What worked well last holiday season may well work again with a little updating. And be aware that mobile is mainly for researching, not buying.

Matt Pivard, vice president, platform and operations, Skimlinks

Matt Pivard, vice president, platform and operations, Skimlinks

The holiday season is in full swing and forecasts suggest consumers will spend over a trillion dollars between November and January. It’s a critical time of year for commercial success and that, in turn, makes it critical that whether you’re a merchant, publisher, or marketer, you’re fully equipped to make the most of it. To that end we’ve put together these five insights we know will help you to win beyond Black Friday this holiday season.

Mobile is influential, but its main role remains research

Mobile’s growing importance cannot be denied, but it isn’t the pre-eminent channel yet. Indeed it’s primary role appears to be research, with conversions lagging behind traffic overall. Instead, desktop led the way last season, with more than 800,000 clicks per day (against 600,000 on mobile) and an average 3.35% (2.10% on mobile) conversion rate. This is based on Skimlinks customer website traffic between October 1st and January 31st 2015-16. Mobile traffic did exceed desktop traffic on specific holiday peaks, including Black Friday, but those increases didn’t result in higher conversions. This suggests merchants need to understand how to turn intent on mobile into sales on mobile and other channels.

Thinking beyond Black Friday to win during the holiday season

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You’ve heard that Black Friday is the be all to end all. To a large extent that’s true and in our network we see a massive spike in sales and traffic on Black Friday either side of the Atlantic. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other opportunities in the holiday season though, and these alternative e-commerce events can mean big business if you get your strategy right. The last guaranteed shipping date for Christmas—normally around December 15th—sees a massive spike in e-commerce orders that you can miss if you have tunnel vision on Black Friday.

Recycle content from years gone by

Content over 60 days old can still drive 40% of our customers’ revenue, so it’s worth ensuring that popular content your products were placed in last year are updated with your newest offerings to reap the rewards again this year. It saves you the trouble of getting products placed in entirely new pieces of content and helps you increase the lifetime value of existing strong-performing pieces of content that drive long-term sales.

Use your greatest hits

An alternative to updating products in well-indexed content from years gone by, is identifying your top-performing products this year. If you know a particular product  performed well or is expected to perform well, getting those products included in holiday editorial content is a great way to reach your target audience and improve your chance of driving higher numbers of conversions too.

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Collaborate with audience development teams

SEO, email, and social teams make it their business to drive growth so including them in your affiliate strategy can make all the difference in promoting your products through content.. Working with these teams helps ensure content featuring your products is exposed to as many people as possible and you’re driving as many sales as possible.

Based in London, SkimLinks is an affiliate marketing platform.

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