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An Extended Tax Season: How Publishers Can Meet New Demands

Jun 4, 2020
Written by Sandrine T.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 tax filing deadline for US residents has moved from the normal April 15 deadline to July 15.

While many residents filed well before the deadline to get their anticipated refunds, many others are choosing to defer. According to IRS Filing Statistics, as of April 24 there were about 22 million fewer tax returns filed than the same date last year. For publishers, this presents plenty of opportunity to earn commissions for promoting tax products from some of the top tax brands in the CJ Affiliate network.

Here are some things that publishers should keep in mind when promoting tax products during this years' extended tax season.

Pay Attention to Timing

This year, “normal” has been thrown out the window for nearly everything, including the traditional peak filing days of tax season. Publishers should anticipate filing peaks at the end of each month and, of course, in the two weeks running up to the extended July 15 deadline. Tax brands are expecting steady traffic through June and filing to spike again leading up to the tax deadline. Publisher strategies that were taken in late March or early April should be repeated in late May, June, and early July:

  • Promote tax offers and content via social media, newsletters, homepage placements, site sidebars, etc.
  • Focus on weekends. Weekends are popular filing days for DIY filers to dig in and spend some quality time with their finances.

Share Relevant Tips for These Times

Tax filing can be confusing in the best of times, and this year filers have even more to consider. If they have received an Economic Impact Payment or unemployment benefits, they’ll be looking for additional guides and info as they prepare to file. Some example angles could be:

  • Everything you need to know about the new federal tax cut-off
  • What to know about coronavirus and unemployment
  • Resources to help you if you've lost your job

You can attract and serve the needs of these filers by creating content that answers top questions, or aggregates links to sites with tax advice like Turbo Tax’s coronavirus tax center.

Many tax services also have product options for self-filers who may be seeking help from an expert without leaving their home, such as TurboTax Live or Jackson Hewitt Tax Pro. Promoting these types of products in our current climate makes perfect sense.

Use Smart Targeting

When promoting tax products on your site, a great best practice is to cater content to different audiences. If you can identify what state your customers or members reside, remind them of their upcoming state tax deadlines. With so many other things on our minds, it’s likely that a state tax deadline can slip by unnoticed. Promotional copy and offers sent to filers near their respective state deadline could really be a boon for them and you. Note: state tax deadlines vary by state, are still in flux, and may not align with the federal deadline, so it’s best to refer users to tax information updates from industry experts like tax providers or the IRS.

Publishers should also explore how to highlight the different tax products to various audiences, such as small business owners or members of the military, to help them find the right product.

Pro Tip: If possible, message only site visitors or members who haven’t yet filed their taxes.

Be Mindful of Stretched Budgets

Tax brands are still actively recruiting publishers to promote their tax products. However, it’s important for publishers to keep in mind that budget for some advertisers may be stretched thin because their usual four month budget now needs to last seven months. This will limit their ability to do some of the paid placements they may have pursued in a standard tax season.

Reminder for Content Publishers

If you’re a blogger and are a part of CJ’s Content Certified Program, check your pending offers to see if there are tax programs with new offers for you. If your application gets declined, reach out to the advertiser with an email and tell them why you think your site is a great fit for their program. Tax service advertisers get hundreds of applications—a personal email will help you stand out.

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With a few more months added to the tax season this year, you have a little more time to execute appropriate strategies the meet the different needs facing consumers in 2020. We hope you make the best of it!