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9 Ways for Advertisers to Prepare for the Biggest e-Commerce Season Ever

Posted 2 weeks ago by Celeste Buckley

Online spending has never been higher, supercharged by lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. In fact, online sales are expected to reach $1.13 trillion in 2021, according to the NRF, as consumers lean into e-commerce like never before. 

Heading into the Holiday season, competition is fierce. Brands who are looking to benefit from the tidal wave of online demand must optimize their digital offering in order to come out on top in 2021.

Fortunately, the expert team at Skimlinks have pulled together the top best practices and tactics that advertisers can use to nail e-commerce this Holiday season.

1. Raise your base commission rate

If you want to catch publishers’ attention this year, the place to start is your commission rate. Publishers expect fair compensation for the sales they can drive for your business. The value is magnified by increased traffic and shopper intent during the Holiday season. The Skimlinks rule of thumb? Offer a 25-50% increase on the standard base commission rate to win publishers’ attention at this critical time of year. 

Remember – editorial integrity is of paramount importance to publishers and a commission rate alone won’t win you traffic, but having flexibility in this key period to reward relevant partners will put you in a more advantageous position relative to peers.

2. Communicate offers and best-selling products 

Skimlinks Managed Service Advertisers are invited to share their offers and best-sellers with their Account Managers in order for them to be relayed to publishers. Skimlinks Self-Service Advertisers are invited to share offers via this form in order for them to be swiftly and effectively shared with our Publishers via the Skimlinks Publisher Hub and daily newsletters. To increase the likelihood of coverage during Q4, share sale dates and promotions as early as possible. In 2020, 53% of publishers preferred to receive information regarding holiday deals and offers no later than October. Given the global supply chain logistics disruptions facing retailers and shoppers this year, prioritize sharing sales start and end dates, top products going on sale and best sellers heading into the Holidays and click here to sign our NDA to confidentially release deals.

3. Extend your cookie window

The Rule of 7, one of the oldest principles in marketing, suggests that a prospect needs to hear an advertiser’s message at least 7 times before acting upon it. Moreover, 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions. What do these statistics tell us when taken together? Although a reader might be initially exposed to an advertiser’s product via a publisher, they may subsequently experience it multiple times across many other mediums before making a purchase decision. Top-performing merchants on our network are well-aware of this, and have an average cookie window length of 30 days to ensure that publishers receive credit for the sales that they inspire. A cookie window of 30 days or longer is critical to positive, long-term partnerships between advertisers and publishers. Make no mistake – if you don’t extend your cookie window this Holiday season, your competition will. 

4. Optimize your website for mobile

It’s worth familiarizing ourselves with m-commerce, as more than half of the traffic volume recorded by Skimlinks is mobile, and Insider Intelligence predicts that mobile will become consumers’ preferred channel for online shopping within the next five years. Adopt a shift in mindset to accommodate this mobile-first shopper in 2021, by implementing features such as one-click checkout that streamline transaction processing.

5. Ensure a seamless path to purchase 

A publisher will only send their loyal readership to an advertiser’s website if they are convinced that their reader will have a positive user experience. Deploy UX best practices such as easily available guest checkout and clearly visible delivery date to minimize abandoned baskets and maximize coverage and conversions. 

6. Tailor promotions towards e-commerce events

Bookmark the Skimlinks editorial calendars for the US, Asia, Australia and New Zealand and Europe and tailor promotions to relevant events to maximize coverage. Keep in mind that publishers will write content up to six weeks’ ahead of relevant events, and so it’s important to respect these editorial timelines. Collaborative thinking and planning goes a long way to developing positive partnerships. 

7. Regularly review performance reporting

Skimlinks advertisers can easily see their performance reporting from within their affiliate networks, or via scheduled reporting. Using this reporting, advertisers can see which publishers and which domains are driving their greatest revenue. This enables advertisers to reward those publishers with more attractive commission rates to drive even greater sales and revenue. 

8. Join the Skimlinks Paid Preferred Partner Program

The Paid Preferred Partner Program is a tool for self-service advertisers who are looking to grow their visibility with Skimlinks Publishers. The program requires a 3-month commitment and costs £99/€110/$140/AUD180 per month via credit card. Through this program, advertisers receive:  

  • Commission rate benchmarking 
  • Monthly and weekly domain-level performance reporting
  • Preferential ranking in the Merchant Search section of the Skimlinks Publisher Hub
  • A badge indicating Preferred Status in the Skiminks Editor Toolbar
  • Inclusion of relevant offers in communication to premium publishers  
  • Online support from the Skimlinks Account Specialist team 

9. Think bigger with flat fee partnerships

Skimlinks Managed Service Advertisers are welcome to submit flat fee partnership budgets to secure guaranteed coverage. These types of partnerships yield holiday gift guide inclusion, homepage placements, newsletter and social media placements. As always, Skimlinks recommends that advertisers be mindful of publisher deadlines and aim to submit proposals with at least 4 weeks’ lead time to account for submissions, feedback, and distribution of content.

Skimlinks looks forward to working hand-in-hand with advertiser partners to deliver the best possible outcomes during the most important e-commerce season ever! 

Prepare for the Holiday Season with the Skimlinks Publisher Checklist

6 Ways for Publishers to Prepare for the 2021 Holiday Season

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