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Great Affiliate Programs?

Does anyone know any great affiliate programs?



9:26 pm on Aug 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Does anyone know any great affiliate programs that convert well because I have wasted loads of money with adwords promoting some that never convert.


9:40 am on Aug 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Does anyone know any great affiliate programs that convert well because I have wasted loads of money with adwords promoting some that never convert.

Hi David,

This is the kind of question that has been asked and answered in this forum a thousand times.

Perhaps it should be answered with a counter question:

Why would anyone want to give you that kind of information?

I don't mean this insultive, but if I would know profitable affiliate programs, can you imagine reasons why I would want or why I wouldn't want to share that information with you?


11:57 am on Aug 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I readyour last posts, an I would suggest that you might do better if you learn how to, and actually setup your own website,,,

Then , your internet, horizons open up very much more, plus you will be better able to ask valid questions an receive useful answers

Whadya know, you might be the one answering the newbies quetions :)

By the way HB, hope its going well with your new Aff program


5:28 am on Aug 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks Vite,

No news or sales yet.


11:52 am on Aug 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Affiliate programs "convert well" for sites which are closely matched in topic and purpose, and which integrate affiliate links in a way that is useful to the consumer.

Google AdWords is NOT an affiliate program -- it is an ad network, sharing revenue with web publishers. It is often effective because Google can often match ads to the content on a web page. However, it is often ineffective, either because Google can't find effective matching PPC ads, or because the site simply doesn't draw traffic that is inclined to click and act on advertisers' offers.

I have some web sites that "convert well" for some of my affiliate partners -- but "converting well" still means only 3% to 5% of my visitors who CLICK on a merchant link actually buy something. (I do have specific links on specific pages which generate 20% or 30% conversion rates, but they are extremely specialized and predictably have low traffic.)

When I've worked with merchants in the past (designing and launching their affiliate programs), there are almost always a few web sites that generate 10% to 20% conversion rates, though those sites inevitably have relatively low traffic. They are always highly specialized web sites that are uniquely matched to the merchant's products: for example, a well-designed web site with genuine original content about "science fiction movie posters" is likely to convert really well for MovieGoods.com (which sells movie posters). On the other hand, there are always web sites that SEEM like a perfect match, but which generate horribly low conversion rates (indeed, I saw "science fiction movie poster" sites that drove traffic to MovieGoods but never any sales).

Clickthroughs and conversions are also highly dependent on the "process" at a web site. A classic example are what I call "process web sites," in which a user goes through a fixed series of steps. For example, a survey or poll site may have a sequence of 4 pages of questions, or a web-site submission service might have a sequence of 12 pages -- very few folks are going to click away on an ad from page 2 of that series, but on the "thank you page" the conversion is likely to be extremely high (30% to 50% for some offers).


12:14 pm on Aug 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Re-reading the question, I think my first answer was off-point. Apparently, you are using Google AdWords to promote affiliate offers. (For example, you might buy Google AdWords that link to a widget merchant when someone types "blue widget" on Google; you earn money based on product sales.)

This is something I have done, and I've had very mixed results (with some of my affiliate-PPC campaigns earning 3x to 5x my investment, and others never breaking even).

The first factor here is, how well does the merchant do this job themselves? Some merchants have excellent staff (or excellent outside contractors, or excellent software) that keeps close track of the conversion rate for each keyword and each variation in ad copy; it's unlikely that you can make much money trying to compete with that merchant, since you have much less data than the merchant. The bottom line is, you will never have as much data as the merchant.

Other merchants, however, have very limited AdWords campaigns, and a few simply leave this entire activity for affiliates to pursue.

No matter what, your goal is to spend less money than you earn as an affiliate. If you spend 5 cents per click for people who searched for "blue widget," and 5% of those people buy something from the merchant, then you are spending $1 per customer, and you'll only make money if your affiliate earnings are more than $1 per customer. This computation must be done for each product and each bid phrase!

It's also important to identify your "risk/reward" tolerance level. You might find that at 5 cents per click, you can identify a few hundred or a few thousand keyword phrases that consistently return a large profit, but when you increase the bid rate to 10 cents, there are a LOT more clicks but a lower profit margin. The result might be that when you spend 5 cents per click, you spend $50 to earn $200, but when you pay 10 cents per click, you spend $150 to earn $300 (and surprise, the latter example earns the same amount but with a much higher risk of loss).

A good strategy here is to become an "AdWords expert," meaning that you carefully follow the discussions in Google's forums to learn both basic and advanced strategies to improve ad performance. Certainly near the top of the list here is "the proper use of the {KeyWord} tag" within an AdWords ad -- this 'trick' can increase CTR but often causes conversions to plummet. Now that Google supports "bidding for position," that strategy can also be highly effective in making an otherwise unprofitable campaign become profitable.

No matter what strategy you'll use, it's crucial that you understand the basic economics of AdWords, and that you accept that there are simply some keywords you can't afford to buy, and some products that can't be effectively sold through AdWords. For example, promoting web hosting through AdWords is nearly impossible, because bid rates for nearly all applicable terms are $1 or more. Mortgages and automobile ads are similarly "overbid." I'm not suggesting that there are no opportunities, but that the profit margin is likely to be very low, and the risk of losing money is high.

It's crucial to recognize that there are a zillion situations in which you can't compete effectively, and surrender those spaces quickly so you can focus your efforts on campaigns that can make money.

Last year, I worked with a retail merchant and launched a handful of campaigns that included the merchant's price and shipping charges in the AdWords ad -- and the conversion was spectacular, because the merchant's pricing and shipping charges were much lower than its competitors! But then, when I tried to expand the campaign to include other products, I discovered that 95% of the merchant's products were NOT cheaper, and that often the merchant's shipping charges were higher than competitors. In that case, the merchant misled me by identifying specific products that already converted well, and I wasted a lot of time on a project that could never make enough money to justify my time spent managing the campaign.


6:00 pm on Aug 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Very good and informative posts Markwelch, thank you very much!


7:51 pm on Aug 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

"Certainly near the top of the list here is "the proper use of the {KeyWord} tag" within an AdWords ad -- this 'trick' can increase CTR but often causes conversions to plummet."

Interesting. The keywords are presumably relevant to the product/service, so why would highlighting them attract 'window shoppers' preferentially?


9:34 pm on Aug 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The "trick" is that by using the special tag {KeyWord} you can echo the search phrase actually used by the consumer. Imagine that I define two text ads on Google, with the following typed (EXACTLY) into the headline field:

Ad #1: Blue Widgets at xyz.com
Ad #2: {KeyWord:Blue Widgets at xzy.com}

When the consumer searches for "Acme Blue Widgets," assuming that you have a phrase-match or exact-match bid for the term "blue widgets," then he would see one of these as your ad text:

Ad #1: Blue Widgets at xyz.com
Ad #2: Acme Blue Widgets

Keep in mind that the words from the search are in BOLD, so all three words in headline #2 would be in bold; only the first 2 words in headline #1 would be in bold.

Of course, if you don't sell Acme widgets, you'd need to set up "Acme" as a negative keyword to prevent this from happening. If you do sell Acme widgets, you're almost certainly going to get a higher clickthrough rate.

People will almost always click through more frequently on ads
that exactly "echo" their search term. Unfortunately, this can
be either good or bad. Here's an example:

Ad #1: Firefighter Calendars $10
Ad #2:{KeyWord:Firefighter Calendars $10}
Ad #3: Buy Firefighter Calendars

If you bid on the phrase "firefighter calendar" then Ad #2 is a huge mistake, because a lot of folks out there want to see pictures of shirtless firefighters on calendars, but won't buy them. If someone
searches for "Firefighter calendar" then headline #2 will echo that
phrase without a price, and the CTR will be high but conversion will be low. Showing a price or the word "buy" will usually deter some of the folks who just want to look at pictures and don't want to buy a calendar. Showing a price will also deter people who aren't willing to pay the stated price (for example, if they already found this calendar for $8 at Amazon.com, they won't click on your ad, but if they saw it for $11 at BN.com, they are likely to click on your ad).


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