5 Ways Publishers Can Take Advantage of Affiliate Commerce
The world of digital marketing is constantly evolving. With advertisers’ increasing skepticism around programmatic and concerns with fraud and transparency, publishers are looking beyond their traditional revenue models. And one framework they’re focusing on is affiliate commerce, which is growing at a rapid pace. In fact, affiliate marketing spend is expected to reach $6.8 billion by 2020.
This growth is being driven by brands who are increasingly selling directly to consumers and shifting brand dollars to the performance channel. At the same time, this shift has brought media companies to consider performance-based marketing to monetize their content. And since most people ignore unsolicited banner ads, publishers are leveraging personalized data and audiences to make the most of the affiliate opportunity.
As affiliate marketing becomes more mainstream, publishers are looking for new ways to incorporate affiliate links into their websites and strategy. With this in mind, here are five ways publishers can take advantage of growth in affiliate commerce.
1. Deliver Authentic Content
If you’re trying to reach an audience, one of the easiest ways to get their attention is to create and publish authentic, high-quality content they care about. This will help you establish credibility with the community. And one of the easiest ways to remain authentic is to make sure you’re not letting monetization drive the content. If people sense that making a sale is all your care about, there’s a good chance they’ll be turned off and take their business elsewhere. There is plenty of money to be made by being honest. For example, a balanced review that lists negative product features may still drive significant sales.
2. Partner with Affiliate Managers
Establishing relationships with affiliate managers at an agency can help publishers expand their revenue stream. Affiliate managers can help introduce publishers to affiliate programs from other brands that they manage and help them stay top-of-mind when planning campaigns. Publishers can also establish relationships with in-house affiliate managers and share unique content, give early access to promotions, or work more collaboratively on posts and campaigns. These partnerships also add credibility to a publisher’s content.
3. Include Links in Articles
Many publishers and bloggers are updating their articles to include affiliate links as a way to monetize their existing and new content. Affiliate links are embedded in native content and can lead to more clicks and conversions for advertisers. For example, shoppers looking to buy a new mattress or laptop read reviews on Business Insider, Wirecutter, and Buzzfeed to discover the latest products and offers. And when they click on an affiliate link in the article, the publisher gets a share of the revenue from the sale. Using affiliate tactics can do wonders for measurability. Since it can be time-consuming to add affiliate links to existing posts, start with the ones that have the highest SEO ranking and traffic as they will provide the best opportunity to drive revenue.
4. Promote Products on Social Channels
Many publishers use affiliate links - while following FTC guidelines - in social posts, helping them generate revenue. All sizes of publishers, bloggers, and influencers can become an affiliate and build up content and drive revenue. With many people’s timelines cluttered, leveraging lifestyle and product images and short videos help to capture their attention. It’s critical to post regularly as a lack of consistent posting can lead to a drop off in audience. Only a small portion of followers may see you post the first time around, so it’s essential to repost popular items to reach a broader audience.
5. Easily-Measure ROI
With many types of marketing campaigns, it can be challenging to measure success. Take display ads, for example. While marketers can find out how many eyeballs see and click their ad, it can be difficult to find out exactly how many of these views lead to conversions. This makes it tough to know whether their ads are actually getting across to their target audience. Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, allows you to easily measure ROI and know what resonates with your audience. Since all conversions are tracked and reported, and advertisers only pay when a sale is made, publishers and brands can determine how successful a campaign is and make adjustments together.
As affiliate marketing proves to be the most cost-effective marketing tool and continues to grow in popularity, publishers will keep finding new ways to reap all the benefits it has to offer. Paying close attention to these strategies will help them achieve success and gain a leg up over the competition.
Robert Glazer is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, a global partner marketing agency and the recipient of numerous industry and company culture awards, including Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards two years in a row. He is the author of the inspirational newsletter Friday Forward, author the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller, Elevate, and of the international bestselling book, Performance Partnerships. He is a sought-after speaker by companies and organizations around the world and is the host of The Elevate Podcast.