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Can't Break Through in Affiliate / Adwords Game!

Seems LikeI do Everything Allright, but just Can't Make Any Money...



8:56 pm on Oct 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi there guys,

Could You please advide me something here...

I'm feeling desparate...

I've wasted nearly $1000 in Adwords and didn't make a sale in almost any niche I've tried.

I've joined Shareasale some time ago and tried promoting various products, like Ipod cases, leather jackets etc.. I've tried over a dozen affiliate programs, but nothing worked. Even Clickbank merchants didn't work for me. I've tried pretty much the same amount of those too.

And my PPC campaings were targeted if You're thinking that I was driving non targeted traffic.

I've targeted 3 or 4 keyword phrases (very specific) to landing pages that were selling exactly what the keyword promised... After 150 clicks for each Ad group for all the products, I haven't made any money yet...

Now I wonder how can that be?

Did the best I could. My CTR was from 4% to 10% or so after 100 clicks for some campaigns...

So can I blame only landing pages here?

I mean, I did the best I could and got pretty good in making targeted campaigns and writing effective ads. Is thing normal that after more than 100 clicks to very specific landing pages, I didn't make a sale? Could the merchants be stealing money from me? Gees, I don't know what else to think...

I'm testing some products and services and see how those are doing in PPC. IF it's all fine, then I'm thinking about putting all the efforts into making better SEO, banner, link prmotion...

I think I've reached the situation when I really need some advice from real people about how to make it finally with Adwords and affiliate marketing...

I'm not asking for specific niches or something, but more I'd like to know how much conversions do you get for merchants (being an affiliate) out of 100 clicks for specific 3 or 4 word terms to specific landing pages? I mean, I can't think of anything more targeted and specific than that...


12:28 am on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I don't make my living from affilates, nor do I spend much on adwords.
I tend to get leads rather than instant sales when I do use it, which suits me.
There isn't much information to go on but I am guessing that you are using one or two keywords, rather than three or four so you are getting browsers rather than buyers

You have catch the buyer at the end of the buying process, otherwise they are going to delete the cookies, or click somewhere else


3:19 am on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I decided a long time ago that the only way to make money off of affiliate marketing is either (a) free SEO traffic, or (b) to monetize existing traffic. If you are going to pay for PPC traffic, you're going to spend every nickle you make on PPCmarketing.

I use to do quite a bit of affilaite marketing via PPC and made some good side money off of it. Now SEO has become so difficult and G so difficult to figure out that its just not worth the effort anymore. The name of the game is building a real business with real profit margins now. Otherwise, your profit margins from aff marketing willnever allow you to compete!

Good luck


2:03 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yah. That's the point. In order to stay at least on the main page in Adwords, I have to bid over 0.50 cents in most cases. And the profit margins are quite low.

In shareasale, they have this EPC, which is how much you make from 100 visitors if I'm correct. Most companies I tried have this over $50. So that mean that out of every 100 visitors, I should make at least $50. So I can bid 0.50 cents a click. But even after 150 clicks from related (3 or more word phrases) I get no sales...

Maybe like Valleycommando suggested, I should get leads, not sales... There are many mortgage sites that offer $$ for leads, but it's competitive.

I've done a research earlier, discovered that one keyword according to Overture gets 8000 searches a month. That was a 4 word keyphrase. In Wordtracker, it said it's getting approximately 400 or so searches a day.

After some time, I got a top 1 ranking in MSN for that keyword alone with my blog and got as much as... 2 visitors a week. Yep, 2 visitors a week. 3 metric tools, including Google's Analytics told me that... Unbelievable...

Now, I've ordered 3 day WT trial some time ago, did a thorough research for a niche that I chose to promote. Found like over 20 keywords that have about 20 or more searches a day and less than 2 competing sites (when searched in quotes). I now have top spots in G. for 4 or 5 of those keywords and I get 4 or 10 searches a month... Even Wordtracker doesn't provide accurate results... That's a conclusion I can make after what I see...

So probably the best Affiliate marketer's model is to drive traffic to squeeze page, capture leads and redirect them to a merchants site. Even if I don't make money on a merchant, I'll have leads that I can promote to. but's extremely hard to do effectively. I have to stay up to date with those leads, provide them valuable content. If I build more than one list, it's even harder to write good and quality follow-up messages for each. Besides, I'm losing money upfront, and I'm never sure that I'll make money out of them later...

I'm thinking about creating an ebook about something I know... I know quite a lot about IM thing, but who the hell needs another internet marketing ebook. When there are top gurus for each niche, Adsense, Adwords, Resel Rights, SEO, etc. promoting not only ebooks, but DVD's... Who'll even pay atention to some new guy with another marketing ebook.

I could spend the last saved money on a writer to write an ebook on some totally different topic, like growing roses, knitting or similar, but not sure how people are buying ebooks in non-internet marketing niches...

So, if getting back to Adwords question, I believe that most people who're making money are the ones promoting their own business or products... But there are folks who're making million a year just from affiliate sales... Read an ebook written from one guy...

Maybe I should consider different AM concept? Instead of just putting link and banners, have a datafeed or sometihng like that. Probably arranging a deal with a merchant and selling products under my brand would be better, cause customers would assume I'm a big boy and would be ok buying from me... But I'm not sure how to approach merchants in setting up such a venture. I'd need some shopping cart and so on... Uhh. I'm just confused...


5:17 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Damlag, I experience many of the problems you have.
But it appears I am not doing as bad with AM as you do.
I just break even. So I manage to make sales, but I don't make any money with it. There are very credible forummembers who claim to make very good cash with AM and perhaps they are prepared to throw in a few gems. BTW, the earnings potential of affiliate programs is usually measured with ECPM (Effective Cost Per Mille) meaning the amount of money you make per 1000 visitors, not 100!
So perhaps you are mistaken about the earnings statements of (Shareasale) merchants.


5:39 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

There are people making a ton of money through an affiliate marketing/PPC model. But they know their market and their keywords, and have become "experts" at using PPC, what to aim for, how to do it, and how much to spend.

There's one merchant out there whose top affiliate made $15K last month for their program - and that's just on one product niche with one merchant. That affiliate no doubt does others also - and it's seriously doubtful that the traffic was acquired via organic SEO alone, if at all.


5:40 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, it seems that EPC is earning per hundred clicks, as I've just checked online. Maybe someone could clarify...


5:44 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yah.. I need to concentrate on one thing instead of tons, like now, but it's very hard. I just want to discover that one product or niche, which bring money in Adwords, so I could put all the efforts into promoting that like hell, you know... I don't want to optimize my site for SEO for a product that won't convert well.


7:24 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator skibum is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

You can still do pretty well in PPC straight to the merchant site. I'd venture to say that a lot of the CJ performers (more than $10,000/month in payouts) do just that and make pretty good money by doing it. It's not easy and might not be cheap getting started but once it gets going the biggest problem is cash flow or credit card limits. You may end up spending $10,000 - $20,000 a month or more in advertising and have to manage your cash flow till you actually get paid.

Think about keywords as how much information is contained in them. Does a keyword indicate that the consumer has done research on the product and knows what they want to purchase? Does it indicate they are familiar with a certain type of product(s) and are ready to buy one? The whole "long tail" thing has some merit to it but in the end it is really how much info or research and how much purchase intent is contained in the keyword regarless of how many characters or words are in it. Then, of course, does the marchant have a site that is designed to convert shoppers or just an online brochure that will cause people to bounce right out. The ad copy has to be right too. What highlights can you pull out - free shipping, huge selection, buy 1 get one free - that are backed up on the website landing page. Lots of stuff to think about and many variables to consider.


10:04 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

damlag, if the terms are being used correctly, then EPC is Earnings Per Click. And ECPM is earnings per thousand page impressions. CPM usually means Cost per thousand page impressions.

Of course, people don't always use those terms correctly.


8:13 am on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanx guys for help.

Hunderdown, I type in Google "epc affiliate" and most sites say it's per 100 clicks. Sometimes, it's cosidered as per 1 click. But that would be $0.60 instead of $60 dollars or similar.

Skibum, thanx for help. I realize what You're saying. I've read some researches done about user's behavior and people do a basic research first and then use brand or similar terms to search for stuff to buy.

So after searching for "silver jewelry", people type in such terms as "man wedding silver ring" or something like that.. Or some brand name next to it.

But I've tried several brand names (those were mostly 2 word phrases) along with a kewyord, but still after 100 clicks or so to the merchant's site, I didn't get sales...


3:19 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here are a couple of things for you to consider, if you havn't already-

Try to stay away from the networks- CJ, Shareasale, Clickbank etc. Too much competition from everyone else in the mosh pit. Look for indie programs.

Look for specific products to promote with no more than 2500 searches per month- ideally 50-500, and less than 10 adwords ads on that keyword. You can get on the front page for the minimum bid, which on most of these types of words is less than 10 cents if you have a relevant landing page.


4:14 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Laertes, I've been trying to find such niches for a long time :) Although, I was searching for more searches a month. I'm not sure if 50 or 100 searches a month would really bring some steady income to live from the web. If CR=1%, then 1 sales a month (even if commission was $200 from a $1000 product let's say) wouldn't be a significant thing. Unless, I could gather 10 such super duper niche products to promote. But I've tried to do that and without much luck for a long time now.

Do You actually have found such products to promote? Where did you start? In ebay category searches? Or just discovered from a more competitive and popular market digging in Overture or WT lists?


7:45 pm on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm have an affiliate site, and make very good money using PPC for affiliate programs.. The key is finding the right affiliate program, and then really investing some time in the campaign and landing pages.. Don't expect to start making money your first week, even the first month.. One of my most profitable adwords campaigns took months of tweaking until it became profitable (your adwords quality score is certainly important)..

It's funny to see competitors come out of nowhere and start bidding on the same keywords for a few weeks, then drop out. If they only knew.

Lastly, I found these keywords researching conversion rates on natural keyword traffic I was getting. Then I took those keywords, and started using PPC traffic. Still making money using PPC on thosekeywords that I lost naturally a year ago..


8:19 pm on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am so new to this game, but I have an affiliate site directed to a specific product. The only reason I started it though, is because the target site is a friend of mine and I knew he was selling well. I have made a couple hundred each month, and will make more this month because I upped my AdWords budget. I made a brand new site, no natural SOE position, all Adwords. He does pay 50% though.

The Networks scare me, badly. But I want to clone what I have now and keep cloning. Like 10 of my sites would be awesome. I couldnt bring them all up at once due to the cost, but I think I could do one a month.

Where can I find reliable products that aren't oversaturated? Is it best to make a individual website for each product line you have as an affiliate? Or could a one in all site do well? Like a page for each product, and Adwords going straight to that product line page.


9:22 pm on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanx Triumph,

I've realised that I did pretty much like what You've said. Sort of do the best campaign I can, by themeing keywords into targeted groups and then doing split testing ads. But after no sales, I just dropped out...

I'll definately try to keep on doing one thing and see how it goes. Funny, Yesterday I made a sale using affiliate PPC method.

I think I'll try CB, cause commission on physical products are just very low...

RhawnJ, I'm not sure if I'm good advisor here, but if Your merchant's site isn't an ecommerce store, then individual website pages would be the best I think... Just watched a video of "Project X" that recently boomed the web, and Chris (I think it's his name) sshowed that he made some great money by having a separate landing page for KE software. He'd spent 5 pounds, and made over $100 in sales per that day, if I'm correct...

I tried to promote KE before, but without any luck, just wasted money... I need to put more attention to the campaigns....

Anyway, thanx guys.

Will try to keep concentrating on very targeted and ready-to-buy traffic, and hope will make some positive ROI sooner or later...


9:54 pm on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What is KE? What is CB?


11:36 pm on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi cabbagehead,

KE - Keyword Elite (soft)
CB - Clickbank (aff network)


3:07 am on Oct 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

i would say focus less on than network, and more on a product that works... and once you start getting decent sales for that merchant, work to renegotaite commissions (wait at least 6 months). sometimes finding one merchant and a few good keywords are enough to make a good living.


7:14 am on Oct 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanx Triumph, will do that.


8:31 pm on Oct 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

damlag.. you'll also want to diversify your offerings and don't put too much PPC money into one program (.. unless you already have a long term relationship that you trust.. ). I've had some merchant not pay me and quit the network. Don't just assume that you will get paid because they are on a third party network such as CJ, Linkshare, etc. Their terms of conditions specify that they are not liable for non-payment by a merchant. Be careful.


5:58 am on Oct 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That's what I'm trying to do actually. Try many programs and see, which one works best for me.

Now I'm trying to concentrate on very targeted keyword for some merchants and see how it goes.

Thanx for all the suggestions... I think my problems was that I didn't pay too close attention to my campaigns. Tried them out, no matter how good they seemed to me, but after no sales for over 100 clicks, I dropped. Now I realise that it's important to keep the campaign active for a longer time and do the absolute best at refining keywords and ads, until the CPC gets lower and the conversions actually increase.


11:13 pm on Oct 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I spent 150 so far this month on adwords and made 15 in sales! That's even worse than my day trading experience!
Fortunately I make enough to get by with old fashioned organic aff marketing.

Will keep trying different approaches until I find something that works though.


11:33 pm on Oct 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yah, I'm also losing money now. Got few campaigns running but money's draining and very few sales are comin in.

I'll concentrate more on clickbank products. It's definately easier to make money by getting 75% in commissions than 3% or 8% selling TV's or batteries...


4:55 pm on Oct 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I started doing PPC affiliate marketing the last week of August. I am now seeing a very nice income stream, and I have never lost more since I started. I have lost money on individual endeavors, but since day 1 I have more than paid for what I spent by a significant margin.

Diversification is important, as people mentioned, but not just in products, but also in traffic sources. You need to do a lot of testing and expirementing.

Adwords is probably the toughest nut to crack. I would not encourage anyone to start out PPC affiliate marketing on adwords it is a recipe for losing money. Try some of the other offerings with Yahoo! and MSN or even some of the second/third tier search programs. You will be able to spend less and learn a lot. Once you have your feet on the ground and have tasted some success then you can tackle the more complex and involved adwords.


7:08 am on Oct 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

or even some of the second/third tier search programs....

What kind of search programs are you talking about? Can you drop a few.. I don't know, names, if not URL's, please? Are blogs/community sites worth trying? I read about few adv.companies specializing in mediabuying in blogs, etc. but haven't done any deep research myself though I strongly believe that Adwords/OV/MSN are not the only ones when it comes to buying *real* traffic.


6:43 am on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It can be hard to justify PPC for when promoting as an affiliate.
The trick is to find the right things to promote and skill yourself up in PPC advertising.

SEO is a challenge too as you can bet all the other affiliates of the merchant, plus the merchants competitors and their affiliates all wan't to be on the first page of the search engine too.

Customer Reciprocation should work well for you as an affiliate marketer. it won't make you a fortune but little steps count.


4:08 am on Oct 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

As a few people have noted, life as a PPC affiliate can be a hard way to make an easy living.

If you are going to pay for PPC traffic, you're going to spend every nickle you make on PPCmarketing.

Compared to many businesses, the variable operating costs can be high. But since PPC traffic can be paid for on credit, that's less of a barrier to entry than in many markets.

But they know their market and their keywords, and have become "experts" at using PPC, what to aim for, how to do it, and how much to spend.

Exactly. The analogy I've used elsewhere is that PPC affiliate marketing is like ice-skating; if you're doing it right, it looks effortless, but the reality is hard graft and there's no substitute for experience.

There's one merchant out there whose top affiliate made $15K last month for their program

There are many, many programmes paying far greater sums every month to multiple affiliates. But, as noted, there's a lot of strong competition.

Look for indie programs

This can work very well. But bear in mind that many lack the same level of tracking technology, reporting, transparency, tech support etc that you'll get with an established network.

Much of the advice suggested above is pretty good; you need to learn the PPC engines inside out, learn your niches, learn what makes a site (or affiliate programme) convert. It all comes down to experience, and there are few shortcuts. Many sites are simply pretty poor converters, meaning PPC is unlikely to be a scalable and cost effective way to drive traffic as an affiliate. Reasons might include:

- A prominent 1-800/0800 sales number
- Clunky ordering process
- Not price competitive
- Out of stock for key products

Think about what makes a site work (or otherwise), and you'll get to grips with what makes a site an affiliate programme a good converter.

Regarding your PPC campaigns, are they pre-qualifying traffic? Are you filtering out cheapskates, hucksters and fraudsters with appropriate negative keywords (eg, 'free', 'refund', 'warez')? Are you stressing the key Unique Selling Point (ie, in consumer electronics, users will be price sensitive; with second hand cars, follow up service might be the deal breaker). Are you sending traffic to the appropriate page (eg, relevant product page, not the homepage)?

BTW, you may wish to avoid CJ initially for their unforgiving payment terms; many other networks will pay faster. Cash flow will likely become an issue sooner rather than later if you have any level of success.


10:38 am on Oct 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanx for all the comments here guys.

At the moment I'm trying to sell ClickBank products, by driving very targeted traffic to the sales page directly just to see what works.

Out of some of the better sales pages and products, I got only 1 sale, but it was 4 days ago. Quite frustrating to see those zeros in CB account...

I'll try this method for a while, or until I'll have just a few hundred dollars left and then maybe I'll think about some kind of my own product...

I can't imagine how those super affiliate are raking in $15,000 a month in networks. In SAS - Shareasale, they pay like 5% to 20% commissions. No matter what product I've tried there is competitive and even with the most targeted traffic, I get no sales...

There's definately SEO playing the major role I think... I'll probably try this affiliate/clickbank method for a while, but if it doesn't work, I'll definately think of some kind of my own product, cause it's very frustrating... I heard some people sell 15 or 20 page reports for like $20 or $30 bucks... Maybe this will work for a specific niche...


11:02 am on Oct 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My advice? Try something but ebooks. The run up to Christmas is a good time to try electrical goods, gifts etc etc, since sales volumes will go through the roof.
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