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.
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.