10 affiliate marketing predictions for Black Friday 2016

Blog posted by Kevin Edwards
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Kevin Edwards, Global Client Strategy Director at Affiliate Window shares some predictions ahead of Black Friday.

1.     Retailers will go early: With a significant peak at midnight as Black Friday begins, more retailers will decide to kick off their special offers across the whole 24 hours of Black Friday. For those running deals across the bookended Black Friday/ Cyber Monday weekend this will mean an opportunity to take advantage at 12am when retailers receive an exceptional boost, pulling in almost as many consumers in 2015 at this time as 8pm in the evening.

2.     Smartphones will overtake tablets: Transactions through smartphones were around 90% of the level that tablets tracked on Black Friday 2015. With smartphone sales eclipsing tablet sales for the first time in December last year and continuing to stretch away from the more housebound device, expect handset clicks and transactions to comfortably exceed tablets.

3.     Interest in UK retailers will peak: Call it the Brexit effect, but while some will be ruing the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, for every reported economic blow there’s a possible upside. The collapse of Sterling against other currencies has made British retailers, already world leaders in ecommerce, even more attractive. Expect an uptick in the volume of sales from outside of the UK, drawn by the variety of deals and attractiveness of product range.

4.     The UK will outperform the US: While Black Friday is an inherited tradition, just a few years old in Britain, consumers on this side of the Atlantic have embraced it as an online event. For the US it remains a primarily in-store phenomenon with Cyber Monday its younger, ecommerce cousin. Expect Black Friday to continue to dominate Cyber Monday in the UK by as much as two to one and possibly attract a different kind of ‘early adopter’ consumer.

5.     More mature markets will start to recognise Black Friday: The UK has led the European surge in adopting Black Friday as a retail event but some established ecommerce economies such as The Netherlands, Germany and France have yet to follow suit. Broadly speaking the Nordics and southern Europe have been more welcoming but 2016 could be the year when the larger digital territories finally sit up and take notice.

6.     Black Friday will be the first £50m day on the network: Black Friday 2015 marked a high watershed for the network, smashing all records and piling on double digit year on year growth. With a predicted increase of more than ten percent this year, this would result in affiliates posting more than £50m in revenue across the network’s 1,500 retailers. Can Affiliate Window also exceed the one in 25 sales it tracked across all the UK’s ecommerce in 2015?

7.     Smartphone traffic and sales will peak at breakfast: The network’s research has shown that handsets act as a browsing and exploratory device, as consumers casually investigate products and services. With that in mind, as people make their way into work they will turn to their phones to find out about the best Black Friday deals and offers. It will be critical that retailers and affiliates alike have delivered early emails featuring their biggest and best promotions.

8.     Higher ticket items will drive up AOV: Black Friday in the US has its roots in pushing big ticket products such as electricals. This manifests itself in the goods sold and average order values the network records on the big day. An average Friday will see Affiliate Window track a typical sale of around £71. Compare this to Black Friday 2015 when each sale posted an additional £22 and the opportunity to tap into consumers’ propensity to spend big is obvious.

9.     Smartphone conversions will close the gap on desktop: As mentioned, handsets are more likely to orientate themselves around the early stage of the purchase cycle with obvious consequences on the click to sale conversion. However with the increased confidence in and optimisation of, mobile phone sites, consumers are increasingly converting. Coupled with more sophisticated tracking across multiple devices and smartphones will have a bumper year.

10.  Non-retail companies will go strong: With Affiliate Window research from 2015 showing that half of consumers shopping on Black Friday intended to buy something for themselves, and a sizeable percentage of them purchasing household items or services, the notion of Black Friday as a retail event is put to bed. With a general surge in online traffic there is something for every advertiser to tap into on the biggest trading day of the year.

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