November is finally here, bringing with it the start of a retail sales bonanza. However, with a looming recession, some in the industry predict it to be ‘the bleakest Black Friday yet.’ Similar claims were made in 2020, and the ‘like never before’ label applied to 2021. All these sentiments rang true, though during these ‘bleak’ or ‘never before seen’ times, brands and publishers continued to outperform expectations. And whilst 2022 presents a unique set of challenges for brands and publishers alike, it also presents new opportunities to increase performance and achieve commercial goals.

The Drum recently wrote, “we should expect spending to reduce overall. But this does not mean that spend disappears”. Over recent years one of the few constants has been shifting consumer purchase patterns as people adapt to the global and economic climate. And during a recent meeting of the Rakuten Advertising International Collective (RAIC), members discussed how a looming recession has increased the sense of FOMO often felt by brands.

So how can you avoid FOMO and achieve commercial objectives? Make smarter, more creative decisions that optimise partnerships and budgets, so your brand is front and centre for shoppers. Or, as we say at Rakuten Advertising, you need to outthink the competition to outperform them.

Cover the basics and take them a step further

Targeting consumers with the right message at the right time and place is marketing 101. Not only is the affiliate marketing channel primed to support this, but it also gives you the capabilities to take it a step further.

The most important thing – ensure tracking is in place and working. Broken links mean sales aren’t tracked, leading to a negative consumer experience, especially for those using cashback and loyalty publishers. Put simply, if there are tracking issues, you risk your promotions getting turned off, and that’s no way to avoid FOMO.

Additionally, mobile purchasing continues to grow, and tracking is just as important as ever. Activating in-app tracking ensures a seamless experience regardless of the device people purchase on and will strengthen your relationship with publishers who rely on mobile sales.

New technology like Linkless Code Tracking enhances your ability to reach your desired audience. By removing the walls around affiliate marketing, Linkeless Code Tracking provides transparency in influencer marketing and opens opportunities for new partnerships like podcasts to enter the mix. Not only does it increase your targeting, Linkeless also gives you more creative freedom to engage and convert shoppers.

Don’t get left behind, be where your consumers are

We know that the sales bonanza of November brings with it increased competition. After all, you clicked on this post to find out how to avoid missing out on sales. Partnering with a diverse mix of publishers means your brand will show up not only where your consumers are but where your competitors are.

Each publisher model serves a purpose. During retail peaks, especially when times are tough, vouchers, coupons, cashback, and loyalty sales soar. The discounts and rewards they give make purchases more attainable for those who have tightened their purse strings. As an industry, we’re also seeing a rise in Buy-Now-Pay-Later publishers. Allowing shoppers to pay for purchases in instalments, more and more people are also using BNPL as shopping directories, discovering news brands that offer payment flexibility. Understanding how different publisher models cater to different consumer needs and ensuring your brand is present is the first step to avoiding FOMO.

The next step is to take your partnerships a step further. Tools like Rakuten Advertising’s Placement Recommender use a combination of historical performance data from your affiliate programme and across our network to find new publishers who reach your desired audience and have an affinity for your brand. You can make smarter commercial decisions based on transparent recommendations.

Make your budget work smarter, not harder 

Fluctuating economies mean, as marketers, we’re asked to do more with less. A challenge at the best of times and during peak periods can feel impossible. Making your budget work smarter is one way to ensure you can achieve your objectives.

Strategies such as Dynamic Commissioning indicate to publishers where your priorities lay, be it acquiring new customers, or moving a specific product. Sharing these insights with your partners enables them to work with you and further support your goals.

Additionally, accurate forecasting and benchmarking data removes the guesswork and enables you to optimise the partnerships that are proven to drive value. Our Affiliate Forecasting tool (available within our Insights & Analytic Portal) allows you to make strategic decisions about your budget use based on historical performance data, network, and benchmarking insights.

It is undeniable that there will be challenges this peak planning season, but it doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. The tools, tactics and partners exist to help you achieve your goals. Enhance the basics, be where your customers are, and use your budget wisely, and you’ll set yourself up for a successful end to 2022 and a great start to 2023 – without the FOMO.

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