With fall officially here, it’s time to start thinking about the holidays. While it is tempting to delay marketing campaigns targeting holiday shoppers until Q4, the fact is that, according to Rakuten Marketing data, almost half (48%) of global shoppers have started buying presents for the holidays by July.

Now is the time for publishers to focus on preparing for the biggest shopping period of the year. These tips will help ensure readiness for the fast-approaching holiday season:

  1. Analyze Past Holiday Performance

    Utilize the data and reporting from your affiliate network to analyze your past holiday performance. This will help you understand which types of products and what type of content led to the most sales. The data will also give insight into which promotions and key dates were the most popular. Successfully identifying what your readers want will help you create an effective campaign plan to pitch to your advertiser partners, making this holiday season your most lucrative to date.

  2. Plan Promotions Early

    Once you’ve completed your analysis of the year before, you can start identifying which promotions and campaigns you want to duplicate for the upcoming holiday season. For publishers, it is important to create a sell sheet to share with your advertiser partners to negotiate placement and commission opportunities. This will help you create an organized content and promotion schedule.It is also beneficial to build focused pages such as “shop by recipient” or gift guides for specific products or product categories. According to Rakuten Marketing data, globally, 79% of consumers are looking for suggestions on the gifts they buy and over two thirds (69%) are ‘likely’ to buy something for themselves because it was recommended by advertising. Over a fifth of US and UK respondents confess they need ‘all the help they can get’ with making gift-buying decisions. Remember to track placements, incentives, contests, and all activities for next year’s prep.

  3. Optimize

    Over the next month, you should be actively testing your site or platform for the additional traffic you will be experiencing during the holiday shopping season, especially Cyber Week. Consumers are going to be flooding publisher sites for deals and promotions, and even the biggest brands and publishers are not immune to getting overloaded. Even going dark for a couple minutes can be detrimental to sales, commissions and your online reputation. It is your job to make sure your site can handle all surges in traffic to your partners. In addition to this, check that your site is mobile-friendly, which includes speed and intuitive design. Lastly, work with your affiliate network to make sure your affiliate links are functioning and tracking properly so you get proper commission for your holiday sales.

By following the steps above, you will set yourself up for a stress-free and successful holiday season. Remember to remain true to your audience and authentic to your brand. This will help you focus on the appropriate personalized content to publish for increased sales and success.

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