The busiest shopping quarter of the year is now upon us, and both publishers and advertisers are looking to ensure they do everything they can to drive optimal performance. For publishers, this means ensuring they’re providing audiences with the most compelling deals and offers, strategically reaching new consumers and driving them to a brand’s site – topped off with tracking efficiency to ensure a smooth conversion. However, this can’t be left to the publishers alone. An effective affiliate campaign is about partnership, ensuring that both parties are aligned on goals, and sharing in the success.

As we celebrate Global Partnership Week, we asked the Rakuten Advertising International Collective (RAIC) publishers to share their top tips for a successful peak shopping period.

1. Get in early

Our publishers were unanimous with this one. Get in early to book your placements, and don’t wait until the last minute to share your promotions. Your publisher partners plan weeks in advance, and placement opportunities will go to those brands that are quick to confirm promotions and exposure packages.

2. Use your publishers and network

In securing placements early on, it’s also important for brands to seek insight and guidance from their publishers and account managers. They can share insight into what’s worked previously, benchmarking data and consumer trends they’re seeing. Alex Short from PerformID (MyAmexShopping.com) highlights that “partnerships are about sharing best practices. Trust your partners as they know what works best for their consumers, especially in a different market that doesn’t follow the same retail calendar.”

3. Go as high as you can with your CPA

Along with securing early placements, it’s recommended that advertisers go as high as they can with their CPAs. When the competition is fierce, a strong CPA, particularly in the loyalty, rewards and cashback space, means consumers will be more enticed to purchase. According to Tom Howard from Shopback, brands are starting to optimise earlier and earlier in the Cyber Week to drive additional sales. Tom recommends brands “Book placements as early as possible to avoid missing out on key exposure with publishers. From a rate perspective, the higher you can go the more competitive you’ll be so try and increase the CPA across the key shopping events”

4. Employ a full-funnel strategy

Brands can use the affiliate channel to reach consumers throughout the entire purchasing journey – from discovery to conversion to advocacy. Matheus Campos at Savings United remarked, “more users will be shopping via digital channels this year, and in some regions, like Brazil, we need to educate them about buying online. Using a long-term strategy that incorporates top of the funnel strategies through content or social media insights early on and ends with a discount or coupon during key events helps to deliver performance.”

5. Activate in-app tracking

We know consumers are increasingly turning to mobile when it comes to purchasing. Now more than ever, it’s vital for brands to activate in-app tracking. Laura Meunier from Global Savings Group commented, “We’ve seen a massive upsurge in shopping app usage as the apps themselves become much more useful thanks to advancements in technology and better consumer data. Combine this with the fact that more and more of us are using our mobile phones for everything from payment to inspirational search and informed decision-making. It is easy to understand why in-app tracking is so important in knowing what and how to sell. By activating in-app tracking, brands can really start to understand their customers better and use this information to better tailor products and offers to the right people.”

6.  Make sure your tracking is working

Tracking is perhaps THE most important thing. If your links are broken and sales aren’t tracked, it can lead to a negative consumer experience and strain relationships with publishers who have worked hard to promote your brand. Yasin Phelvian from Webgears explains, “you can have the best ideas, but if the tracking is bad and it’s not working for users, it’s not worth it. The quality delivered is crucial. We need to build trust with consumers to ensure they keep coming back and purchasing. There is nothing worse than having a code that isn’t working. The customer will lose trust in the voucher site and the brand. Working code and tracking equals a happy customer that keeps coming back.

For more insights for the Rakuten Advertising International Collective, download A 5-Stage Blueprint for High-Performance Affiliate Marketing.