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6 Ways for Publishers to Prepare for the 2021 Holiday Season

Posted 3 years ago by Helena Kohl

E-commerce is set for a bumper holiday season, with spending forecast to top $1.3 billion, representing a huge commerce content opportunity waiting for savvy publishers to lean into. With sales forecast to grow 11-15% year-over-year, e-commerce is set to be a star channel this year, continuing the boom in digital spending. To help you to prepare for this critical season, the expert team at Skimlinks has rounded up tips to optimize commerce content and maximize revenue opportunities during the holidays and beyond.

Maximize Cyber Weekend

Cyber Weekend is the biggie: From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday publishers have an unprecedented opportunity to drive significant revenue from commerce content. In 2020, retailers relied on online promotions to maximize holiday sales as a result of limited in-store shopping due to COVID-19. This trend is expected to continue, with stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Best Buy and Walmart closing their doors on Thanksgiving, driving the demand online for the best of the deals. 

This is the time to go big with your coverage: Our top advice for publishers making a Black Friday slash is make sure to use “Best” as a key word during the event, as it drove excellent AOV in 2020. As Cyber Week draws to a close, make sure to produce urgency-focused content using keywords like “Still Available” to drive demand.

Adopt a Timely and Timeless Approach to Holiday Content

Once Cyber Week comes to a close, shoppers’ focus shifts to gifting and this is where evergreen content can shine. People want to buy gifts for family and friends and ensure they’re stocked up on food and drink for their celebrations, with a major spike in traffic for Gifting and Holiday-focused content between December 8-14. 

So before we reach the final stretch of the holiday season, we recommend you review your historic content, find top-ranked evergreen articles using Google Analytics and update the product links in that shopping content to feature your most effective merchants to ensure you’ve got gifting content covered. Almost 50% of publishers’ quarterly revenue originates from these timeless articles, so make sure you don’t miss out on this big opportunity. 

Finally, you can continue to update timely content as deal posts and store-specific roundups as new promotions come live during the season to implement a timely and timeless formula.

Publish Commerce Content Early

Publishing timely commerce content is always important, but this year it’s critical. 

An early start to holiday shopping is expected as retailers face global supply-chain disruptions and congestion at key shipping ports, and consumers face increased shipping rates from carriers to offset costs during the busiest season. 

To stay ahead of this, publish commerce content as early as possible, consider the shipping cut off dates across carriers, and highlight shopping options such as Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) to avoid shipping delays. Finally, help the last-minute shopper by featuring merchants who pay commission on gift cards. 

Diversify Merchants and Product Types

Experiment with different products and merchants to see what resonates with your audience. To discover new products and merchants to feature, utilize the Skimlinks Editor Toolbar, the Merchant Search function, and check the merchant offers surfaced in the Publisher Hub. Additionally, diversify commerce content by highlighting merchants’ hot products, suggesting merchants with free shipping options, and holiday sales and coupons. Finally, check out the Trending Products and Products Bought reports in the Publisher Hub to optimize your commerce content and unlock new products and merchants to feature.

Distribute Commerce Content Across Multiple Channels

To maximize reach and revenue, consider prioritizing commerce content in homepage placements, organic and paid social media campaigns, newsletter slots and with syndication partners. Use Skimlinks’ Revenue Source Report to determine most efficient platforms and drive incremental revenue.

Optimize for Mobile

Make the most of your holiday commerce content by ensuring you have seamless content functionality across mobile, desktop and tablet. 

On Black Friday 2020, mobile delivered the greatest clicks, while desktop and mobile both delivered strong sales on Skimlinks’ US publishers’ articles. While tablets account for a smaller percentage of traffic and sales, tablet delivered a higher EPC over mobile on Black Friday 2020. 

This year, we’ve seen mobile deliver more clicks and sales than desktop, but desktop continues to drive the highest number of Order Value, further highlighting the importance of having seamless content functionality.

‘Tis the season for e-commerce to shine! Follow these six key steps alongside a solid commerce content strategy to unlock revenue opportunities and achieve success this holiday season.

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