As an affiliate manager, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is “Which one of your program’s creatives performs the best?”
When running links/banners performance reports, I noticed that text links perform almost always better across all networks in our affiliate program. Monthly publisher performance when using text links (versus banners) looks as follows:
- Commissions — 2.5 times higher
- CTR — 5 times higher
- Conversion rate — 1.5 times higher
Although visually appealing banners are supposed to spark the interest of graphically inclined users and be effective at developing brand recognition, in reality, banners oftentimes are overlooked…or not seen at all. Why? Ad-Block extensions in browsers and image filters in email clients.
Here are two screenshots of a Grammarly affiliate’s website in my Chrome browser with AdBlock extension turned off and on:
Surprise! No affiliate banner on the second screenshot.
The most popular free Chrome extension for advertisement blocking, AdBlock, already has over 9.8 million users. A similar extension for Firefox, AdBlock Plus, claims to have over 14 million daily users. No wonder visitors do not click on affiliate banners — pretty often they are invisible.
Text links, on the other hand, are visible regardless of any settings in a browser or email client, meaning your message will always be seen. A text link allows affiliates to create a highly focused call to action. The downside is some people skim over words, and don’t want to read much. Try being crafty with words to catch a potential customer’s eye!
Does it mean affiliates should abandon banners and use text links only? Not at all!
AdBlock extensions do not block all affiliate banners — rather, it depends on how those banners are embedded. We encourage our affiliates to use both banners and text links for maximum impact and results. If you insert text links in content, and place banners alongside them, you’ll be able to appeal to everyone while always being noticed.