The holiday season is upon us, and if you’re in the ecommerce world, you’re likely looking to maximize your revenue and keep your ROAS high while posting strong numbers for the key holiday dates. Luckily, our Affiliate and Performance team put together some tips and tricks for you to consider during your holiday planning and execution.
Media Placements & How to Budget
Media and Placement costs will increase drastically during the Q4 holiday season—meaning now is NOT the time to try “something new.” By now, you should have a strong idea where your core affiliate and performance marketing consumers are and what type of offers those audiences respond to.
When setting up an affiliate budget, allocate approximately 30% for flat fee placements, as commissions will tend to rise beyond your standard operations. This ensures you have sufficient funds to manage increased performance and associated costs. Identify your peak days (strongest promotions) and your top traffic and revenue driving partners.
If you haven’t tested paid placements or commissions increases this year or previous holiday seasons, stick to the lower cost packages that give you key performance days but are not solo packages at the increased costs. If you have tested prior, you should have benchmarks and previous data to tell you the lift you should expect in traffic and conversions during the period.
For reference, the Cart.com team runs three different projections to ensure budgets will be available and cover all potential outcomes for the season in order to drive the results our brands want and expect.
Content Publishers & Gift Guide Inclusions
Content publishers are already gearing up for their holiday gift guides and gift guide inclusions. It's good to start these conversations early so you can understand the publishers focus, as that will be beneficial in selecting the right partners for a Q4 holiday gift guide.
Additionally, increasing commissions or adding additional performance incentives for the content publishers will help ensure the publishers utilize your affiliate tracking links rather than drive traffic to Amazon, WalMart, etc.
We recommend starting conversations for Gift Guide inclusions with your top content publishers early in Q3 to ensure that you have secured your spot. Remember content publishers can drive down the overall conversion rates of the affiliate and performance marketing channels with a high click volume. Push for the conversion by adding on a special offer for content publishers (free shipping, additional % off, special GWP, etc.) to drive the maximum conversion and keep your overall channel CVR strong.
Promotional & Event Planning
Don’t wait until the last minute to determine what your offers will be during the holiday season. Our Affiliate team monitors trends and competitor offers during the holiday season and utilizes that information to recommend what promotions, offers and events will be most beneficial for our brands to capture as much of the Q4 buying audiences as possible.
Our detailed Q4 plans typically include the following key dates: Single’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Early Black Friday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Post Cyber Holidays and Free Shipping Day. During each of the key days, the Affiliate team will have various offers, promotions, and events running to capture as well as “trigger” events that can be turned on immediately to drive even stronger performance or to adjust to a less-than-stellar performance trend. Having trigger campaigns puts less stress on merchandizing teams and allows for affiliate teams to quickly activate additional offers and events.
Integrated Media Approach
No media channel lives in a silo, and the affiliate and performance channels are deeply reliant upon paid media, organic and lifecycle channels to be in sync to perform to the upmost potential for the season.
Our integrated media teams include and map affiliate channel offers and promotions in line with all other active media channels to ensure messages, offers, events and promotions are clearly communicated, adhere to brand standards, and allow each individual channel to maximize potential and minimize channel overlap.
The affiliate channels typically run a faster and more frequent offer cadence when compared to other channels. However, the testing done through the earlier months of the year help give valuable information to our planning, merchandising and media teams so they can better focus funds and maximize returns all the way through Q4.