The lead up to the festive period often helps to spike online revenue for many of our retailers here at Silverbean. Whether you are a fashion, gifting, ticketing, outdoor fitter or homeware merchant, it’s critical to ensure you maximise pre and post-Christmas revenue potential via your affiliate program. Our Senior Affiliate Marketing Manager Nic Yates reviews methods of optimising your affiliate strategy during the festive period…

At Silverbean we ALWAYS plan for the festive period early. No ifs or buts, and the earlier the better in our eyes. An important factor for a successful Christmas period is knowing your promotional plan and for your campaign manager to put together an effective affiliate strategy. Review the affiliate channel objectives for the seasonal period and if possible, review tenancy, commission increases and competitions based promotions for additional exposure.

Ensure to analyse as much data as possible when approaching the festive period. Utilise year to date and prior year’s Q4 KPIs to highlight key publishers and engage with these publishers as early as possible to discuss their plans both post and pre-Christmas. Whilst your own accounts data is a great tool to utilise, it’s useful to gain insights from networks too as they can help to identify new affiliates, spot purchasing trends and share industry knowledge.

Strategies in line with the merchant’s objectives:

At Silverbean our approach is one of complete digital partnership, across all services. Naturally, the affiliate strategy we present to our clients coincides with business objectives to ensure, to use layman’s terms, we’re all singing from the same carol sheet (Christmas pun, har har). One of our clients’ aims was to increase affiliate revenue by 20% year-on-year, but also increase sales from new users. As the brand is a multi-brand retailer we utilised their broad product range to our advantage and target various affiliate niches.

An example of this was utilising their jacket range to maximise sales in October/ November. We selected a key affiliate and offered a jacket for a competition and the merchant received over 3,000 data entrants whilst also gaining key exposure for some large ticket products all based on the standard CPA.

The same theory applies for December. Create an affiliate/merchant unique selling point with key affiliates and look to offer them something your competitor is not. By offering the affiliate something unique, chances are your relationship will grow and they are more likely to promote your products on-site.

Maximise the power of content to boost affiliate sales:

Christmas gift guides are often a focus point for a brand after the Cyber Weekend. Ensure you are addressing the market correctly for gift guides – the key is in the “gift”. Think outside the box and where possible recruit new affiliates who may be more suited to the buyer rather than the user. In addition to this, keep up to date with key lifestyle events, cinema releases and celebrity fashion guides.

An example of this can be seen within James Bond Lifestyles gift guide for our client N.Peal. Due to the latest James Bond film “Spectre”, the site has seen a surge in traffic, which has resulted in an increase in revenue and brand engagement. It’s also crucial to promote the “last day of guaranteed delivery” to users onsite, too. This should be factored into your affiliate strategy to ensure the purchase is not postponed leading to a missed sale.

Plan for the inevitable lull after last delivery date:

E-commerce sites often see a lull in between the last day of guaranteed delivery and their Boxing Day sale. Look to utilise the affiliate channel during this period to maximise sales online. This is dependent on the relationship between brick and mortar stores and e-commerce, however where possible utilise the affiliate channel to push an exclusive Boxing Day sale preview. This will maximise revenue online during an expected lull in trade.

According to data from Affiliate Window within quarter 4 the Average Commission Value hits its lowest at £3.88 on Boxing Day. Merchants need to take this into account when asking affiliates to plan promotions for their Boxing Day sale. Due to the fact the Average Commission Value is at its lowest, affiliates might prefer to spend time with their loved ones and have content automatically pushed onsite.

Some additional pointers:

Another point to add to the festive affiliate strategy (and indeed something to consider over the course of the year!) is to ensure your product feed is updated regularly. This will help to ensure stock is available to purchase and sale prices are pushed out via users utilising the feed.

Even when in sale, where possible look to offer additional codes via the affiliate channel. On key sale dates such as Boxing Day or Black Friday, voucher-code sites are often the start of the customer journey. Through ensuring you have the correct exposure on key publisher sites, there should be an increase in sales.

An example of this can be seen from Craghoppers‘ Black Friday promotion. They highlighted two key social and voucher-code publishers and through offering an additional exclusive code through these key publishers, gained an increase in revenue of 134% YoY.

A well planned and executed affiliate strategy over the festive period should drive incremental value and deliver against your onsite objectives. If you have any doubt your affiliate strategy is not up to scratch, or if you’ve read this and feel a little late to the (Christmas!) party, never fear – you can contact us right away and we can take care of it all next year!