Affiliate marketing gets a new boost

2 July 2013

LONDON: Online publishers seeking to monetise their websites are watching the outcome of an affiliate marketing initiative from Mail Online, the leading newspaper website, which links editorial content to relevant online vendors.

Mel Scott, commercial director at Mail Online, said that the site was trying out various revenue generating models as it looked to better exploit its global audience of 8.2m daily browsers.

Her comments came in the wake of a recent study of global affiliate marketing by Forrester Consulting for Rakuten Linkshare which found that the affiliate channel was "ideally suited for global advertisers to capture new-to-file customers in both mature and nascent markets".

The particular development at Mail Online enables readers of celebrity-based stories to click through to online vendors of clothing and accessories featured in articles and photographs, along with additional suggestions by the editorial team, with Mail Online taking a 10-14% cut of the value of purchases made as a result.

Scott told the Financial Times that Mail Online had signed affiliate deals with more than 90% of both high street and online retailers.

As an example of how effective the technique can be, when Mail Online recently included a link to a particular retailer's dress worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, it sold out within an hour.

Scott stated that the move was a response to readers' requests and added: "We will make affiliate revenue around it but the editorial integrity will be absolutely key."

She also indicated that the early signs were positive. "We have had massive click throughs to look at the product and massive click throughs into the suggested products," she said.

The potential is significant for a website with a global readership such as Mail Online. The Rakuten report, which surveyed 2,574 online shoppers across Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and the UK, found that 68% of affiliate channel shoppers made an online purchase from a company outside of their home country.

While logistical issues were a factor impeding some growth for advertisers expanding overseas, the report said these could be solved.

Data sourced from Financial Times, BusinessWire; additional content by Warc staff