In the past couple of decades, online shopping has turned the retail world on its head. No longer do customers have to step foot in a store — or even get out of their houses — to make a purchase.
Now, in a time when adults in the U.S. spend 51 percent of their digital media time on a mobile device, mobile has taken that convenience one step further. Customers can shop from their living rooms, from the work break room, or even while they’re out on the town. There’s no need to log on to a computer when they can simply open an app or mobile site and make purchases from their phones.
This change in behavior presents major opportunities to drive customer acquisition through affiliate marketing. Mobile offers huge potential to drive sales and engagement, track in-app and mobile site performance, and offer hypertargeted offers. It empowers you to leverage location-based offers in real time when shoppers are near a store, helping you unlock key demographics, understand behavioral data, and track conversions to corresponding affiliates.
The future of affiliate marketing is going to be driven by mobile — and you have to leverage these opportunities to take full advantage of the lucrative channel it has become. But remember:
- Your best performers will drive your strategy.
- Creative and promotions should be designed for mobile.
- Choose the right affiliate partners.
- Don’t lose sight of your other channels.
How to Get the Most From Your Mobile Affiliate Strategy
When you’re mapping out your mobile affiliate marketing strategy, there are a few ways you can ensure you achieve the best results:
1. Use data to determine your best performers. Make sure you have reliable tracking in place that produces accurate data. Track clicks, installs, in-app activity, sales, registrations, and costs to determine which affiliates are performing the best and delivering the highest return. Not every affiliate can leverage mobile effectively, so it’s important to measure results and develop a strategy for your most valuable affiliates. Talk with them to understand what experiences they’ve had in driving mobile adoption and usage. Above all, don’t forget to pay your affiliates. If your tracking doesn’t work properly, you could lose valuable affiliates who will drop programs that show poor results.
2. Develop mobile-specific creative and promotions. Developing creative and promotions specifically for mobile will make it as easy as possible for affiliates to promote your brand. If you want an affiliate to promote your new mobile app to drive downloads and in-app sales, marketers need to incentivize that behavior by giving them creative and promotions that support their efforts. Having ad creative that can be used across devices will drive traffic and conversions. It’s critical to ensure your content (whether it’s text, images, or video) will respond to different screen sizes and devices. Be sure that your call to action’s placement and size are also mobile-friendly.
Instead of trying to appeal to a specific customer on a specific platform only, consider the “micro-moments” in the customer journey. This is when customers feel like they want to know, go, do, or buy something and turn to their mobile devices to do so.
Remember that 75 percent of U.S. adults use at least two devices that are connected to the Internet — and 67 percent of them switch devices while completing common tasks. If you know that your audience browses casually in the morning and more intentionally at night, for instance, you might introduce customers to a trend in the morning and offer a coupon to close the sale later. After all, customers already expect you to meet them at each stage of their purchasing process, and 23 percent assume their mobile experience will change based on location.
3. Choose the right affiliate partners. From driving high-volume sales to increasing engagement and conversions, affiliate partners provide a multitude of opportunity for marketers — as long as you choose good partners.
Here are a few of my recommendations (see more here):
- RetailMeNot is the leading coupon site with 18 million mobile users per month and is dominant in the mobile affiliate space. Retailers have the opportunity to drive online and in-store sales through app and push notifications.
- Ebates is a top loyalty site that gives customers cash back when they use the mobile app to make purchases. This appproach gives retailers a valuable competitive advantage.
- Keep is an app and website that gives shoppers a new place to discover and buy the latest trends from any store, anywhere — all in one order. Retailers can gain exposure to Keep’s shopping enthusiasts and have the opportunity to drive incremental sales.
- Button is a technology provider that connects complementary apps and empowers deep linking into relevant pages. It improves app-to-app conversion rates and revenue per affiliate link, providing a great opportunity for retailers.
Each of these mobile affiliate partners provides various capabilities and opportunities for affiliate marketers in this ever-changing landscape.
4. Integrate mobile with other marketing channels. Shoppers tend to start and finish the purchasing process through affiliates, so it’s imperative that you invest in an omnichannel strategy. That way, you’ll better understand customer behavior across all platforms, and retailers can tailor affiliate offers to deepen consumer engagement and increase ROI. It will also help you more accurately define your affiliate commission strategy.
The ubiquity of mobile means you have to rise to the occasion or be left behind. What started as a marketing option and evolved into an ideal add-on is now an integral part of any marketing plan. For a deeper dive into mobile affiliate strategies, download “The Affiliate Marketer’s Guide to Mobile” e-book.
What aspects of mobile affiliate marketing have you found most challenging?