Affiliates and the Power of Product Feeds

Over the past few months we’ve posted several times on how affiliates are adapting to the current times and are becoming more and more powerful as an online marketing channel.

We all know that voucher code affiliate sites are used by many consumers across all markets and that cashback sites are becoming more and more popular as consumers are putting more effort into ensuring they get the most out of every pound they spend. Therefore ensuring you spend time focusing on having strong offers and good relationships with the big players in these areas is vital. However, there are other places you should make sure you’re not missing – like your product feed.

Why should I offer a product feed?

A growing number of affiliates focus their USP on the fact they offer the consumer the ability to see everything that’s on offer in their marketplace all from one site. They can be as big as the price comparison sites or more market specific content/blog affiliates. Good examples of this type are:

These product feed affiliates will pick up all your relevant products and integrate them with other retailers they’re promoting.

Other product feed affiliates just pick and choose individual products from your feed to suit there needs. The feed gives them an ideal way to pick the products relevant to them – by category, product type, price etc. They may then use them to create, for example, an “Our Favourites” list. A good example is Mother of the Bride Outfits.

These product feed affiliates are becoming brands in their own right with their own email newsletters, Twitter followers, Facebook fans. They are a destination site for many consumers so if you don’t ensure you’re present, you’re missing a strong promotional opportunity.

If you’re able to provide a strong feed, in addition to offering good incentives, product feed affiliates can provide a new stream of affiliate revenue for you.

How do I go about producing a good feed?

So you want to work with these affiliates, how do you get a feed?

The first port of call is your web development team. The likelihood is that your website is driven by a database that has all the information you need to create an affiliate product feed. Your web development team should be able to pull that information into a feed to plug into your affiliate network.

What can I do if my web development team can’t help?

If for any reason your web development team can’t produce a feed there are some good solutions out there to do the job for you. They can essentially “scrape” your site, taking all the information needed for the feed without your web development team needing to be involved. 2 good examples:

Next steps…

Unfortunately, making product feed affiliates work for you isn’t as easy as making the decision you want to work with them. You need to put together a plan to get these affiliates on board.

We would suggest the first step is to have a conversation with your affiliate network:

  • Determine what product feed affiliates there are in your market and what sales they might be able to generate for you
  • Establish the likelihood of those affiliates taking your brand on board – what incentives might you need to offer?
  • Do you need your network or your feed provider to add their influence into the dialogue with the affiliates
  • Determine the exact feed requirements for the product feed affiliates in your industry before you start to develop your feed, there’s no point creating a feed to the network’s base requirements if the affiliates need more information before they’ll pick it up and use it

Once you know all the above, you’re ready to produce your feed and start making the most of this growing affiliate group.