Industry News

News and Views: Black Friday & Cyber Monday Recap

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So the dust is beginning to settle after the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In this December issue of News and Views we’ll take a look at some of the insights that are rolling in as a result of the busiest (extended) weekend in commerce. According to the IMRG, an estimated £810m was spent online by British shoppers last Friday, meaning that Boxing Day has potentially been overtaken as the biggest shopping day of the year in the UK. These figures eclipsed initial estimates of £555m, with some 267,000+ orders being logged by 6pm on the Monday.

IBMOne of the most promising features worthy of note was the increase in mobile transactions. According to IBM, mobile accounted for over a third of all traffic on black Friday – up from last year’s 20% figure (right). What is most interesting is when we compare sales figures of mobile vs. tablet. Despite accounting for less than 15% of all traffic, over 16% of all sales were made on a tablet with a conversion rate just short of 5%!

PayPal, who sees $1 in every $6 of e-commerce go through its network, has also reported a 47% increase in the number of mobile payments this Thanksgiving, and a 62% increase on Black Friday over last year.

While various sources may be reporting a decline in sales last weekend on 2013, one thing is clear: the mobile and tablet customer base is growing rapidly and is showing no signs of slowing.

As always we welcome your feedback and comments.

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News and Views: Festive Forecasts

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In November’s edition of News and Views, we take a look at the upcoming festive spend predictions. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and Thanksgiving are all within the next two months so now is the time to get ahead and start planning your festive campaigns and strategies.

 Customer Growth Partners expects the consumer electronics category to experience growth of more than 4% this season. With such a competitive environment, customers will be hugely price sensitive – always on the lookout for the latest and best bargains. According to the CFI Group, between November 28 and December 1, nearly 30 percent of consumers spend more than 50% of their total festive budgets! This is a huge opportunity and one that affiliates should take full advantage of – keep up to date of all upcoming Super Weekends on our blog.

 Sage Pay has forecast online spending to top £13 billion this Christmas, an equivalent of an 18% boost on last year’s spending. “With record online spending predicted for Christmas 2014, it’s never been more important for small businesses to be online,” said Simon Black, chief executive of Sage Pay.

 Mobile traffic accounted for nearly 20% of all online traffic last cyber Monday, with tablets making up an additional 11.5% according to IBM. However, when it comes to making the sale, tablets drove a significantly higher percentage, driving 11.7% of all online sales, more than double that of smartphones (5.5%).

 eBay Partner Network’s Hot Categories for the next  two months will also be worth noting to make sure you’re publishing the most relevant and successful campaigns for you.

 As always we welcome your comments and feedback.

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Get 90 Days of eBay Market Research for Free

terapeak As a savvy publisher, you know to keep your ear to the ground for timely trends that drive people to search and buy. There are plenty of resources for research and trend spotting, and one excellent eBay-specific option is Terapeak.

To give you a view into the capabilities of this research platform, together with Terapeak, we’re offering eBay Partner Network publishers 90 days of free access, a $90 value. If you’re not already familiar with Terapeak, it uses eBay market data to provide historical trends and analytics across all eBay categories.

The web-based platform can help you evaluate supply and demand on eBay for specific items and categories over time, helping you to identify the top products for your niche. And by knowing what’s spurring interest or selling quickly on eBay, you have the opportunity to optimise by integrating these trends into your content to attract new visitors and drive more eBay buyers.

To get started, simply fill out this sign-up form within the next 7 days: http://value.terapeak.com/ebay-partner-network/. Please note that you’ll need to enter one of your campaign IDs to register so that we can verify your account with eBay Partner Network. Once you’ve signed up, you can review Terapeak’s website for resources that will teach you how to navigate and leverage the platform.

We hope this will serve as a valuable resource, and we are happy to provide this access to our valued partners.  If you have any questions about this offer or would like to provide feedback on this service, please visit: http://www.terapeak.com/contact/.

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Introducing eBay’s New Global Brand Campaign

global campaign eBay’s brand new global brand campaign, “Shop the World,” launches in Europe on 20th October 2014, showing how moments of inspiration can be instantly shoppable on eBay. The campaign highlights how eBay’s inventory paired with its leading multiscreen capabilities truly means anyone can shop anytime, anywhere.

The "Shop the World" campaign launched initially last week in the United States, and is being rolled out next in Australia, the United Kingdom and in Germany, with other markets to follow in 2015.

Designed to put eBay top-of-mind during the holiday season, this new campaign includes an extensive digital campaign in the UK, banner advertising and video content to inspire consumers. Each advertisement features several distinct moments of inspiration, with the item each shopper is ultimately inspired to purchase found on eBay. Themed collections of shoppable inventory coinciding with these moments of inspiration will also be shared on eBay.com.

By reinforcing eBay’s accessibility and selection, we hope your visitors will be more likely to click through from your site to eBay to make a purchase. You can also attract shoppers by sharing the themed collections that are most relevant to your audience, directing and connecting visitors who have viewed the brand campaign.

Take a peek at one of our example videos here, and let us know what you think!

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UK, DE & US Hot Categories: November

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UK, DE & US Hot Categories: October Welcome to the November edition of the eBay Partner Network’s Hot Categories forecast. In this post we outline our November predictions for the UK, DE and US regions. With this we aim to help you drive optimal levels of traffic by capitalising on trending categories. What’s Hot?

Use the below graphic to see What’s Hot this November:

UK Program

Suggestions: As Christmas season spending begins to take hold we see a sharp rise in everything gift related as the “collectibles” category experiences prolonged high levels of activity. “Home & Garden” also experiences a lift in activity as focus shifts from outside to the home, restocking and revamping last year’s winter essentials and décor.

 DE Program

Suggestions: Due to the cold season, the children’s playroom shifts from the garden back into the house. What’s more, the first preparations for Christmas start in November, with toys from ‘LEGO’ and ‘Playmobil’ within the “Collectibles” category proving very popular throughout the entire month. Within “Lifestyle”, the sub-category ‘Skisport & Snowboarding’ still spikes in November. The “Home & Garden” category is also booming. Here, the sub-categories ‘Feste & Besondere Anlässe’, ‘Installation’, ‘Kamine & Kaminzubehör’ and ‘Lampen & Licht’ are very popular.

 US Program

Suggestions: Similar to the UK program the US sees a sharp rise “Collectibles” sales as Christmas spending increases in anticipation for the big day. “Home & Garden” shows promise as ‘kids craft’ and ‘holiday & seasonal décor’ mirror the festivities as families come together.

 Remember: If you are intending to publish content based on individual weeks, keep the timing in mind. Make the most of these predictions by keeping on top of what’s hot and what’s not; trade out less active categories for other, more popular ones.

Make sure you check back again next month for the latest forecasts!

How do we define a ‘Hot Category’?

Aside from showing a significant spike versus the rest of our marketplace, each category selected must be large enough to be considered relevant. Categories such as Fashion/Women’s Clothing or Electronics/Mobile& Smartphones, which show relatively little fluctuation, have been excluded from our selection.

So how does it work?

Each month we post the categories we expect to spike on our blog. Using previous data trends* as the forecast model we are able keep you in-the-know with an easy, accessible visual aid. You’ll be able to anticipate what content to publish, which ads and offers to promote.

Just read our blog on a regular basis and then adjust your performance strategy to align with the forecast. It’s as simple as that! Multiple spiking categories can be found here.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

*All data has been aggregated at weekly level for every level 2 category across the following time frames:

  • UK program – Transaction data on UK site from 2013-01-01 to 2013-12-31
  • DE program – Transaction data on DE site from 2013-03-31 to 2014-04-11
  • US program – Transaction data on US site from 2013-03-31 to 2014-04-11

As always we welcome your feedback and comments.

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News and Views: Put your best foot forward for the next half of 2014

News and Views Put your best foot forward for next half of 2014As the first half of 2014 comes to a close, businesses are taking a pause to assess the successes of the past six months and plan for the rest of the year. In this edition of eBay Partner Network’s News and Views we share a selection of interesting and valuable insights that may help to make your next six months even more exciting and rewarding. Be careful of “out with the old, in with the new”

With a number of snazzy new tools and platforms on which to target consumers emerging, email marketing is often left on the backburner and considered “over the hill”. However, according to a PerformanceIN, it remains a method with one of the most effective ROI’s in the industry. Two-thirds of companies rated email marketing as either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ when it comes to ROI and the continued boom in m-commerce has further rejuvenated this tactic. Keep in mind that while new methods can be an exciting and often a valuable way to target your potential customers, it’s important to lay the foundations with tried and tested communications platforms too.

Brush up your mobile strategy

Speaking of m-commerce, mobile continues to be a hot topic for marketers.  M&M Global recently explored the huge opportunities mobile presents for business, presenting mobile as a successful marketing tool that shortens the distance between what the user wants and what the brand provides. For marketers, the priority is not only to create engaging experiences but also to make it easier for consumers to get to what they desire, and mobile is the key platform through which to provide that convenience. Keep your eyes peeled on our blog, where more advice for achieving mobile success will be posted soon!

Don’t wait to innovate

Do you ever wonder what a successful business looks like? According to BusinessFinancing.org, innovation is a primary factor in business success because of the impact that new ideas, devices, or methods can have on a business. It can be a risk, but failure to innovate, regardless of your industry, company size, or goals, can lead to the competition is passing you by. Fostering a culture of innovation can create fantastic opportunities for a business of all sizes, so make it a priority!

A combination of innovation, a solid mobile strategy and a strategic approach to which platforms you are utilising, both new and existing, will help to make the rest of 2014 a highly rewarding one.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] The Mobile Marketing Takeover

Over the last few weeks you've seen us talk a lot about mobile on this blog. Many of you have asked us“why now?” Our answer is, simply, “if not now, then when?” Mobile usage is projected to overtake desktop usage by the end of the year. Last year alone eBay did $22 billion in mobile commerce volume. To help get a 360 degree view of the opportunities in mobile, the good folks over at Surge Media have put together a very useful infographic. surge-mobile-marketing-infographic

Selfie trend sparks soar in sales

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We at ePN are always focused on making sure our partners have their finger on the pulse of the latest new trends. The now ubiquitous Selfie – so popular amongst celebrities and the wider population  over truly reached its zenith when Ellen DeGeneres and a star-spangled cast snapped their famous Oscars photo earlier this year and received a record 779,295 retweets in approximately half an hour. As a result, we now seeing even more selfies than ever from celebrities, friends and family filling our Facebook feeds and popping up on Twitter.

On eBay, where four smartphones are sold every minute, the result of this new craze is that sales of essential selfie equipment have soared over the past month – the selfie cable is a good example of this, with sales in the UK of this photo-perfecting item doubling in the last month. And it may well be, in this rush to replicate some of the classic celebrity selfie poses, some of the best selfies may not be as spontaneous as the term suggests – sales of image editing software on eBay increased more than two-fold in the week following the Oscars.

The selfie revolution has even spawned a host of new phrases, like the slightly cheekier ‘belfie’, in the style of Kim Kardashian and Cheryl Cole. As a result of these A-listers snapping themselves from a new direction, we have seen a 180% rise in the sale of full length mirrors in the UK as celeb wannabe’s perfect their own belfies at home.

Any questions about how to capitalise on trends like these to boost your earnings? Get in touch with the team!

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Bi-Weekly news and views: Mobile

Bi-weekly-news-and-viewsIn this edition of ePN’s bi-weekly news and views we look at the latest developments in the mobile e-commerce, commenting on the latest mobile web usage and ad-spend statistics. According to RetailMeNot, m-commerce fuelled £10.7 billion of Europe’s online sales last year, almost 10% of the £111.2 billion total. It then comes as no surprise that this year’s forecast expects it to hit £19.8 billion. Our own Head of Online Partnerships, Christian Erhard, commented how “affiliates will profit from mobile’s rapid development”, adding that “a good affiliate strategy requires an optimal fit for ads within their environment”.

Currently the UK is leading in Europe in terms of smartphone activity/maturity. Mobile internet usage accounted for roughly 25% of all web activity in 2013 with mobile spending accounting for 9% of online spending. This year, this UK figure is set to hit 11% as desktop spending continues to decline. Mobile ad-spend continues to reflect these trends, forecast to grow up to six times faster than desktop internet according to ZenithOptimedia’s latest expenditure forecast. In fact it is set to grow “by an average of 50% a year between 2013 and 2016”, establishing itself as the main driver of global ad-spend growth.

In short, 2014 promises to be a fruitful year for mobile e-commerce. So with that in mind, here are a few best practices to help you make the most of it:

  • Not yet mobile? Start by developing a mobile version of your website. Make it as user/mobile friendly as possible!
  • Create a separate Campaign ID for your mobile website to make tracking easier
  • Use the “Traffic Type” reporting filter to see your mobile activity, and optimize accordingly
  • Keep up to date with the latest mobile developments from eBay

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Rules of Engagement: Making Content Count

Rules of Engagement Making Content Count Creating captivating content is more than simply stating facts or sharing information and hoping people read it. In a world where everything is faster paced by the minute, the key is finding ways to get — and keep — readers engaged, something that’s particularly important in the affiliate industry. Here are some tips to do just that.

May I Have Your Attention, Please?

The most important piece of any content is a strong headline. If visitors aren’t captured by it in seconds, then chances are they won’t bother reading the words that follow. According to Coppyblogger.com, eight out of 10 people will read headline copy, while a mere two out of 10 will read the copy following it. This is why crafting an attention-grabbing, must-read-more headline is key. Some people find writing the headline before the meat of the content— but revising it along the way — works well, while others find that writing the entire copy first and crafting a captivating headline last works best. Find what headline-writing strategy works for you and don’t be afraid to tweak and re-tweak it.

Hold the Fluff

Likewise, if readers get through your headline, it’s vital to pique their interests each sentence thereafter so they will continue reading. Hence, don’t bury the important stuff. Get to the point early on in your copy so that they know what they’re reading and why. Readers get bored easily; don’t give them the chance to lose interest in what you have to say. Write with passion, provide interesting examples and paint a picture for them. And don’t be afraid to lose the fluff — if a word or a sentence doesn’t add value, nix it.

Standing Out   As mentioned earlier, readers can lose interest in seconds. One way to keep their attention is to make your content easily scan-able. Breaking copy into short, easy-to-digest chunks with sub-headlines can make it seem less overwhelming. Lists and infographics that highlight key points are also effective ways to avoid content overload. Though we’re talking about the written word, images are a great way to complement your copy and give readers a visual of what you’re conveying. Using creative pictures — ones that get your point across at a glance — are ideal accompaniments to any content.

Now What? Congratulations, your reader just read your entire post! Much like a headline leads the content in the right direction, the closing wraps it all up into a nice package. The last thing you want to do is leave them asking, “Now what?” So be sure to let readers know exactly what to do next with an effective call to action. Maybe you want them to learn more, complete a form or buy now...so, tell them! Readers don’t want to work hard, and if you don’t get specific on how to take next steps, chances are they won’t.

Do you have any tried and true tips for writing effective, attention-grabbing content? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Bi-weekly news 03.12.2013: recent evolutions in e-commerce

shutterstock_148978130_0In this bi-weekly news report we touch on recent evolutions in e-commerce; looking at a new era of branded domains, international affiliate relations and how festive digital spending has grown over the past 10 years. ICANN, the organization responsible for IP address space allocation and DNS management among other things, has confirmed that 1,400 “.London” domain suffixes will roll out next year, ushering in a new age of ‘branded’ domains. The value of such customizations is in contention however, with other similar examples failing to show significant traction in terms of use and awareness, let alone ROI. It will be interesting to see the success of this latest installation of customizable domains.

In other news, James Maley, head of corporate clients at Tradedoubler, advises on the importance of properly managing your international affiliate relations in The Drum’s article. Reporting that “in the EU, cross-border purchases are currently rising to nine per cent, with the region expecting and encouraging this to exceed 20 per cent by 2016”, James then offers general practice advice for affiliates alongside further guidance from industry peers.

And finally, on the 22nd of November The Independent reported that roughly 12 pence in every £1 of consumers’ Christmas shopping this year will be spent online, generating around £10 billion in revenue. This staggering figure, when set in contrast to the £1.7 billion spent ten years ago, touches on just how far e-commerce has evolved and grown over the years, showing a 495% increase over the decade. Should these trends continue, who can tell what changes we may see next?

Industry News: Trends in mobile gaming, the growth of tablets and the decline of PCs

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In the last industry news update, we looked at various reports that gave an overview of the pan-European affiliate market. Today, we take a look at trends in mobile gaming as well as the growth of tablets and the demise of PCs.

A recent article in The Drum spotlights the huge growth of mobile gaming in the UK, using ComScore statistics that show there are now more than 20 million active mobile gamers in Britain. One of the major findings of the report is that 48 per cent of mobile gamers are women, which destroys many stereotypes. When advertising in the UK, it is important to remember that mobile gaming reaches both male and female audiences.

Another interesting article by reporter Charles Arthur in the Guardian looks at the prolific growth of tablet devices, the decline of PCs and how that will impact the average housel by 2017. According to analyst house Forrester, by 2017 60% of online consumers in North America and 42% in Europe will own a tablet device; overall there will be 905 million people worldwide with a tablet device. This equates to one in eight people globally. The article also reports that the key to success of tablet devices is their ‘hyper-mobility’ and versatility – something that affiliate marketers are already taking into account when delivering integrated campaigns.

Join eBay Partner Network at this year’s A4U Europe Conference 2-3 July 2013

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Gianfranco Ludovici, Head of Online Marketing and Business Development at eBay, will be joining a panel of industry experts at A4U Europe conference in Amsterdam on 2-3 July 2013.

Gianfranco will be answering questions on a number of different topics, including: the mobile opportunity and what it means for publishers and affiliate marketers.

If you haven’t already registered to take part at the conference, you can do it here and get an extra 10% off the ticket price if you use this code: SPKEUR10%

Feel free to share the discount code on your blog, twitter account or other social media channels and looking forward to seeing you at the event!

Any questions or comments? Please let us know below.

Industry News: Affiliate Marketing Opportunities Abound

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A few weeks ago, industry news revolved around trends in traffic. During the past two weeks, however, the conversation has shifted to opportunities. The opportunities affiliate marketers are creating for brands, as well as marketers’ opportunities to take advantage of the ever-growing EU ad market, mobile growth and engaging content. The biggest piece of news was the Internet Advertising Bureau’s recently released Annual AdEx Benchmark survey, which valued online advertising at €24.3bn in the EU and highlighted growth in several key markets – specifically mobile and online videos. According to The Drum’s coverage of the AdEx Benchmark, affiliate marketing in the UK alone generated £9bn in sales in 2012 – which equates to an average return of £11 for every £1 spent!

The Drum also took a closer look at the mobile opportunity, highlighting the necessity of strong tracking and analytics for affiliates to reap the full potential of mobile. If mobile is a priority for you in 2013, don’t forget to take tracking into account.

Finally, an article published in The Guardian explored the importance of content marketing for brands and the need to engage with customers via content that appeals specifically to their lives and their wants. Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute sums it up nicely, saying, "Your customers don't care about you, your products, your services… they care about themselves, their wants and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you."

Questions or comments on the affiliate opportunities? We’d love to see them below.

Industry News: Trends in Traffic Figures

This week, we’ve noticed a lot of talk on traffic numbers and how publishers can capitalise on trends to reach more users.

Firstly, recent research from Fast Company revealed a surprising finding - long articles that develop as more information on a story breaks can be more effective at driving page views than short snappy posts on breaking news. The conclusion? The key to successful content is engagement, not velocity. By investing time in developing engaging content, regardless of the length, Fast Company saw their bounce rates significantly reduce (see image below).

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Staying on the topic of traffic, a report from The Local Traffic Association found that PC traffic has become flat, with zero growth in PC-generated Internet traffic since 2011. Conversely, as mobile devices continue to proliferate, so does the use of mobile for local search (see figure below). The report urges publishers to shift their focus and budgets to optimise their content to reach this rapidly developing mobile audience.

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Industry Reports Showcase Opportunities for Affiliate Marketers

The affiliate marketing and online advertising industry is a dynamic, constantly changing space. Moving forward, we’ll use this blog to share stories and news that would be of interest to our partners. If you uncover anything you’d like to share, please comment below.  

In the past weeks, several reports have been released that unveil new opportunities for online advertisers and affiliate marketers.

In the UK, WeSEE found more than half of consumers surveyed think online advertising targeting is too simplistic. In the valuable 18-25 year old demographic, more than 70% want more targeted adverts. Brands and marketers that personalise their campaigns have a much greater chance of capturing click throughs that lead to greater revenue.

According to ZenithOptimedia, that revenue opportunity will grow even more in 2013, with global advertising expenditure increasing by 3.9% to approximately £332.5 billon (USD $518 billion).  Encouragingly for our affiliates, internet advertising is leading the charge with 14.4% growth; within that space, display is the fastest growing medium with 20% annual growth.

Fortunately, if you’re an affiliate in the UK, you’ll reap bigger rewards than your US counterparts – Kenshoo found that the average CPC in the UK is $.44, compared to the US’s $.38. Interestingly, adverts optimised for PCs and laptops received the most clicks (72%) and dedicated ad spend (75%), followed by tablets, then smartphones.

Have you seen any other recent news that impacts affiliates? If so, let us know in the comments section below.