Based on the record successes and growth rates our clients experienced within their affiliate programs in 2019, our teams were excited about the customized plans and partnership strategies we’d put in place for their programs in 2020.
We started off the year onboarding new strategic partners with new technology capabilities, aligning their affiliate programs with their other marketing channels to optimize their incrementality goals and scaling their program in new ways.
Then, the virus that we’d been hearing about that had hit China spread throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe and the world. Suddenly, stores and restaurants were being told to close their doors, employees were told to work from home, schools were shuttered and stay-at-home orders were instituted in various ways around the globe.
Within our global partner marketing agency, our teams went from implementing our carefully thought-out campaigns for our clients to asking ourselves, how do we best support our clients as they navigate this global pandemic?
We all started sailing in uncharted waters. Having not experienced a global pandemic in our lifetime, there was no playbook for how to move forward. All we knew is that we needed to act – and fast.
A Focus on Economic Insights and Benchmarks
One of the first things we did was to establish an internal economic focus group that engaged team members from different client accounts and different levels within the organization to brainstorm and strategize solutions to help our clients amidst this abrupt economic change.
As we dove into the data, we noticed some common trends across our clients, their industry verticals and the partners within their programs—especially around strategies that were working and those that weren’t as successful.
We also realized that by sharing this data across all our global account teams and with all of our global clients, we’d be better able to optimize their programs during this uncertain economic time.
After curating dashboards and insights, our newly founded Economic Insights team began creating an “Economic Insights Benchmark Report” that analyzed select client data each week. We then started sending it out to all of our global clients to help them stay informed on affiliate industry trends and strategies that other brands were finding effective
The weekly reports included a week-over-week (WoW) breakdown at the client vertical level and the publisher (affiliate partners) segment level.
Because the weekly reports were so beneficial to our clients, including the senior leadership within their organizations as well as other departments, we decided to curate the WoW insights into a monthly blog post in the hopes that this data might also help you navigated these uncharted waters as it has for us and our clients.
Client Performance Data: March and April 2020
We began sending these weekly Economic Insight Benchmark Report emails to all of our clients in the beginning of April.
The first WoW economic insights email went out on April 7, 2020 and compared revenue growth and partner insights between March 23rd and April 5th.
In proceeding weekly emails, we started to include winning strategies that were being implemented by our clients around the globe.
Key Insights from data gathered between March 23rd and the end of April 2020 include:
- Brands with products or services that helped occupy consumer’s time in the Stay-Home Economy saw strong growth, including Education, Business Solutions and Household.
- Apparel brands promoting new flash sales, product deals and affiliate program exclusives saw significant growth as consumers were looking for steep discounts (comparable or better than the holiday season).
- With other marketing channels scaling back spend, content partners saw an 80 percent revenue increase as they were open to cost-per-action (CPA) increases. Brands were also able to take advantage of a true pay-per-performance model with mass media partners.
Our Month-Over-Month Client Data Analysis:
Client Performance Data: May 2020
Client program performance insights from data gathered between May 1st and May 30, 2020:
- As some regions began to reopen around the world in May, notable positive revenue trends were seen in the Travel and Entertainment verticals, both of which have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. This likely a reflection of people vacationing close to home or planning ahead for events.
- Despite the fact that many life events and gathering celebrations, such a weddings, bridal and baby showers have been impacted due to stay-at-home orders, registry publishers have seen a surge in popularity as consumers are still eager to send gifts. With more “virtual parties,” families and friends are still buying gifts, just not in-person or in-store.
- Publisher partnerships that focus on Site/Cart Abandonment, Trademark Plus (TM+) campaigns, Employee Perks and Toolbars has yielded incremental sales for brands testing these partnerships. Employees are leveraging resources more than ever before including retail discounts exclusive to their employers.
Week-Over-Week Client Data for May 2020
Note: Data compiled over the week of March 26th, 2020 was consolidated in the MoM client data analysis below.
Our Month-Over-Month Client Data Analysis:
Up Next … June 2020 Client Data
Next month, we’ll publish a blog post that focuses on client performance data from June 2020.
In the meantime, should you have any questions about this data or the strategies other brands are finding successful during these challenging and uncertain economic times, please reach out so we can put you in contact with the right person to answer your questions.
Kelly Ground is an Associate Account Director at Acceleration Partners
Learn more about our approach to affiliate marketing program management on our Global Services page.