Digital marketers need to be thinking about the types of stories they want bloggers to tell about their products in order to set themselves up for holiday sales success.
According to the 2018 Performance Marketing Study recently published by the Performance Marketing Association, content and bloggers accounted for 39% of the over $6 billion spent on affiliate marketing in 2018, which was the highest share of any affiliate type. Eight affiliate networks, including Rakuten Marketing, joined to produce a first-of-its-kind industry-wide analysis of the US performance marketing industry.
With holiday marketing plans already in full swing, digital marketers need to start thinking now about how they are going to best leverage bloggers in order to get the word out about their brands.
Understand which bloggers align with your brand and product offering
Finding the right bloggers to feature your product is almost as important as figuring out which products you want to promote.
Bloggers, particularly those with larger or more engaged followings, are going to want to be selective about the types of products they feature on their channels so as not to turn off their audience.
For digital marketers looking to have bloggers write about their products especially during the holiday season, this could mean taking a “less is more” approach to influencer outreach. In other words, take the time to determine which bloggers fit your brand and your budget and then tailor your initial outreach to them so that it’s clear why a partnership makes sense for both parties.
Read past posts
Before beginning a working relationship with a blogger, it is important for a marketer to understand how that blogger built their audience and how products can fit in as part of a holiday campaign.
For instance, does the blogger tend to focus more on using images to tell the story or does the blogger like to talk more about a product’s origins before delving deeper into why a particular product is so great?
Understanding a blogger’s writing style will help you craft more effective campaigns by understanding how your brand voice will best resonate with a blogger’s audience.
Test on mobile
It’s no secret that smartphone shopping is having a greater influence on purchasing decisions.
According to the PMA report, “it will be key for affiliates to prioritize mobile-first initiatives that deliver traffic to mobile-friendly websites and mobile apps.”
It’s not just bloggers that need to make sure their houses are in order when it comes to how content renders on smartphones, however. Before launching a holiday campaign with bloggers, digital marketers must internally test and re-test links to product pages to ensure that those pages are rendering well on all types of smartphones, and shoppers are able to go from discovery to checkout on a smartphone if they so choose without encountering any roadblocks along the path to purchase.
Offer incentives for top of funnel engagement
According to the PMA report, return on ad spend (ROAS) on affiliate marketing across the eight affiliate networks was an average of 12:1.
Given the high level of return on investment, it makes sense for marketers to reward bloggers who help drive new audiences for your brand. While a content publisher may not always appear at the end of a customer journey, their influence can be measured as an introducer. By creating a commissioning strategy based on hitting certain benchmarks, you create a win-win relationship between your brand and content publishers.
For more information on the 2018 Performance Marketing Study conducted by the PMA, please visit their website.