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Scaling Affiliate Strategies Fast: A Look into Percival’s Commerce Content Strategy

We’re delighted that we got the chance to sit down with Ian Mackey, Head of Growth Marketing at Percival to talk through their affiliate marketing strategy and commerce content partnership with Skimlinks.


Tell us a bit about your background and your role at Percival Menswear.

I’ve been in the ecommerce and digital industry for around 10 years now having worked across numerous verticals such as luxury beauty, FMCG, fashion and publishing. At Percival, I head up our Growth Marketing function which is predominantly focused on scaling new customer acquisition profitably from our performance marketing channels, including affiliates. I work largely across the UK, US, Ireland, Canada & Australia. I also oversee our awareness driving channels such as OOH, TikTok, YouTube and Programmatic because when you feed those, the rest of the funnel never goes hungry!

Thinking about affiliate marketing, when did it come on the radar for your business and how has it evolved in recent years?

I have an extensive background in affiliate marketing publisher side so I know what value it can drive. For a brand like ours, premium commerce content was a profitable way to scale conversion and brand awareness at the same time. We started our affiliate program in Q4 2021 with just a few partners and it has now become a £1.5m+ revenue channel for us that demonstrates brand growth, not just conversion.

As a menswear brand, do you see different challenges for you in ecommerce and with affiliate marketing?

Most definitely! Independent premium menswear is tougher due to competitor saturation and being up against high street brands and marketplaces with higher budgets. On some exclusive products, margin is extremely tight and on sale items it’s even tighter but they’re the products the customers want and the publishers want to talk about. It’s sometimes hard to find a commission balance that will yield profit and also make it meaningful for the publishers to spend time on the story.

The days of operating on just a cost per sale model are well and truly gone. Publishers need to grow their business revenues just as much as we do so some are offering fixed fee packages only. However, small brands like us don’t have excessive amounts of media budget so we would rather test on a CPA model first before diving in head first. It’s a real balancing act of KPI’s.

When did you begin working with Skimlinks?

I’ve worked with Skimlinks for years on the publisher side but at Percival, we’ve worked together since early 2022.

How has the partnership helped you scale affiliate marketing?

When you’re a small brand like us, you don’t have all of the resources and budget in the world so time and money has to be spent very efficiently. Of all of the partners out there, Skimlinks has allowed us to scale the fastest. Introductions to content partners are quick, arranging fixed fee packages is streamlined and tracking is all held in one place to see in real time how content is converting. Our merchant manager is super helpful in pushing our promotions and product launches out to partners and facilitating any conversation!

You’ve been able to build great relationships with publishers through Skimlinks, what value has that brought?

Absolutely. We’ve been able to reach really cost effective CACs through Skimlinks, bringing lots of new audience. We layer our Shopify and Triple Whale data on to Skimlinks to get a true picture of the ROI. With Meta, you can cap out quite quickly with media spend and hit a point of diminishing ROAS whereas Skimlinks is a risk free cost per sale model and allows you to gain access to conversion led content on some of the biggest global media brands. We see it as a very important part of our customers’ brand/product consideration journey.

E-commerce continues to change and evolve. Are there any trends you’re excited about for the year ahead?

I’m excited to see how publishers evolve their content models. There’s a lot of opportunity to combine branded content/affiliate/display/ppc in a package with a ROAS target and I’d like to see more of these in the market. With cookie depreciation, I’m also looking forward to seeing more retail media networks come to life beyond supermarkets & big marketplaces (hopefully to support menswear brands like us!)

Speaking of 2024, are there any specific events or campaigns Percival will focus on?

We always have lots of exciting brand collaborations so I always look forward to seeing them come to life and how we find new audiences via those. Awards season is a big moment for us to capitalise on. We want to see Percival across the global red carpets on the nominees!

Any advice for publishers who want to work with you?

We are very open to testing all types of publisher and content verticals. We like to test on a meaningful CPA first before going down the fixed fee package route to make sure there’s a good audience alignment. A unique part of Percival is that we have strong roots in comedy, sport and musical so those verticals are very appealing to us!

Lastly, what do you love most about Skimlinks?

The immediate access to premium, global content partners!

If you’re a Publisher or Merchant interested in working with Skimlinks, get in touch today. 

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