If you’re a retailer these are tough times and Christmas carries additional demands with affiliate commission hike requests inexorably rising with every year that passes.
Managed carefully you might find some wriggle room to strategically boost commissions but there’s one key bargaining chip that can give you an extra foot up that also offers a welcome seasonal fillip to your affiliates: mobile tracking.
For the past two years now Affiliate Window has been on a quest to showcase the rapid rise of mobile and tablet marketing. In that time we've seen sales increase ten-fold with October 2012 traffic breaking the 15% barrier for the first time across the range of trackable devices and handset clicks expected to hit double figures in the next few weeks for the first time ever.
Remarkable growth in mobile
This is remarkable growth that the affiliate industry, alongside all other digital channels, is struggling to comprehend. Central to this is a desire to understand how consumers are interacting with mobile devices differently to traditional desktop, but regardless of the challenges ahead, we have to ensure the fundamental building blocks are in place.
I've lost count of the number of advertisers who have challenged me this year to list the range of affiliate activity and innovation in the mobile space. My response is always the same: until all retailers add mobile tracking to their m-commerce sites this list will be wanting. Why should an affiliate invest in building a mobile proposition they won’t be fairly rewarded for?
Let’s clear up some of the areas of potential confusion first. If an advertiser doesn't have an m-commerce site and the site is accessed on a handset, it’s likely it will track by affiliate networks as the traditional desktop site will have the existing affiliate network tracking in place.
Typically tablets serve up desktop sites (very few retailers have created standalone tablet sites) and therefore these sales will also track, although it will be interesting to see if iPad Mini will shake that situation up.
Adding standard affiliate tracking to a new m-commerce site will earn you plaudits from affiliates as this too will track.
Mobile sites without tracking
The real problem occurs when advertisers fall between the two stools: being enlightened enough to invest in a mobile site but failing to apply due diligence and add appropriate tracking.
And with every day that becomes more and more meaningful. Take a typical day from the last week of October on our network: around 3,500 sales came through mobile handsets (excluding tablets). Assume an average order value of £65 and you can instantly see the size of the both the opportunity and threat in not having tracking enabled. With current revenue of around £10k an hour generated through Android, iPhone and Blackberry devices we simply can’t afford not to reward affiliates for their efforts.
Look at it another way, affiliates through just one of our big retailers have generated over £100k in mobile commission in the past six months. If this retailer had omitted tracking this revenue would not only have been unpaid but wouldn't be allocated to the channel. The channel in turn would be viewed as a smaller slice of the online pie and budgets for next year potentially downscaled.
So the message is clear: if you want to spread some Christmas cheer to your affiliates make sure you’re optimised for mobile. And if you’re an Affiliate Window client don’t forget to let us know so we can switch on your mobile status in the interface and add you to our growing list of enabled retailers.