Using Affiliates Strategically to Drive Seasonal Sales

July 15, 2019

Being an agency obsessed on answering the question of incrementality and driving valuable seasonal sales, clients often ask how it is possible to produce a media laydown plan geared for scalable growth across the online mix.

In a recent White Paper, “Do Affiliates Drive Incrementality”, R.O.EYE investigated how different affiliate genres can produce varying levels of value at different times of the year. To answer this, all customer touchpoints of converting and non-converting journeys were tracked, with activity being measured through a multi-touch attribution model. Using a last click metric alone is not conducive to measuring true incrementality.

For more details on the methodology used, please download the full White Paper.

The three points in time that were used were: Summer, Black Friday, and Christmas. This was to assess one off-peak instance and two of the largest promotional periods of the year. The first figure displays how three genres: cashback, content and voucher fare with regards to their dominance of incrementality.

Summer Vs. Promotional Periods

In summer, it was observed that content-based affiliate sites display the highest dominance of incrementality. This was closely followed by cashback, with voucher showing the least dominance of incrementality.

Around Black Friday, cashback affiliates proved to show the greatest dominance of incrementality, which is what would be expected as consumers expect and therefore look for the best possible deals. Purchases potentially being driven more by value rather than need for that product.

Over the Christmas period, again, it was content sites that demonstrated a very high dominance of incrementality. Perhaps as consumers make more considered purchases and are therefore more influenced by content. Researching the perfect gift for a friend or family member is more likely to be aided from price comparison sites, influencers or bloggers from the top of the funnel.

There are a number of factors that change the relative dominance of incrementality or cannibalisation over time. This includes seasonality and the behaviour of consumers, but also the activity and investment in the affiliate channel, down to individual affiliates and campaign level. In this analysis we are focused on being able to track these changes in relative dominance, not identifying what caused them.

With this knowledge marketers are able to look at their investment decisions and understand the positive or negative impacts those decisions had. This insight can then be used to drive future investment decisions.

There is not a single one-size fits all solution. For advertisers, an integral part of succeeding with an affiliate programme is to get inside the psyche of their target audience and ensure a varied affiliate composition is being implemented to generate valuable sales at varying times of the year.