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Improving conversion rate
by using pictures, too?
onlineleben




msg:544436
 12:31 pm on Apr 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

When establishing direct links (embedded in content) to e.g books from my amazon affiliate pages, I get a decent conversion rate, which is above the average amazon states for their direct (ASIN) links.
So I am not too unhappy.
Recently I have been thinking about improving the look of my site by also placing cover scans next to the books decription. Does anyone have experience how this would relate to changes in conversion?

I have also been thinking about placing a small button or link like "buy at amazon" below the description (real link, not the new webservices since they are not available for all countries).
Any experiences on how this could improve conversions?

 

Eric_Lander




msg:544437
 12:46 pm on Apr 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Concrete experience? No.

While I was having a discussion at PubCon with Travoli about advertising sales and conversions, we both seemed confident that the usage of images would very much help the user find the call to action.

The fine line would exist within using enough images to get the point across and to instigate an action, but not enough graphical elements to confuse or distract.

bonanza




msg:544438
 12:47 pm on Apr 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have also been thinking about placing a small button or link like "buy at amazon" below the description (real link, not the new webservices since they are not available for all countries).

I'm currently of the mind that if you've done a really good job creating a store, especially with webservices and product data, people will be a little freaked out if they click on a buy now link and end up somewhere else.

I might feel a little misled if I've been drawn into a nice browsing experience on a product site only to be dumped into Amazon at the end. "Who am I?, Where am I?, Who put this gum in my mouth?" :)

So I'm thinking that a "buy at Amazon" link instead of a generic "buy now" link might be more effective. The theory being that a less freaked-out user is more likely to buy when they land at Amazon. And they'll only click through if they're remotely open to the idea of buying from Amazon, which are the only ones you really care about clicking through anyway.

The other approach is to get the user over to the merchant as quickly as possible before they even know what hit them. That's the higher-click, set-as-many-tracking-cookies-as-possible approach.

I don't have any data on this, just some thoughts.

Eric_Lander




msg:544439
 12:52 pm on Apr 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

So I'm thinking that a "buy at Amazon" link instead of a generic "buy now" link might be more effective.

Good call on that recommendation. From a user's point of view, I can identify with the frusturation.

Another thing to mention too, would be the target of these links. I heard quite a bit information about the decreasing conversion rates for links that open up in new windows (target="_blank") because of the increasing popularity in "popup-blocker" applications.

None of the sites I'm working with ever need to call upon another domain to pull an action though, so theres no concrete info on that either. Just my thoughts. :)

hannamyluv




msg:544440
 1:46 pm on Apr 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

There is plenty of data out there that shows a picture will increase intrest, even if the picture doesn't really have anything to do with the product. ClickZ had an article case study a week or so ago about the effect of pictures Vs. No pictures in an email campaign. [clickz.com...]

People are visual. A picture will draw them to a place on the page. People do judge a book by its cover, so to speak and will recognize that you are advertising the book they are looking for much more quickly if they see it rather than read about it.

I would think that you would see your click thrus go up but your conversion go down, though. But overall, you will most likely make more money off adding pictures.

onlineleben




msg:544441
 2:14 pm on Apr 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks so far for the input.

<<The fine line would exist within using enough images to get the point across and to instigate an action, but not enough graphical elements to confuse or distract>>
I would use 1 image per book. Since the site is not using any graphics, these images really would stand out.

<<"buy at Amazon" link instead of a generic "buy now" link>>
That is what i intended to do. Right now I have the link inside the title tag which contains the books title. When thinking about this it probably is the "set-as-many-tracking-cookies-as-possible approach" bonanza also mentioned. Maybe not ethical, but still effective.
Please don't think that I conciously apply unethical tactics. Every page informs the vistor at the bottom that "Mysite is associated with amazon"

<<target of these links>>
I thought about this but decided not to use the "target= " tag. Links transfer in the same window to the merchants site.

<<ClickZ had an article case study a week or so ago>>
Although I am a frequent vistor to their site, I missed out on this one. Probably because of the Easter holidays.

I hope that I can implement some of the recommendations over the coming weekend.
Thanks again for your help.

Go60Guy




msg:544442
 3:06 pm on Apr 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

The comments above are very valid. I would add that nothing needs to be etched in stone. One of the wonderful things about affiliate marketing is that you're free to experiment. Try using images, etc. for a couple of months. See how it impacts the bottom line.

Indeed, you might see your conversion rate decline with increased click throughs, but you may make more sales. Too bad Amazon has only a one day cookie, though.

starec




msg:544443
 3:30 pm on Apr 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, I am not in the affiliate business, but my experience is that product images increase conversion rates when used wisely.

I added pictures to the product search result pages (20 products per page). I was surprised by the relatively high percentage of people clicking the image instead of the text link next to it.

Definitely worth a try, onlineleben!

Eric_Lander




msg:544444
 12:16 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

One of the wonderful things about affiliate marketing is that you're free to experiment. Try using images, etc. for a couple of months. See how it impacts the bottom line.

I couldn't echo these words more. Not only true within the affiliate arena, but essentially any site that you have control over.

Another solultion would be to isolate two product lines, and apply image links on one, and not on the other. From there, let the raw data show what lends itself best to conversions.

The trick is to only change one element at a time, and often revert back to the original setup. Let the data come in, record it, then plan another revision based on what you know. That cycle should reveal what types of changes yield the most results for your exact audience.

onlineleben




msg:544445
 7:31 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Eric,
I have identified a low converting area of one of my sites and changed the page to have product pictures (cover scans of books) along with the current discription and titles. The link is still contained in the book title which is a <hx> tag.
Will check the results after a week and then implement the next change.

Eric_Lander




msg:544446
 11:23 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

onlineleben, I hope this ends up working well for you! I've used this process for editing a number of sites in the past, and generally, you can learn how to greatly improve your site over relatively short amounts of time. Again, good luck - and keep us posted.

gsx




msg:544447
 11:48 am on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Amazon web services. Requires programming skill, but you can create queries to return many products, or use a product ID to return one. Will return links to graphics for you. You can also use all or some of the product description, customer reviews etc...

onlineleben




msg:544448
 12:18 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

<< Amazon web services >>
I know, but they are not available with all amazon sites yet.
I need it for the german market and they only offer the well known standards. Anyway, when they get available (probably Q3, 2003), I will try to implement them.
For the moment I have to stick with what I have and try to make it better.

So, now i am off to a long weekend (public holiday in europe tomorrow).
But keep posting if you have any other ideas.
Thanks.

AmericanBulldog




msg:544449
 4:19 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here are a couple of more ideas for Amazon. Get multiple id's, use a different ID for the link based on images, giving you some correlation to how well the images work.

You can hotlink to covers with Amazon, I believe it's as long as you use less than 100 covers, if your paying for bandwidth this may be worthwile.

I have an XML template in which incorporates links to the same books on the international Amazon's, and again, with XML allows you to use Amazon's graphics.

Jane_Doe




msg:544450
 8:34 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

My sales went down when I took out the pictures of the products and way up when I put them back in.

I think it is good to mention Amazon on the pages if you are an affiliate. People trust Amazon more than some unknown place.

visibot




msg:544451
 11:48 pm on Apr 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

> Too bad Amazon has only a one day cookie, though.

Go60Guy - are you sure? Coulda sworn it was a lot longer than that.

(wanders off in search the answer) >

chrisnrae




msg:544452
 1:47 am on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Another thing to mention too, would be the target of these links. I heard quite a bit information about the decreasing conversion rates for links that open up in new windows (target="_blank") because of the increasing popularity in "popup-blocker" applications.

Is this heard information or heard fact? Not trying to be smart, LOL, I was just very interested in this comment.

Jenstar




msg:544453
 1:59 am on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I always thought that pop-up blockers only blocked windows that were opening at an odd size (ie. 250x250 or the like) or at an odd placement on the screen (the ones where the X is hidden off edge of the screen) but not windows that are opening full size with _blank. If it did, I couldn't imagine very many people would continue to use popup blockers for the simple fact that so many webmasters use the _blank code to legitimately send people to an external link, while still keeping them at the originating site, if they wish to.

Go60Guy




msg:544454
 2:01 am on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Visibot - If you find something different, please post it. My understanding is that a one day cookie has been etched in stone for years.

chrisnrae




msg:544455
 2:40 am on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just had two people with pop up blockers test this by clicking on a link that was target="_blank" that opened a new full size window... both of them with different programs were able to click the link and have the new window load without their blocker interfering. Scared me there for a minute, LOL.

visibot




msg:544456
 3:20 am on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

> My understanding is that a one day cookie has been etched in stone for years.

Go60Guy: you're absolutely correct:

Amazon TOS:
"The session ends upon one of the following events: (a) 24 hours elapses from the customer's initial click-through...."

Must of had my wires crossed,

Eric_Lander




msg:544457
 3:49 am on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is this heard information or heard fact? Not trying to be smart, LOL, I was just very interested in this comment.
--

I just had two people with pop up blockers test this by clicking on a link that was target="_blank" that opened a new full size window... both of them with different programs were able to click the link and have the new window load without their blocker interfering. Scared me there for a minute, LOL.

At a friend's university, some of the machines have an application called _STOPZILLA_ that caused me to sit there for about 5 minutes, wondering why a link here on WebmasterWorld wasn't opening up.

That machine and the others around it all seemed to have the application installed. We were in a library, and I was using machine 300-something. So, I'm assuming this thing was fairly popular.

Later on, I went to a few other sites as well - and had the same problem. You can click a link (intended to be a target="_blank") and nothing happens. I know that it interfered with these types of links, because I owned the sites with the targets set as such.

Another thing that I've gotten from members of a forum I run, are emails saying "I clicked and clicked link X, and nothing happened!" Funny for me since those forums worked fine for the past 3 years. Upon asking, they've all recalled that they've installed or seen applications like this running.

Progressing this back towards the original topic -- does anyone have information on how the introduction of new windows affects usability, conversions, etc.?

Morgan




msg:544458
 8:31 am on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

In terms of pop up blockers, their behavior is all over the map. I just installed what I think was the most popular one on download.com and it blocks everything-- _blank clicks, and even just opening new windows unless you hold down CTRL to bypass it. It's more trouble than its worth, but a lot of people have downloaded it.

chrisnrae




msg:544459
 1:13 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the input guys... I have a site covered with blanks and never had a complaint about it. But, conversion rate is down a teeny bit in the last few months (thus, why I was asking was indeed on topic :) so I am wondering if this is the culprit. Always a crisis ;).

DavidT




msg:544460
 6:46 pm on May 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey Morgan, that pop-up blocker is great! Stops em dead. Holding down Ctrl as you click is hardly much trouble!

ggrot




msg:544461
 5:27 am on May 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

How about this. I've seen numerous companies use a 'fake' image of a software box if they are selling software online, or a 'fake' image of a book if they are selling ebooks. This goes along with the idea of using images to improve conversion I guess. Does anyone have experience with using this fake images? And for that matter, creating good ones.

eWhisper




msg:544462
 8:37 pm on May 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Another note about pop ups so people can stay on your site and visit the affiliate site at the same time. I hate them, and most people I know will not buy from that site. If someone opens up a window I didn't expect, I leave the site.

It's not that hard to right click, choose new window or tab, and keep both sites open.

In fact, I have a site that has a few notes about not using popups, and right clicking, and a little information about right clicking, and then ads for pop up blockers. This site which has absolutely nothing to do about web browsing or popups except for that, now makes more money sellilng pop up blocker software than it's actual content.

You never know what's going to make money...

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