The Affiliate Channel and Coronavirus
Affiliate has proved the most agile and adaptable channel in the marketing toolbox. We examine how its affected different sectors.
In business terms, many projections suggest that the economic hit is likely to be much worse than after the recession following the 2008 banking crisis. However, other industry commentators are putting a more bullish light on things and looking for some kind of silver lining. eMarketer is showing a slight downward adjustment to it's own adspend projections for this year, as PerformanceIn reported.
We have spoken to a number of our users across sectors. The travel sector has been hugely hit with airlines mostly grounded apart from freight and diplomatic travel. Many were shocked at Marriott's decision to suspend their affiliate program with links on affiliate sites going to a network 404 page. Others are staying online, on the basis that consumers will still be placing bookings for later in the year. Many OPMs are advising clients not to pull back on affiliate programs to help maintain their affiliate relationships through this tricky time.
The same hit has applied to tickets, events, and any sector in the broad entertainment sector. Conversely, pure online businesses are thriving.
Online Groceries has shown a massive growth, starting in China in February where online sales for fresh foods tripled. This has been mirrored in every market as shoppers try and minimise their exposure. UK supermarkets are reporting a 2-week wait for an online delivery slot.
At Publisher Discovery we are seeing a big increase in affiliate managers looking to strengthen their affiliate base. It's not just the food sector growing. We are also seeing interest in online training courses. For one merchant in the outdoor/survival space, their revenue has increased substantially from ~$12k in January to ~$600k in February and March. In the AU market, catch.com.au has experienced a significant increase in traffic and sales across most home product categories.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
This is a global issue and no-one knows how it will all pan out, let alone the effect on affiliate by coronavirus.
We of course would say that this is the ideal time to examine your own affiliate programme and look to strengthen it. Our free trial (https://www.publisherdiscovery.com/
Originally published in a fuller version on the Publisher Discovery blog.
Chris Tradgett, Publisher Discovery