Do They All Under-perform?
I have one site that is solely dependant on Affiliate sales. I find my clickthrough ratios (in the 1.5%-2% range) are resonable, but my click-through's-to-sales ratios are really horrendous. I figure I have a good mix between banners, text links, and incorporated links throughout the site, because my click-through rates would suffer otherwise. So my question revolves around the problems of turning lookers into buyers, and is this an affiliate-program-wide phenomenon?
CT to sales in the 1% to 3% range has been our experience but I guess that is a bit of a general statement.
We have found that in some cases building a more focused site that just uses the affiliates e-commerce solution can improve the CT to sales. At least you have control over it.
I've been working with my click-through ratios since this post, and I'm still in the .5% range. That's horrid as far as I'm concerned.
I find text links get about 20x the clickthroughs but 1/10th of the sales. Which kind of links get the best sales ratios?
Text links woven into content works well for me. Has to be very on topic for what your people are looking for. Tell them why they need to click through and sign up etc., you must sell the affiliate product to them. If possible, never use the sales text that comes with the link, write your own that at least sounds believable and something you would click on.
Edited by: JamesR
>If possible, never use the sales text that comes with the link, write your own that at least sounds believalbe and something you would click on
Yes, and take a look at the ad copy the merchant uses to sell you -the potential affiliate- on what they're doing. I've found that it provides good starting point for writing your own copy. While you may not be able to alter the affiliate code, you can certainly precede the click-point with a better intro.
I also take a hard, hard look at their creative. The ones that explain more about what's to be expected on the other side of the click are going to convert better.
My clickthrough to sales ratio is about 3%.
I think it would vary greatly depending on what you are promoting
and the sophistication of the sign up page they see.
Some of these affiliate programs seem pretty amateurish
in terms of having a poorly designed sign-up page
and lack of any feel for the type of page that might
get someone to fill out the sign up form.
I'd be interested in hearing how you track which
links and banners they click on. Maybe the program tracks
this for you?
>Maybe the program tracks this for you?
Yes, most of the better affiliate networks provide a decent reporting module. CJ's is perhaps the most extensive, but I've found them to be a little confusing sometimes.
The individual creative or text link for each merchant has an ID code, if you drill through the reports you can get CTR and conversion rates. Being new to affiliate promotions, I go more by gut call on the creative and don't really track comparative CTR within the merchant's program as well as I should.
I use Linkshare, BeFree, and CJ and I like Linkshare the best. They can create individual product links the easiest and offer banner rotations, better reporting, and the best programs. CJ has the best over-all design, but have 3/4 unknown and less-desirable affiliates and the least amount of possible links.
My biggest problem is converting lookers to buyers. I'm re-working my content on this, and I've raised my clickthroughs from the .5% range into the 3-5% range, and 10-15% on product links. But I'm still a measly 1-2% click-through-to-sales ratio, and that's what confuses me the most. You'd figure that if the people feel safe and secure enough to click through to see the product, there should be a percentage willing to buy it. I haven't found out that trick yet, and I guess it's more a matter of seeming less tricky and more professional - Something I'm still working on.
>>But I'm still a measly 1-2% click-through-to-sales ratio, and that's what confuses me
As I said, you can only do half the job by getting the click throughs, and the affiliate program has to do the other half by getting people to sign up when they see the form they have to fill out.
The webpage they see when they click through has to be able to "close the sale" (make the person buy the product.) Some of these pages are real turn-offs.
Cyberspaced, you may be experiencing the same problems as I did with Linkshare. Be sure to check out this thread [webmasterworld.com].