Top tips for an effective festive Affiliate Marketing campaign

Plan ahead

As a marketer, you’ll know that the preparation for the festive period starts way earlier than you can even start thinking about Christmas shopping. With UK households spending an average of £473.83 on presents, brands are acting early to reach consumers as they start browsing, purchasing and wrapping gifts for their loved ones.

Previously, brands focused their festive efforts on December. However, with the rise in popularity of the US’ biggest shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers are working to launch campaigns as soon as their customer’s plane touches down from that summer getaway.

Gone are the days of running a 20% discount code a few weeks before Christmas and cracking open a bottle of mulled wine. Nowadays, brands need to be far more active in their affiliate marketing efforts.

More opportunities mean more competition. With 81% of brands running Affiliate Partner Programmes, you’ll need to stand out.

Data is king

Data is our most important asset when it comes to launching successful seasonal campaigns.

Thanks to our 17+ years experience running Affiliate Partner Programmes for retailers, we know what works. And, even better, we have the data to prove it. For this reason, there’s very little risk when it comes to a seasonal campaign. When preparing to launch a festive campaign, we ask a number of questions, including:

  • Has this publisher performed strongly enough in our sector to warrant the tenancy spend?
  • Does Product A or Product B resonate most with consumers in the affiliate space?
  • Where have we seen the best ROI on seasonal campaigns in the past?

Along with our breadth of knowledge, we have access to a number of tools that can help answer these questions and many more.

Remember, when it comes to data always trust your affiliate data rather than the publisher stats. The networks give us the ability to investigate in forensic detail the reach, traffic, conversion rate and revenue of individual publishers for brands just like yours.

Activating your program

We’re not fans of standing still. That’s why we take great pride in our proven track record of activating brands’ Affiliate Partner Programmes. This means we don’t just manage their Programmes, but we also aim to optimise the channel to deliver against key business objectives.

Brands can no longer churn out the same campaign material year after year, nor can they rely on the same affiliate partners to provide value to their consumer base. Your strategy for the festive period should fresh and exciting, but also aligned closely with the objectives of your business. Want to increase revenue by 20%? No problem. Increase market share by winning new customers? Absolutely. Boost sales in Spain? ¡Por supuesto!

By knowing your goals and how you’re working to achieve them, we can make sure that our activities complement, support and enhance your wider marketing activity.

Set targets and consider your budget

Once we establish your goals, we can begin to consider what budget is required to attain those goals.

We’ll work with you to ensure your goals are achievable with your desired budget. We’ll also work to adjust existing spending to match your festive goals.

If you have a healthy budget, you shouldn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger. We’ll help to break your target down into smaller KPI’s. We’ll also actively review performance to make sure you’re still on track to smash those all-important targets.

Look back

There’s often no better way to prepare for the future than by studying the past.

By identifying what worked and what didn’t last year, you’ll be best informed to make the very most of the affiliate channel this year. For publishers who are newer additions to your Affiliate Partner Programme, we’ll look at their performance over more recent key trading periods to ascertain how well they should perform over Q4.

You can also learn a lot from what didn’t work – perhaps a large publisher drove a significant number of clicks, but converted at an unusually low rate. Such ‘failures’ are a valuable opportunity to revisit the opportunity, dissect the issue, and retry.

Perhaps your brand saw low uptake from content publishers, but voucher code publishers performed well – this could be a good opportunity to shift more of your tenancy budget to voucher code and cashback affiliates this year.

The beauty of digital marketing is you have the flexibility to be agile, and quickly change anything that isn’t working.

Communicate with publishers

With more brands actively involved in affiliate marketing, competition in the space has never been more fierce. As a result, it’s not always easy to get noticed by the top publishers.

Fortunately, we’ve spent years building strong relationships with key industry partners, from global press to local publishers, and even Instagram influencers, we’ve got the contacts that’ll take your Affiliate Partner Programme to the next level.

Most big publishers will have a good idea of their Q4 opportunities by September, so we’ll start reaching out at the end of August to be sure of a spot. We’ll work with you to produce a calendar of product launches, discounts and internal/on-site promotions to give to affiliates, that’ll help to build content well ahead of time.

Know your calendar

Of course, it’s not just Christmas that spikes sales in Q4.

First came Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the US, whereby retailers routinely offer deep discounts on hot products, and occasionally price products at below wholesale cost to try and tempt customers into the store with their loss-leaders.

Cyber Monday, the following Monday, has risen to prominence in an effort to grab online retailers a piece of the action.

Nowadays, retailers are increasingly stretching the Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions across that entire weekend, or even longer, to try and draw the largest crowds and convert them into customers.

We’ve not yet mentioned the biggest e-comm shopping day in the world – do you know what it is?

11th November is known as Singles Day in China. For context, Alibaba’s revenues exceeded $30.8 billion on Singles Day last year – that’s over $5 billion more than Amazon’s revenue for Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Whichever industry your company is part of, there’s no getting away from the fact a solid affiliate marketing plan can put your brand in front of an audience who is primed and willing to spend.


It’s easy to take your eye off the ball during busy periods. However, while your busiest quarter is ticking over, it never hurts to double and triple-check your Affiliate Partner Programme is working as expected on a technical level, heading into the busiest trading period of the year. We’ll support you in this, making sure we’re always making the most of every opportunity that arises.

Is your product feed up to date? Are sale prices/discounts displaying correctly? How are you handling cross-device tracking? Making sure you’re squeaky clean from a usability standpoint means your publishers can get on with actually promoting your brand, and not wrangling with lines of code.

So, there you have it. Seven quick and easy pointers for making your Q4 affiliate marketing as prosperous and stress-free as possible. Silverbean asked me not to end the blog with any cheesy Christmas puns – a bit rude-olf if you ask me – but I suppose they have the final sleigh. Happy Christmas!

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