tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/affiliate-marketing Latest Affiliate Marketing content from Econsultancy 2016-08-24T09:35:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2016-08-24T09:35:00+01:00 2016-08-24T09:35:00+01:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to a B2B report) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet, statistics and online market research with data, facts, charts and figures.The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need, to help make your pitch or internal report up to date.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Those looking for B2B-specific data should consult our <a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B Internet Statistics Compendium</a>.</strong></p> <p> <strong>Regions covered in each document (where available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68102 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 Why there should be more plaudits for digital audits Chris Bishop <p>Those at the top of organisations don’t feel they have the strategic sweep to justify the time and effort required to commission them.</p> <p>Audits are viewed at times as a little “too tactical” or only done once every blue moon by agencies aiming to impress for your business, only to then collect dust on top of Econsultancy buyers guides print outs or even your old New Media Age magazines (<strong>Ed</strong>: We let this lie, but only to show we have a sense of humour).</p> <p>For the in-house Head of Ecommerce, requesting a digital audit might sound dangerously like a turkey voting for Christmas. </p> <h3>Are we selling audits wrongly?</h3> <p>Or is it the slightly cheesy marketing of website or marketing auditors themselves that is putting people off?</p> <p>All that tired ‘digital health check’ stuff might be the kind of foot in the door tactic that make brands feel suspicious of then giving access to their precious AdWords account, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67171-what-is-affiliate-marketing-why-do-you-need-it/">affiliate network</a> or analytics suite.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7503/healthcheck.jpeg" alt="health check" width="275" height="183"></p> <h3>How important are digital audits anyway?</h3> <p>In reality, though, digital audits are absolutely vital. And third party objective auditing ensures that you’re not marking your own home work or ignoring long term problems.</p> <p>Proper auditing, UX testing and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67473-seven-conversion-rate-optimization-trends-to-take-advantage-of-in-2016/">CRO analysis</a> means you can elongate the lifetime and effectiveness of your website and digital media activity, in a way that can be done on any budget.</p> <p>Your digital real estate is often an expensive investment - you’ve got to maintain it properly to get results.</p> <h3>Regular servicing is vital</h3> <p>Think of that shiny new website you’ve just spent months developing as a new car you’ve just acquired.</p> <p>To start off with, it’s the envy of everyone who sees it. After-sales support is pretty good and you can see years of trouble free motoring ahead of you. Before you know it, though, your warranty is up and you’re on your own.</p> <p>As the car ages, small problems become big problems. It performs less effectively. You’re paying for petrol, but it’s becoming less and less economical to run. There are so many things going wrong with it you don’t know where to start. Eventually the car's value is so diminished you might as well scrap it and buy a new one.</p> <p>It’s the same with websites and digital marketing campaigns. They can’t be left to look after themselves – and even the mechanic themselves might need some fine tuning or training themselves.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7504/service-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="car service" width="380"></p> <h3>What a digital audit can do for you </h3> <p>Audits can show you how to balance your budget more effectively through action and prioritisation. They can identify common issues like plateaus in activity and drop offs in acquisition; all the elements that reduce profitability. </p> <h3>The Lessons of the Audit</h3> <p>Constantly learn, constantly improve, constantly trade! A timely and constructive audit will help you:</p> <ul> <li>Keep up to date with the latest channel trends - Google changes, new publishers in affiliate, new platform or techniques for social. </li> <li>Use competitor analysis to keep your enemies close! It’s crucial to analyse and understand market share/spend and its consequences for your brand. </li> <li>Help you (re)define your goals.</li> <li>Confirm your objectives or KPIs so you can measure success.</li> <li>Understand new opportunities.</li> <li>Benchmark improvements or conversely measure areas of decline.</li> <li>Ensure corporate compliance – its best practice to have someone external “rubber stamp” your activity.</li> <li>Encourage serendipity – the uncovering of that nugget of information that transforms your understanding and makes the commercial difference.</li> </ul> <h3>Should you take the plunge?</h3> <p>Regular and skilled digital auditing is a detailed and never ending task.  It can transform the effectiveness of your digital advertising, website and budget.  </p> <p>Is it sexy? It’s showing your website a lot of love and attention. It’s optimizing and maximizing your marketing profitability and performance. Sounds pretty sexy to me.</p> <p><em>More on auditing:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68031-answering-the-key-question-of-content-auditing-where-do-i-start/">Answering the key question of content auditing - where do I start?</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/934 2016-06-21T14:00:00+01:00 2016-06-21T14:00:00+01:00 Digital Marketing Template Files Econsultancy <h3>Overview</h3> <p><strong>Digital Marketing Template Files</strong></p> <p><strong>Authors:</strong></p> <ul> <li>James Gurd, Owner and Lead Consultant, <a title="Digital Juggler" href="http://digitaljuggler.com/">Digital Juggler</a> </li> <li>Ben Matthews, Director, <a title="Montfort" href="http://montfort.io/">Montfort</a> </li> <li>Ger Ashby, Head of Creative Services, <a title="Dotmailer" href="https://www.dotmailer.com/">Dotmailer</a> </li> <li><a title="Starcom Mediavest Group" href="http://smvgroup.com/">Starcom Mediavest Group</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Files available:</strong> 10 file bundles, 50+ individual template files<br></p> <p><strong>File titles:</strong> See sample document for full breakdown of section and file information.</p> <h3>About these files</h3> <p>Need help with an area of digital marketing and don't know where to start? This pack of downloadable files contains best practice templates that you can use in your digital marketing activities. Feel free to adapt them to suit your needs.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jxKmQGxspc8?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Contents</h3> <p>In this release we have 10 template bundles containing over 50 individual template files for digital marketing projects.</p> <p><strong>Download separate file bundles below:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Affiliate Marketing</li> <li>Content Marketing</li> <li>Display Advertising *to be published soon*</li> <li>Ecommerce Projects</li> <li>Email Marketing</li> <li>Search Engine Marketing: PPC</li> <li>Search Engine Marketing: SEO</li> <li>Social Media and Online PR</li> <li>Usability and User Experience</li> <li>Web Analytics</li> </ul> <p><strong>The template files bundle also includes a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/small-business-online-resource-manager/">Small Business Online Resource Manager</a> that </strong><strong>can help you effectively manage and own your online assets.</strong></p> <p><strong>There's a free guide which you can download to find out more about exactly what is included.</strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67731 2016-04-11T14:27:17+01:00 2016-04-11T14:27:17+01:00 Think affiliate marketing doesn’t work for luxury brands? Think again Chris Bishop <p>But no longer. Affiliate marketing has truly come of age.</p> <h3>Isn’t affiliate just voucher codes?</h3> <p>This is not just about voucher codes, cashback and last-click for advertisers, this is part of a holistic approach to digital advertising that promises real and sustained ROI for high-end brands.</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/whoaretheaffiliates.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>The modern managed affiliate programmes use sophisticated groups of content publishers, including mainstream “offline” publishing houses such as Condé Nast.  </p> <p>This is performance marketing through deep partnership, levered via tenancy, editorial, blogging, email and (yes) incentives like voucher codes or cashback. </p> <p>Partnerships with high volume and niche sites that can deliver the kind of primed-to-buy, long tailed traffic available nowhere else.</p> <h3>Are you at risk of losing control of your message?</h3> <p>No, but…</p> <p>For years affiliate networks and technology companies used the size and scale of the channel as a key selling point, promising brands access to tens of thousands of affiliates.  </p> <p>Given that they worked on tracking fees based upon revenue generated by activity, who can blame them? </p> <p>However, this wasn’t what luxury or designer retailers, already nervous about losing control of their brand’s messages, wanted to hear. </p> <p>Only now, with dedicated, digital agencies selling these solutions as part of a wider media strategy, are brands being given the whole picture.</p> <p>When properly managed, affiliate marketing allows brands to deliver relevant messages to highly-targeted customer segments.  </p> <p>But it’s the size and scale of the networks that makes this targeting possible in the first place.</p> <h3>But isn’t luxury all about exclusivity?  </h3> <p>Why would luxury brands want their valuable name bandied about on affiliate channels with everyone else’s?</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/chriscarcollection.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>Success in the digital age requires a change in mind-set for luxury brands as customers’ buying cycles accelerate and competition stiffens in every part of the market place.  </p> <p>No longer can scarcity be the strongest value in a luxury brand's armoury, as the array of choice and quality available elsewhere can fill any sales vacuum.  </p> <p>Instead, luxury today is defined by desirability, product excellence, exemplary service and, fundamentally, a brand promise.</p> <p>And affiliate channels are exactly where a brand’s promise, desirability, service and excellence are defined for its target audience.  </p> <p>They are key to the continued success of luxury brands in the digital age and are proven to send ready-to-convert customers direct to online stores.   </p> <h3>Luxury is talked about and bought online more than ever</h3> <p>Deloitte says that 58% of UK millennial luxury consumers buy their luxury goods online. What’s more, 85% of luxury consumers regularly use social media.</p> <p>According to Google one in five luxury purchases happens on the web.</p> <p>And participating in high profile online retail events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday clearly doesn’t dim the lustre of a luxury brand or cannibalize their full-price sales.</p> <p>In 2015 our client NET-A-PORTER saw Black Friday was its highest day for sales that year, with one item sold every second on its website. </p> <p>What’s more, offering deals and vouchering is not regarded as damaging to luxury brands’ reputation by consumers.  </p> <p>In fact, these luxury customers were four times more likely to be searching for deals on Black Friday 2015 than non-luxury customers (Experian).</p> <h3>Do affiliate tactics really deliver incremental sales to luxury brands?</h3> <p>Yes, they do.</p> <p>One of our retailers had always assumed cashback websites would only reach customers already on its files and has little effect on overall profit. We helped them prove otherwise.  </p> <p>A tactical trial conducted with Quidco for the brand found that 86% of consumers that bought their products via the publisher during the trial were “new to file” and their average order value was much higher than the norm.</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/shopstylesolacelondon.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>For another fashion retailer, working with affiliates achieved over 300 pieces of content coverage in a three-month period which, in turn, contributed to content websites driving 50%+ of the brand's affiliate revenue.</p> <p>Affiliate channels have proved, time and time again, to bring new customers and incremental sales to the table for every kind of brand, particularly those at the very top end of their sector.</p> <h3>Who else is using affiliates?</h3> <p>The roll call of brands that are using the affiliate channel as part of the marketing mix is impressive – Agent Provocateur, Barneys New York, Burberry, Liberty London, NET-A-PORTER to name a few.</p> <p>But if the affiliate channel was just about vouchers and cashback, they wouldn’t be using it.</p> <p>These brands know the value of curated conversation and content-led buzz to their brand; they are finding new and exciting ways to engage through affiliate marketing.  </p> <p>Crucially, they are realising that careful planning, targeted partnership and innovative execution ensures the biggest ROI alongside an extension of digital PR.</p> <h3>The lessons of affiliate marketing</h3> <ul> <li>Luxury affiliate marketing is happening... if you’re not doing it, you’re already losing out.</li> <li>Luxury consumers are savvy, switched on and impulsive – take advantage of that.</li> <li>Be led by the data and use experts to help you execute the highest quality campaigns.</li> <li>Choose who manages your affiliates carefully – your brand’s success will live or die by their experience both within wider digital marketing, the specific affiliate channel and naturally their knowledge of your brand / sector.</li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/935 2016-03-23T11:50:00+00:00 2016-03-23T11:50:00+00:00 Affiliate Marketing – Digital Marketing Template Files Econsultancy <h3>Overview</h3> <p><strong>Digital Marketing Template Files: Affiliate Marketing</strong></p> <p><strong>Authors:</strong> James Gurd, Owner and Lead Consultant, Digital Juggler; Affiliate Window</p> <p><strong>Files included:</strong> 5 files </p> <p><strong>File titles:</strong> Guide to Building Relationships with Affiliate Partners, Measuring Affiliate Marketing: Goals Objectives and KPIs, Affiliate Marketing Weekly Report, Developing and Executing an Effective Performance Marketing Strategy, The Key Components of a Performance Marketing Strategy</p> <h3>About these templates</h3> <p><strong>Who created these template files?</strong></p> <p>In some cases Econsultancy has created the templates. In others we have gone to leading experts in the relevant area and they have provided the files. Details of those people are given where appropriate in the descriptions that follow.</p> <p><strong>How should these files be used?</strong></p> <p>Affiliate marketing (also known as performance marketing) continues to grow - so how do you run campaigns competitively or even get started? We've created generic templates that get to the core of how you should be considering to run a successful online campaign in this area.</p> <h3>Contents</h3> <p>In this release we have a template bundle containing five individual template files to help you understand affiliate marketing in greater detail.</p> <p><strong>Download separate files on the report pages below.</strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67524 2016-02-16T14:43:00+00:00 2016-02-16T14:43:00+00:00 Combating ad blocking: What we can learn from the affiliate channel Helen Southgate <p>The broader digital industry faces a huge threat from <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67076-the-rise-and-rise-of-ad-blockers-stats/">ad blocking</a> and could take some useful lessons from what the affiliate channel has achieved.</p> <p>I have followed with great interest the hot topic of ad blocking. Of particular amusement has been the anger directed from many corners of the digital advertising industry at the ad blocking companies themselves.</p> <p>Let’s take a step back for a minute. Why have ad blockers been able to find a market of consumers (reported to be 18% of the UK online population) willing to use their tools?</p> <p>It's because some of the advertising within the digital industry is quite frankly terrible. It can be disruptive, bad quality and not relevant or targeted to the consumer.</p> <p>The cynic in me would say consumer experience is not always a priority of those controlling the ad spend.</p> <p>The IAB has been somewhat pro-active in addressing the ad blocking debate and has produced a number of useful stats and materials. </p> <p>A few of the most noteworthy are from a consumer study carried out in October last year:</p> <ul> <li>25% of online adults have downloaded ad blocking software.</li> <li>3/4 of those downloaders, so 18% of online adults, are currently using ad blockers. This is up from 15% in June 2015.</li> </ul> <p>No wonder this has the digital industry spooked, that is a lot of cash being lost.</p> <p>But even more interesting are some of the reasons people gave for using ad blockers:</p> <ul> <li>52% use them to block all ads.</li> <li>Just 9% use them to protect against privacy, so stopping tracking software working.</li> <li>One in two would be less likely to block ads if they did not interfere with what they were doing.</li> </ul> <p>And this answer:</p> <ul> <li>61% of people would prefer to access content for free and have ads present than pay to access content</li> </ul> <p>So it appears the frustration from consumers is with poor quality, badly executed, disruptive ads.  </p> <p>Therefore, rather than attack the companies that are helping consumers rid their world of these frustrations, perhaps we should be condemning those companies that are the cause of this irritation.</p> <h3>On the bright side</h3> <p>There are positive things happening, the IAB launched <a href="http://www.iabuk.net/news/iab-uk-launches-principles-to-address-ad-blocking">its L.E.A.N principals</a> which are a step in the right direction and have been getting the industry talking reasonably sensibly about the problems we face.</p> <p>We need to come together and self-regulate, pointing a spotlight on those companies that do not adhere to these principals.</p> <p>After all, these are basic good marketing and advertising principals which should already be being observed. Once we find sites that don't comply we should all chase them down the street with pitch forks until they do it right or go out of business. Easy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1930/LEAN_Ads_Program_1__3_.jpeg" alt="" width="320" height="240"></p> <p>I jest a little, this is a huge industry with many different components and mostly there are good companies and people that understand the principals of honest and ethical marketing. </p> <p>But there are also a lot of bad eggs out there chasing money. As an industry we need to find and stop these companies executing bad practices.</p> <p>But after they have been getting away with it for years, it is not an easy task.</p> <h3>Follow the affiliate's lead </h3> <p>To find an industry that has executed this with reasonable success we need to look no further than the affiliate marketing channel.</p> <p>In the last 10 years we have worked hard as a group of individuals and companies to ensure quality, a fair playing field and ethical practices.</p> <p>With the help of the IAB, the Affiliate Marketing Council has put in place a number of best practice and self-regulatory principals that all stakeholders within the market adhere to (affiliate networks, agencies, advertisers and publishers). </p> <p>We are proud of these principals as an industry and we do not take lightly to those that break the rules as we know that can harm the reputation of all of us. </p> <p>I suggest the digital industry needs to follow a similar path and clean up its act, otherwise the use of ad blockers will only increase. </p> <p>Educating consumers about advertising and commercial relationships with publishing sites is clearly another avenue that needs to explored. </p> <p>Most of the sites that consumers visit would not exist without advertising, but <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67128-stats-how-social-media-brought-down-the-sun-paywall/">paywalls have been tried and failed</a> numerous times by large and small publishers alike.</p> <p>61% of consumers say they would rather have ads than pay for content so I don’t really ever see a world where paywalls will be successful, there will always be someone that gives it away for free. </p> <p>So we have to tackle to fundamental issue first and foremost, which is ridding the industry of companies executing poor advertising.</p> <h3>Why would an affiliate be concerned?</h3> <p>You might wonder why an affiliate marketer woud be worried about this, and that would be a good question. </p> <p>Across the affilinet network just 2% of our orders come from banners, and 98% come from content. What you now understand as “<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63722-what-is-native-advertising-and-do-you-need-it/">native advertising</a>” has been the bedrock of affiliate marketing since its creation over 20 years ago. </p> <p>However, as a channel we are being negatively affected by ad blocking for two main reasons.</p> <p><strong>Firstly,</strong> ad blockers offer the ability to opt out of all 'tracking', meaning the tracking mechanism which we use to attribute sales and pay publishers is disabled. </p> <p>Without this the publisher and network do not get paid. </p> <p><strong>Secondly,</strong> many of our publishers rely on banner advertising and ad networks alongside their income from affiliate ads. Without this in many cases the publishers simply will not survive.</p> <h3>In summary...</h3> <p>Growing consumer awareness will result in increased use of ad blocking and is a danger to all of us in the digital industry.</p> <p>We need to come together, to self-regulate and chase those bad eggs out.</p> <p>While without a doubt we have not eradicated bad practice in the affiliate industry, we most certainly have improved immensely and are proud to be a transparent and ethical industry.</p> <p>We've shown that this can be achieved with time, resource and commitment from all stakeholders.</p> <p>It’s time to focus on the root cause of the problem, and as a digital industry tackle this head on. </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67280 2015-12-04T14:56:25+00:00 2015-12-04T14:56:25+00:00 Six Black Friday trends we learned from performance marketing in 2015 Kevin Edwards <h3>1. Consumers spent more</h3> <p>Not only did <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67267-sure-retailers-changed-their-black-friday-strategies-but-did-the-customers/">consumers shun the high street to shop online</a>, but they also dug deeper and splashed more cash.</p> <p>The average basket was a full £7.50 higher at just over £93, making it one of the highest ever posted. Compare this to an average Friday on the network of £71 and the impact is compounded.</p> <p>Typically a ‘big box’ electricals event, Black Friday for John Lewis and Currys marked exceptionally busy days and undoutedly helped drive this figure up.</p> <p>The picture was far from consistent across the day. Peaking between 6 and 7am with strong performance in the small hours, a trend has emerged of shoppers buying their big ticket items, possibly with a sense of urgency, fearful of the threat of limited stock availability.</p> <p>An interesting consideration for retailers, Black Friday continues to throw up unusual purchasing patterns in contrast to Cyber Monday which follows a more typical day’s trading.</p> <p>What is equally interesting is how smartphones held their own. Typically underindexing both tablets and desktop sales, handsets weren’t far off the average and in fact pushed through the typical Friday AOV, peaking at an average basket of £113.</p> <p>For the first time this event felt like one that smartphones played an equal role in:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9708/graph-1.png" alt="chart 1" width="602" height="309"> </p> <h3>2. The first smartphone Black Friday</h3> <p>Having already mentioned that Black Friday 2015 saw smartphones pulling in record baskets, the day also stood out because tablets saw their position as the major non-desktop platform supplanted.</p> <p>Driving almost one in three sales in the couple of hours before the working day kicked off, our cross-device data has shown smartphones act as a powerful driver on initial intent during this time but conversions can often trail far behind. </p> <p>This wasn’t in evidence on Black Friday, with handsets trumping tablets consistently until mid-afternoon when the position was reversed as this data plotted by hour across the whole day shows (see chart below).</p> <p>Overall, handsets accounted for 19% of sales, with tablets one percentage point behind.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9709/graph-2.png" alt="chart 2" width="602" height="344"></p> <h3>3. Black Friday is more than just a retail event</h3> <p>Traditionally viewed as a retail event, Black Friday offers adverstiers in other sectors the opportunity to capitalise on the surge in online traffic.</p> <p>The big day is not one that should be narrowly defined by shoppers stocking up on their Christmas presents. Affiliate Window commissioned pre-Black Friday research that showed half of consumers were planning to take advantage of the deals on offer by purchasing gifts for themselves. Why then should Black Friday be just about buying for others?</p> <p>This manifested itself in some of the advertisers who triumped on Black Friday, with six of the top 20 being drawn from the telecoms sector, all going to market with strong deals and scooping up consumers who were hungry for the best offers out there, be it for friends, family members or indeed themselves.</p> <h3>4. The Brits have made Black Friday their own</h3> <p>Many column inches were expended in the run up to Black Friday bemoaning another American import <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67159-are-we-doing-black-friday-in-the-uk-or-not">the UK could well do without</a>. But let’s not forget that traditionally Black Friday has been an in-store experience in the US, with Cyber Monday the online bookend to the Thanksgiving weekend.</p> <p>With the UK spending around £800 more per capita online than our American couterparts, the UK has been primed and ready to transform Black Friday into an online event for several years.</p> <p>If we accept IMRG’s UK estimate of £1.1bn and Adobe’s US figure of $2.7bn, British consumers spent more than three times as much online this Black Friday than their US counterparts.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Cyber Monday remains king for Americans as demonstrated by this year’s statistics from the network (see chart below).</p> <p>In the space of a few years Black Friday has re-written the Christmas trading calendar, and the UK, with possibly the most sophisticated ecommerce infrastructre, has embraced it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9710/graph-3.png" alt="chart 3" width="602" height="295"> </p> <h3>5. Black Friday became even more of a daytime event</h3> <p>One of the most strking patterns to emerge in 2014 was the difference in spikes across the day. Black Friday has clearly primed consumers to react as soon as the starting gun is fired.</p> <p>This has manifested itself in a signficant midnight spike, followed by a pre-work rush. That midnight Black Friday sales weren’t matched by Cyber Monday until lunchtime sends out a powerful statement on shifting consumer behaviour and the importance of being ready.</p> <p>By contrast Cyber Monday emulates a typical trading day. Unlike 2014 which saw a marked period at the tail end of the day where Cyber Monday was substantially bigger, there were only two minor peaks when Black Friday was challenged:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9711/graph-4.png" alt="chart 4" width="602" height="327"></p> <h3>6. Cyber Monday is dead</h3> <p>If 2014 was the year when Black Friday swiped the crown from Cyber Monday, then 2015 represents the year when it was ceremoniously coronated.</p> <p>The figures across the Affiliate Window network provide a stark contrast showing how Cyber Monday’s previously imperious position has been consigned to something quite ordinary: </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9712/graph-5.png" alt="chart 5" width="590" height="407"></p> <p>Whilst sales for Cyber Monday were up 30% and revenue up 37% year on year, in itself representing impressive growth, the uplift was overshadowed by Black Friday performance.</p> <p>As one of the two critical pre-Christmas trading days, Cyber Monday couldn’t even muster it’s one quarter share of sales or revenue across the four day period.</p> <p>Many retailers appeared to run <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67232-which-retailer-has-the-best-black-friday-strategy">consistent promotion across the entire elongated weekend</a> and as such perhaps retail fatigue had kicked in. Considering some retailers went to market early, stretching Black Friday into a week long event, perhaps it was unrealistic to expect Cyber Monday to post spectacular, comparitive performance.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67171 2015-11-16T10:52:18+00:00 2015-11-16T10:52:18+00:00 What is affiliate marketing & why do you need it? Jack Simpson <p>In basic terms, affiliate marketing is when a publisher drives traffic to an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67111-ao-vs-ee-comparing-the-best-and-worst-ecommerce-sites">ecommerce site</a> in return for commission if those visitors take a specific action within a set timeframe. </p> <p>Usually the desired action is buying something, and the publisher will get a share of that sale in return for directing the customer to the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63161-31-things-i-need-to-see-on-your-ecommerce-product-page">product page</a>. </p> <h3>How does it work?</h3> <p>The process is split between the following four participants (I'm sure there's a better word for it than that, but bear with me):</p> <ul> <li>The merchant</li> <li>The network</li> <li>The publisher</li> <li>The customer</li> </ul> <p><strong>The merchant</strong></p> <p>Otherwise known as the retailer or advertiser. A brand is looking to increase sales but all those content campaigns ate up its marketing budget and it certainly doesn’t want to shell out for more staff. </p> <p>So the brand researches how to achieve this seemingly impossible feat and comes across affiliate marketing as an option. </p> <p>‘What’s that? We can get other people to do all the work creating content and attracting customers and we only have to pay them once we actually make a sale? Where do I sign?’</p> <p>Again, this is an extremely simplified version of events, but generally this is how it works from the retailer’s point of view:</p> <ul> <li>The merchant gives a publisher a trackable link to its site.</li> <li>The publisher includes the link in its content.</li> <li>If someone follows that link to the retailer’s site and buys something within a certain timeframe, the retailer pays that publisher a percentage of the sale. </li> </ul> <p><strong>The network</strong></p> <p>Some retailers, such as Amazon, have their own affiliate programmes. But many will go through affiliate networks. </p> <p>These networks effectively act as the middle man between multiple merchants and publishers. So a publisher could sign up and get access to any merchants that network is working with, and vice versa. </p> <p><em>(Note: these types of affiliate display ads obviously won't get past most ad blockers)</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/9048/affiliates.png" alt="" width="700"></p> <p>Working in this way ultimately makes life easier for the merchant, but it does mean they give up a certain amount of control over where their products are advertised. </p> <p><strong>The publisher</strong></p> <p>These are the guys that include affiliate links to retailers on their sites and promote the products of said retailers in the hope that people will click the links and buy something when they get to the other side.</p> <p>If that does happen, the publisher will get paid a percentage of the sale.</p> <p>Either that or they’ll get paid for each click or action the customer takes, depending on the arrangement they have with the link provider.</p> <p>Some publishers include affiliate links in their everyday content, while other sites are dedicated to producing content with the specific goal of selling affiliate products. I’ll cover both types in the example section below. </p> <p><strong>The customer</strong></p> <p>This is the consumer who clicks on the links on the publisher’s site and hopefully purchases something when they get to the merchant’s site at the other end.  </p> <h3>Different compensation methods</h3> <p>Around 80% of affiliate programs use revenue sharing to compensate, i.e. the affiliate gets a percentage of any sales that result from their affiliate links. </p> <p>But there are other payment methods available, such as cost-per-action (CPA), which could be used when the brand in question isn’t actually selling physical stock. </p> <p>Then there is cost-per-click (CPC), where the brand is simply paying the affiliate for traffic.</p> <h3>A couple of examples…</h3> <p>If you’re still not 100% sure what affiliate marketing is after my earth-shatteringly brilliant explanation, perhaps these two examples of slightly different approaches will help enlighten you. </p> <h3>Smart Passive Income</h3> <p>This is an example of a site where the publisher built up a following and then started using affiliate links to gain additional income. </p> <p>The products are ones the author regularly talks about anyway, and his/her readers trust his/her opinion, so there is an opportunity to make money by using an affiliate link.</p> <p><a href="http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/passive-income-101/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8863/Getting_Started_with_Smart_Passive_Income__Passive_Income_101_2015-11-10_11-10-18.png" alt="smart passive income affiliate marketing" width="720"></a></p> <p>As you can see from the image above, this particular author is very honest about the fact that he gets commission when people follow the links and make a purchase.</p> <p>This is because he doesn’t to damage his audience’s trust.</p> <h3>Kitchen Faucet Divas</h3> <p>Some sites are specifically designed to make money through affiliate links, such as the example from Kitchen Faucet Divas below. </p> <p>This site is full of content related to kitchen faucets, including blog posts, buyer’s guides and how-to articles, with plenty of affiliate links to Amazon included. </p> <p><a href="http://www.kitchenfaucetdivas.com/Danze-D455158SS-review/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8864/Danze_D455158SS_Review_-_KitchenFaucetDivas.com_2015-11-10_11-17-43.png" alt="Kitchen Faucet Divas affiliate marketing" width="720"></a></p> <p>Kitchen Faucet Divas doesn’t explicitly say it makes commission from the links, but by only linking to Amazon pages that are completely relevant to the content, it is likely to avoid annoying its readers. </p> <h3>Conclusion: an additional revenue stream requiring relatively low investment</h3> <p>Whether you’re a retailer or a publisher, affiliate marketing, like anything in the digital marketing world, is not going to fix your dying balance sheet all by itself.  </p> <p>What it can do, however, is add another revenue stream without the need to expend masses of effort or money. This is particularly important for publishers with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66650-how-do-you-solve-a-problem-like-ad-blocking">the rise of ad-blocking</a>. </p> <p>But brands that go down the affiliate marketing route need to remember that it is effectively a form of advertising, and there are certain responsibilities that come with that.</p> <p>Namely: protecting the trust in your brand or products.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67132 2015-11-06T14:15:03+00:00 2015-11-06T14:15:03+00:00 Cross-device tracking in the affiliate channel: Which method is best? Helen Southgate <p>But in its current state, I have some concerns about how reliable it is, how it will stand up to tighter privacy regulations and what the return on investment for advertisers will be.  </p> <p>Firstly, let’s distinguish the difference between cross-device tracking and what I think it’s often confused with, device tracking. </p> <p>So, if a customer makes a purchase on a device – desktop, mobile, tablet - it will be tracked to the affiliate as long as the advertiser has implemented the tracking correctly and this was the last touch point before the sale (assuming the attribution model is last click wins).</p> <p>This is not cross-device tracking, this is simply mobile-enabled tracking which will be common across most advertisers within the affiliate marketing channel.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8789/affiliate_cross-channel.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="315"></p> <p>However, if a customer was referred by an affiliate on a desktop, and that customer later buys on their mobile, this would not be attributed back to that affiliate as with standard tracking it is not possible to match the customer on both the desktop and mobile journey. </p> <p>So in this example, the affiliate loses the sale. This is why there is potentially a greater need for cross-device tracking in the affiliate channel.</p> <p>Tracking a user’s behaviour across desktop is easy because it uses cookies and the cookie is essentially a person’s unique identifier so as they happily hop from website to website on their desktop computer they leave a trail which we are able to identify and gain insight from. </p> <p>The challenge occurs however when that user also uses their tablet or mobile – cookies don’t get on well in the mobile space, they do exist but they are unreliable and they reset each time a user closes their browser. </p> <p>In the app world they can’t be shared between apps, so are rendered useless in tracking customer behaviour between apps and webpages.</p> <p>So how do companies track cross device user behaviour if cookies don’t work?</p> <p>There are a number of third party companies that do this, the two most well-known are Drawbridge and Tapad.</p> <p>They can track users across devices by three methods:</p> <ol> <li>Deterministic</li> <li>Probabilistic</li> <li>Combined – which is a combination of the two above methods</li> </ol> <h3>Deterministic</h3> <p>This method relies on personally identifiable information (PII). Yes those three letters that strike fear into any advertiser - for example this might be a universal log-in that a person uses, such as an email address. </p> <p>It would of course be encrypted so it is not visible to anyone. </p> <p>It works well for the giants of the media space including Google, Apple , Facebook and Twitter and any other companies that require a user to login, but is not 100% accurate due to limited log-ins on mobile devices, logging in on other people’s devices etc.</p> <p>But then it’s important to note here that none of these methods are 100% accurate, anywhere between 70%-90% seems to be the ball park.   </p> <p>For an industry that predominantly focuses on new customer acquisition, I find it difficult to see how deterministic cross-device tracking will be possible over more than a limited set of advertisers. </p> <h3>Probabilistic</h3> <p>Probabilistic does not use PII data, it utilises data points to make a statistical analyses on a “likely” match between devices, not an exact science by any means. </p> <p>For example, if a laptop, iPad and mobile device were all logging into one Wi-Fi signal at the same time, every day, you could make a reasonable assumption that they are the same person.</p> <p>This method uses billions of data points such as device type, operating system, location, date and time etc. to spot trends and make what can best be described as an educated guess. </p> <p>This method is quite clearly less accurate than Deterministic but does avoid the PII issue, however, the user should still be made aware of how their data is being used so this needs to be considered.</p> <p>Both methods raise implications regarding use of personal data and opt-out. </p> <p>At the moment the directive is an opt-out for all users but there is discussion in Europe regarding opt-in which would potentially render this technology fairly useless unless marketers can do a good job in convincing consumers why it is good to have their every move monitored. </p> <p>I’m a marketer and I think it’s great, I want to see relevant advertising but it still shocks me how wrong marketers are getting it now.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8790/affiliates.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <p>There is still a lot of work to be done in order to prove to consumers why they should give up some of their privacy to get targeted with better marketing.</p> <p>However despite some of the ineptness in this space currently an opt-in only solution does seem highly unlikely as it would affect far more digital activity than this (let’s hope that comment doesn’t come back to bite me at a later date). </p> <p>So where does this leave us when it comes to affiliate marketing? </p> <p>The Deterministic model for me is clearly the most reliable, but also the most intrusive, plus in reality it’s not going to be available to a lot of advertisers.</p> <p>The Probabilistic method offers a solution if an advertiser is comfortable with the way the data is interpreted. </p> <p>When this is purely based on data and insight, it’s not a problem, but when it is based on paying a commission on sales which directly affects budgets and CPAs then I can see that this is a more difficult decision to make. </p> <p>Ultimately it comes down to two things:</p> <ul> <li>Is it fairer for affiliates, even if it isn’t 100% perfect, we know that currently they are losing out.</li> <li>Will it drive better ROI in the long-term for advertisers through better understanding of the data and hopefully better performing affiliates. </li> </ul> <p>All in all it feels like, yes, more data is good, but I do think there are a lot of grey areas around privacy, how accurate it is and in reality what return it gives.  </p> <p>It's an issue we will continue to monitor and explore the most reliable and ethical way to support our advertisers that may want to have this visibility now and in the future.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66970-affiliate-marketing-s-cross-device-challenge/"><em>Affiliate marketing’s cross-device challenge</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66914-how-to-use-affiliate-marketing-without-risking-brand-damage/"><em>How to use affiliate marketing without risking brand damage</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66970 2015-10-01T16:06:11+01:00 2015-10-01T16:06:11+01:00 Affiliate marketing’s cross-device challenge Anthony Clements <p>As mobile traffic across the network grew at a disproportionate rate to mobile sales, the industry had a new challenge to be tackle: how to identify and match those users that view publisher websites on a different device to the one they use to make their purchase?</p> <p>The inability to recognise the true value of publishers’ traffic is a clear threat to the affiliate marketing channel.</p> <p>In the UK on average between 4% and 15% of transactions are missed by <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66942-five-rewarding-performance-marketing-case-studies-from-brands/">performance marketing</a> tracking tools because these technologies are based on ‘single-device’ tracking, which incredibly is still the norm amongst the vast majority of the industry.</p> <p>With more than 60% of online adults in the UK using more than one device, a single-device tracking tool is now just no longer a feasible or practical way of rewarding any online marketing activity, especially one which is only paying out when transactions are made.</p> <p>Advertisers now focus their marketing strategies on providing a consistent, effective message to the same customer accessing their business across a variety of platforms.</p> <p>If <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66914-how-to-use-affiliate-marketing-without-risking-brand-damage">affiliate marketing</a> is to meet the needs of advertisers in terms of cross-platform marketing, then the right tracking needs to be in place to ensure publishers can be properly incentivised. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/7416/mobile_devices-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="315"></p> <p>Matching the same user accurately across multiple devices is the biggest hurdle in cross device tracking.</p> <p>There are two methods for cross device matching: <strong>deterministic and probabilistic</strong>.</p> <h3>Probabilistic</h3> <p>A probabilistic cross-device tracking method collates a number of anonymous data points such as device type, location and operating system, and then uses statistical algorithms to create likely matches between devices.  </p> <h3>Deterministic</h3> <p>A deterministic cross device tracking method uses specific, first party data provided by the user to create links between devices. This is the method commonly used by the likes of Google and Facebook, who rely on users logging in across multiple devices to create cross device linkage.</p> <p>The cost-per-acquisition model that dominates affiliate marketing means there can be no room for assumptive-based tracking, where sales are awarded based on degrees of probability.</p> <h3>Pros and cons</h3> <p>The industry has to be sure that when a transaction is credited to a publisher a user has interacted with that publisher’s links, even if that interaction takes place across multiple devices. </p> <p>This means deterministic cross device tracking is the only viable choice, in order to provide a robust and sustainable solution.</p> <p>The probabilistic method contains too many uncertainties around user matching to be effective for tracking sales in affiliate marketing. </p> <p>For example, it may assume a user connection between a phone and a tablet which both access the same WiFi hotspot at the same time each day. </p> <p>However, these devices could belong to two colleagues who meet up at the same coffee shop each morning, rather than the same user.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/7415/mobile_phones-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="347"></p> <p>Although companies using probabilistic cross device tracking claim accuracy levels of anywhere between 60% and 90%, the main problem with any form of probabilistic tracking is that it might create an incorrect connection between devices, and when advertisers and publishers rely on sales to track accurately this might begin to seriously undermine affiliate marketing’s publisher model.</p> <p>There are some nuances with how matching is done under the probabilistic method, with some providers combining probabilistic data with third party deterministic data to improve match rates, however there are still no guarantees on accuracy.</p> <p>Of course, deterministic also has its challenges, and the major one is scale. </p> <p>Because deterministic cross device tracking relies on definitive user matches it means less user matches are made. The key is getting enough confirmed device and user relationships stored up to ensure the trackability of all the cross device sales being made on the network. </p> <p>While deterministic cross device solutions have accuracy on their side, they have often been called walled garden solutions because the technology can only be used inside the ecosystem of the data owner. </p> <p>For example, Facebook’s login data is hugely powerful for cross device tracking, but is only useful for Facebook advertising.</p> <p>However, because affiliate networks partner with a number of different publishers, the deterministic method does not have the same restrictions. In fact because all publishers can benefit from cross device technology in the same way, as more user matches are made the more accurate the solution becomes. </p> <h3>In conclusion</h3> <p>Introducing deterministic cross device tracking is a significant step for the affiliate marketing industry, not just because it means more sales can be credited to the channel. </p> <p>The reality is for a cost-per-acquisition model, it is necessary to ensure the channel’s long-term viability.</p>