Three strategies publishers are adopting to drive affiliate commerce revenue for Amazon Prime Day 2024

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One of the most lucrative shopping holidays for publishers’ affiliate commerce businesses, Amazon Prime Day, is approaching.

Commerce publishers saw higher conversion rates, order volumes and revenue year over year during last year’s two-day sales event. But Condé Nast, Gallery Media Group and She Media aren’t relying on last year’s strategies to maximize the revenue potential of next month’s shopping holiday — especially after all of the changes made to their commerce affiliate businesses since then.

While Amazon hasn’t announced an official date for Prime Day this year, some publishers claim they are preparing for the sale to go live in July.

Here are three strategies publishers have planned:

Onsite experience improvements

Condé Nast’s improvements to its onsite shopping experience — with more original photography, video reviews and templates — has primed the publisher for Amazon Prime Day, according to Patrick Gray, executive director of commerce. For example, Prime Day deals will be featured, as examples, in digital video shows and written columns, produced by Condé Nast sites with growing commerce businesses, including Wired, Vogue and AD, Gray said.

This is also the first Amazon Prime Day that Condé Nast will feature its new live pricing feature, thanks to Amazon’s selling partner API, Gray said. Site visitors will get real-time Prime Day product prices in shopping guides and product recommendations. The feature has helped to improve conversion rates this year, Gray said, though he declined to share data to support that claim.

Gray said Condé Nast has historically made more affiliate commerce revenue from Amazon sales during Prime Day each year, and expects this year to be no different.

Last year, Digiday reported that lifestyle publishers like Bustle Digital Group were accelerating efforts to refocus editorial strategy on producing more original visual content to stand out amid the threat of generative AI chatbots chipping away at search referral traffic. Condé Nast appears to be adopting a similar approach to boost affiliate commerce content.

But this strategy might not work for everyone. One publisher’s head of commerce — who traded anonymity for candor — told Digiday its company’s affiliate commerce revenue is down year over year, primarily due to updates to Google’s algorithm that have led to less search referral traffic to their sites this year. Not to mention the increased competition, with publishers making big pushes into the commerce space since a boom in 2020, they added.

Condé Nast will use social media to promote Prime Day deals, such as using its channels to direct social media users to Amazon storefronts curated by Condé Nast’s publications.

“While we know that social is a lower converting channel overall, we’ve seen increased conversions by promoting our curations directly on Amazon [storefronts on our social channels],” Gray said, declining to share specific figures.

Increasing Prime Day content volume

Gallery Media Group is going for volume. The company expects to produce about 20% more content this year around Amazon Prime Day, said CRO Chris Anthony, without providing exact figures.

A bulk of that content will be created for Instagram, due to GMG’s growing affiliate revenue on the platform. Nearly 30% of GMG’s affiliate revenue came from Amazon sales on Instagram in March — the largest percentage it has seen from Amazon via Instagram, Anthony said.

Leading up to this year’s Prime Day, GMG’s social team will tease product sales in the beauty, home, utility and tech categories on social — all product categories that Anthony claimed performed well during last year’s Prime Day — to see what resonates with its audience before the sale kicks off.

She Media may not necessarily be producing more content for Amazon Prime Day like GMG, but the publisher has a larger team to work with this year compared to years past. Samantha Skey, CEO of She Media, said the publisher doubled its commerce-focused staff in the last year, and is seeing double digit growth in commerce revenue year over year from a combination of affiliate and sponsored content. Skey did not give the exact number of the team’s headcount or share exact revenue figures.

Segmenting audiences for targeted content

She Media’s Skey said the publisher is focused on curation ahead of this year’s Amazon Prime Day.

“We are having to look harder and harder at data. … We look at who buys, exactly when they buy,” Skey said. “It’s the segmentation of behavioral shopping within all of the sites that we own and represent, trying to create cohorts so that we’re able to provide niche shopping opportunities.”

She Media uses first-party data from subscriptions and onsite registrations from its owned and operated sites and from parent company Penske Media, as well as data from its collective of about 1,000 sites — all combined with second- and third-party data, Skey said.

“What’s changed is…now moving to [focusing on] niche products for more specific demographics and psychographics and really trying to match those accurately,” Skey said. However, targeting specific cohorts of She Media’s audience means less scale, Skey said. Part of the challenge of this approach is to determine which audience segments She Media can reach at scale — generally, that means focusing on segments that have over 100 million impressions in a month, Skey noted.

This year, She Media will test distributing Amazon Prime Day commerce content through newsletters and platforms like Flipboard and Apple News, as the publisher is seeing more commerce revenue coming from those channels, Skey said, though she declined to share how much.

The case for staying the course

Not all publishers are taking another big swing at Amazon Prime Day coverage this year. Amazon Prime Day “moves the needle, but not really that much,” the anonymous head of commerce told Digiday, when it comes to affiliate commerce revenue, they said. “It doesn’t make the kind of massive impact that justifies doing tons of work in very different ways.”

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