How Conversion Optimization Increased Performance by Over 50%

In the beginning of this year, while replying to a completely different question, I wrote:

The responsibility for conversion of affiliate-referred traffic is always a shared one: (i) affiliates should work on making it a targeted traffic, while (ii) merchants should ensure that their own websites actually convert. I have seen affiliate programs with zero conversion rates, and not because the affiliate-referred traffic wasn’t right! In some cases the merchant’s offer wasn’t competitive, while in others they had major shopping cart problems that prevented safe and speedy checkout… When there is no (or low) conversion across different affiliates in one program, look for an internal problem. [underlining added for emphasis]

Today I’d like to address the question of conversion optimization specifically, and give you a real-life example. As a case in point, let’s look at an affiliate program I’m managing now.

We’ve recruited a good number of highly targeted affiliates for this merchant, but regardless of the amount of traffic these affiliates were sending, the traffic hasn’t been converting well at all. The average across-the-program conversion rate was ranging from 0.48% to 0.65% (while a good conversion rate for affiliate programs normally ranges from 2.5% to 3.5%).

So we’ve worked with the merchant on the optimization of the landing page the affiliate traffic was going to, and while there’s still progress to be made, we’re already seeing good improvements:

Affiliate conversion rate and EPC improvement

The average affiliate conversion rate has already improved by ~48% going up from 0.65% to 0.96%; and, naturally/consequently, the EPC improvement has also followed — growing by over 54% (going from some $26 that an average affiliate was earning on 100 clicks sent to this merchant to $40). And this is based on a non-expert advice, folks! If you’re serious about your online business, you better be real serious about that conversion rate optimization.

CRO is everyone’s job, and merchants should be actively working in this direction. After all, everyone wins as a result (both merchants, and affiliates).

Are you optimizing and A/B testing the landing pages your affiliates are sending the traffic to?

4 thoughts on “How Conversion Optimization Increased Performance by Over 50%”

  1. Great post geno. I couldn’t agree with you more. In my early days as an affiliate manager, I was always looking at external issues, but when I looked at the internal issue, I found the problem and fixed it. Thanks again for this great article.

  2. Thank you, Ashish.

    I’ve just found an interesting case study of how conversion rate optimization increased a merchant’s sales from £17 million in 2009 to expected £31 million in 2010. I would highly encourage everyone to review it here. Motivating stuff!

  3. Geno –

    I think “actively” is the key word here. Optimization, whether it be fore conversions like in this case or for search, has to do a constant effort. Testing should become a permanent way of operating. There’s always room to do better thanks to a tweak here or a tweak there.

  4. Exactly, Mark! “Actively” is the key word.

    I am surprised how many merchants and affiliates have not yet made split testing their way of life/work.

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