The Marketer’s Guide to Q4 Seasonal Planning & Profitability
An Open Letter to Seasonal Marketers
The value of early promotional planning for marketers like yourself cannot be overstated. Drawing from my experience in the affiliate and performance industry, I’ve never witnessed our clients and publishers as eager or exhilarated about the opportunities that lie ahead. While the process of promotional planning remains dynamic, especially considering how consumers have shifted shopping habits in just the last year – but, laying the groundwork for the busiest time of the year now will undoubtedly pave the way for a successful Q4.
With this in mind, the Perform[cb] team has crafted this comprehensive guide to jumpstart your strategy for the holiday shopping season and ensure your brand has a jumpstart against the competition. We’re excited to highlight some of our most remarkable victories from Q4 in this e-book, spotlighting renowned industry giants such as the #1 alcohol delivery service, Drizly, and a leading e-commerce app. Uncover the insights that fueled these brands’ successes, enabling them to acquire hundreds of thousands of new users, achieve monumental sales growth, and attain record-breaking revenue figures.
Take a few moments to explore these invaluable best practices, inspiring success stories, and more. When you feel ready, know that we’re here, eager and ready to collaborate on your future plans.
Director of Agency Sales, Perform[cb]
When To Start Planning Your Q4 Promotions
In order to avoid undesirable paid media placements with high price tags, advanced promotional planning is necessary in the affiliate space. The shift in consumer preferences to shopping online since the looming recession has exponentially increased the competitive nature of promotional planning. Industry experts estimate that there will be 300 million online shoppers in 2023, which is approximately 91% of the country’s current population.
In order to secure top-tier placements with top publishers and content creators, brands must already be finalizing their seasonal spend. Peak shopping holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer day-long events; rather these consumer spending dates span weeks, if not months prior to the actual day itself. U.S. consumer spending reached a record-high $35+ billion through the entire 2022 Cyber Week – Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.
These holiday campaigns require extensive planning in order to maximize ROI, including niche publisher recruitment and onboarding, media planning, creative development, and more. By starting the process of planning for these year-making placements as early as possible, marketers give their teams, internally and externally, plenty of time to prepare, test, and optimize all aspects of the campaign prior to launch.
How To Use Your Seasonal Spend Efficiently
As peak shopping holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday evolve into month-long promotional opportunities, marketers have the opportunity to increase reach and ROI. By planning these extensive promotions early on, marketers can recruit and onboard first-choice promotional partners, including influencers, bloggers, and industry publications, at a reasonable price – the content industry is known to work on the “early bird gets the worm” mentality.
Working with an agency with proven experience and existing publisher relationships within your vertical can help immensely, from both a cost-savings and recruitment perspective.
By proactively onboarding top-performing publishers, this pet essentials brand saw a 290% increase in revenue and achieved a 9x increase in return on ad spend (ROAS).
In addition to onboarding existing partners, it will be important for marketers to reach out to any partners they may be looking to recruit to notify them of upcoming promotions or new product launches. Oftentimes, publishers are looking to map out their content calendars months in advance, so marketers can greatly benefit from proactive communication. Learn more about the five tips that can ease your promotional planning.
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Drizly Achieves 120% Increase in New Customer Acquisition in Two Months
120% Increase in New Customer Acquisition
105% Increase in Total Channel Revenue
73% Increase in New Incremental Customers
in Two Months
Drizly, the #1 alcohol delivery service, was looking to grow its affiliate program’s new customer acquisition in tandem with peak Q4 seasonality around the holidays. Having achieved success with Perform[cb] in the past, the Agency team knew it would be crucial to identify top publishers that would drive incremental new customer volume for Drizly.
To prepare for peak seasonality in a highly saturated market, Perform[cb] tested new partnership opportunities in an effort to increase customer acquisition and differentiate Drizly from its competitors. Perform[cb] focused on three types of affiliate partners throughout the buyer’s funnel to produce high conversion rates.
The Agency team onboarded Figg, which allowed customers to link their bank accounts to Drizly and earn cashback. Being that the alcohol delivery space is such a competitive market, bidding on Drizly’s trademark terms was becoming increasingly expensive. To combat this, Perform[cb] recruited a TM+ bidding partner to bid on Drizly’s terms in exchange for content inclusions within the Drizly app. With content partnerships historically driving strong conversion volume and revenue for Drizly, the Agency team also strategically collaborated with existing content publishers.
By recruiting and onboarding proven affiliate partners throughout the buyer’s funnel, Drizly acquired 120% more new customers in just two months during peak seasonality. Drizly calculates incrementality in a unique way, meaning that a pre-assigned incremental value is designated depending on the channel the customer converts through. For example, deal sites use 15% incrementality. Taking this into account, Drizly was able to secure 73% growth in new incremental customers. Drizly’s customer acquisition goals were exceeded by 120% over the previous two months. By onboarding Figg, Drizly was able to boost its new customer acquisition by 30% in just one month.
Additionally, the TM+ bidding partner contributed to 20% of the new customer acquisition for Drizly, while also securing their trademarked search terms. By providing trusted content publishers with the necessary assets prior to Drizly’s seasonality, Perform[cb] secured 143 content inclusions for Drizly – a 22% increase year over year. Proactive promotional planning and strategic partnerships enabled Drizly to achieve a 105% increase in total channel revenue in just two months.
Where Marketers Are Spending Most in Q4
Digital ad spending in the US faces its slowest growth rate in over a decade, even though almost $20 billion more will be spent this year than in 2022. Most of the increased ad spend is going to new channels, rather than those that were popular a few years ago – this is especially important to note as marketers gear up for Q4.
Upper-funnel partnerships such as listicles, influencer campaigns, and featured articles may seem shiny and exciting, but seasoned marketers know that the real ROI lies within the loyalty channel. Loyalty partnerships become the most logical choice during the time of year when at least 90% of the U.S. alone is shopping online. To put it plainly, consumers want to find the best deal for whatever is in their cart. Loyalty partners, such as cashback sites, allow consumers to get a return on every purchase; it’s a win-win, as marketers push consumers down the funnel to convert and shoppers receive big savings on their holiday gifting.
On the contrary, that’s not to say there isn’t value in investing in awareness publishers, such as content commerce, for Q4. Commerce media focuses on the placements across the web where shoppers are commonly found. Whether they’re researching a product, comparing features or prices, or in a digital store, content commerce enables brands to reach high-intent shoppers.
2023’s Most Important Shopping Days
Marketers looking to get ahead of content planning for Q4 may have their sights set on benchmark shopping holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, however, there are several additional e-commerce days that need to be accounted for. Keep our timeline close to ensure your Q4 strategy’s reach is maximized for optimal consumer engagement and amplified ROAS.
- National Cash Back Day – November 2
- Singles Day – November 11
- Veteran’s Day – November 11
- Thanksgiving – November 23
- Black Friday – November 24
- Small Business Saturday – November 25
- Cyber Monday – November 27
- Giving Tuesday – November 28
- Start of Hanukkah – December 7
- Green Monday – December 11
- Free Shipping Day – December 14
- End of Hanukkah – December 15
- Super Saturday – December 23
- Christmas Eve – December 24
- Christmas Day – December 25
- Boxing Day – December 26
- Kwanzaa – December 26
- New Year’s Eve – December 31
- New Year’s Day – January 1, 2024
E-Commerce App Drives 201,000+ Installs During Q4 Holiday Promotion
201,000+ Total Installs
9,300+ In-App Purchases
in One Month
3.94% Click to Install iOS Conversion Rate
This household e-commerce brand was looking to drive increased holiday traffic to its mobile shopping app heading into Q4. Having previously achieved success launching and running CPI campaigns with Perform[cb], this marketer wanted to replicate this during their holiday seasonality.
In an effort to drive users to the marketer’s app across both iOS and Android, Perform[cb] proactively strategized with top-performing affiliates and provided them with holiday creative assets. Perform[cb] launched the campaign with a selection of its strongest e-commerce publishers to drive traffic to the brand’s app using in-app and mobile web placements.
While additional budget was set aside to test mobile retargeting, the client opted to increase CPI traffic mid-Q4 due to the strong success they’d already seen with that campaign. Perform[cb] quickly shifted the remaining ad spend to the CPI offer to continue scaling through their holiday seasonality spike.
As a result of proactive planning and taking advantage of holiday seasonality, this e-commerce marketer was able to acquire more than 201,000 total installs in Q4. iOS user acquisition proved to be the top performer in terms of installs and purchase volume, with a 3.94% average conversion rate from click to install. Although not a direct objective, the client also achieved over 9,300 in-app purchases made by new users across both iOS and Android in just one month.
The Power of an Outcome-Based Partnership Agency
As the holiday season approaches, teaming up with an outcome-based partnership agency becomes essential. Ahead of Q4, these are just a few areas our affiliate management team focuses on to support brands looking to prioritize customer acquisition growth during one of the busiest times of the year:
- Affiliate Program Development and Optimization
- Publisher Onboarding and Testing
- Strategic Content Blueprint
- Elevated Deal and Loyalty Initiatives
- Round-the-Clock Compliance Vigilance
Outcome-based partnership agencies work as an extension of your brand’s marketing team – vital during a peak shopping season such as Q4. Reach out to our team of experts to learn more about how we’re already prepping our clients for a booming quarter.
How to Choose an Affiliate Marketing Agency?
Choosing an agency to manage your affiliate program can be easy if you focus on these three factors: their strategy, affiliate relationships, and reporting & data analysis. Does the agency offer your brand a flexible and proactive affiliate program strategy that is customized to your needs? Do they have quality publisher/affiliate relationships with proof to back their claims? What tools and processes do they use to provide insightful reporting? Will they work as an extension of your internal team to help hit your KPIs? Read more about these factors and the questions you should be asking here!
Want to learn more about the agency services marketers receive with
Many marketers initially set out to manage their own affiliate program, but quickly learn that an agency with vast industry experience will be more effective. A reputable outcome-based marketing agency should be willing to review your program and provide you with strategic recommendations as to how they can help you help it grow.
The Countdown to Q4 Begins
Your marketing team should already be crafting a strategic seasonal campaign strategy. If this is not yet the case, we encourage you to use this guide as a resource for planning ahead of one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year. From promotions around top-performing holidays, recruiting and optimizing new partnerships, and securing the best media placements, we hope this Q4 promotional planning guide will be a useful tool as you ramp up for the holiday shopping frenzy.
No one likes a procrastinator.
If you’re ready to spring into promotional planning and make this your most profitable quarter yet, reach out to Perform[cb]’s team of affiliate management experts today.