5 Data-Driven Tips (and 1 Great Resource) to Power Your Holiday Strategy

Sovrn Commerce Team // November 9, 2023

Halloween costumes have been packed away and Mariah Carey is back on the airwaves 🎁, so that means the holiday season is officially underway! We’ve entered the busiest — and most profitable — time of year for retailers and digital publishers. 

After yet another year of economic turmoil, you might expect consumers to be cautious about their holiday spending — but experts are predicting jolly times ahead. Adobe’s 2023 holiday shopping forecast reports expected online holiday sales of $221.8 billion in the US — a 4.8% increase over 2022. Meanwhile the 2023 Deloitte holiday survey found that consumers plan to spend an average of $1,652 this holiday season (versus $1,496 in 2022) — exceeding pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

All that spending adds up to a big opportunity for publishers, affiliate marketers, and content creators — but only if they understand how to optimize for current market conditions and consumer preferences. Here are five tips to help you maximize your holiday earnings this year.

5 tips for affiliate success this holiday season

Tip #1: Keep the momentum going

The success of early-season shopping events like Amazon Big Deal Days is just the tip of the iceberg this year. According to Deloitte’s holiday survey, just 24% of consumers took advantage of these sales — but 95% plan to shop for the holidays this year (compared to 92% in 2022 and 88% in 2021). So there’s a lot of shopping yet to come!

Our advice: Don’t wait until Black Friday if you want to capture the best affiliate revenue opportunities. Deloitte reports that shoppers expect to spend nearly a third of their budget in late November, which means two thirds will be spent before or after Cyber Week. Keep your content fresh throughout the shopping season and watch for new deals to keep your readers coming back for more.

Tip #2: Highlight deep discounts

Deloitte findings indicate that, while shoppers may spend more overall this year, they’re planning to allocate their budget among fewer gifts. Similarly, market research firm Numerator reports that consumers plan to save money by buying items on sale (67%) and buying less (48%). The good news is, discounts are expected to be plentiful this holiday season. Adobe predicts discounts will top 2022 records, peaking at 30-35% for top retail categories.

Our advice: Stay focused on deals and promotions. With brands lowering prices to offset inflation — and consumers looking for discounts — you’ll find more success offering popular products at reduced prices rather than high-ticket or niche merchandise. Keep an eye on click performance by staying on top of real-time analytics in your Commerce dashboard and swap out any products or merchants that aren’t capturing your readers’ attention. The Commerce interface makes it easy to edit your links without making manual changes across your online presence. 

Tip #3: Make mobile shopping easy

As consumers become increasingly comfortable with phone-based buying, mobile shopping is set to overtake desktop sales for the first time. Adobe anticipates that more than half (51.2%) of online shopping will take place on mobile devices this holiday season, with peak usage occurring on days like Thanksgiving and Christmas when consumers are likely to be with friends and family.

Our advice: Make sure you’re providing a great mobile experience for your readers. Double check current best practices for mobile optimization and make any necessary updates before the season’s peak shopping days. And don’t forget about monetization opportunities on mobile-first channels like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, as social media offers a wealth of earning opportunities for publishers, creators, and influencers. 

Tip #4: Give your readers options

Even when discounts are abundant, consumers are cautious about spending more than necessary. Numerator’s analysis of Amazon’s October shopping event showed that 55% of shoppers compared prices before making a purchase. The market research firm also reports that more than half of consumers believe inflation will impact their holiday spending, so comparison shopping is likely to continue throughout the shopping season.

Our advice: Give your audience the choices they need to make holiday shopping a breeze. The Sovrn Commerce platform includes several engaging features like shopping galleries and price comparisons to help your readers find the best deal on the products they want, all in one place. These robust tools help you deliver a unique, curated shopping experience that can streamline holiday buying — and boost your affiliate revenue. 

Tip #5: Last but definitely not least – don’t neglect Cyber Week

New shopping events seem to pop up every year, but Cyber Week is still the undisputed leader of the holiday season. Deloitte reports that two-thirds of consumers (66%) plan to shop Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotional events. Adobe predicts that Cyber Week will drive $37.2 billion in online spending this year (a year-over-year increase of 5.4%), including $5.6 billion on Thanksgiving, $9.6 billion on Black Friday, and $12 billion on Cyber Monday.

Our advice: While Black Friday may have ceded the holiday shopping crown to Cyber Monday in recent years, late November still marks the peak of the holiday buying season. That means merchants will be pulling out all the stops to entice consumers to open their wallets. Deals will change constantly during this critical time, so you’ll need up-to-date information to optimize your product and merchant selection. Fortunately, Sovrn is here to help you keep up with the season’s best promotions.

Your guide to the season’s best deals

Our Merchant Featured Promotions spreadsheet is back, with highlights from Top 100 merchants — including brands like Macy’s, Walmart, and Nike. Just like last year, our Merchant team is adding new promotions as they come up through the end of Q4 — so bookmark this page and check back often. 

The spreadsheet provides detailed information for each deal, including merchant name, promotion description, promo code (if applicable), start and end dates, and average commission rate through Sovrn. We’ve also included a “Notes” section to highlight any special instructions or embargo details from the brand.

Following are a few tips and suggestions to help you get the most out of this valuable resource:

  • Keep in mind that brands will be rolling out new deals throughout November and December — not just Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 
  • Check the tabs at the bottom for information specific to UK and Canadian audiences, as well as Cyber 5 deals.
  • Pay attention to the “Notes” column for special instructions and embargo information.
  • This list will be updated constantly, so check back often for new opportunities.
  • If you want to receive compensation for affiliate promotions, you must be approved to work with each merchant. Check the Approved Merchants section of the Sovrn Commerce platform to confirm your status.

Looking for more?

Sovrn is dedicated to helping publishers drive revenue through the holiday season and beyond. Our Q4 2023 Shopping Calendar is your one-stop, curated guide to affiliate marketing success. Download the calendar now for a comprehensive look at top shopping dates, high-performing merchants, and featured categories for the 2023 holiday season.

Not using Sovrn Commerce yet?

Sovrn Commerce is the fastest, most flexible way to build an affiliate marketing program, optimize your affiliate strategy, and earn affiliate revenue — no matter what channel you use. If you’re not already using Sovrn Commerce, sign up now! It only takes a few minutes, and once you’re approved you can start earning right away. 

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