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Technology gives performance marketers the edge

By Rob Durkin |

May 3, 2012 | 5 min read

Rob Durkin, CEO of FusePump discusses the growing importance of technology to retailers and affilate when it comes to performance marketing.

For any type of online marketing, easy access to accurate product-level information is essential to allow effective targeting and drive incremental sales in new channels. A data feed contains all the rich product attributes that are found on an e-commerce website. The data is extracted via the website front end and is packaged into an XML file. The structured data can then be used in online channel marketing applications from affiliate marketing to automating paid search.

For example, in affiliate marketing content affiliates use data feeds to match embedded links within blogs, news, recommendations and reviews with relevant products on merchants’ websites. Price comparison affiliates use rich product attributes to offer users an enhanced shopping experience, while paid search affiliates use product data to automate pay per click (PPC) campaigns.

Merchants and advertisers, increasingly need to forge strategic relationships with affiliates, understand their individual requirements and provide the data feeds, tools and technology to help promote products effectively in an accessible and easy to use manner.

Data accessibility drives success online

Product-level information should be well structured, consistently labelled and updated regularly. Currently, there are no standards for the creation of data feeds. Typically, data feeds are XML or delimited text files distributed by merchants via their affiliate network, agency, data feed specialist or directly themselves. Fundamentally, the quality of the data itself needs to be high; however all too often, key fields/attributes are missing or incorrect. Simple problems such as spelling mistakes, product names in caps, truncated fields, badly encoded text and broken links to products and thumbnail images makes the job of the affiliate more difficult. Missing fields/attributes impact on their ability to categorise products automatically and means the affiliate either ends up with poor search results or spends time manipulating the data. Meanwhile, links that are broken or fail to take the consumer through to the correct page on the merchant’s website mean the opportunity for conversion is lost.

Thinking more creatively

E-commerce sellers need to think ore creatively about how they present their product data to partners. Many merchants now provide their network of online affiliates with access to the latest information on their products, pricing and availability though a user-friendly portal.

Affiliate or performance marketing hubs help affiliates simplify the creation of product feeds, advertising units and widgets, as well as ensuring an open channel of communication. Using an affiliate hub enables merchants to provide affiliates with comprehensive access to all of their product level data, as well as the tools for them to create their own data feeds and dynamic advertising units. It can include deep linking and ad creation tools, APIs and ‘Best Offers’, while providing a single place for downloads among affiliates that is visible and easy to use. By improving communication and knowledge exchange between e-commerce merchants, advertisers and affiliates, a hub makes it easier and more attractive for all parties to work together. For affiliates and partners, this approach eliminates the time it takes to wade through product information, minimising the risk of inaccuracies and increasing conversion rates by making consumer-facing content easier to distribute.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


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