Driving performance for the adidas group through affiliates

The Challenge

In Spring 2014, adidas/Reebok’s affiliate programme was active in four markets. So far, each locale had been operating independently. What if we brought things under one roof? With one team handling everything, we’d learn more, adapt faster and carry more weight negotiation-wise — all good news for our client’s ROI. We’d also have the chance to move away from third  

party management, and run the affiliate network ourselves using Performance Horizon Group’s responsive, self-serve platform. Not only would this save money (by cutting out the middleman), but direct access to data would allow us to spot opportunities, create incentives and generally kick things up a notch.

The Strategy

In May 2014, we set up our London hub, co-ordinating handovers with each market, getting to know individual suppliers and helping them migrate to the new platform. This was a challenge within itself, as many of the publishers were small and unfamiliar with the technology, so we had to walk them through the process step-by-step. However, by August, they were all on board. After optimising adidas’ performance in the first four markets, we then expanded the programme to ten new European countries.

With direct access to publishers, we could match their demographics to specific promotions (like advertising

German football jerseys on FC Schalke fan sites during the World Cup). At the same time, product-level reporting showed us what sold best where (men’s jackets on certain voucher sites, ladies’ trainers on others).

A narrower pool of high-performing partners gave us more control for ad-hoc and tailored activity, while the centralised system gave us more time to plan at a higher level. This allowed us to expand into richer formats (display campaigns) and more diverse strategies (virtual currency via mobile), while still driving down cost per sale. 

The Results

  • 149%

    YOY revenue growth for adidas

  • 35%

    Drop in cost of sale for adidas

  • 226%

    Growth in revenue YOY for Reebok

  • 32%

    Drop for Reebok in cost of sale

The new programme delivered great results, but it achieved much more. By showing what we can do strategically, and moving into new areas of the digital landscape, we’ve redefined the role of affiliates in our clients’ business, and are creating new strategies adidas can bring to different areas of their organisation.

On the back of this success, adidas increased their affiliates spend with iProspect by 25%.

The adidas and Reebok affiliate programmes have been totally revolutionised during 2014: the journey has been challenging but rewarding. With the support of iProspect and PHG, we implemented a more efficient and stimulating incentive structure for our partners, we found innovative strategies to promote our products and brands beyond the scope of regular commercial messages. And, more importantly, we set the basis for the steady growth that we expect in the coming years.
Francesco Orlandino EU Affiliates and Feeds Marketing Manager, adidas Group