Commerce Data Market Insights

3 Data-Powered Insights to Optimize Your Holiday Commerce Strategy

Sovrn Commerce Team // November 16, 2022

Things move fast during the holiday shopping season. As a publisher, you need to stay nimble and optimize on the fly to make the most of your readers’ buying intent and capture affiliate revenue.  

To do that, you need up-to-date data on what consumers are buying — and when. While you might be tempted to look back on the patterns of previous years for guidance, this holiday season is unlike any we’ve seen before

But why guess when you can get the latest performance data? Our new real-time analytics dashboard in the Sovrn platform will help guide your commerce strategy during the holiday season and beyond so you can make smart decisions that move your business forward.

Here are just a few of the stories our data is telling this holiday season.

1. Revenue is growing in unexpected retail categories

It’s no surprise that Fashion & Accessories and Health & Beauty are the top categories for revenue so far this holiday season. After all, these types of merchants offer great gift ideas for a variety of recipients, year after year. 

But further down the list, our data shows impressive growth in areas like Consumer Electronics, Camera & Photo, and Gaming, where revenue is up to four times higher than this time last year. Consider increasing your promotions in these product categories over the next few weeks, if they align with your brand and your readers’ interests.

2. Browsing and buying behavior have shifted

Timing your affiliate promotions is easier — and more effective — when you understand your readers’ shopping habits. When are they visiting your site? When are they clicking on affiliate links? And when are they actually buying?

So far this holiday season, our data shows that consumers are most likely to be browsing on Monday and Friday — as these are the days with the highest number of clicks. Surprisingly, the lowest volume of affiliate clicks comes on Saturday. It’s also interesting to note that patterns have shifted significantly compared to the same period in 2021.

When it comes to making a purchase, shoppers are most active on Monday and Sunday — and least active on Saturday. This is a significant shift from 2021, when purchase volume was heaviest on Friday, Monday, and Saturday.

It’s important to remember that these big-picture trends may not reflect the shopping habits of your unique audience. Pay attention to your own readers’ habits. Figure out when they’re browsing and when they’re buying, then try to find a correlation between their activities. By identifying your users’ shopping patterns, you can adjust the timing of your promotions and capture their attention when they’re most receptive. 

3. Top merchants are paying premium rates

Identifying a popular category is one thing, but you also need to choose merchants who will appeal to your audience — and help you generate as much affiliate revenue as possible. To make the selection process a little easier, here are some of our top merchant picks for the holiday season: 

  1. Walmart
  2. Wayfair
  4. Nordstrom Rack
  5. Coach & Coach Outlet
  6. QVC
  7. SKIMS
  8. Burberry
  9. Nike
  10. Marc Jacobs

These merchants are currently paying commission rates of up to 10% and more.* And most of these brands have increased their affiliate rates compared to the same time last year, so now is a great time to expand your network of commerce partners. Just keep in mind, you can only earn affiliate revenue with Sovrn if your site has been approved for Commerce, and commission rates change frequently. 

*Rate information was current at the time of posting. Check the Sovrn Commerce platform for current rates from your approved merchants.

Need to optimize your affiliate strategy? Sovrn can help.

This holiday season is shaping up to be exceptionally challenging for publishers. Inflation is driving consumers to tighten their budgets and spend less, while retailers are offering record discounts — all of which can cut into affiliate earnings. In fact, our data shows that average earnings per click (EPC) in Q4 2022 are nearly 15% lower than the same time last year.

That makes it even more critical to optimize your affiliate strategy and ensure you’re promoting the right categories and merchants at the right time. To make your job a little easier, Sovrn’s Approved Merchants dashboard now includes several pieces of new functionality:

  • The new Preferred merchants tab can help you maximize your earnings by showing which merchants are offering the highest commission rates at any given time.
  • We’ve added new filtering capabilities for merchants, so you can select one or more categories and explore the merchants within that sector. 
  • We’ve expanded our reporting capabilities to include a Recommended Merchants report, which displays a list of top 100 approved merchant programs you haven’t worked with recently. (Check out this video to learn how to pull your personalized report.)

To help you keep up with the season’s best promotions, we’ve also created a handy resource. Sovrn’s Merchant Promotions spreadsheet highlights deals from Top 100 merchants — including brands like Overstock, Wayfair, and more. Our Merchant Team will continue adding new promotions as soon as they’re received, from now through the end of the year. So bookmark this page and check back often!

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