Using ShopTab with an Affiliate Marketing Program

An affiliate marketing program can be a very effective way to drive revenues for a merchants and marketing networks by creating a large group of sellers for their products or services. The sellers, called publishers or affiliates, place ads or products on their site and can be either companies or individuals that have an online audience that may be interested in purchasing these products and services, thus earning commissions on each sale. This is a common marketing practice on websites and blogs and we are now finding that social networks, like Facebook, are a logical opportunity for both parties to drive new sales and commission opportunities.

Facebook creates a wonderful opportunity for affiliate marketers because of the large audience (over 1 billion users) and the amount of time that these users spend within the Facebook application – reported to be 10 times the time spent on Google each day. The key for successful social commerce with affiliate marketing is matching merchants with right publishers that have an audience and ability to sell via social marketing tactics. ShopTab can provide the perfect link between the two by creating a store and providing support for the tracking of sales via special links or software code.

Below is a good graphical representation of a model for affiliate marketing.

Affiliate__1.jpg 

                       source: http://www.craigcaron.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/af.gif 

Technology elements to make this work:

- Merchants, networks or advertisers provide a technology solution to track sales from each unique publisher   site.
- Publishers need to set up their stores on their Facebook fan page to use the appropriate tracking information to list the products.

ShopTab can be used by either the merchant or the publisher but how it is set-up and managed will be a little different. Since there are many variations to the set-up in these environments, we will outline the typical ways in which we’ve worked with merchants and publishers.

Setting up of the ShopTab store

ShopTab has been optimized for use when connected to websites for final purchase and checkout. This is ideal since most merchants are currently set up to track and to optimize sales opportunities on their website. This is a good option for most publishers since it allows them to market to their audience and not take ownership for the processing and management of product sales and commission reports.

NOTE: Do not turn on PayPal for payments for your store. You will be directing your product listings to an external website for checkout.

Product Listing Requirements:

Data required - ShopTab requires a few fields of information to create a valid listing in the Facebook store application. Those are listed below:

Product title
Description
Price
Link to the product page or JavaScript
Link to the product image(s)
Condition – new or used, optional

These should be provided by the merchant, network or advertiser to the publisher. This can be provided via a data file, which typically is a .csv format, or can be created via manual input into their Facebook store. An example of a couple of Facebook store product listings are shown below.

Affiliate__2.jpg

 

Links or script

The key behind the tracking of the sales back to the publisher/store owner is the use of a special tracking code that is typically found in the product link or URL. A good example can be seen below from Team Fan Shop for their affiliates. In each product listing case, the end of the link has a unique identifier for when someone clicks on the “BUY NOW” button to mark the purchase on the merchant’s website to that affiliate.

Affiliate__3.jpg

This information is either placed in a data file as noted below. 

Affiliate__4.jpg

Or the listing can be manually input to your store as detailed below.

Affiliate__5.jpg

We noted that you may use JavaScript for the product link. While this can work effectively, we caution use of this type of code since Facebook doesn’t always work with script. It is the responsibility of the merchant or the publisher to test the script to make sure the store and Facebook fan page will work appropriately.  Instead of putting in a URL for the location of the product, you will place script in the “JavaScript for Product” tab at the bottom of the page as noted below or in the JavaScript data file template.

Affiliate__6.jpg

 

Once set up in ShopTab’s database, the BUY NOW or purchase button will use the URL with the identifier to track the sale on the merchant’s website. The picture below shows that the Facebook store button’s properties are specific to the URL that was loaded into our database for tracking of the affiliate purchase. 

Affiliate__7.jpg

 

 

Once your store is set up with the right products and tracking you should be all set to start selling. However, the success in marketing to anyone on Facebook is making sure you have a plan to promote your products consistently to your clients. Making them aware of your store and any unique or special opportunities is critical. Take the opportunity to review our Social Commerce Selling Strategy document so that you can build your plan to achieve dramatic results with your Facebook store.

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