Firstly, we hope you and the team are keeping well and safe at the moment. How has the pandemic affected your affiliate relationships on a day-to-day basis?
Chris Russell-Smith: Thanks to technology, keeping in touch has not been difficult and we have managed to maintain day to day communications with our network and merchant partners fairly easily. But you can’t really beat meeting in person, and so we have missed that and the all-important social side of the affiliate industry. We’re looking forward to the end of the lockdown so we can get back out there.
Have you seen reduced commissions or paused programs during this period? If so, how have you adapted your budgets and KPIs to the changes?
CRS: Over the period, we have seen quite a few programs either pause completely or reduce commissions, and we look forward to seeing them come back to full strength. At Bravo Savings Network, we have pivoted towards sectors like Electronics, Home & Garden and Education where demand has remained strong. We have adapted our promotional and editorial activity accordingly. It as also created space for new ideas – in April we launched our first PayDay Deals page which will now be a monthly feature.
Have you seen a shift in verticals and product categories in the last 30 days (March-April)?
CRS: It will be no surprise that Travel has been the vertical that has been hardest hit. Normally strong through H1, travel programs have seen very weak demand. The UK’s Stay At the Home policy and the amazing weather we experienced for most of April were the main factors that drove consumer behaviour so we have seen strong performance in DIY and Home & Garden and electronics. The focus on keep fit and self-improvement have also meant that home fitness and, in particular, education has performed well. Fashion and Jewellery have also stood up well, despite the fact we can’t go out!
How have you maintained the human element of performance marketing whilst working from home?
CRS: At Bravo, we have maintained constant contact with our network, agency and merchant partners via Hangouts and Zoom. These technologies have meant we have still been able to present to large groups, and have 121’s with account managers, so nothing has slowed down in that regard, although it cannot top being there in person armed with doughnuts and bar tab! It’s been good to see the odd quiz being run on a Friday afternoon as well.
Lastly, as a company, how are you supporting your team and clients during these unprecedented times?
CRS: The main outward facing initiative was the launch of our UKStayStrong page, back in March, which has been very successful and well supported. The ideas was to create a page that would provide opportunities to both merchants and consumers during the outbreak. We waived any fees and CPA increases in favour of a strong and exclusive consumer offer. Versions of this page are running in all the markets the Bravo Savings Network serves – UK, US, DE, FR, IT, ES, PL, each with its own flavour to reflect the local market.
Internally, on top of regular video conferencing to keep ourselves up to date and connected, we have held a series of online social events run by various talented team members, like Yoga and Tai-Chi classes. We have even watched a Netflix movie together as a group using Netflix Party.