Inside Apple News: Promoting affiliate links with Apple News during Black Friday

September 6, 2023

If you’re looking to promote Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales on your website, you’re probably doing it through affiliate links in your content. To help you expand revenue opportunities, FlatPlan can automatically pull these links into Apple News channels too. That’s why you’ve probably heard us say before: Apple News is more than just a discovery tool; it’s also a conversion tool.

On top of that, Apple News allows you to track how many clicks you get on these links. You can find this information in News Publisher, under Analytics, and then Affiliate Commerce. Here, you’ll see how many affiliate links clicks you get for each article, which will help you determine your best-performing commerce content so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

To help you boost the number of affiliate link clicks you get during sales events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here are some key insights we’ve gained through years of experience.

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Learn from lifestyle giants

Lifestyle publications like HELLO!, Closer and Grazia have been producing gift guides and product recommendations for years. So it’s no secret that they’re finding success every year with their commerce content.

Their lifestyle editorial agenda means readers already trust them with topics like fashion, beauty and travel. This translates well when they promote products around these topics. So it’s important to lean into your topic expertise during these events. One way to leverage this is to ensure your commerce content is categorised into relevant Sections and Topic Groups.

Section and Topic Groups

Sections are like categories for your articles. They’re used to organise content depending on the subject matter. Topic Groups are like categories too, but on the reader’s side, and are set by Apple. 

We recommend you name your sections in line with Apple’s Topic Groups to maximise reach. For example, you might have a Section called ‘Home’ for content around this topic, but if you search ‘Home’ in Apple News, you’ll see Apple uses Topic Groups like ‘Home and Garden’, ‘Home Decor’ and ‘Home Cinema’.

Shopping Topic Group Feed in Apple News
Topic Groups make it easier for readers to find relevant content. Publishers could align their content categories with Apple News' Topic Group to reach readers who are in 'shopping' mode.

Readers are asked what Topic Groups they want to follow when they first sign up for Apple News. So aligning your Sections with Apple’s Topic Groups will allow you to reach readers who are following specific topics. If you want to find out what Topic Groups Apple News has, use the search function to carry out keyword research.

We did some research for you and found these Topic Groups you could align your content with:

  • Black Friday
  • Shopping
  • Fashion
  • Fashion Accessories
  • Home and Garden
  • Home Decor
  • Technology
  • Beauty
  • Travel
  • Gift

We understand it may not be practical for you to modify all of your website categories to align with the terminology used in Apple News. So, in our mission to always make life easier for publishers, FlatPlan can change these automatically for you. We can convert your ‘Home’ category into a ‘Home and Garden’ section in Apple News so that your channel is optimised without affecting the website while saving you the headache of allocating resources to make such changes.

Optimising your articles to drive sales

Commerce content is all about the products being promoted. So this is where publishers focus their attention to optimise conversion rates. 

This includes using large images and descriptive product names to help readers gather information. Brightly coloured call-to-action buttons are also best practice when it comes to driving clicks. And in this example, Grazia has also helpfully highlighted the difference between the original price and the sale price so readers know how much of a deal they’re getting.

All of this is wrapped into an eCommerce unit to display the information in a neat and shoppable way, thus boosting conversion rates. If you want to implement eCommerce units into your Apple News channel, get in touch with our support team and we’ll set you up.

eCommerce unit in Apple News
eCommerce units wraps products into digestible formats for readers. FlatPlan can set these up for your Apple News channel.

Any SEO optimisation you use in your titles and copy will be automatically pulled into Apple News. In this Grazia article, “Black Friday” is mentioned in the title, and then it’s used three more times in the first paragraph. This will help readers find this content when searching the phrase “Black Friday” in Apple News.

Once people are reading your Black Friday content, you can keep them shopping for longer with other Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions in your recirculation links. In the below example, Indy100 have used two recirculation links in one article to ensure readers can find their other commerce content. After all, the readers are in 'shopping' mode, so why not make it easier for them to find this content?

Recirculation links in Apple News
Use recirculation links to help readers find more great deals you're promoting in your commerce content.

House ads

Another way to drive traffic to commerce content is with the use of house ads. Apple News articles can feature house ads that blend seamlessly with the content and can be linked to any desired location.

So you can choose to link to commerce content on your Apple News channel, commerce content on your website, or directly to the product itself.

House ads in Apple News
Using house ads in popular and trending articles is an effective way to promote commerce content and affiliate links.

One of the best ways to use ad units to promote commerce content is to place them in regular editorial articles during Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions. Especially if it’s a popular news article that’s trending. And even more so if that article has been picked up by Apple’s editors to be featured in the Today Feed as it’ll get a massive spike in traffic.

To learn more about ad units, head over to our knowledge base article on advertising and monetisation.

Promote feature

You may have heard us talk about the Promote feature before. This useful mechanism pins an article to the top of a Section for 48 hours to give it more prominence.

Highlighting content in this way will increase its reach and views. This will boost that article’s signal in the algorithm making it more likely to appear in recirculation links and feeds around the Apple News app.

You can activate it by clicking the blue star icon next to an article in News Publisher. Up to six articles per Section can be promoted.

If you publish your commerce content weeks ahead of Black Friday to optimise your Google Search ranking, your content is being pulled into Apple News too early and will likely drop down in visibility when Black Friday comes around.

Promoting your commerce content helps you get around this. You can still publish the article early so it has time to rank well in Google in the build-up to Black Friday, and then you can promote it in Apple News to bring it back up to the top of your Sections during the sales event to help readers find it.

We hope you find these tips useful. Which ones will you be implementing?

Join leading publishers who use Apple News to drive affiliate sales. Speak to the expert team at FlatPlan to find out how Apple News can help you grow.

Next steps...

No matter what stage you're at in your discovery of Apple News, we'll help you get the information you need to make the right decision for your media business.

  1. Are you an existing Apple News publisher?
    Our expert team can audit your existing Apple News channel to ensure your integration is stable, determine how optimised your channel is, and provide recommendations that will help you make the most of your setup. Book a free audit now.
  2. Looking to integrate Apple News with your media business?
    Leading publishers use FlatPlan to grow their media business by leveraging the power of Apple News. With help from reader engagement tools, we help publishers reach new readers, nurture them into loyal followers and then funnel them to first-party data strategies on owned properties. Book a free consultation now.
  3. Still learning about Apple News?
    We're always providing insider knowledge and expert advice to our network of publishers. If you want to access that same material, head over to our Article pages, download our free Guide to Apple News eBook or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
  4. Know someone who might find this article useful? Share it via email, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social network you use.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

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