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Are you Ready for Holiday? #33
The Flywheel

Are you Ready for Holiday? #33

Written by

Tye DeGrange

Aug 30, 2023

Are You Ready for Holiday? #33 🎄

Dozens of Clients, Teammates, and Many of YOU have been asking about holiday prep.

It’s a thing so lets get into it!

Your Guide to 2023 Affiliate Marketing Holiday Preparation

  1. How Big Is It?
  2. Start Early
  3. Collaborate & Calendar with your top partners
  4. Content is King
  5. Pay to Play Securing Your Spots
  6. The Promotion Offer Landing Page Trifecta
  7. Mobile
  8. Experiment before Q4 Not During
  9. Micro Influencers
  10. Amazon
  11. Multi-Channel Align so you’re singing the same song
  12. Compliance Tips
  13. Cash
  14. Bonus Points for Bonusing (pro partner and pro brand)
  15. Q4 ad Holiday dovetails into winning in 2024 and beyond

Please note that in the coming weeks we will select the greatest hits from this list and offer a deep dive into them so we can provide even more information and detail.

Here Is Why It’s Big 🛍️

The holiday season is a pivotal time for businesses to capitalize on increased consumer spending.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022 were both record-breaking shopping days.

Cyber Monday was the biggest day of Cyber 5, bringing in over $2 billion more in revenue than Black Friday. Revenue on Cyber Monday was also more than double what it was on Thanksgiving.

Source: Cyber 5 2021 Eclipses Cyber Monday For the First Time.

This edition of The Flywheel unveils actionable recommendations for affiliate marketers to thrive during this critical period.

Props to Common Thread Collective for their take on the big moments of holiday as the “4 peaks”

They’ve given these mini-peaks the following names:

  • Early Bird 🐦
  • Black Friday 🎄
  • Cyber Monday 🛒
  • Holiday Gifting 🎁
Source: Common Thread Collective’s “Four Peaks”.

What % of a brand’s revenue comes from Q4?

It depends, but:

  • General Merchandise Retailers: For general retailers, Q4 can often account for as much as 30% to 40% of annual sales.
  • Specialty Retailers: For stores that specialize in things like jewelry or high-end consumer electronics, the percentage could be even higher, possibly up to 50%.
  • E-commerce: E-commerce sites, especially those dealing in consumer goods, often see a significant jump in Q4, similar to brick-and-mortar stores. The share could range from 25% to 40% or even more, depending on the specific focus of the site.

Start early 📅

The exact timing can vary based on the scale of your business, the complexity of your campaign, and your industry.

However, a general guideline is to start planning your holiday affiliate marketing strategy at least 3 to 6 months before the holiday season begins.

A lot of consumer EComm brands have their plans final already or are locked and loaded by September 15.

Collaborate with your Top Partners 🤝

Since affiliate marketing is so relationship-based and they often can act as an extension of your team…

You will definitely want to include partners in your plans and co-create effective holiday affiliate marketing campaigns with them.

Affiliates and Influencers can be great partners in coming up with creative ideas, strategizing, and planning.

Share marketing calendar as soon as its finalized to share with partners early to align coverage around those dates.

Listen to your partners, but don’t be the Grinch on commissions or bonuses.

Content-First Approach with a Holiday Twist 📰

The content-first approach is pivotal during the holidays.

Encourage affiliates to generate holiday-themed content that adds value. Gift guides, tutorials, and product reviews can capture the festive spirit while offering practical insights to consumers.

Original and informative content stands out amid the holiday marketing noise.

Consumers are hungry for genuine thoughtful reviews of products especially during the holidays and especially for larger ticket purchases they have been thinking about making for a while.

Pay to Play…early 🎰

Paid placements with top affiliate partners will sell out. Usually by early Oct but for some coveted affiliate partners even early as September.

So make sure you use your historical data to select high-potential winners and a diverse group of full funnel partners to feature your brand during holiday.

Promotion, Offer, Landing Page 🏷️

This might be the trifecta of affiliate marketing and performance marketing in general.

As a result, it better be dialed in for your biggest time of year.

If you do a number of experiments to inform these in Q2 and Q3 leading up to holiday and use 2022 as a guide you can deploy a valuable mix of:

  1. Promotions ($ off, % off, BOGO, Sweepstakes)
  2. Offer (copy, pain point, value prop, product mix)
  3. Landing page (holiday theme with offer, promo, social proof, review ideally above the fold and mobile optimized)

Mobile 📲

Speaking of Mobile. On Thanksgiving 2022, mobile shopping accounted for 55% of online retail sales, an all-time high and an increase of 8.3% year over year, per Adobe. On Black Friday, mobile hit another record, reaching 48% of all online sales compared to 44% in 2021.

So definitely test on mobile, and have your landing pages, emails, and texts ready to fire and support a more mobile shopper.

Experiment Q2 - Q3 to nail Q4 🧪

As you know, we are a big fan of experimentation and “Always Be Testing.” Nod to the new podcast on Spotify and Apple.

You should be carving out a solid 5-15% of your traffic ( depending on your strategic objectives, financial position, competitors, and spend within each channel to experimentation and learning.

Holiday is WHY we experiment so you can deploy what worked well and maximize the return on your investment in Q4 Holiday.

There you have it folks.

Leveraging Micro-Influencers for Authentic Impact 🤳

One trend that continues to gain traction is partnering with micro-influencers. These influencers possess a dedicated and engaged audience, making their endorsements more authentic. To succeed, identify micro-influencers aligned with your target audience's preferences. Collaborate to create personalized holiday-themed content that resonates organically.

While we tap tools and networks a lot, we also take a very curated high quality approach that is starting to gain a lot of traction.

Brands and consumers are loving it.

Amazon 👩‍💻

The most popular shopping destination this holiday season is Amazon, where 67% of Americans are shopping, followed by 36% on Walmart.com.

60% of consumers start their product search on Amazon.

As a result you need an Affiliate Marketing approach to Amazon just as you have a big bet on Amazon.

Amazon Associates has limits in visibility, static commission/payouts by category making it hard to reliably scale.

You might want to tap Levanta like we do to drive traffic to your Amazon store and pay for sales not just clicks. Amazon rewards this with better organic rankings and offers a kick back to brand sellers for non-Amazon traffic sales driven on Amazon.

You are likely investing a lot already on Amazon at a critical time, you might as well enable Affiliate and Creators to be part of that.

Coordinated Multi-Channel Strategy 🔛

Synchronize your affiliate marketing efforts with other marketing channels like Google, Meta, and Tiktok. Collaborate with influencers who align with your brand's message across platforms. We have been a huge proponent of whitelisting in our flywheel approach and holiday is no different. A cohesive holiday campaign message across social media, email, and influencer content enhances brand consistency and audience engagement.

Winning brands will compliment channels and reinforce, for example campaigns can have the same holiday theme, color, message, value prop but perhaps a different

Speaking of aligning with all performance marketing channels, a word from our sponsor…

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Transparency and Compliance: The Building Blocks of Trust 🧐

Amid growing emphasis on transparency, ensure all affiliate promotions are unmistakably labeled. Clear disclosures build trust and credibility with your audience. Prioritize compliance with advertising regulations to maintain brand integrity.

  1. FTC Compliance - the new rulings include brands, agencies and influencers to revise and elevate importance. We recommend quarterly monitoring of the top 30% (at least) of partners for most programs.
  2. Moonpull - we recommend you take a look at Moonpull if you do not have time or resources to validate link tracking.
  3. Traffic Guard - we recommend them as a very powerful anti-fraud protection layer for your affiliate program.

Cash on Hand 💵

As volume increases we recommend weekly review of your affiliate network account balance to ensure you have funds on hand to support commissions to valued partners enabling network to pay out in a timely fashion with no issues or delays.

Innovative Compensation and Performance Bonuses 💸

Craft inventive compensation models for the holidays. Introduce performance-based bonuses to incentivize affiliates. Commissions can be complemented by bonuses tied to holiday-specific KPIs, such as reaching higher levels than last year or higher than forecasted results during peak shopping periods.

Ongoing Discussion & Analysis 📊

The performance, data and learnings of how partners perform in Q4 can inform a lot. Utilize that to your advantage and leverage that for your ongoing collaboration with them.

Remember, they are your partners and if managed effectively they can build a multi-channel moat for your business and really shine during the bright lights of HOLIDAY 2023!

Special thanks to our illustrious and smart teammates Alex Arbiz and Chelsea Chapman for their contributions and validation on all things Holiday Prep 2023!

Conclusion 🎬

Holiday 2023 presents smart teams with an exciting opportunity to capitalize on emerging trends, great partners, and data.

By tapping, preparation, embracing a content-first approach, micro influencers, and using the experimentation and data effectively, marketers can craft campaigns that resonate authentically with audiences and win.

Focus on data, compliance, and innovative compensation, brands can thrive in the dynamic holiday landscape.

Remember, success lies in building relationships, maintaining transparency, and creating value beyond the holiday season.

Here to help you along the way!






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That's it! 👊 we'll add some stuff in the weeks to come. Thanks for taking this journey with us and sharing your inbox with us!

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