How to Plan a Successful Q4 Strategy

Oct 9, 2018
Written by Carissa Payne

Q4 can be a busy time of year, as affiliate managers hustle to schedule and coordinate brand and site promotions as well as ensure they meet program goals.

The content of this article has been refreshed for 2019.

To make this Q4 even more successful, we highly suggest early preparation with strategic planning, analysis, and a quick account review.

Determine Q4 Promotional Strategy

Customers are looking for the best deals during the Q4 shopping season, and when you provide the best offers possible, it positions your brand for success. When you decide which offers to promote during Q4, here are a few things to consider:

  • What were the strongest offers last holiday season?
  • How do your offers compare to your competitor’s Q4 2018 offers?
  • What offers are planned for the busiest shopping days (Singles Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day)?
  • Consult our 2019 Holiday Intelligence Report to help you identify the timing of holiday sales, get a view into which publisher models are driving performance, and more.

After you determine your promotions, organize them in a calendar to share with your Publishers as early as possible. Publishers are already planning and creating content for Q4, so the more time you give them to slate in your promotions, the more likely your brand will be featured. Also, consider that Q4 placement inventory sells out quickly, so finalize your promotional calendar early to ensure optimal exposure for your top Q4 offers.

Review and Analyze Data

Historical performance analysis can be key in developing your Q4 2019 strategy. Use our Insights reporting suite to run performance reporting on your KPIs, including revenue, clicks, AOV, and ROAS to name a few. Set the date range for various time periods and review year over year and quarter over quarter performance (i.e. Q4 2018, QTD for 2018/2019). Expand each KPI gauge to review top performing partners, links, websites, coupons and more to identify trends and partnership opportunities. As you review and analyze the data:

  • Note when, and with what Publishers planned placements, promotions, and offers ran to understand how these impacted results. Did placements perform as expected? Was there anything else impacting data trends?
  • Identify the most successful placements with Publishers, and the best performing products, offers and links, and determine how you can replicate this as much as possible.
  • If revenue has grown from a specific Publisher, evaluate paid placement or commission increase opportunities to strengthen performance in Q4.

If your account is Cross-Device enabled:

  • Run a Transaction Report from the date your account was Cross-Device enabled to identify which Publishers are driving Cross-Device transactions and which devices consumers are initiating and finishing their transactions. Use this information to determine if there is an opportunity to optimize with those Publishers in Q4.
  • Since more people than ever are researching and shopping on their mobile devices, check that the Destination URLs in the Transaction Report are mobile responsive and functioning properly to ensure a positive user experience.

Make Sure Your Account is Ready

Finally, review your account to be sure some of the basics are ready to go before the rush of Q4 hits:

  • Confirm your pixel is firing correctly and all data is passing through as expected. If you have any doubts, test your tag with CJ's Tag Testing Tool. Note: If you have more than one action within your program, each action will require its own tag test.
  • Check with your finance team to confirm account funding. You don’t want to be in the red leading up to any big holidays, so make sure your account is fully funded throughout Q4.
  • Your Network Profile is how Publishers learn what you have to offer. Review and update by navigating to Account > Network Profile and selecting Edit for the various sections.
  • Get Content Certified! Content Certification automatically connects Advertisers with content-rich Publishers who complement their brand.

Kick off Q4 by creating a strategic promotional plan, identifying key Publisher opportunities through analysis, and completing important account updates to position your brand for a successful holiday shopping season.

Learn more in part two of this series where we discuss How to Execute a Successful Q4 Strategy!

Topics: CJ 101, Holiday,

CJ’s Cross-Device solution allows advertisers and publishers to recognize growth and efficiency by identifying partnerships that engage their target audiences. By unlocking and uncovering performance that is occurring in multi-device customer journeys, affiliate marketers can now begin to better understand what influences different customers during the path to purchase.
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