The Mail Online has decided to get into the affiliate marketing game, linking editorial content to online vendors. Those reading celebrity articles will be able to click through to vendors selling the fashion items appearing on the site.
What this might mean for consumers and the industry as a whole?
The whole concept of shopping for associated celebrity products isn’t new at all of course. Magazines, TV shows and radio programmes have been doing it for years, advising consumers on how to ‘get the look.’ Traditional affiliate publishers also target these products in similar ways.
However, the latest move by the Mail is fairly significant in that they have a huge audience of nearly 6 million daily average browsers. I’m sure merchants will be looking at this with very keen eyes, hoping to catch a percentage of this traffic and direct them through to their site to shift huge amounts of stock. With such a big audience share comes the power and influence to demand higher commission rates from these merchants, so it’s not surprising to see the Mail demanding rates of between 10-14%.
Ultimately merchants will need to decide if this rate works with their business model, whilst the Mail themselves will need to question how they can maintain journalistic integrity and not alienate their readership whilst pushing out products.
If more merchants find that this affiliate marketing model works for them, and we see it build out successfully, then it could have several knock-on effects to the industry as a whole.
Potential knock-on effects
Pure speculation of course, but if advertising budgets are being placed into these kind of channels, then will this take budget away from other traditional channels? What if newspapers like the Mail decide to strike up deals whereby they offer discounts or offers for their readership? Would traditional voucher code affiliates see any impact on the back of this?
Let’s say we do see an increase in this type of shopping behaviour online, how can traditional affiliates capitalise on this? Well, as industry technology, tracking and user behaviour becomes more and more sophisticated, I think we could see some interesting developments specifically around real-time bidding and responsive video ads, but also with the growing popularity of second screen advertising.
Is there money to be made?
At the end of the day we need to work everything back to a positive ROI in performance marketing, so this kind of advertising (while very interesting) might not make us any money right now. But in the next six months, year, two years and beyond..? This associated products advertising could come to the fore across all types of verticals. So, savvy advertisers will be there ready to pounce when the gross margin opportunities start to arise.
You can bet that we’ll be there right with them.