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MailOnline move to use affiliate links in editorial welcomed by marketeers

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The news that MailOnline, the world’s most-visited newspaper website, has introduced affiliate links to its website, potentially using editorial content to boost ecommerce retail sales, has been welcomed by marketeers.

Consumers can now click through from editorial on the newspaper site to retail websites in a move expected fuel sales of fashion and related items and provide a potential model for future online advertising. When the newspaper earlier this month provided a link to a Hobbs Dalmatian print dress worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, the dress sold out within an hour. Today, shoppers were able to click through from a story about a dress worn by Andy Murray’s girlfriend Kim Sears to buy it on the Zara ecommerce website.

Mel Scott, commercial director at Mail Online, told the Financial Times, that the use of affiliate links would not impinge on editorial integrity.

“The feeling was that we wanted to give something back to the read who was asking us: ‘Where does Amanda Holden’s silver skirt come from?’” she said. “We will make affiliate revenue around it but the editorial integrity will be absolutely key.” While the project was still in its early days, she said the newspaper had had “massive clickthroughs” with its use of affiliate links.

Mark Haviland, managing director of Rakuten Marketing, which includes affiliate marketing business Rakuten Linkshare, said: “The popularity of online shopping coupled with an extremely powerful media platform like MailOnline, which attracts over eight million users a month, will create an invaluable channel for retailers selling online.

“This affiliate marketing platform is a fantastic complement to the existing players in the CPA space, combining a content rich experience, that is highly sociable and relevant, but also connected to popular fashion and shopping trends.

“The ‘Kate effect’ shows that celebrity endorsement isn’t going to go out of fashion and this latest industry development allows brands to make it easy for shoppers to instantly buy the same items as their favourite celebs or designers. Looking ahead, I’m sure that traditional publishing houses will continue to see the CPA model as a valued compliment to existing revenue streams, not just for the commercial opportunity, but also for the richness in experience it can offer readers. The ‘Read, Share & Shop’ publishing model is in its early years, but has a bright future ahead.”

Micke Paqvalen, chief executive and founder of visual and social commerce platform Kiosked, said the news was “an exciting example of editorial content’s digital evolution in and of itself, as well as the continued evolution of its relationship with advertising.”

In the past, publishers relied on ad networks to monetise an increasingly digital readership,” said Paqvalen. “Today, new and innovative advertising models provide publishers with the opportunity to offer readers more when it comes to content.

“In recent years, media has become decentralised, allowing it to dovetail with ecommerce. By linking content to commerce whilst maintaining editorial integrity, publishers are able to turn advertising into a service for consumers. DMTG’s announcement shows how publishers can add value to existing content while facilitating new, non-intrusive and useful models of digital advertising.”

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