Performance Ad Dollars Flow In For Google, Publishers, Brands During COVID-19

Advertisers are on the hunt to prove performance. Twitter acquired mobile ad company CrossInstall -- which focuses on performance advertising -- earlier this week, after Facebook’s and Google’s first-quarter revenue numbers held up thanks to the ability to assign measurable goals.

Reports overall show a decline in sales, but performance in several affiliate market segments continues to do quite well, according to the Pepperjam Affiliate Marketing Sales Index.

For the week ending May 9, gift and flowers for affiliate channels rose 499% year-on-year (YoY), indicating a greater number of Mother’s Day purchases.

Food and drink rose by 352%, while sports and fitness rose 114%, followed by health and beauty, 100%; home and garden, 69%; accessories and jewelry, 65%; clothing and apparel, and 59%; art, photo and music rose 50%.

Computers and electronics fell 14%, probably because most of those working from home had already set up their offices. Travel also declined 85% YoY.

The index, which measured the gross merchandise sales directly attributable to affiliate marketing promotions for the period beginning March 1 through May 9, compared them against the affiliate gross merchandise sales for the year-ago period.

Pepperjam analyzed performance in 10 retail categories comprised of about 700 retail brands. Commission trends, publisher activity and customer behavior were also analyzed.

In week ending May 9, clicks fell YoY, but conversion rates experienced the highest YoY growth year-to-date.

Pepperjam data points to conversion drops for the same time period in 2019. The average order value also continued to fall YoY during this week.

Commissions paid to publishers — variable, defined as a percentage of revenue or conversion, rose 59%. This rate suggests that while brands continue to invest in affiliate marketing, they are more cautious with the variable rate paid to publishers, according to Pepperjam’s data.

The Total plus Bonus commissions paid to publishers -- defined as a flat amount typically associated with paid placements or media buys -- rose 59%.

The week’s mobile revenue share also rose. Some 35% of revenue was attributed to a mobile device, as consumers continue to spend more time on their personal devices. The percentage of mobile revenue held steady at 31% YoY growth.

New customer revenue share exceeded 50% for five consecutive weeks, indicating a sustained increase over 2020 year-to-date trend in transactions attributable to the affiliate channel.

Share of revenue from new customers acquired from content publishers came in at 64% for week ending May 9 -- up 39% YoY.

For customers' brands acquired through a coupon on a publisher site, the percentage of revenue from new customers remained unchanged at 51%. Loyalty publishers increased week-over-week to 39%.

Content partners have shown the most growth during the past six week, but it has been primarily at the expense of loyalty partners.

Content partner share of spend was 36% for the week -- up 60% YoY.

These publishers also offset losses from Amazon Associates commission cuts by working directly with brands whose affiliate programs offer competitive commission rates. PepperJam sees this as an opportunity for brands to diversify their publisher mix to reach new customers.

It seems once the Amazon Associate program commission rate cuts were announced on May 14, growth accelerated across Pepperjam’s network, suggesting that publishers searched for alternate revenue streams.

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