Our Pro Guide to Affiliate Promotions

Dec 15, 2022
Written by Carissa Payne

Ahhhh, there’s nothing better than the feeling of getting the best price!

And a large number of consumers agree—according to the results of a recent survey, 71% of US adults are influenced by discounts and 50% by promotions when making a purchase. Layer on the pressures of inflation, and we think there’s a huge opportunity for advertisers to respond to consumer trends through promotional offers.


What Promotions Are and How They’re Used in Affiliate

Promotions are any form of incentive for users to make a purchase and are used in the affiliate channel to increase conversion rates by reducing shopper hesitation. They’re also an essential part of forging closer partner relationships and can help define your affiliate marketing strategy.

There are endless ways to get creative with promotions, from site-wide offers and product promotions to coupon-based promotions that offer a dollar or percent off. You can also offer exclusive coupons or vanity codes to select publishers as a tactic to help strengthen partnerships with top publishers.


How to Craft a Promotional Strategy

As affiliate marketers, we know you’re obsessed with data—we are too! A great promotional campaign needs a roadmap, and CJ's comprehensive reporting tools can help you make informed decisions at every stage of the journey. We recommend the following framework: 

  1. IDENTIFY your promotional goals. Are you aiming to increase the number of new customers? Perhaps you want to boost performance during a particular holiday period. Getting specific with your KPIs and timelines will help determine the promotions best suited for achieving your business goals. 
  2. RESEARCH trends and past performance to decide which partners are best positioned to help you reach these goals using CJ’s Insights platform.
  3. BRAINSTORM the types of promotions that will work best with the partners you've identified. Some publishers excel with an exclusive coupon, while others perform best with an evergreen site offer. 
  4. MONITOR performance once the promotion is running and calibrate as you go. If a certain promotion or link isn't performing as expected, make adjustments to optimize performance.
  5. EVALUATE the success of your promotions. Did you exceed performance expectations? Can you identify areas of improvement for next time?

Shoppers are more complex than ever—follow this framework to catch any unchecked assumptions and stay in tune with how effective your promotions are in the constantly evolving ecommerce landscape. 


Creating Promotional Ad Copy

Once you have your plan in place, it’s time to write some compelling copy! When crafting promotional ad copy, the main goal is to get shoppers to convert and become customers. Here are some tips:

  • Feature your discount first: Say “20% off furniture" rather than "Get furniture 20% off.” 
  • Keep your word count low: Publishers have limited space to promote offers.
  • Reach new customers: Mention products and services in your ad copy, not just your brand name. For banners, feature imagery illustrating what you offer.
  • Create urgency: Use a Call to Action (CTA), such as “This Weekend Only”.

If your promotion is triggered by a coupon code, include it in your text and banner link copy so shoppers can easily find it at checkout.

PRO TIP: Call out exclusive offers at the channel or publisher level, and make sure the message resonates with their specific audience!

Lastly, offer mobile-specific creative to target mobile shoppers. Mobile transactions have only increased in recent years, a trend we don’t expect to slow down.

  • Mobile screens are small, so keep your copy short.
  • Include mobile CTAs like “swipe” and “tap” to speak to shoppers interacting on mobile devices.
  • Use custom landing pages to display more details to shoppers once they’re on your site.


Promotional Link Best Practices

When creating links, designating them as promotional indicates that an offer is available for a specific promotional period, which is crucial for making your offers stand out to your publishers. Promotional labels include coupon, free shipping, seasonal, and more. Here are a few benefits of providing promotional links to your publishers:

  • For Me To Compete (FMTC) ingests promotional links and organizes them into a feed that auto-populates links onto publisher sites partnered with FMTC.
  • Promotional links are searchable for publishers, so publishers seeking a Seasonal Link during a holiday can apply that filter and quickly find seasonal offers. 
  • The Promotional Link tool highlights the available, start and end dates of your promotional link, allowing you to plan ahead and save time during hectic promotional periods.

When setting up your promotional links, consider these best practices:

  • Allow deep linking, as advertisers that do average between 20-50% more sales on deep links.
  • Use your homepage as your Archive URL just in case publishers accidentally keep the promotional links up past the campaign dates.
  • Publisher Groups allow you to provide exclusive link access to a specific publisher or group. Use groups for exclusive offers, early promotional link access, and to create specific tracking links for paid placements.

Communicating Promotions to Your Publishers 

As the affiliate channel is a relationship-based channel, communicating promotions with your partners is just as important as your promotional strategy. Your communication method should reflect the type of promotional opportunity offered:

  • Mass Communication: Highlight program-wide opportunities and new creative in newsletters or one-to-many outreach.
  • Direct Outreach: Negotiate placements and exclusive opportunities directly with publishers.
  • Publisher Calls: Quickly get up to speed on how to optimize with top partners and schedule regular calls when possible

For more information about the types of promotions you can leverage and how to best communicate them, watch our webinar, Putting the PRO in Promotions!


Put Those Promotions into Motion

There’s a whole menu of options when building a promotional strategy, and it’s not one size fits all! Whether it’s best for your brand to offer site-wide promotions, exclusive coupons, or gifts with purchase—any promotion you offer helps get your shoppers over the finish line. 

Beyond revenue, promotions are opportunities to secure placements that increase your brand's exposure, collaborate with partners on co-branded landing pages, and build long-term favorability with top publishers in the industry. In summary, promotions drive conversions, increase revenue, and boost AOV—but they're also a core part of growing your brand's name in the affiliate space. 


Insights provides actionable data on demand in an intuitive, streamlined and easy-to-use platform to help you identify where to take action for your program.

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