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How to Capture Online Holiday Shoppers via the Affiliate Channel

A recent study by Rakuten Advertising reported that over 70% of shoppers do not plan to decrease spend on holiday shopping this year and 73% of consumers are looking to shop primarily online for the peak holiday period.

After a challenging start to 2020, the consumer intent to continue spending over the holiday period is good news for brands. With consumers expected to move predominantly online for their holiday shopping, brands must employ effective online marketing strategies to gain awareness and reach during this competitive period.

Our team of affiliate marketing experts share how brands can utilize the affiliate channel to capture holiday shoppers online and drive growth.


Think Competitively

An attractive and competitive offer is vital to gain traction and exposure, with Rakuten Marketing reporting that 49% of consumers are planning to change the way they shop to save more money. Cashback and Voucher partners will be an excellent tool for brands looking to incentivize shoppers to invest over the holiday period. In 2019, testing new Black Friday focused placements on loyalty affiliates generated over 120 customer sales for one AP client.

Take time to research what offers your competitors ran last year and what offers performed well. Be sure to bake in the additional budget for CPA increases and incentives that will allow your brand to gain maximum exposure with top-performing partners.

Testing specific offers with certain partners can be a great way to test different offers while controlling spend and volumes. It’s also important to have a plan B, should a competitor match a deal, or launch early.

Ensure you have consistent communication with program partners and send regular newsletters with promotions, sales, and specific product offers that are running during the holiday period.


Prepare Your Website

Ensure both your site and affiliate tracking are working correctly. Ahead of Q4, here are some things that are good to do:

  • Check all tracking pixels.
  • Ensure your site is set-up to handle any significant spikes in traffic over the holiday shopping period.
  • Review where you place offers on your website to allow for maximum conversions.
  • Check that imagery and content are relevant and up to date.
  • Check your customer journey from landing on your website to checkout to ensure it’s a seamless customer experience

You can also increase SEO rankings by writing holiday-related landing pages or blog posts that promote particular products. Gift guides can also be a great way to promote specific products, you can also share these with partners to support promotional activity. 


Plan Ahead

Booking placements with affiliates should be a top priority, start to plan at least two months in advance; the earlier, the better. Try to book a variety of exposure opportunities, including homepage listings, newsletter inclusions, offer alerts, and increased category ranks and be sure to track all of your placements to allow for optimizations throughout the campaign. We also recommend putting in place KPI agreements with top partners to ensure you have a fall back if targets aren’t achieved.


Treat Each Partnership Individually

Each partner has its characteristics, target audience(s) and requirements. Be sure to take the time to understand individual partner nuances and audiences so you can tailor your outreach and provide them with everything they need to promote your brand. If a specific partner is strong for a particular product category, consider creating a focused offer or promotional plan. Partners usually promote a large number of brands at the same time, so having strong relationships with your partners is an important way to ensure your stay top of mind with that partner.


Creative Planning and Deliverables

Preparation is the key to a successful holiday campaign. Be sure to share promotional messaging and creative assets with affiliates in advance of the promotional periods. Ensure creatives are available on your affiliate platform in a variety of sizes and that you provide bespoke banners to affiliates for specific placements, where needed.

It’s also essential to have an up-to-date program product feed as a lot of partners use these to deep-link to specific products.


Looking for a list of the key holidays and observances you can promote across the globe? Download your copy of our global guide to holidays and observances today.