truth…

  • It is often beneficial to consolidate your program into fewer networks for cost savings (your top 1-2 performing networks), and ensure that your top performers in the lower performing networks are okay with moving to the other networks. Also, it’s helpful to give incentives for moving networks to these performers i.e. 1st sale bonus in the other networks, limited time exclusive offer, temporary commission increase, etc.

Misconception 6: You don’t need to communicate with your affiliates, you can just set up the program and forget it. The truth…

  • You should set up a regular communication schedule with your affiliates to keep them informed of new creative (see above), offers,  as well as product updates and other newsworthy items that will keep your brand and products top-of-mind with your affiliates. Bonus: Include sample blog content for blogger affiliates to reuse in their blogs, makes it easy for them to promote you!




March 21, 2016

The Ultimate Affiliate Program Checklist

Author : Morgan Simon

If you’re an advertiser, you’ve likely done your fair share of research on your affiliate program. But as your program evolves it is a good idea to revisit the basics every once in a while to make sure your program is set up for success.

To help you with this, we asked our team of experienced Affiliate Managers what key things your affiliate program plan should include. Our handy Marketing Coordinator, Dana then designed into an infographic you can print out and put next to your desk so it stays top of mind year-round…

aff_program_checklist_infographic_full

Now we want to hear from you! What other items are on your checklist? When do you typically do the planning and evaluation for your program? If you need help with your program plan and execution, we’re happy to help. We’re currently offering advertisers with an existing affiliate marketing program a complimentary audit. Simply click on the button below, fill out the form, and we’ll follow up with next steps!

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February 12, 2016

Why You Should Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing This Year

Author : Morgan Simon

InfluencerMarketingWithSchaafPartnerCentric

 

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
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 reach@schaafpc.com. 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:

Courtesy of: The Shelf




February 04, 2016

Adblocking and Performance Marketing: What You Need to Know

Author : Morgan Simon

Adblocking Schaaf-PartnerCentric

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.

Adblocking lost revenue

How Many People Are Adblocking?
A lot, that’s how many. Recent reports have estimated that the number is around 10% of online consumers and constantly climbing. That equates to around 198 million people running adblockers each month. While adblocking has been around since 2010, it has really only gained traction in the last two years with mainstream consumers. The more important question you should be asking is how much money is being left on the table – which is over $20 billion in revenue was lost in 2015 alone.

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.