An affiliate program manager has emailed me the following question:
What is a good conversion rate from impressions to click to identify good quality affiliates?
Good question. Tricky metric.
CTR, or Click-Through Rate, is a metric that will differ from one marketing method to another. Additionally, it is important to mind how targeted the affiliate’s audience is. So, the value for “good” CTR will always depend on two things: (i) the type(s) of marketing an affiliate is involved in, and (ii) the targetedness of his/her site’s audience (note: defined in light of their immediate interest in your product/service).
Type of Marketing
- Banners generally yield a 0.10-0.13% click-through rate [source]
- Emails – 2.8-5.9% [source 1 | source 2]
- Good CTR for paid search ads is 2% [source], but I frequently see well-producing affiliates have a lower CTR (0.8%-1.5%)
Targetedness of Audience
In addition to the type of marketing employed, we should also always look at how focused the affiliate’s audience really is. Coupon affiliates, for example, will always register a significantly higher CTR (35-40%) than comparison shopping affiliates; while generic news portals will always be yielding lower CTRs than niche blogs (especially when reviews are involved).
In light of the above-mentioned, the answer to this program manager’s question is: CTR isn’t a really good metric focus on, especially when judging of affiliate’s “quality”. Additionally, it neither affects your affiliate program’s EPC, nor its overall conversion rate. By all means, do monitor the CTR to offer affiliates your help in improving it (by optimizing creatives, and advising them on better banner/link placements if they need such help), but remember that unlike CR (conversion rate) for example, the improvement of CTR is largely in your affiliate’s hands.