Posted: Friday 17th September 2021 in Services.

Peak is the key trading period in retail and it continues to be one of the most important times of the year for Affiliates. No longer just Black Friday, Peak now needs lots of pre-planning to make sure everything from increased budget to reporting is in place. Take a look at our list of considerations for before, during and after your Affiliate Peak activity to make sure you’re ready! 

Key considerations pre peak 

Plan and propose your activity early 

You should confirm Peak plans with clients at least 6 months before- although this isn’t always possible. By giving clients advance warning, it gives them additional time to plan activity and to source or reallocate budget if needed. To make securing this budget slightly easier, we always run through the previous year’s performance and provide key insights into what the trends will look like for this year coming- and use these to support our upcoming plan. 

Confirm budget requirements  

The most important thing to confirm with the client is the budget you need over Peak, and this needs to be discussed as early as possible. Costs increase around 20-30% at this time; both costs for tenancies and commission rates rise significantly, but the expected increase in sales will also drive-up costs- so the channel will need increased budget versus the norm. However over Peak and Christmas the affiliates do offer different features and pages on site as part of packages, so your brand will get more exposure for this additional cost.  

Expect the unexpected 

Sometimes plans change! Certain activity will do a lot better than expected or sometimes you’ll receive an offer for coverage at a great discounted rate that you can’t turn down. We recommend that you set aside spare budget or have a contingency plan for these things. 

Secure coverage early 

You should aim to secure coverage early before all the additional options have gone but affiliates don’t always release their rate cards until September so this isn’t always possible. You’ll need good negotiation skills to secure cheaper tenancy rates and it is always beneficial to have visibility of your brands offers as the Affiliates like a strong Peak offer. Not all brands want to share this information though so if you have no information to share provide your affiliates with an expected discount range e.g. expected offers range between 10-20% off everything.  

Peak isn’t just Black Friday 

Peak has evolved over the years. Gone are the days when Peak was newsletter or homepage coverage on Black Friday- now coverage starts to appear much earlier and lasts a lot longer. First, we had the addition of Cyber Monday, then it grew to Cyber Week, but now we see pre–Cyber Week deals too. The space is now so congested with various deals that your brand will be lost unless it has a really strong offer. To stay ahead and make sure your offers are seen, aim to start your activity from the 1st of November. 

There are times we don’t recommend Affiliates… 

… brands should not pay for a package if they don’t have a strong offer- you simply won’t get the results. If you are a brand where the brand name sells itself, such as Selfridges, then you can get away with a generic offer. For brands whose products are sold by others, it is much harder and you must have a strong offer for it to be worthwhile. 

Key considerations during Peak 

Spend money efficiently across channels 

It is important to keep an eye on the cost per sale for each channel throughout the period. Affiliates often has a lower cost per sale compared to other marketing channels, so in this instance we would advise clients to be flexible with budget and move it from other channels into affiliates so that they get more bang for their buck. 

Monitor your competitors 

Competitor offers and activity should be monitored hourly, then if anything changes, this can be fed back to the client. This gives the client chance to react and make changes to their offers or adjust their CPA rates. A top tip is to ask clients for a CPA range, a stretched budget, their best discounts etc. before you start the activity so that you know what/how much you can offer without needing further sign off- which often takes longer during busy times like Peak! 

Record everything you see 

Once Peak is over, you can’t go back… Advise the team to record and take screenshots of all the coverage they see over Peak to include in a wash up. 

Linking back to the very first point in this article, the key consideration after Peak is creating a campaign wash up and take a deep dive into performance. Detailed reporting on yourselves and competitors is key to see what worked well and to take these learnings into next year (to hopefully secure you more budget!).  

Have you got all or most of the above covered? If you need any support with your Affiliate activity over Peak get in touch with one of our experts today on [email protected]