Last month we launched A 5-Stage Blueprint for High-Performance Affiliate Marketing using insights from publishers and advertisers in the Rakuten Advertising International Collective (RAIC). The blueprint demonstrates the importance of affiliate marketing as a strategic digital channel, and for publishers, showcases how they can add value and increase monetisation opportunities.
One such opportunity stems from how publishers approach their marketing strategy. The way a publisher positions themselves is crucial in gaining trust with consumers, building their audience base and providing new opportunities to brand partners. Now that we’re in the busiest retail quarter of the year, publishers need to ensure that they’re securing the best offers from brands and engaging new and existing audiences.
Elevate brand positioning
For some retailers, such as those in the luxury space, there can be a hesitancy to work with publisher models that may be seen to diminish or devalue their brand. This hesitancy can lead to missed opportunities for both parties.
Publishers who invest in growing their audiences and creating authentic relationships with consumers can elevate their brand within market. By positioning themselves as a well-established brand, publishers can lean into their reputation to help establish trust with retailers. This trust helps to alleviate some of the uncertainties with brands and creates stronger partnerships that drive performance. Han Li from luxury retailer 24S highlights that “Different affiliate marketing models can support a retailers business objectives and brand image at the same time when affiliate partners are chosen carefully.”
Share success stories
During our RAIC conversations, one of the common asks from advertisers when partnering with new publishers or trialling new strategies was the need for data. Audience and demographic, or performance data, helps secure brand buy-in by showcasing the value driven to their campaigns. Australian affiliate expert Josh Collins reiterates this point: “The more visibility, information and data we have and can show the business, the more buy-in we get.”
This is perhaps even more pertinent when a brand is entering a new market. Kimberley Bechinie from Lautsprecher Teufel certainly agrees. Kimberly highlighted how in established markets where the affiliate channel has proven its value, Teufel has the ability and budget to test new publishers and those reaching niche audiences. However, when entering new markets, it’s important to establish the commercial foundation first, demonstrating the ability of the affiliate channel to deliver revenue and then expand.
Diversification leads to new opportunities
Often, we talk about the importance of diversity within a brand’s affiliate program, but it’s also important that publishers realise the potential opportunities a broad offering can unlock.
The acceleration of ecommerce over the past 18 months has seen more consumers shop online than ever before. In addition, competition among publishers to capture and maintain the audience’s attention has increased. The diversification of publisher offerings leads to new opportunities for publishers to engage with audiences. It also gives an opportunity to provide brands with new strategies that will enhance existing relationships or create new ones.
Tom Howard from cashback giant ShopBack explains, “Our strategy is all about broadening our offering and moving towards a full-funnel proposition. While cashback is our heritage, we’ve launched a price comparison tool to bring consumers to our platform higher up the funnel, have started to move into the content space and are working a lot with influencers. The more we offer ourselves, the greater our ability to follow the customer’s journey from search to sale. That can only benefit the advertisers we work with, and, interestingly, we’re now building relationships with brand marketing teams as well as affiliate teams.”
Publishers who employ a robust marketing strategy focused on consumers and brands have more success cutting through the noise during the busiest retail quarter. By focusing on their brand positioning and diversifying the opportunities available to retailers, publishers can strengthen partnerships and deliver their audiences the compelling offers they’re searching for.