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News and Views: Content is King

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october blogIn this edition of ePN’s News and Views, we explore the important role high quality content plays in engaging today’s consumer. In an age where people are increasingly on the move, using multiple devices and constantly connected, they are inundated with higher volumes of marketing and advertising content than ever before. As a result, bite-sized, high quality and visually impactful content has never been more essential to grab, and keep, the attention of the busy consumer. And as affiliate marketers, it’s key that we all constantly create great content that truly speaks to our target audience. As content marketing budgets continue to rise in the industry, more and more marketers are becoming content creators. And PerformanceIN recently featured some excellent top tips for creating written content that engages audience and raise brand awareness in a piece titled ‘How to Harness Content Marketing.’ Our pick of the best of these tips include:

  • Strong and specific weekly or bi-monthly email newsletters remain one of the most important ways to keep your customers updated and engaged. It should not simply be a place to tout your latest product or promote a sale or discount. This content should focus on the readers’ interest areas, establishing the unique voice and perspective on the overall brand rather than being heavily sales-led
  • Consider participating in online industry forums where you can establish yourself as a problem-solver and thought leader. Create tutorials, how-to style articles, or Q&A whitepapers, and offer these resources for free. These resources establish your brand as an authority in the field and provide content that is useful and highly shareable, which will go a long way towards increasing your brand awareness.

Earlier this month, in an interview during Advertising Week New York featured in The Drum, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer advised that brands advertising on Yahoo’s “high quality” content across its various products can expect a 30 per cent uplift in consumer perception against what was generally deemed poorer quality content. Mayer explained that the metrics used to determine high-versus-low included  picture quality and grammar, as well as a number of other factors – so clearly, quality content can play a huge role in your success.

At ePN, we have long recognised the importance of creative, visual and tailored content for engaging consumers, most recently launching the eBay Fashion Collective, also featured on our blog this month. This brand new dedicated shopping destination functions as the online fashion magazine of eBay and the first port of call for all customers looking to browse and be inspired. To complement its launch, we worked in conjunction with The British Fashion Council at London Fashion Week, featuring an online shop, curated by the BFC, which featured exciting and unique pieces from up and coming designers for the duration of London Fashion Week. The high quality visuals and huge range of brands featured will serve to inspire and encourage fashion buyers on the path to purchase.

It’s clear that content creation and delivery is changing rapidly, and consumers’ expectations are higher than ever – so, remember to tailor your messaging, provide inspirational visuals, and focus on quality, in order to engage your audience. For more advice, get in touch with the ePN team!

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UK, DE & US Hot Categories: October

UK, DE & US Hot Categories: OctoberWelcome to the October edition of the eBay Partner Network’s Hot Categories forecast. In this post we outline our October 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 October:

UK Program

Suggestions: “Home& Garden” remains a Hot Category this October with a range of sub-categories and items spiking throughout the month. Replacement Parts & Tools for electronics also offer a steady level of demand, with an extensive range of accompanying categories showing intermittent peaks.

DE Program

Suggestions: Summer is drawing to an end and this can also be seen in the sales figures. According to our last year’s analysis, the preparations for the upcoming winter and ski sports season start in October since Ski sports & Snowboarding within the Lifestyle category spikes for almost the entire month. Furthermore, Home & Garden still booms with Feste & Besondere Anlässe, Installation and Kamine & Kaminzubehör being very popular. Within the Collectibles category, LEGO and Playmobil toys will be in great demand so it may be worth promoting these sub-categories in October.

US Program

 Suggestions: October forecasts include consistently high levels of demand across multiple categories such as “Home & Garden”, “Fashion”, “lifestyle” or “Collectibles” – each of which offer selections that spike for the duration of the month.  Publishers should, where possible, focus on these categories as “Electronics” and “Business & Industrial” offer little activity in comparison.

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: Mobile Marketing

News and Views Mobile Marketing In this edition of ePN’s News and Views we take a look at highlights from the latest IAB / PwC Digital Ad spend Study on mobile and tablets; how a lack of in-house knowledge is preventing mobile marketing success, and highlight our very own Gianfranco Ludovici’s tips and best practice guide to going mobile.

According to the IAB, 2013 mobile ad spend doubled to break the £1 billion mark, accounting for £1 in £6 of digital ad spend! Interestingly, overblog mobile one third (36%) of people in the UK are now accessing the internet are now doing so via tablets, with tablet ownership growing 63% year-on-year from 11.0 million to 17.9 million in February 2014. (Tablets do in fact also have a superior conversion rate to mobile!) Retail site penetration via EU-5 smartphone continues to echo this upward trend, reporting year-on-year growth of 42% according to eMarketer.

However, a lack of in-house knowledge is reportedly the number one hurdle for mobile marketing success, reports M&M Global. Many marketers are turning to outside sources for their mobile marketing, however affiliates without the resources to do this need to ensure they are catering for even the basic mobile requirements.

That is why our Senior Manager of Online Partnerships, Gianfranco Ludovici has written his article “Mobile optimization to improve your affiliate performance”. In this, Gianfranco outlines some basic first steps toward mobile optimising your website, touching on formatting, responsive design, ad placement, code trimming and more. Have a read and as always we welcome your feedback and comments.

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eBay Launches Collections: Follow your passion

eBay Launches Collections Follow your passionWe know how important it is to keep our publishers completely up-to-date with what’s hot on eBay. With this in mind we are glad to announce that on March 6th we are launching eBay Collections. This simple new feature will create a more personalised and engaging shopping experience to more effectively connect consumers with the things they need while allowing publishers to keep track of what’s trending.

eBay Collections is a way for consumers to follow their interests on eBay. Collections consist of items from the eBay Marketplace which are hand-selected by curators, eBay buyers and sellers. They are designed to encourage consumers to connect with a tailored selection of items.

In order to promote these collections, eBay has partnered with some of the UK’s most-loved personalities including Dannii Minogue; presenter, writer and actor Reggie Yates; designer, entrepreneur and author Kelly Hoppen MBE, as well as musician, writer and cheese-maker Alex James. Each has handpicked items from eBay to create their own Collections, showcasing their personality and passions. eBay will support this exciting launch on its social channels and through PR to create a buzz amongst consumers. We’ll be using our social networks, blogs and media outreach to generate additional interest. There will also be a dedicated microsite as a content hub, found here. With this microsite, publishers will be able to learn more about Collections, how to get started, discover and browse collections, and meet the influencers.

The ‘Follow’ feature further enables consumers and publishers to keep up to date with trending curators. It offers new paths to purchase, allowing users to ultimately own the things they want the most and raise awareness of new potential wants and need.

eBay Today is a new destination that includes a personal selection of Collections, chosen by eBay’s editorial team. Publishers will be able to use this portal to keep track of the latest eBay trends from popular curators and tailor their content accordingly. ePN will be provide suggestions, tips and best practice advice over the coming weeks, outlining  how to make the most of this new opportunity and incorporate it into an affiliate strategy.

Publishers on ePN can also create their own collections and direct users to a specifically tailored online experience. As users transition from search mode to discovery, the more compelling a collection is, the higher the chances will be that users will progress down the P2P and raise conversion rates.

Further questions? Please feel free to comment below.

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Publisher Stories: VigLink

Untitled As a partner network, ePN is always keen to hear its affiliate’s stories so as to best develop its relationships by providing the most intuitive and responsive service possible. We also believe that sharing success stories is a vital part of this process. By doing so, affiliates can learn and grow together mutually, providing the perfect environment for success.

One such success story is VigLink. VigLink maximize earnings for tens of thousands of publishers, working with more than 30,000 merchants, and processing billions of page views and over three hundred million clicks every month.

ePN decided to meet with Founder & CEO, Oliver Roup, to discuss VigLink’s work with ePN. He fed back ePN’s benefits and areas for us to work on, as well as sharing a top tip for affiliates to take on board.

[iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/74957175" width="565" height="318" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe]

We would like to thank Oliver and his team for sharing with us their story and wish VigLink continued success through the rest of the year!

 

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).

bounce rate

 

 

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.

web traffic