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Case Study: HalloweenCostumes.com

Seasonal Merchant Increases Revenue 200% in Two Years

From the start of HalloweenCostumes.com’s (HC) affiliate marketing partnership with LinkConnector (LC) in 2012, HC has consistently invested in and benefited from year-round collaborative strategies with LinkConnector’s account management team and affiliate partners to achieve sizable year-over-year (YoY) growth through their LinkConnector program, superior to that of their other two networks. This profitable growth has prioritized HC’s value of the performance marketing channel. Read More

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Adapting to COVID-19 and Growing Together with Affiliate Marketing

As COVID-19 has upended our worlds and forced us into a new normal, we unquestionably recognize the importance of human connections and adaptability in these unprecedented times—two defining features of affiliate marketing.

This state of crisis that has become our reality has redefined ecosystems, shifted consumer shopping behavior and altered stages of growth—quickly beckoning the need for eCommerce retailers to adjust their online advertising spend and strategies.

As digital marketing initiatives are being constrained or paused due to budget cuts, online retailers are leveraging the cost-effective value of affiliate marketing ever more so to help reach today’s consumer and fuel online revenue growth.

Here are some examples demonstrating how affiliate programs are empowering growth for online retailers amidst the coronavirus pandemic:

Employing Customer Ambassadors: Underscoring the human connection factor, retailers are emphasizing the opportunity for their customers to earn money by referring their community of friends and peers to purchase from the retailer’s online store.  A retailer’s customers are effectively becoming a 100% commission-based online salesforce for retailers.

Matching Talent to the Environment: Just as sports coaches adjust game time strategies to external factors like weather, injuries and opponents, affiliates are essential players in these changing times—a powerful combination of entrepreneurship and innovation that helps drive growth for retailers in ways now deemed necessary. Retailers that previously eschewed Coupon affiliates are now placing them in the starting lineup; recognizing the importance of giving consumers a cost-savings in these tough economic times. Search Engine Marketing affiliates are given priority for their peripheral vision expertise in helping retailers become discoverable for search results potential customers are now seeking.

Communicating Value Add: The affiliate marketing industry is a guiding beacon for the importance of communicating and sharing ideas and strategies to help our ecosystem respond to, and rebound from, setbacks. Affiliate managers are utilizing LinkConnector resources to communicate top-selling products, inventory availability, promotional offers and shipping times to their affiliates, who then communicate (within their promotional context) these important details to consumers. Similarly, affiliates are making their resiliency known by highlighting innovative ways which they can quickly pivot to give merchants exposure to relevant customer demographics in need.

Driving Orders in Surging Categories: Read More

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5 Benefits and 5 Techniques that Add Value to Affiliate Networks

#AffiliateTracking

On the closing day of Affiliate Summit East (#ASE19) in New York City, LinkConnector’s Co-Founder and Co-President, Choots Humphries, presented on the topic of 5 Benefits and 5 Techniques that Add Value to Affiliate Networks.  We are excited to recap actionable takeaways from this presentation.

Choots opened by making the point that all Affiliate Networks are not created equally and there are many types of networks.  There are affiliate networks, like LinkConnector, offering a full range of technology and tracking solutions along with management services and program optimization.  There are Ad Networks (or CPA Networks) which generally act without transparency to promote an advertiser’s offer based usually on an insertion order.  And, there are networks which would be better classified as a pure tracking solution which offer advertisers tracking solutions for all forms of online advertising and aren’t exclusively geared towards an affiliate program.  Choots further elaborated that the contents of this presentation were going to be focused around traditional affiliate networks.

Choots kicked off the presentation by listing five benefits of Affiliate Networks and announced he would be offering five techniques or considerations for each to extract value from network relationships.  Here are the five benefits…

Proper Tracking and Crediting

Proper tracking and crediting for merchant and affiliate customers is one of the most critical functions of a network.  Here are five consideration points shared to demonstrate such:

ITP 2.2 Compliant and Supports Parallel Tracking
Make sure your network is ITP 2.2 compliant, if not Apple’s changes to Safari’s privacy policy will increasingly erode at your ability to track sales or receive credit from Apple devices.  Also, if you are a Search affiliate or work with search affiliates, ensure your network supports Google’s new requirement for Parallel Tracking. Read More

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It’s Time for Coupon Codes to Change

Coupon codes have evolved slowly in the Affiliate Marketing industry, but now represent a new realm of opportunity and optimism. 

Consumers have used coupons for online shopping discounts for over 20 years. As consumer demand for online coupons rose, affiliate websites like RetailMeNot.com, Savings.com, and Coupons.com were created to meet and monetize this demand. And, over time, coupon codes provided by affiliates evolved slightly to increase conversion and value to the Affiliate Marketing relationship. For example, a specific vanity code branded to an affiliate site or a code more easily remembered (e.g., Save10) tends to be more effective than a random code. Coupons specifically designed to increase shopping cart value (e.g., 10% off a purchase of $100 or more) are also used to increase the value of an online transaction for affiliate and merchant partners. These optimization techniques have one thing in common—they represent only minor evolutionary progress when compared to traditional coupons consumers have used for over 100  years. With the plethora of member data available to affiliates today, so much more is possible and significant evolution is inevitable.

Coupon and loyalty affiliate companies have much data about their members. This data includes demographic details, as well as purchase habits and interests. Armed with such data, affiliates could significantly optimize further if they had the ability to present coupons specific to each member. Another level of optimization could occur if these affiliates could react to consumer decisions in real-time, but coupon codes for any particular merchant are constrained by a merchant’s shopping cart and the need for that merchant to create coupons manually and significantly ahead of a consumer’s purchase decision. But what would our Affiliate Marketing world look like if this constraint were lifted?  What would be possible if affiliates could create codes on demand that transparently worked in a merchant’s shopping cart?

With the ability to create coupons on demand, affiliates could customize codes to its members based on real-time circumstances. Over time, and with A/B testing, codes could be optimized to each individual versus the general population optimization that occurs today. In this environment, one member might react better to coupons that expire within hours while another may perform better with several days to consider a purchase. Or, a particular member may convert at a much higher rate when offered coupons targeted to certain items already in their cart. With the ability to create member and situational targeted coupons specific to each combination of circumstances, affiliates will begin to add value beyond anything seen before in the Affiliate Marketing industry. This is value only a particular affiliate can contribute with access to their member data and behavior.

Personalized coupons are the inevitable evolution of online coupons as technology allows for real-time coupon creation by affiliates. Much stronger conversion rates, higher shopping cart order values, and greater customer acquisition are all possible with the ability to A/B test and optimize on an individual basis. Of course, this will serve to restore the value offered by coupon and loyalty affiliates once again in our industry.

Choots Humphries is the Co-President and Co-Founder of LinkConnector Corporation.

Are you a coupon affiliate seeking effective new ways to leverage customer data and  increase conversion rates? Try LinkConnector’s Infinity CodesContact us to learn more.

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FeedFront Magazine, Issue 46 Read More

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Parallel Tracking – Affiliate Links Are Ready

The affiliate marketing industry is adapting to another notable tracking technology change. First, there was GDPR, then came Safari ITP 2.0, and now we are dealing with Google’s Parallel Tracking (PT).  Needless to say, that has kept our IT Department busy!

The great news for our customers is that LinkConnector has met all these technology challenges head on and conquered them in a timely manner.  Today we can report that we’ve solved the issues presented by Parallel Tracking.

What are those issues you may ask?  Well, first a little background.  Google has announced (see https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/7544674?hl=en) that they will require all advertisers using their AdWords platform to have ads set up to accommodate PT by October 30, 2018.

PT requires advertisers who use tracking links to fill in two more variables in their ads—Final URL and Final URL suffix as they are used when Google determines that PT is available for a click (about 20% of the time currently).  For affiliates advertising with the AdWords platform PT will break tracking for Safari 12 users (increasing rapidly) and present additional challenges in getting information about a promotion to the advertiser’s landing page.

Networks, tracking solutions, and tag managers that haven’t provided their customers the variables for AdWords will find that PT breaks dynamic tracking.  Most tag managers rely on some dynamic parameter to identify the promoting source.  Networks and tracking solutions have always controlled tracking with their redirects.  Going forward, the affiliate/publisher will have to assist in maintaining that control by placing the appropriate values into the Final URL and Final URL suffix.

So, what has LinkConnector done for our affiliates to enable their preparation for Parallel Tracking:

  • Affiliates have several places in LC’s interface as well as an API function to obtain the variables needed to populate AdWords for PT.
  • LinkConnector  tested to ensure our tracking URL accepts and stores the dynamic Google clickid (gclid), so it can be cross referenced with our own clickid (lctid), enabling Safari ITP 2.0 limitations to be overcome.
  • LinkConnector’s interface includes instructions on the dashboard concerning PT and the steps an affiliate needs to take to be compatible.
  • Read More

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    The Secret Weapon: How your Network Rep Can Help You Earn More

    Are you a blogger or an influencer looking for more ways to monetize your content? You may be overlooking a crucial tool: your affiliate network!

    Often, influencers and bloggers don’t realize how important their partnership is to a merchant’s online marketing goals, or that their affiliate network can be their advocate and catalyst to relevant merchants. If you haven’t talked to your affiliate rep in a while, it might be a good time to reach out and ask for suggestions or discuss technologies you might not be familiar with.

    We’re here to help.

    From helping you retrieve tracking links to requesting Naked Coupons – your affiliate rep is here to assist you. You may only talk to your affiliate rep if you have a tracking question, but you should consider reaching out for feedback and marketing ideas too. Affiliate reps know when new programs launch that are most relevant to your content and can help you get approved quickly. They can request special coupon codes unique to your affiliate account from the merchants you’re promoting. These coupons can be a huge earner for you whether it’s through your blog or social media channels such as Instagram, Twitch.tv, or Pinterest. Don’t hesitate to ask your rep to take a look at your content are recommend well-matched merchants.

    We can tell you about new technologies to help you succeed.

    If you do not login to your LinkConnector account often, you may not be familiar with some of our newest technologies that could help you monetize more of your content. Our new Content Link Technology (CLT) is a great tool for bloggers who post detailed reviews or discuss lots of products. CLT allows you to place a single piece of code on your site that will enable you to monetize mentions of specific products available through the product feeds of your approved merchants. It’s an easy way to add affiliate links to products you’re writing about and help your users find exactly what they’re looking for—all with little effort. 

    We have direct contact with the merchants you want to promote.

    Whether offering placement opportunities, asking for a special promotion, or discussing your performance of their campaign, it can be tricky to get in touch directly with merchants you’re promoting. That’s where your affiliate rep can be a brilliant resource. Affiliate reps often have direct contact with the merchants you’re promoting and can escalate a request quickly. They can help set up calls to introduce you to a merchant, negotiate commissions on your behalf, and get creatives or other content that you might need.

    Be sure not to overlook opportunities with your affiliate network when trying to monetize your content. What may seem like a small potential for earnings to you could be invaluable to a merchant with a growing brand – and could lead to more placements or earning opportunities in the future! Contact your LC affiliate rep today to learn about LinkConnector’s unique technologies or to get suggestions of campaigns that are the right fit for your content.

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    GlobalGolf Increases Revenue with Naked Coupon Technology

    The number of merchants benefitting from LinkConnector’s Naked Coupon technology continues to climb in 2017. Why? There is a constant demand for retailers to support the needs of an increasingly innovative affiliate population with the ability to transparently propel merchant brands into multiple channels (including offline). By implementing Naked Coupon capabilities, merchants open the door to a much broader range of promotional methods.
    Read More...

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    Exclusive Interview with E-file.com

    Now is the time to promote tax merchants—in fact, 50% of tax returns are completed by mid-February. E-file.com, an established LC merchant of four years, is in its peak season now. Given that 91% of tax returns were e-filed in 2016, the earning opportunity is significant.

    E-file.com offers one of the most aggressive payouts and highest converting products in the tax filing space. Unique to the E-file.com program, affiliates earn commission on both purchases and free fillings.
    Read More...