Netherlands

Jesse le Grand

Commercial Director, Awin Netherlands

Though video advertising is nothing new, I think the growth of smartphone experiences and shopping will boost the popularity of short, snackable content in 2021. Real-time streaming is one of the many platforms where I can see it becoming prolific. We should also remember that video is bound to gain serious leverage through mobile as people continue to monitor the news for updates on COVID-19.

Tezcan Cetinkaya
Senior Online Marketeer, Online.nl

17.1m

Population

Euro (€)

Currency

93%

Internet penetration rate

11%

Ecommerce penetration rate
(% of total retail)

77%

Mobile penetration rate

$4.8b

Total ad spend (USD)

$2.5b

Digital ad spend (USD)

$150m

Affiliate ad spend estimate (USD)

6%

Projected ad spend growth 2021

1,075
Advertisers
7,153
Publishers
Share of sales by device
Share of sales by publisher type
23%
Content
22%
Coupon Code
17%
Loyalty & Cashback
15%
Comparison
9%
Search
5%
Sub Networks
4%
Social
3%
Display
1%
Tech Partners
1%
Email

While last year brought challenges for many businesses, 2020 was exceptionally good to online food delivery services like ours. Not only did we grow our revenue by 154%, we also elevated the affiliate channel to new heights by enabling app tracking across all our markets, which had an instant impact on orders and new customers.

Sweta Mehta
Senior Affiliate Marketing Specialist, Takeaway

Examining the Netherlands

Dutch consumers, advertisers and publishers made 2020 a notable year for reasons well beyond the obvious.

The Netherlands has been on a rapid trajectory of general digital adoption with rates outstripping those of its near neighbours. Online grocery shopping, for example - a key mover in other territories due to shoppers staying away from crowded supermarkets - already had the Netherlands as its the fastest EU growth market, trailing only the UK and France.

Unlike other European countries, The Netherlands opted for a partial lockdown in March. Bars, restaurants, schools and offices were largely ordered to shut, but only a small group of large retailers closed during the onset of the pandemic in Spring. As long as social distancing measures were followed, shops remained opened until a hard lockdown finally closed non-essential retail in December.

The Netherlands has been on a rapid trajectory of general digital adoption with rates outstripping those of its near neighbors.

Despite less stringent lockdown measures our network experienced clear revenue boosts across ‘COVID-19’ categories like Sports Equipment (+113%), and Home and Living (+62%), all in line with a population gearing themselves up for lengthier periods inside.

Most of the trends and shifts were reflective of customer behavior. In telecoms shoppers eschewed of mobile phone deals and subscription in favor of sim-only packages. This could be explained by a lack of innovation from Apple and Samsung in 2020, but purchasing a new smartphone might have just seemed reckless among an increasingly spend-conscious audience. Staying loyal to older devices served the sim-only market well, which is now becoming increasingly competitive and focused on deals.

Retail and Shopping saw double-digit growth throughout the year (+49%) thanks to a frantic grab for home office necessities and enhanced demand for Toys and Games (+91%) to entertain children stuck at home over the lockdown period. Another big sector trend for 2020 was the increase in retailers adopting more environmentally and socially sound practices, reaching out to consumers about the impact of returning goods, and stocking more sustainable products.

The impact of COVID-19 also became apparent in the number of new publishers signing up to the network. We saw an uplift in editorial sites, blogs, and mass media affiliates joining Awin, the latter being of particular importance following the decline of traditional ad spend from retailers pausing or stopping their online branding campaigns. It’s a testament to the affiliate channel’s attractiveness, with large organizations now relying on performance-based methods to make up shortfalls in revenue.

Surges in new publisher signups are a testament to the affiliate channel’s attractiveness, with large organizations now relying on performance-based methods to make up shortfalls in revenue.

One of the biggest stories will filter into 2021 though, with November 12 marking the start of healthcare season, the only time of the year Dutch citizens can switch healthcare providers, in this case some eight months after a global pandemic took effect. Analysts predict a record number of people moving providers due to thinking more about their health. Efforts at cost-cutting will also be seen among students who have lost their part-time jobs due to the closure of bars and restaurants, coinciding with this switching period. Plus, with people having more time at home and being less susceptible to health risks, the average monthly increase of €59 ($72) will make it worth choosing a different provider.

The Netherlands has been on a rapid trajectory of general digital adoption with rates outstripping those of its near neighbors.

Despite less stringent lockdown measures our network experienced clear revenue boosts across ‘COVID-19’ categories like Sports Equipment (+113%), and Home and Living (+62%), all in line with a population gearing themselves up for lengthier periods inside.

Most of the trends and shifts were reflective of customer behavior. In telecoms shoppers eschewed of mobile phone deals and subscription in favor of sim-only packages. This could be explained by a lack of innovation from Apple and Samsung in 2020, but purchasing a new smartphone might have just seemed reckless among an increasingly spend-conscious audience. Staying loyal to older devices served the sim-only market well, which is now becoming increasingly competitive and focused on deals.

Retail and Shopping saw double-digit growth throughout the year (+49%) thanks to a frantic grab for home office necessities and enhanced demand for Toys and Games (+91%) to entertain children stuck at home over the lockdown period. Another big sector trend for 2020 was the increase in retailers adopting more environmentally and socially sound practices, reaching out to consumers about the impact of returning goods, and stocking more sustainable products.

The impact of COVID-19 also became apparent in the number of new publishers signing up to the network. We saw an uplift in editorial sites, blogs, and mass media affiliates joining Awin, the latter being of particular importance following the decline of traditional ad spend from retailers pausing or stopping their online branding campaigns. It’s a testament to the affiliate channel’s attractiveness, with large organizations now relying on performance-based methods to make up shortfalls in revenue.

Surges in new publisher signups are a testament to the affiliate channel’s attractiveness, with large organizations now relying on performance-based methods to make up shortfalls in revenue.

One of the biggest stories will filter into 2021 though, with November 12 marking the start of healthcare season, the only time of the year Dutch citizens can switch healthcare providers, in this case some eight months after a global pandemic took effect. Analysts predict a record number of people moving providers due to thinking more about their health. Efforts at cost-cutting will also be seen among students who have lost their part-time jobs due to the closure of bars and restaurants, coinciding with this switching period. Plus, with people having more time at home and being less susceptible to health risks, the average monthly increase of €59 ($72) will make it worth choosing a different provider.

Awin Talks
Meet the market
Awin Talks host Rob Davinson discusses the state of affiliate and digital marketing in the Netherlands with Barry Morais, Online Marketing Manager at T-Mobile Netherlands. Recorded in January 2021.

Increasingly I feel that consumers are not only focusing on the best price but are also looking for the best service and innovation. That’s why we believe content partners will be more and more important for their storytelling value throughout 2021. This means the affiliate channel should no longer be just a sales channel, but that it also contributes to the branding of a company.

Eleonora Azaryeva
Online Channel Manager, Simyo
+12%
new customers
+30%
overall website traffic
+23%
total website visitors from Redbrain

Crafting Beerwulf's
path to success

+12%
new customers
+30%
overall website traffic
+23%
total website visitors
from Redbrain

Specialty beer retailer Beerwulf tasked Awin with finding a new means of driving transactions and customer acquisition and retention in the Netherlands.

Incremental sales engine Redbrain was selected as the best partner to support this, as its technology-driven approach examines a retailer’s data, products and PPC strategies to improve the ways in which it captures customers without overhauling a retailer's current online presence.

Redbrain used PPC targeting to attract customers searching for bottled beers, kegs and taps on Google, following a detailed, three-step plan to produce results.

Currently one of the fastest-growing consumer markets - if not the trendiest – is craft beer’s journey from hobbyist pursuit to the epicenter of themed bars, supermarket shelves and subscription services that has taken everyone by surprise.

The only problem for beer fanatics is knowing what to try next, especially when faced with thousands of potential choices. Craft beer is also a major export in markets like Belgium, Germany, the US and Australia, but there’s always the challenge of getting a foreign tipple delivered to the door. That’s where Beerwulf comes in. 

Part of the Heineken Group, Beerwulf is an international brand that connects beer brewers with beer lovers. Its online shop has a wide variety of kegs and equipment for dispensing their contents, giving customers a way of enjoying a premium draught product in the comfort of their own home. Rising levels of competitiveness around craft beer have made it even more important for brands like Beerwulf to have ways of incentivizing customers looking for a go-to beer merchant.

With the Netherlands a more mature market for Beerwulf and there being a constant focus on the customer lifetime value, Beerwulf tasked Awin to find a new method of driving more traffic and sales for its Netherlands shop and improve the retailer’s customer acquisition and retention.

The approach

Awin and Beerwulf deemed Redbrain - an incremental sales engine - the perfect partner to reinvigorate the brand’s affiliate activity without having to overhaul its current online presence. Redbrain’s technology-driven approach works by examining data from the brand, their products and existing PPC strategies to improve the ways in which it captures relevant customers on platforms like Google Shopping. Because of this, Awin and Beerwulf felt the partnership with Redbrain was essential to turning an important corner for success in the Netherlands. 

Collectively, the team set three main objectives:

  • Grow Beerwulf’s new customer base by 5%
  • Increase overall website visitors by 20%
  • Generate 10% total website visitors via Redbrain

Smart execution

Once objectives were determined, Redbrain’s idea was to use PPC targeting to reel in customers searching for bottled beers, kegs and taps on Google, following the below three-pronged process to drive results: 

  1. Run Beerwulf’s datafeed via its optimization system
    By pulling Beerwulf’s datafeed and sending it through Redbrain’s optimization system, the team was able to ensure Google had the best source of information possible.
  2. Utilize RedBrain’s Machine Learning engine to better understand the performance of Beerwulf’s products
    After gathering enough bidding data in its Machine Learning engine, Redbrain was able to ascertain Beerwulf’s current account performance, which products were selling, what wasn’t selling and, most importantly, why.
  3. Implement easy, actionable tweaks to improve PPC performance
    Following the analysis, its PPC team was able to implement strategic recommendations that produced better quality results - including reviewing search terms, identifying best sellers and giving any overlaps an additional push. Furthermore, through creative use of Google’s custom labels feature, Redbrain could efficiently segment Beerwulf’s categories and products into buckets based on performance. This allowed Redbrain to bid more aggressively on higher-performing products and terms, while maintaining higher levels of control over low demand products. This process was ultimately applied at device-level – thereby bidding strategically per item on each device.

The results

At the close of 2020 – and the partnership between Beerwulf and Redbrain ongoing – it was evident Redbrain was very successful at driving traffic for the retailer:

  • +12% new customers, 140% above the initial goal
  • +30% overall website traffic, 50% above the objective set
  • +23% total website visitors from Redbrain, 130% to goal

I think there are some really interesting developments occurring across the affiliate industry in the Netherlands at the moment. If you look at areas such as influencer marketing, that's increasingly becoming a big trend within the channel for advertisers.

I also think that the ability for brands to give out unique codes to their partners is interesting. When the pandemic is over and shops begin to open again, customers that use these codes in a store to get a discount can be effectively attributed to the partner who influenced them, so we can tie those online and offline experiences together.

Barry Morais
Online Marketing Manager, T-Mobile Netherlands
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