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Traffic peaks for publishers hindered by brands’ short-term planning

44% of publishers expect traffic levels for the 2020 peak shopping period to exceed pre-pandemic levels.

44% of publishers expect traffic levels for the 2020 peak shopping period to exceed pre-pandemic levels, according to Rakuten Advertising’s Road to Recovery, a survey of 150,000 publishers conducted in August. 72% reported that advertisers are committing to paid relationships over the holiday period, but 70% of these found that advertisers are only committing to short-term plans of three months or less.

A shift to short-term planning

  • The state of the industry poll found 37% of publishers are confident that commissions will hold up over the holiday period, but 62% voiced concerns that short-term planning is becoming more entrenched.

  • 43% of publishers also reported a dip in campaign spending and 37% have found that they are required to be more responsive to fit the needs of clients.

  • Another trend picked out is a shift in how advertisers spend on campaigns, with 46% of publishers observing an increase in flat fee paid placements and 37% witnessing an increase in requests to pay via commission.

  • The vast majority of publishers (77%) also report improved performance from advertisers focused on affiliate channels.

  • Pointing to changing sentiment Anthony Capano, managing director, international, at Rakuten Advertising said: “There has been a real rebound in consumer spending in recent months due to pent up demand, and advertisers can see the opportunity over the peak shopping period.“

  • Capano added: “However, they are more uncertain about the road to recovery and are planning 2021 campaigns conservatively. Next year publishers will be working in a way which lends itself to pivoting quickly based on changing consumer behaviours and advertisers will need to be prepared to adapt.”

Publishers are shaking up their strategies

  • Publishers are being swept along by these changes as they rethink established strategies. 44% were offering partnership incentives to advertisers and investing more in building relationships with affiliate networks.

  • 62% of Rakuten’s global publisher network are pursuing new features to their websites and apps to maximise traffic over the holiday shopping period, with 34% engaging directly with their audiences through specific calls to action.

  • Social media is being harnessed by 47% of respondents to drive traffic with 43% also turning to email marketing and 27% embracing paid search.

  • Pressed as to which online channels have delivered the greatest increase in referral traffic since the onset of Covid-19, 48% cited organic, followed by social (34%) and mobile (29%).

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