Holiday Affiliate Marketing Advice: Take Notice of the Trends and Search Data

For all the affiliate marketers out there, you already know that the holiday season is one of the most lucrative and competitive times of the year. For anyone that is still doing guesswork on the data, you can be certain that it will be a whole lot less lucrative unless you have some ESP skills you’re hiding. But for the rest of us, this just means one thing: it’s time to track the Experian Marketing Service reports to find out which holiday gifts are trending this year.

Affiliate Marketing During the Holiday with Trends

And while it certainly might be getting a little late to turn a big profit on Black Friday and Cyber Monday if you haven’t done your research, you can still cash in on the Christmas market by looking into the trends. As of the month leading up to November 9th, marketing trends gathered from search data analysis points to a few dominating terms that every affiliate should be looking into:

  • - Game consoles
  • - Mobile devices
  • - Fitness gadgets
  • - Techie gear and gifts

This is good news for affiliates that already have some of these products in their network, but might be bad news for those who gambled on other items. Still, none of these are exactly ground-breaking so if you don’t have them this year, you’ll know for next year. These aren’t changing anytime soon.

Trending Christmas Products and Name Brands

There are still some products out there that affiliates can make money off of. For example, while tech gadgets did haul in 7 out of 10 top spots on the holiday gift trending list, the overall winner was none other than Uggs. Ugg boots are readily available on many shoe sites as well as on Amazon. They’ve also been wildly popular for years (hint for next year on trends!).

Regardless, here’s what people are searching for over the past month. As you can see, it’s a little more than tech-heavy. It’s a tech convention!

- iPhone 5s - iPad Air - iPhone 5c - Xbox One - PS4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 3 - Microsoft Surface Pro - FitBit - Kindle Fire HD - Nexus 7

Basically, you can take away from this list that Apple is still top dog with electronic retail stores, landing their iPad Air, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c in the top three spots, followed by Xbox One taking the early lead over the PS4.

Santa’s Sleigh Full of Toys

Of course, Christmas time is nothing without the children so you should already have some of the hotter toys in your affiliate network. Most people already know that Skylanders Swap Force (a video game) is number one, but the number two hottest toy search over the past month might surprise you. According to Experian, rubber band bracelets are number two, followed by Razor’s Crazy Cart Riding Toy. Yes, rubber band bracelets.

Some simple research like this will help key you in on the holiday trends. Of course, if you can’t get cracking on these now, just keep a mindful eye towards future times when online shopping is heavy. Doing a quick background check on the most popular video games or the latest fitness gadgets will clue you in on which affiliate partners to join up with and which to run far away from.

Facebook is Trying to Make You Promote Your Posts – Some Simple Ways Around it

Have you noticed your Facebook views per post declining? Does it feel like you’re getting only a smaller proportion of the reach that you used to? Chances are, it’s not the way you’re posting or even the content you’re posting. Rather, it’s Facebook cutting down on the reach of pages through tweaks to their Edge Rankings to make it more difficult to get organic reach. This “coincidentally” coincides with the increasing presence of the “Boost Your Post” pop-ups and notifications.

Why Boost Your Post?

Of course, there certainly is no denying that boosting your post on Facebook will gain you more reach and thus, a bigger audience. You’d be surprised at how many people aren’t even seeing your posts until your run a boosted post campaign. That means that there really are some times that you should boost your post on Facebook.

- New product or service release – Important updates to policy – Big sales or special promotions – A post that you’re certain will go viral - Any news releases or clips that makes you look amazing

Essentially, when you’re getting excited about posting something, you should consider boosting the post-even by just a few dollars-so that other people can get excited too. Of course, much like Pay-Per-Click ads on AdWords, this will only get you a short-term gain unless you have a larger system or network in place that will keep your audience’s attention once they click on your post’s CTA. Boosting every post is just going to cost you a lot of money.

Alternatives to Boosting Facebook Posts

Of course, this means that you’re going to have to find other ways to make your Facebook posts more visible to increase your reach. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks that social media experts employ to increase your reach and get your message out there to more of your fans.

- Put previously shared links in comments. One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed to the Edge Rank algorithms Facebook uses is that sharing the same link over and over again will really cut your reach down drastically. This is bad news for those that are trying to draw attention to a landing page as the more you post it, the lower the reach gets. When you boost these posts, it will show on the top of newsfeeds, but to get around it, simply make a post with some media, and then throw the call to action link in the first comment. This doesn’t count against your Rank, so your post will receive no penalty for the re-shared link. – Create events, but share in comments. Similarly to shared links, all of your events should be shared in the comments section. Facebook has made event making garbage otherwise. – Post interesting content. Of course, we’re not saying that you aren’t already, but post things that garner more attention naturally. Text really doesn’t, but pictures and videos are sure to do the trick. Remember, not every picture or video has to be directly about you, but can be indirectly about your product, service or idea as well. For instance, a restaurant might post a link to their favorite recipe every once in a while, but will really do well with pictures of their food dishes. – Hashtags. If you aren’t already using Facebook hashtags, start using them now. They work just like Twitter hashtags, so make the most of them.

Google Hummingbird and Keyword Changes and How they Change Internet Marketing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or avoiding your computer the past few weeks, you’ve probably already heard about the latest changes Google has made to their search algorithms and the way they deliver data. But what you may not have noticed is that the Hummingbird update and the encryption of all searches has a farther-reaching impact when taken together-an impact that should have all internet marketers sitting up and taking notice.

Of course, if you’ve been following Google’s trend of cracking down on black hat SEO and spammed content, your sites should be okay since they are already filled with user-centric content which provides high value to your visitors. But if you haven’t been keeping up, there has never been a better time to start gearing your site towards Google’s rules than right now.

The Buzz Surrounding Hummingbird

Perhaps their biggest overhaul to their algorithms in over a decade, Hummingbird eclipses both Panda and Penguin, despite ironically being named after a smaller bird. While it was estimated the previous two updates affected only a small percentage of websites and queries, the Senior Vice President of Google, Amit Singhal, said that Hummingbird affects 90% of all search engine requests sent in to Google. This is quite telling about the severity of the overhaul, especially since the goal was the same here as with previous updates-to bring users the most relevant results possible for their queries.

The biggest difference between this latest Google update and previous ones is that the focus was put on the semantic search. Anyone who has been preaching the value of LSI keywords for a while, stand up and take your bow-you were right. Google just made concepts, intent and meaning ranking factors that are on par (or perhaps greater than) individual keywords.

This change takes place because since people are more used to Google search functionality, they are entering longer questions and search queries, not just keywords. So in the end, it is absolutely beneficial all around since your keywords aren’t as great an indicator on how your customers are finding you anymore. In fact, Google’s Chrome browser just rolled out a “conversational search” function where queries are submitted in the form of sentences and questions, not keywords.

Plus, since this “conversational search” fits right in with the high growth rate of mobile users, it’s clear that more complex search queries are going to arise, forcing content marketing to now focus on answering questions and providing information and educational guides to attract viewers.

They Took Your Keywords!

And seemingly to drive their point home on how keywords are a diminished factor in modern SEO, Google has encrypted all searches, even if you’re not signed into your Google account. This means that unless you’re getting ad clicks, you’re not getting anymore keyword traffic data in your web analytics (it shows up as “Not Provided”). So if you want those keywords, you now have to pay up with AdWords. But is that even necessary with Hummingbird?

Keywords aren’t as important as they once were, so my advice is to not go for more PPC campaigns than you normally would-at least not with the sole purpose of getting keyword data. Google is smart, they know that people will freak out about not getting keyword traffic data and will immediately turn to AdWords rather than evolve with the algorithms. But this isn’t going to help your SEO. Stay calm, don’t panic and simply find other ways to measure your campaign’s success. This can involve checking your referring traffic, analyzing the tracking information from automation tools and paying more attention to your Webmaster tools (e.g. search queries, anchor text ,etc.). You should also set up internal site search analytics.

The bottom line here is that this trend has been heading this route for a long time-it’s nothing new.