October was the true kick-off to holiday shopping this year thanks to unprecedented early promotions and Amazon Prime Day’s shift from July to October. With eCommerce transactions expected to grow significantly globally, October was just the start for what could be a much longer promotional season.
Amazon Prime Day captured early holiday shopping with hundreds of advertisers showing triple digit year-over-year (YoY) increases in promotions and even saw higher increases without a promotion.
Consumers were buying but spending less than years before (e.g. $110.02 in 2020 vs. $154.59 in 2019) based on initial results.
These themes carried over to our clients’ affiliate programmes as did the shift to e-commerce; our clients reported increases in revenue month-over-month (MoM) with significant increases from Prime Day 2020 compared to Prime Day 2019.
Revenue and orders up, AOV down
Looking at our client data between September 2020 and October 2020, we saw an increase in revenue—up 6% MoM. The revenue increase was primarily driven by the Apparel and Household verticals.
Orders were also up 8% MoM but average order value (AOV) was down 3% MoM, reiterating that consumers were shopping but spending less than they did last year.
Consumers clearly wanted to start shopping but were hesitant; consumer confidence dipped in both the US and the UK in October amidst rising COVID-19 cases and higher than average unemployment rates.
While all affiliate partner/publisher types were up MoM, the largest increases were seen in Deal partners (up 31% MoM) and partnerships with Mass Media publishers (up 23% MoM).
More brands are turning to affiliate marketing and even leveraging the channel to supplement public relations to add not only add revenue but also increase brand exposure.
Client performance data: October 2020
Overall, October “wins” for Acceleration Partners’ (AP) clients globally include: increased promotions during Amazon Prime Days and increased paid placements.
- Brands in the Apparel vertical saw an 11% increase in revenue MoM driven by promotions and sales to offset Amazon Prime Day promotions.
- Clicks overall were down significantly (71% MoM) from the food and beverage and technology verticals. Technology, however, was up in revenue 11% MoM, resulting in more qualified conversions.
- Partnerships with Deal sites were up 31% MoM, contributing to a significant increase in qualified conversions for brands in the technology vertical.
- Mass media continued to see a positive increase (up 23% MoM) as more brands were featured in product round-ups throughout October.
Month-Over-Month analysis of Acceleration Partners’ clients
Month-Over-Month publisher (affiliate) segment analysis
Amazon Prime Day comparison (October 13-14, 2020 vs. July 15-16, 2019)
Amazon Prime Day solidified the kick-off to the 2020 holiday season and created a “need” to include promotions and best deals for many other retailers and e-commerce brands. Amazon confirmed that, for small and medium sized businesses, Prime Day was in fact their “two biggest days ever.”
As consumers cautiously started to buy gifts and start their holiday shopping, they researched the best deals on different affiliate marketing sites.
This deal-hunting shopping approach drove significant increases in revenue and in clicks:
- 555% increase in clicks and 394% increase in revenue through mass media partners
- 20% increase in clicks and 61% increase in revenue with loyalty partners.
Many of our clients raised their budgets for affiliate marketing in October to increase paid placement exposure. This additional spend contributed to significant increases in revenue (up 18% compared to the previous Prime Days) and clicks (up 42%).
Additional promotions included deeper discounts that brands would typically wait until November to run and flash sales to boost the urgency to buy now.
Brands in the Household and Technology verticals experienced the biggest increases (up 28% and up 37% respectively).
Brands in the apparel vertical, however, realized relatively flat performance (down 3%), results that align with the US consumer shift in behaviour as furniture, home goods, toys and electronics are now priorities over sectors such as apparel and auto parts.
Prime Days comparison analysis of Acceleration Partners’ clients
Prime Days comparison publisher (affiliate) segment analysis
Up next … November 2020 client data
Next month, we’ll share our client performance data from November 2020 (comparing to October 2020).
Reach out to our team with any questions about this data or for additional insights.
Kelly Ground is the Associate Director of Strategic Accounts at Acceleration Partners