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The rise of the affiliate blog within the fashion sector

Across a number of sectors within performance marketing, there is widely reported to be a distinct lack of content sites, while incentivised traffic sources dominate.

In the fashion sector, while cashback and voucher code publishers still generate a significant proportion of sales, bloggers are thriving.

So what makes the fashion sector stand out from the crowd and how can advertisers take advantage of the promotional opportunities amongst these bloggers?

Some of the largest fashion destination sites receive a significant volume of traffic and in some cases are even more popular brands than some of the advertisers they promote. With a vast reach, these bloggers offer a number of promotional opportunities and can open up retailers to new audiences. If a brand is open to trialling payment models outside of the traditional CPA model, they are primed to take advantage of additional coverage that these bloggers are able to offer.

For example, publishers such as Sales Gossip who have their Style Journal blog are offering a number of placements across their site in the run up to Christmas, which are based on ‘tenancy’ agreements – e.g. retailers invest a fixed fee for coverage across their site for a certain time period. As well as benefitting from any sales that occur as a result, the increased exposure provides additional branding across a highly trafficked, relevant site.

As well as providing on site exposure, the top fashion blogs also have an extensive database of engaged users that are signed up to receive their newsletters. Some of the engagement rates can be staggering with click through rates for the leading bloggers newsletters as high as 50%.

With the growth of m-commerce fashion publishers have been quick to adapt. Shop Style by Pop Sugar for example has an optimised mobile site as well as their own app. With fashion being a sector that we typically see over index in terms of mobile activity, they are well placed to take advantage of this growing trend. In fact, Shop Style are seeing around 20% of sales originate from a mobile handset, a staggering proportion considering that typically across the network we are seeing 7-8% of transactions through a mobile handset.

This revelation highlights the typical visitor to a fashion site/blog is well prepared to use their mobile device, not only for browsing and researching products but also to transact.

There are a number of tools that retailers are able to arm their publishers with to aide them in making sales. Providing unique content for them to use within their blogs and product reviews will help them within the search listings but one of the most vital tools to provide them with is a good product feed.

Product feeds are powering the majority of these sites, providing the ability for publishers to link to 1000’s of products with just a few lines of code, saving the time and effort of adding individual product links and descriptions manually from scratch. The quality of the product feed will affect how successful it is, for example it should be updated regularly and provide high quality product images and descriptions. It is important that the product feed is well optimised and categorisation is complete. Conversion rates across publisher sites are likely to be further improved with a well optimised product feed, with the consumer able to complete their product selection on the publisher site before landing at the retailer to transact.

With the move to mobile that has been witnessed across the sector, it is essential that product feeds are also optimised for mobile devices. Product images need to be made smaller and descriptions shortened in order to view properly within a mobile browser for example.

The fashion sector is one that benefits from a significant number of content publishers. Any retailer that is prepared to experiment with alternative payment models and provide the correct tools is certainly well positioned to thrive within a competitive environment.

Matt Sawn, Client Strategist, Affiliate Window

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