woman texting on phone with blurred background of other peopleThe peak planning season is well and truly upon us, and this year, the season brings with it a unique set of challenges. Inflation, supply chains and increasing competition are some obstacles brands and publishers must prepare for. To support their peers in planning, the Rakuten Advertising International Collective (RAIC) recently caught up to discuss strategies and share insights.

Conversations ranged from successful strategies that deliver results to how affiliate data can form wholesale purchases and drive broader business decisions. Here we share some key insights that will support brands and publishers in hitting their goals this peak season.

Adapt to Changing Consumer Needs

Recent events have reshaped how consumers purchase. The pandemic saw more people shopping online than ever before. The cost of living means shoppers are tightening their purse strings. And people are becoming increasingly wary of how the brands they purchase from align with their values. With so many factors impacting how or why an individual may purchase, brands and publishers need to remain agile to reach their consumers.

For brands, publisher diversity is vital. Understanding how different publisher partners can support goals and deliver new or returning customers to a brand is fundamental during the peak season.

Traditional models like Cashback and Loyalty or Voucher partners reach the savvy consumer looking for the best deal. At the same time, influencers can reach niche audiences and introduce them the new brands or products. Additionally, partnering with publishers that leverage user-generated content enables brands to adjust strategies based on the comments they receive from their users. These comments can help to inform promotional strategies, showcased or featured products or even understand any hesitation to purchase.

Get Creative with Data

As already mentioned, the pandemic drove more people to purchase online. The shift to online purchasing means more data is available to brands and publishers, which can and should be used to inform strategies and partnerships.

Leveraging performance data to create realistic forecasts and benchmarks is the first step. Taking data from the previous peak season and layering this with more recent data (be it monthly or quarterly) provides a more accurate view of how world events are impacting performance. Additionally, benchmarking data available in Rakuten Advertising’s Insights and Analytics Portal helps brands make smarter decisions on placements and partnerships.

Data available through the affiliate channel can also be used to inform business decisions. Brands can work with publishers, particularly deal sites, to understand what consumers are searching for and purchasing and then feed this information into their business. The data provided can help inform promotional strategies or even wholesale purchases.

Protect Marketing Budgets

Tough climates call for budget conversations; often, for brands, this means making cuts. Some are already having these conversations, and others are preparing for them. The good news is that there are steps that brands can take to ensure their budgets are working smarter to achieve their goals.

A simple first step, lock in placements early. Secure premium placements with publishers proven to deliver performance during the peak season. Placements fill up quickly, with some brands hosting annual planning sessions with their partners and locking in coverage then. Others are waiting to see what their competitors are doing, which could lead brands to experience a sense of FOMO. The closer it gets to key dates like Cyber Week, the more competitive it becomes.

Along with locking in placements, understanding when to run promotions or increase coverage can ensure budgets work smarter for brands. Singles’ Day, Click Frenzy, Black Friday, and Boxing Day are only a few retail events that occur during the peak shopping season. Some brands will need to be present during all of these events. Others may choose to participate in events that are key to their core markets, prioritizing Black Friday over Singles’ Day or vice versa.

Achieving success this retail season will be down to preparation and understanding what’s driving consumers to purchase. Brands and publishers will need to continue to work together, sharing data and insights to make their affiliate campaigns work smarter and deliver results.

And RAIC will continue to support their industry peers throughout the 2022 season as we share more insights from global publishers and brands. Subscribe to our blog to stay updated.