Archive for April, 2010

PhotoBox Consolidation: A Q&A with Romain Bertrand

Written by Sam Surry on . Posted in Interview

Following the recent announcement of PhotoBox’s programme consolidation we caught up with Romain Bertrand,  Head of Acquisition and Partnerships, to learn more about how this will impact the strategy of Europe’s number one online photo printing and sharing community.

What factors led to your decision to consolidate the PhotoBox affiliate programme?

The PhotoBox affiliate campaign launched with Affiliate Window in 2004. In 2008 we brought Webgains into the equation, primarily to maintain a working partnership with Quidco and also to broaden the catch of affiliates and take advantage of any additional technology, knowledge and experience that working with another network can bring.

Over time it became apparent that we needed to assess the value in working with multiple networks, as work load was being duplicated but to no obvious gain. Each affiliate campaign is unique and having a great working relationship is crucial. We felt that it was the right time to move to a one to one partnership where we could cater to each affiliate’s needs and think outside the box. Our aim was to specifically focus on how we could evolve,  modernise our approach and lend greater support to publishers; with their market-leading technologies and community choice industry status, Affiliate Window was the right partner to help us meet these objectives. It’s exciting to be working exclusively with a network whose ideas, innovations and goals are on a par with our own.

What are you doing to more intelligently target both new and existing affiliates?

Recruitment is an ongoing element for our campaign, and although we’re proactive, we also believe in the ‘domino effect’ – the better your campaign does with your existing affiliates, the more new affiliates will want to come on board and get involved in the action.

One of the key hurdles to overcome is ensuring that existing affiliates are actively promoting PhotoBox. We feel it is important to grow these affiliate relationships and ensure that each partnership realises its full potential. In order to do this we have focused on building one-on-one relationships, and providing affiliates with the tools, such as fresh banners, bespoke landing pages and voucher codes, regularly updated product feed, and compelling promotions, and the support they need to promote PhotoBox in an intelligent and effective way.

Although we have over 8.5 million members throughout Europe, the PhotoBox consumer base is still growing and we have found the affiliate channel to be one of the best ways to effectively acquire new customers. To ensure affiliates are being sufficiently rewarded for delivering us new business, we have today launched a brand new commission structure, the full details of which can be found here. Our new approach gives affiliates the opportunity to earn significantly more commissions; with up to £6 for each new customer sale and 20% for repeat sales. There is also more transparency on which products and offers to promote through better, more regular and advanced communication and improved user journeys. We believe this unique approach will be integral to the growth and success of this year’s revamped campaign.

How do PhotoBox strategically integrate the affiliate channel within their wider marketing mix?

The affiliate channel is a key part of our digital marketing mix and an excellent way to get the PhotoBox brand out into the far corners of the web. Each month we plan and discuss our affiliate promotional plan internally, in the same way our other marketing channels are discussed. We then agree our strategy a month in advance and review our results month on month to see what’s really moving the needle.

We use these monthly learning’s to develop new strategies and exclusive offers in an effort to keep this channel fresh, engaging and appealing to our partners. We ensure they’re kept up to date with our latest promotions, product launches and other advertising activities through the PhotoBox community news.

What are your views on the growth of the affiliate channel this year and what are you doing to capitalize on this?

We have a grand vision for the affiliate channel. Up to 50% YOY sales growth is predicted for 2010 and we’re off to a healthy start with an 84% YOY increase in new customer acquisitions across March.

There are plenty of things in this year’s pipeline to get excited about too. We’ve already launched a popular array of new lines, from our Breast Cancer Campaign Pink mug for mums, our Valentine’s Day book, our cookbook and now our Pro Posters and there are more product innovations to come. We also have our huge 10 year anniversary campaign on the horizon, which will see our message in the national press and distributed to our 19,000 engaged social media PhotoBox fans. We’re also exploring the use of video content plus you can expect a big digital announcement just around the corner.

As PhotoBox is celebrating its 10 year anniversary next month, what celebrations do you have planned?

We’ll be celebrating in style in the form of a superb black-tie summer party. It’s a chance to gather together everyone who’s had a hand to ensure our success story became a reality; making PhotoBox a household name. We can’t think of a better way to say thank you to everyone for all their passion, dedication and hard work and to kick off the next 10 years of achievements! There will of course be invitations for affiliates, so watch this space for details….!

For more information about the PhotoBox affiliate programme please contact:

Rachel Morland
Affiliate Marketing Executive

e: rachel.morland@photobox.com
t: 020 7087 4622

NEW: SkimKit Technology

Written by Kirsty Grimes on . Posted in Technology

Here at Affiliate Window we always like to highlight new innovation by affiliates so following a chat with the guys at Skimlinks we asked them to share some information about their newly launched SkimKit technology.
For those who are unfamiliar with Skimlinks they’re a leading UK affiliate who have developed cutting edge tools that simplify affiliate marketing for publishers by automatically converting normal merchant links into affiliate links. Here Skimlinks Co-Founder Alicia Navarro gives us the lowdown:

“We’re really pleased to launch our new tool called SkimKit that helps Skimlinks publishers find and implement deep links that are automatically monetised.

“SkimKit is a free desktop application with a live database full of millions of products from Skimlinks merchants. It works a bit like a search-engine product search; except every item in the SkimKit can earn you commissions if you decide to feature it in your content. You can search the database with keywords and filter to drill down and find a product they want to discuss. Once you find a product, you can get a deeplink and image URL from SkimKit to put directly in your content and know that the links have potential to earn them money.

“When you first open SkimKit, you are welcomed by a personalised Dashboard with updates on offers from merchants, tips, and tricks. In addition to searching products, you can search by merchant on SkimKit if there is a certain merchant you want to talk about. There is also a URL shortener tool so you can shorten deeplinks to monetise links on Twitter, Facebook, or within emails and newsletters, and a Starred List to save favourite products to export directly into your CMS or XML.”

Having seen the SkimKit in action it’s clear the Skimlinks team is trying to make it as easy as possible for anyone looking for online monetisation solutions. If you’d like to find out more go to www.skimlinks.com/skimkit or contact the team, support@skimlinks.com.

Firebox.com Celebrates a Decade of Affiliate Marketing

Written by Lisa Chaikin on . Posted in Case Study

Firebox, leaders in the gifts, gadgets, toys and games sector was established in 1998 and initially operated out of Cardiff under the name Hotbox.co.uk. After seeing rapid growth in its inception year, the company moved to London and rebranded as Firebox.

The Firebox Affiliate Programme was established on the 6th of April 2000, when they appointed UK Affiliates network (now known as DGM). This makes it one of the oldest network affiliate programmes in the UK. Running a mature affiliate programme requires a different approach to a new one. Rather than concentrating on recruiting new affiliates, the main aim is to get the most out of the partners you already work with. Communication is about new products and launches rather than basic company details that are already widely known. Firebox maximises the opportunity to communicate with its customer base through its fortnightly newsletter sent to over 650,000 recipients.

Throughout the past decade, Firebox has worked with four different networks including DGM (formerly UKAffiliates), Tradedoubler, Affiliate Window and Affiliate Future. Currently, the programme operates under two networks; with Affiliate Window, who were appointed in 2003, constituting the vast majority of affiliate sales. Revenue generated through the affiliate channel has increased year-on-year, from a starting point of £3.7k in 2000 to over £1.75 million in 2009. To illustrate this remarkable level of growth, in 2004, after the programme had been live on the Affiliate Window platform for an entire year, affiliates generated £103,000 in sales. In 2009, the programme generated over a million pounds in sales with every year in between growing exponentially. In the last quarter of 2009, Firebox recognised an opportunity to engage with affiliates who were promoting competitor brands in an effort to grow market share amongst affiliate traffic within the gadget sector. They maximised on this exercise through additional promotions, incentives and newsletter features leading them to generate over £800,000 sales in that quarter alone.

Naomi Brown, Affiliate Marketing Manager at Firebox comments: “Our affiliate programme has shown steady growth over the last ten years and forms a key part of our marketing strategy. When we initially set it up we saw it more as a simple referral scheme, but as the affiliate industry has developed so have we. Affiliates are now our key partners and include some very large companies.”

In 2000 banners were the main form of affiliate advertising, now text links, PPC adverts and even video have become much more important. Banner advertising actually only constitutes a fraction of sales driven by affiliates.

According to Google Analytics, in 2009 the Firebox website attracted nearly 10 million visitors and served 48 million page impressions.

From 2000-2009 affiliates drove £7.75 million in product sales, and were paid over £¾m in commission. Again, looking at figures from 2004, commissions paid to affiliates on the AWin network totaled nearly £10,500 whereas in 2009, these numbers increased to £119,640. These commission figures represent considerable progression as the Firebox affiliate programme evolved into the highly successful campaign that it is today.

“Over the last ten years one of the major developments in affiliate marketing has been technology. Initially this concept was purely about tracking sales. Now it’s geared more towards providing affiliates with automated information on products and promotions, as well as better tracking the effect of different campaigns,” Brown added.

Utilising the speciality tools within Affiliate Window such as AWin Analytics and product level and voucher code tracking provides Firebox with a range of information relating to affiliate traffic, including number of visits, page views, bounce rate and the percentage of new visitors. This allows for a greater level of transparency within the programme and allows them to create more targeted campaigns for individual affiliates and affiliate types. This is in line with a growing realisation that affiliate marketing is multi-channel and a one-size fits all approach ignores the complexity of affiliates’ activity.

Firebox has also adopted the use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to capitalise on the opportunity to communicate with their affiliate base, networks and their customers through these portals in addition to their company blog. They currently have nearly 8,000 followers on Twitter and just shy of 11,000 fans on Facebook proving that their brand is more than simply a household name.

Naomi Brown has been highly commended within the industry for her proactivity and high levels of engagement with affiliates. For the past three years running, Naomi has been shortlisted for the a4U Awards: Publishers Choice of Affiliate Manager.

Brown concludes: “Our affiliate programme provides us with an excellent transparency of results, a variety of key promotional tools, a diverse audience and proven levels of high user engagement. Moving forward, our strategy is to continue to work closely with Affiliate Window and build upon our successfully established track record. We are incredibly proud of the growth of our affiliate programme, and look forward to being part of the next ten years of developments.”

For more information please contact:
Lisa Chaikin
PR Manager, Affiliate Window

e: lisa.chaikin@affiliatewindow.com
t: 020 7553 0333