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When is it time to leave affiliate marketing?
SilverSpirit




msg:4437330
 3:54 am on Apr 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ever since I started displaying AdSense on my sites 7 years ago, I have always been looking for additional ways to monetize them, and potential revenue replacement methods in case AdSense fails.

With the exception of one encyclopedia-style site, all my sites are so-called 'micro-sites'. Some of them enjoy good traffic - up to 2000 uniques per day. However that is not quite enough to make any kind of income with PPM; and I have not found any serious PPC networks outside of Google.

That leaves me with one solution: affiliate networks. I registered with a dozen of the best affiliate networks. They offer quality ads, and even sometimes add some content enhancing my sites. So, I have placed travel-related affiliate links and banners on my travel sites, car-related affiliate links and banners on my car sites, etc.

However, that does not seem to generate any income. At this stage, after a 2-month experiment, I have served 3 million impressions, 1,200 clicktrus... and no commission whatsoever!

Maybe the commission-based scheme requires more patience than PPC? Maybe I should wait longer? Or have I waited long enough, and is it time to dump all affiliate / commission links and banners, and accept that Google AdSense is the only ad network out there... no matter how precarious that is!

Opinions?

 

RhinoFish




msg:4437491
 2:13 pm on Apr 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

1200 clicks, for relevant traffic, something's wrong for sure. troubleshooting it requires a lot more info.

SilverSpirit




msg:4437530
 3:42 pm on Apr 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

To be more accurate: it has been 1200 clicks spread over a lot of programs. Not a single program has received more than 100 clicks; many of them are under 10.

The purpose of my question is: are affiliate links supposed to work in the same way as CPC, namely you place the link on a relevant page and wait for the income; OR are you supposed to have a more active / salesperson role in promoting the affiliate links. From some discussions, I had the impression that

- if you use CPC (like AdSense), the ads will adapt themselves to your content

- but if you use affiliate programs, you actually have to build content specifically for them... which is quite a different approach.

Dinkar




msg:4437768
 11:15 pm on Apr 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

>>if you use affiliate programs, you actually have to build content specifically for them

This is the key to make money from affiliate programs :)

Try some lead based affiliate program. Don't try to sell, try to generate leads.

If your sites has some good content that visitors are dying to read, then try content locking advertising like blamads <- You may like to gift $1000 to me for this tip :)

bunltd




msg:4437786
 12:25 am on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

If your content isn't geared towards selling what the affiliate link offers, it likely won't result in much for you. Also, less than 100 clicks on a progam isn't a much to work with - if you figure a low conversion rate, it's not surprising that you didn't have any commissions. (There's more to the story, since you didn't mention what the click through rate was to the offer.)

Look at it on a per site/niche/program/offer basis, not lumping it all together, that way you'll have a better idea of where and what to focus on.

SilverSpirit




msg:4437815
 1:44 am on Apr 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

That's interesting. Since I am not prepared to build my sites for the affiliate ads, I might as well give up now. Will try the blamads and will definitely think of dinkar once I make my firsty million there :-)

Kate_Oranum




msg:4441861
 9:19 am on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Have you considered white label options?

SilverSpirit




msg:4441886
 10:38 am on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Huh? What is white label and how can it apply to me?

skibum




msg:4442902
 9:52 am on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Generally the best converting affiliate sites are the ones that rank for brand names (think shopping and coupon sites). Someone searches for a brand name (say Amazon), if your site ranks on a search for Amazon and offers them a coupon then the click to sale conversion rate from your site to the merchant site can be 25+%.

The site captures someone with strong intent to purchase, offers a coupon or just presents a good price from a reputable merchant to offer a little extra nudge and the sales start rolling in and you start making money.

If you can rank for "Brand X Shoe Model" and someone does that search, chances are they are looking to buy that specific model of shoes but don't yet have a specific store in mind to buy them from. If you can serve up a variety of places to buy them with a few options so someone can pick what they think it a good deal the conversion rate will probably be lower than someone searching for Amazon that you pull in but will probably still be pretty good.

If the search is just "Brand X shoes', then the consumer probably isn't quite as sure about what they want to buy as the person who searched for a specific model. If you can give them enough ads or products to choose from to make a decision, some sales will be generated but chances are the conversion rate for the "brand X shoes" will be lower than "Brand X shoe model"

As the search traffic that leads to a site gets farther away from a specific store, brand or model of something that someone wants to buy and becomes more generic the conversion rate tends to drop dramatically.

With affiliate ads, the site has to pull in people with intent to buy and the ads need on the page need to offer up a path to buy whatever the person wants to buy. If not it is just free advertising for whoever the merchant is that the site is running affiliate ads for.

If the traffic to a site is not capturing people with strong intent to do something now, it is probably better off running ads that pay per impression or per click.

SilverSpirit




msg:4442989
 1:56 pm on Apr 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

If the traffic to a site is not capturing people with strong intent to do something now, it is probably better off running ads that pay per impression or per click.


I think this it it.

Bye bye affiliate advertising.

But it is almost impossible to find serious PPC or PPM ads other than Google...

Clarence




msg:4488861
 10:26 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Generally the best converting affiliate sites are the ones that rank for brand names (think shopping and coupon sites). Someone searches for a brand name (say Amazon), if your site ranks on a search for Amazon and offers them a coupon then the click to sale conversion rate from your site to the merchant site can be 25+%.


This is true, the BEST converting sites "could" be one of these. But there is also a thing call related purchases, and right angle marketing.


The site captures someone with strong intent to purchase, offers a coupon or just presents a good price from a reputable merchant to offer a little extra nudge and the sales start rolling in and you start making money.


You can also use Reviews or a product with affiliate links, but this isn't the only way.

If you can rank for "Brand X Shoe Model" and someone does that search, chances are they are looking to buy that specific model of shoes but don't yet have a specific store in mind to buy them from. If you can serve up a variety of places to buy them with a few options so someone can pick what they think it a good deal the conversion rate will probably be lower than someone searching for Amazon that you pull in but will probably still be pretty good.

If the search is just "Brand X shoes', then the consumer probably isn't quite as sure about what they want to buy as the person who searched for a specific model. If you can give them enough ads or products to choose from to make a decision, some sales will be generated but chances are the conversion rate for the "brand X shoes" will be lower than "Brand X shoe model"


The model is getting very hard. But if someone is searching for a unique style "grunge, skate boarding, etc" A site on that subject also attract people who are in the market for clothes, gear, accessories. Or if you have a site on Motorcycles, or a specific model people are also looking to buy the required gear, and parts.


As the search traffic that leads to a site gets farther away from a specific store, brand or model of something that someone wants to buy and becomes more generic the conversion rate tends to drop dramatically.


Completely not true. A site on Small business accounting could make a ton off Small Business Tax, Accounting software, and legal forms.

With affiliate ads, the site has to pull in people with intent to buy and the ads need on the page need to offer up a path to buy whatever the person wants to buy. If not it is just free advertising for whoever the merchant is that the site is running affiliate ads for.

Again not true, Right angle marketing, and sales is key here.

If the traffic to a site is not capturing people with strong intent to do something now, it is probably better off running ads that pay per


Everyone has an intent to buy something, finding what that is, and pairing them together is the key, and the hard part.

SilverSpirit :


Any site that isn't smart priced by adsense is able to make money using affiliate programs.

First, using the banners is the worst way to go. Use the Text Links. Get an ad server, load it up with some text ad, and put the ad in rotation, and put them in the same location you would put Adsense. The ad's that get the best CTR keep them, the one that are low, drop them and try again. "Research split testing"

Second, understand conversions ratios. Average CTR, 2.0% Average Conversion 1-2%. Meaning 100 impression = 2 click, and 100 clicks should equal 2 sales.

You need to at least test an affiliate offer with 100-200 clicks before you call it a dud. And you need to make sure it's the affiliate program, and not your ads.

Third and most important make sure the offer and ad text is relevant. Look at your existing Adsense ads for ideas.

If people are coming in for a keyword, Create a Text ad using that keyword. To successfully make money with Affiliate ads on your Site, you need to think like an Adwords Advertiser.

Remember, Advertisers are paying money to advertise on your site, and they must be making money or they would have blocked your site in their campaign.

You have more in-site to your visitor then them, and your advertising cost is 100% free to you.

You took what I call the lazy man's (or woman’s) way to affiliate marketing, and I did it myself when I first started out. Grab a bunch of cool looking banner and copy and pasted the code in all the free space I could find and wait for conversions.

You have to give the offers just as much attention, placement, and tracking as an Adsense unit.

I gave up on Affiliate offers to, until I read a good book about advertising and copywriting. Then I gave it another shot.

You can make whole lot more with Affiliate Offers. Same Ad click that would have earned me about $0.35 I now make $2.50 a lead.

Same ad click that would have made me $0.35 cent a click, I now make $40 dollars per sale with yearly return customers.

Adsense is the Easy way. You copy and paste the code, and let the advertiser do all the work. In Affiliate Marketing you are the advertiser, and you have to think like an advertiser, and not just a webmaster copying pasting code.


Take the time to learn advertising first. Get a book on Adword and Copywriting then give it another shot.

And if you really want to make some good money learn Email marketing. Having a ad for a product "you ad", give them info, then follow up with a auto responder to catch them when they are ready to buy.

Affiliate marketing takes a lot more work, and time them Adsense. But in the long run it's more profitable and stable if you work at it.

Good luck.

onlineleben




msg:4488995
 8:16 am on Aug 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Nice comments, Clarence - and much truth in it ;)
Recommended reading: Honest Seduction by Brinker, Talerico&Talerico. It is about sending a consistent message from Search Phrase to Adwords-Ad served to landing page and finally to goal (purchase, lead etc.) - highly recommended. Best $18 invested in a long time.

not2easy




msg:4539439
 5:22 am on Jan 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

When I saw this:
They offer quality ads, and even sometimes add some content enhancing my sites.

I could see the problem. Affiliate income is made to work first by your content drawing in traffic, then by creating a path through your content that leads the visitor to what they came in looking for. If your content writing is targeted and you can show how this widget answers a question, solves a problem, then the clicks are targeted, the visitor is motivated and conversions take place. Most banners are invisible due to AdBlockers. Rely on analyzing your traffic to get insight into what they are looking for. Show them where it is and why it is the best choice for a widget and they do buy. It is not as simple as it sounds, but it does work although it takes a lot of trial and error for success. There is no step by step to follow to riches, those days are gone, but you can earn good money if you are willing to build a valuable resource that solves a problem.

If all the content on your site is what they give you, it is the same thing they can find on 2000 other sites and it is hard to rank that way. Check your site's access logs your 2000 uniques could be 1900 robots and 100 image scrapers. It is hard work to get pages and sites to rank, to invite natural backlinks and stick with it all through the learning process. It is not passive income but it honestly is something anyone can do.

I would suggest that you look through the interfaces of the networks you have signed up with, check your stats every way you can. Even try test purchases if the program permits or ask a friend to order. Some networks will close your account if you aren't productive, then you are sending them free traffic. Also try and read around for other people's experiences dealing with them, there are a lot of cheats masquerading as businesses the same as there are a lot of crooks disguised as affiliates.

Good luck to you if you decide to make it work!

BuzzBomb




msg:4551286
 8:39 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Newbies... Read and adhere to Clarences advice. As a 15 year super affiliate who has been there and done that I can honestly say that his post is one of the best ive ever read and one that will bring you success if you follow suit. Print it and read it 20x. Especially the text link over a banner/image. A text link will get clicked on 9x more than a banner if it was side by side and said the exact same thing.Golden advice.

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