In this, the first of a three-part blog series, CJ Affiliate's Strategic Insights Director, Sandrine Thompson, will present forward-thinking strategies to drive mobile sales in affiliate.
According to the 2016 Mobile Intelligence Report, which analyzed the mobile transactions of more than 3,000 advertisers and 30,000 publishers in the CJ Network, smartphones are affiliate consumers'mobile shopping tool of choice. More than 70 percent of mobile sales in the CJ Network are occurring on smartphones.
While you might have an affiliate program and a website optimized for smartphones, in the future it may not be enough to tap all this smartphone usage. Consider this: More and more of our time on smartphones is occurring in apps. In terms of share, apps eat up 88 percent of the time US audiences spend on their smartphones1—and the average smartphone owner spends nearly 90 percent of their app time in just five apps2.
After surveying the evolving mobile landscape, I highly recommend affiliate marketers consider these few things when preparing for future sales growth on smartphones:
Forget Desktops Exist
What would you do if your desktop traffic and sales disappeared tomorrow?
It may be a bit far-fetched, but a good way to get our minds around the future of mobile sales is to envision the demise of desktops altogether. Effectively, the desktop as a purchasing platform is already on life-support after 5pm—in the CJ Network, we've observed global sales on tablets and smartphones spike during post-workday hours.
This idea of "life beyond the desktop" allows you to get serious about a mobile strategy that taps mobile app and mobile web audiences. A "smartphone-first" mentality will require critical thinking about affiliate partnerships. Consider the following:
Which of my affiliate relationships are both growing and converting smartphone audiences?
Which partners are investing in mobile technology initiatives?
What can we be doing together to creatively engage smartphone audiences within social platforms or apps?
Forge Strategic Partnerships
Speaking of mobile apps, the low number of apps that smartphone users engage with daily—only about 4 to 6, according to Millward Brown Digital—spells a future in which affiliate engagement might not look anything like we know today. Increased usability of smartphones and apps will require us to consider how we can embed our products and offerings within highly used apps.
The key to this will be strategic partnerships.
By design, these partnerships should leverage organic, in-app traffic to promote a complimentary product. Imagine a partnership involving a weather app, affiliates, and retailers which results in links to snow shovels when snow is due, air conditioners for a spell of hot weather, and rain boots when its stormy. Sure, that may be a fairly obvious example, but that just shows the possibilities are vast.
Curious about which apps are growing their user-base the fastest? According to comScore's Top 25 Mobile Apps by Unique Visitors, Walmart is at the top with the likes of Google and Facebook in the top five:
UNIQUE MOBILE APP VISITORS (YOY Growth)
Google Drive +309%
Facebook Messenger +144%
Amazon Mobile +65%
CJ Affiliate recognizes that the ways audiences engage are set to evolve mightily in the not too distant future. This is why we are further enhancing access to product links and content via APIs.
The goal: ease future partnerships that may be dependent on dynamically populated content while fueling innovation in new forms. (To learn more about what's happening in this sphere, be sure to attend the CJU16 session "How a Culture of Collaboration Fuels CJ Innovation," with Partnership Director, Ronan Vance, and Sr. Software Engineer, Liz Hurley)
But Wait, There's More
Depending on the breadth and depth of your program, that might be enough to digest for a while. Stay tuned, though, as we roll out additional insights in this three-part series. Let us know if any tactics are resonating with your program in particular. We'd love to hear from you!