Ecommerce Seasonality & Your Affiliate Program – By Jonathan Goodwin

by Alana Jones on October 13, 2016

feedfront-35-cover-188x240Anticipating your seasonality will provide you with the organization you need so you can create a plan to grow your affiliate channel effectively.

Fully understanding your yearly cadence will help streamline your tactical plan in managing your affiliate program. By doing so, you’ll be able to pinpoint where you should allocate your spend and when you should expect a slower time period.

One of the basic fundamentals in managing any affiliate program is looking forward and anticipating your peaks and valleys. Once you are able to do this, you will be able to allocate more spend to maximize peak times and be more conservative on slower or downward periods.

Here are a couple of tips on what to do:

  • Log into your backend analytics platform (Google Analytics, Omniture, and Core-Metrics) and pull data for the last three years: traffic, revenue, and any other metrics you feel that you need, and export that data.
  • If you do not have access to the backend, then do the best you can and export at least two-three years of data from the network your affiliate program is on. Typically, the affiliate channel will follow trends from other ecommerce channels.

Once you are able to pinpoint these fluctuations, you will be able to effectively manage your affiliate program and optimize your publishers when you need to. When you see a peak during the twelve-month time frame, do your research and find out which publishers would be best to secure prime real estate on their site, and maximize that time period.

As you are approaching a slower time frame, scale back on the optimization, and keep your publishers informed on the latest trends, news, offers and landing pages to conserve your spend for the next peak time frame. Or, if you can, plan to run a promotion on a product segment that has performed well during this time.

Working hand in hand with your backend analytics platform will be vital in managing your seasonality. Analytics platforms have a much broader, holistic view on your total ecommerce, which can affect your affiliate program.

Be sure to log in each month and see if the trends for total ecommerce line up with what you are seeing for affiliate program performance for the given month.

Being able to anticipate the performance of the affiliate program is essential in managing the channel. Once you are able to do so, you will be able to put the right strategy in place to maximize peak seasons, and forecast ahead on how you think the affiliate program will perform based on your observations from looking at the backend platform.

By staying one step ahead, you’ll be able to alleviate stress and manage the channel appropriately.

Jonathan Goodwin is the Director of Strategy at JEBCommerce

This article appeared in issue 36 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in October 2016.

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