At Rakuten Advertising, our commitment is to help our readers navigate the evolving e-commerce ecosystem and ever-changing consumer behaviour. We are watching the trends across our global performance marketing channels and our U.S. e-commerce panel more closely than ever, so we can shed light on changing consumer habits and the advertising strategies that are driving the most success amidst our current climate.

To support this initiative, we have launched a landing page that will be regularly updated with our latest global data and insights: Resource Centre: Consumers, Content & COVID-19. Keep your eye on our blog each week for new content inspired by the data, and focused on the opportunities for you to meaningfully connect with consumers and be successful in your evolving commercial strategies.

Based on this week’s data, here are four strategic recommendations for brands and publishers to consider:

Attract Engaged Audiences
While there is increased opportunity to engage and influence consumers in the U.K., France, Germany and Canada, brands with programs in the U.S., Australia and Brazil will need to lean on strategies designed to find and attract engaged consumers. For example, site and social prospecting and partnerships with publishers who facilitate brand and product discovery.

Native & Personalised Content
Consumers are hyper engaged with social media right now, as they seek to stay connected with family and friends during social distancing. It’s a good time to leverage social strategies to reach consumers where they’re spending their time. Retargeting is also proving its value in influencing already-engaged shoppers. Leveraging retargeting to get personalised content in front of consumers is a good opportunity to establish authenticity at a time when it’s more important than ever to build trust with your consumers.

Personalisation as a strategy can also be implemented across the affiliate channel. Publishers should look to leverage affiliate tools that drive personalised messages to their audiences based on past browsing and shopping behaviour. Advertisers should be looking to partner with publishers who can deliver these highly-targeted messages on their behalf.

Maximise Purchase Potential
With multiple verticals seeing higher than average dollars/items per buyer, there is an opportunity to inspire consumers to add more to their shopping carts through strategies and content that facilitates product discovery and introduce them to deals and discounts. Publishers, you are well positioned to facilitate these experiences, particularly with your direct consumer relationships and audience insights.

Partnership Diversity
While we’re seeing a trend of increased activity across certain publisher types, it’s important to remember that a hallmark of successful affiliate programs is partnership diversity. Consumers are turning to a variety of sites right now for everything from information, entertainment, distraction and comfort, and it’s important to make sure you have a presence everywhere they are.

Advertiser and publisher collaboration continues to be vital for both parties in overcoming new challenges and adapting to changing consumer needs.  Advertisers should look to leverage any upcoming retail events, such as Vogue Online Fashion Night in Australia, and publisher-specific promotions to tap into their audiences.

Adapt Budgets and KPIs to Align with Campaign Changes
Consumers aren’t shopping in-store; this change in behaviour allows advertisers to tap into budget usually reserved for driving in-store purchases towards online spend. Advertisers should look to shift budget, KPIs, targeting and automation bidders according to their priorities and online campaigns. It’s also important to reduce caps for budget, volume and CPC to capture the increased amount of people turning to e-commerce and to be lenient with smart bidding to allow for a greater share of people searching for products and services.

Rakuten Advertising will continue to keep you updated with strategies and insights from our network. Visit our dedicated Resource Centre or, for more strategic insight, specific to your company, please reach out to your Rakuten Advertising representative.