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Commerce Content Journey: Optimization

The path to building and scaling your commerce content operations doesn’t end with link affiliation, content creation, and traffic. Once you have these foundational pieces in place, it’s time to start optimizing performance so commerce content can become a cornerstone of your monetization strategy.

The next stage in the commerce content journey is focused on optimizing content performance to increase affiliate earnings.

The basics of optimization

Optimization is all about analyzing the performance of your content to find opportunities for improvement. By optimizing your commerce content you can better serve readers, helping them discover new products and find better deals — and you’ll earn more revenue in the process.

However, optimization is a never-ending process. There will always be new data to analyze, updated reports to run, and smart adjustments you can make to drive incremental performance gains.

The good news is optimizing your commerce content performance is much easier than the initial start-up phase — and Sovrn provides the data, tools, and reporting you need to make the task even easier. 

The right data and metrics

Effective optimization relies on data. Smart commerce teams spend a significant amount of time looking at what readers are purchasing and what drives buyer behaviors so they can deliver more of what their audience wants. 

Insights can be found in all kinds of data. For example, many merchants provide their affiliate partners with data about all purchases driven by their content — not just the featured product. By analyzing this information, you might learn that your readers are interested in not only the products you’re promoting, but also entirely new product categories you haven’t explored. 

Here are a few common metrics you’ll want to understand, in order to get a granular view of commerce content performance and identify opportunities for improvement:

  • Commission rate measures how much an affiliate merchant pays to the publisher each time a reader takes a desired action. Commission rate is a critical factor in evaluating affiliate merchants, but it’s important to consider other metrics (like those shown below) to get a complete picture of earnings. 
    • Cost per action (CPA) is the most traditional commission structure, where a publisher gets paid when the reader clicks an affiliate link and makes a purchase.
    • Cost per click (CPC) is an increasingly common commission structure, where the publisher gets paid every time a reader clicks, even if they don’t make a purchase.
  • Conversion rate is the percentage of readers who click through an affiliate link and go on to make a purchase. . The higher the conversion rate, the more opportunities you have to earn revenue. A low conversion rate means that readers aren’t buying once they reach the merchant site, which can signal a merchant who’s delivering a poor user experience.
  • Average order value (AOV) is the total value of items purchased in an affiliate transaction, including both the featured product and anything else the reader adds to their shopping cart. Affiliate merchants who offer a wide variety of products may deliver a higher AOV — which can help to drive affiliate earnings higher. 
  • Earnings per click (EPC) is one of the most important performance metrics, because it calculates how efficiently your traffic is driving revenue. EPC uses commission rate, conversion rate, and average order value to provide a complete picture of how much each click earns over time.

The right reporting and analytics

Sovrn Commerce offers robust reporting capabilities, providing detailed data on link performance, transactions, revenue, merchant status, and more. And our easy-to-use dashboards put the insights you need at your fingertips. 

  • CUID/UTM report provides link-level performance metrics based on the UTM tracking parameters and custom tracking identifiers (CUID) built into your affiliate links.
  • Revenue update report delivers granular transaction data including revenue, transaction date, and more. This report is especially useful for reconciling affiliate clicks, transactions, and payouts.
  • Non-monetized clicks report offers insights into affiliate clicks that fail to earn revenue, often due merchant restrictions on device type or click origin. 
  • Approved merchant report is a comprehensive list of affiliate merchants you’re approved to work with, including approved countries, estimated commissions, and estimated conversion rates.
  • Merchants at risk report provides a list of any merchant programs that have recently been paused or canceled, along with your earnings with these merchants over the last 30 days.
  • Publisher dashboard displays granular performance metrics to help you identify trends and determine which pages are driving revenue effectively. The publisher dashboard is also your one-stop resource for all the reporting capabilities described above.
  • Approved Merchants dashboard is a single, centralized location to explore detailed information about more than 65,000 affiliate merchants in the Sovrn network — including commission rates, payout structure, conversion rates, estimated earnings, and more.

Once they’ve implemented a process, most of the best commerce publishers settle into an ongoing state of optimization. But for those who are willing to push the envelope, there are many advanced tactics that can take your commerce content to the next level. 

In the final part of this blog series, we’ll explore some of those rich content elements that can help to expand and diversify your commerce efforts — and maximize your commerce revenue.

Next Up: Next Level

Missed our previous Commerce Content Journey blogs?

Ready to start driving more affiliate revenue?

Ready to start optimizing your affiliate marketing program? If you’re not already earning with Sovrn Commerce, sign up now! It only takes a few minutes, and once you’re approved you can start earning right away. Here’s a handy checklist on how to get started.

If you’re currently a Sovrn Commerce affiliate partner, feel free to reach out with questions. Our support team is standing by to help you reach your audience — and your revenue goals.

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