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Affiliates still can't beat Adsense

   
11:54 am on Jan 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Like everyone else here, I want to spread risk and not rely too much on Google and am using affiliates where I can. However it appears to me that more and more of the big brands I affiliate with are advertising with Adwords, targeting my sites, pushing up the bid price, and probably paying me more through adsence than they do on affiliate sales.

I hate to do it but it does look as though I would be better off removing those affiliate ads and going all Adsense.

This situation has only arisen in the last few months, after I went over to text/image ads on Adsense instead of just text.
4:13 pm on Jan 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Maybe it's just me, but I have found that to be true, each of the two separate occasions I tried venturing over into affiliate ads. I cannot explain it.
4:01 pm on Jan 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Affiliate marketing is a different beast. You can't just put the ad there and hope someone buys something - you have to SELL it - prime the buyer before he clicks on the ad. Even with a ton of traffic, it's probably not going to be effective unless you have really really targeted traffic.

You're probably better off trying to sell direct advertising, if you want to diversify.
12:53 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



The funny thing is that affiliate banners that look very like Adsense ads, from the same advertisers, do not earn me anything.

Similar image, on the same page, one work, and the other does not.

As the advertisers were placing site targeted ads on my site through adsense, I assume they were converting.
1:37 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member




As the advertisers were placing site targeted ads on my site through adsense, I assume they were converting.

Maybe they do. How long can somebody who clicks an affiliate link delay before you no longer get a commission? If, for example, the product is something that people think about before buying you might be loosing the commission due to the delay but the adsense click is still being tracked.
3:15 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



piatkow: Most affiliates place a cookie on the computer of the person who clicks. They explain to you how long that cookie is valid for. Usually 1 - 4 weeks. If the visitor returns and buys later, you still get paid.

Unless they clear their cookies. Or blocks cookies or someone hijacks your cookie...

I personally have better luck with Adsense, due to catered targeting to the user. But, I do have a few pages that do better with affiliates. Those pages are usually info on how to go about purchasing (which one to choose, how to purchase it, etc.) a product or service. So, the visitor is in buying mode and looking to buy that particular product/service.
5:10 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I've got a number of pages on my site where affiliate ads outperform AdSense significantly. Combination of good content, a relevant call to action affiliate ad, and a good converting affiliate landing page can produce some amazing eCPM rates.
5:39 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



There are those who term adsense "Webmaster welfare" or state that people who dont make a significant amount of their website income from affiliate marketing are "lazy monetizers" who dont get all the money they could out of their sites. Of course these are folks who make their money off affiliate marketing.

The reality is that its not so simple. General statements that adsense is always best or that the only way to get the most money out of your website is with affiliate marketing are both false. Some sites and pages do better with afiliates, and some are better with adsense - some work fine with a mix. If your passion is a website about Civil War History and battlefield monuments, you wont make money selling baby diapers and it will be hard to find an affiliate that fits your niche (maybe travel, but a site like that is not really selling travel). With Affiliates, you need to be selling or at least strongly recommending something. As a rule, I figure the narrower the niche of your website, the better off you are with adsense. If you just happen to be doing something that fits affiliates well, like car maintenance and repair, then by all means check out the affiliate possibilities, as there are folks who sell tools and auto parts looking for affiliates - you could recommend tools and parts suppliers. No question that there are folks out there making good money with affiliates. On the other hand, many affiliate marketers make significant money by marketing the idea of making money with affiliate marketing (which sometimes gives a sort of ponzi like feel).

As ThatsBoBo pointed out, there may be certain pages on your website that are good for affiliates even if your site as a whole is not tilted that way. Its up to you as a webmaster to figure out which sites or pages will do well with affiliates and which will work with adsense, and work thing out that way.
6:05 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)



My limited experience with affiliate ads is similar to that of ThatsBoBo and Chrispcritters. I've tried displaying ads by two different Google Affiliates over the past year or so, and only one of the two ever converted. And those few conversions came from a particular page whose topic was spot-on relevant to the advertiser's service (the cookie expiration period was 30 days). I provided no contextual information about the advertiser's service, aside from the ad copy suggested by the advertiser.

That said, compared to Adsense revenue per click, these few conversions amounted to some serious coin -- about 70 times my average CPC.
9:14 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Some very interesting comments - thank you. I am certainly changing my mix of affiliates and adsense.
I have used affiliates on pages where I would have said they were highly relevant, and on some pages where I would describe them as highly targeted (although my sites are informational rather than selling).
Where my affiliates are only highly relevant, like graeme_p, I am sometimes seeing exactly the same add in the affiliate spot and in adsense (though my visitors may not see the same as me, I know) and I have sneaky fealing that I am earning more from adsense.

I shall keep the affiliates on highly targeted pages and probably remove adsense from those pages.

As I said earlier, I feel things have changed with adsense recently (for the better). This may be partly due to now using image ads on adsense instead of only text. In the last few months it does appear that some of the big names (who I have been going after on the affiliate side) have been targeting by sites with adsense, resulting in a higher price per click for me.
11:59 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lame_wolf is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Most affiliates place a cookie on the computer of the person who clicks. They explain to you how long that cookie is valid for. Usually 1 - 4 weeks. If the visitor returns and buys later, you still get paid.
And as people get annoyed with adverts following them from site to site, the chances are people will clear out their cookies more - therefore losing your commission.
11:02 am on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member




And as people get annoyed with adverts following them from site to site, the chances are people will clear out their cookies more - therefore losing your commission.

If any of the major security products sees the cookie as suspicious you may not even be getting commission on instant sales.
7:06 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Affiliate work does well when a product related query matches the content. That is, earnings go up if the search query used to reach the affiliate web page is related to a product, even better if it's related to buying and the query exactly matches the content. Even if the query doesn't have the buy element in it, you can still convert if the web page answers the question of where the site visitor can purchase or acquire a particular product or service.

The web page is like the barker encouraging passerby to come into the tent. The barkers success rate is determined by the quality of passerby. If the tent is in a location noted for certain products or services, then the passerby is likely to be predisposed to enter the tent and requires little convincing to come inside. The affiliate model works when you align the query with product or service for sale.

If you're thinking it through in this manner then affiliate earnings beat adsense. If you are taking a passive approach because of the content model you are following then the AdSense model is better for you. You can't compare the two because they are different models of earning income online.