The closest Affiliate Summit, affiliate marketing industry’s largest conference, is just 10.5 weeks away. After 4 years in New York City, the conference is moving to Philadelphia, where Affiliate Summit East 2013 (ASE13) is set to take place on August 18-20.
This will be my 10th Affiliate Summit, and the 9th at which I will speak (see the links to the other ones here). The topic of my ASE13 presentation is conversion optimization of affiliate traffic. It will be a solo presentation — entitled Affiliate Program Performance – a Shared Responsibility — which will take place on Monday, August 19 between 2:00pm and 3:00pm.
As I have pointed out repeatedly thoughout the years, the responsibility for conversion of affiliate-referred visitors, 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” [more here]. Durning my ASE13 presentation I will spend time covering real-life cases, offering practical “how to” knowledge to help advertisers increase conversion of their affiliate-driven traffic.
I already have plenty of thoughts in mind (and some 80% of my presentation is already put together), but today I’d like to ask you:
Question: What have you found to be the most effective methods that merchants (or advertisers) can implement to improve the conversion of their affiliate-referred visitors?
Whether you are an affiliate, merchant, agency, or an affiliate manager, I would really appreciate it if you could share your thoughts on the subject right under this post.
Prizes: I will give away two Networking Plus Passes (formerly known as Gold Passes) which are currently worth $549 each.
Important: To allow the time for your travel/lodging arrangements, the deadline to submit your comment is Friday, July 19 (of course, you’re most welcome to comment after this date too, but those “submissions” won’t qualify you for the draw). I will announce the winners no later than July 23, 2013.
Many thanks in advance for your ideas.
6 thoughts on “Contribute a Tip – Win a Free Pass to Affiliate Summit East 2013”
Much is always being said about optimizing conversion understood simply as turning a click into a lead or a sale, but in my experience this is only half (or even less) the story. Conversion usually runs much deeper than simply getting the user to fill in that form or place that order.
What not many marketers seem to give much thought – and this is true on every level, be it advertiser, agency, network or affiliate – is that the quality of these conversions can differ dramatically depending on several factors. Sources (affiliates and their placements), creatives, landing pages etc. all play a major part here.
For example, in my daily management of a rather complex CPL/CPA program (telecom industry), I get a lot of traffic and many leads from affiliates of one particular type. Their usual performance metrics (CTR, CR) most of the time fall within a rather predictable range. What’s quite astonishing, however, is that the actual QUALITY of their leads – basically, the fraction of leads that actually turn into sales and make my advertiser money – can vary by hundreds of percent. This effectively means that some lead sources (affiliates) end up having a pretty hopeless ROI.
When you look at the bigger picture, this information is priceless. You can eliminate money sinks (or pay them less), while at the same time paying premium commissions to those affiliates who bring in the real value. The number of conversions can be deceiving – what if a “premium” affiliate brings you 1000s of poor conversions, yet you pay a premium price just because it’s a lot? It’s often much better to identify and nurture the real gold nuggets, pay them more and explore other options with them.
This knowledge usually exists in some form at the advertiser’s end (although proper use of it is still pretty rare), but is all too often lost on the agency/network level. This is why having a good conversion path monitoring and optimization system is such a good idea. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated – after all, it just aggregates the data that’s already there in this or that database – and even a very simple tool can open your eyes and work absolute wonders for your and your affiliates’ bottom lines. Get your usual tracking data, combine it with information further down the conversion chain, make it easily viewed and analyzed – you’ll be surprised what it can instantly tell you about your program/campaign.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for optimizing the process for conversion in the usual sense – it needs to be done all the time, those clicks need to turn into sales/leads in droves! But if you don’t keep track of the deeper end, you’ll still be in the dark (or at least a dense fog) business-wise. In fact, it’s actually possible to over-optimize and get more conversions, but of sufficiently worse quality that you actually end up making less, not more. Been there, done that.
So… Yes, by all means, optimize for better conversion! Just with the entire process in sight and mind. 🙂
“Question: What have you found to be the most effective methods that merchants (or advertisers) can implement to improve the conversion of their affiliate-referred visitors?”
Implementing a Leapfrog feature on ShareASale to pay commissions based on the click-stream behavior.
The rule has proved helpful in rewarding the proper referrer over last minute cookie snipers (increasing conversion of value added partners).
More info here: http://blog.shareasale.com/2012/11/01/5-features-you-probably-didnt-know-we-had-but-should/
Sample rule: commissioned click must be less than or equal to X minute use oldest contiguous click. Previous affiliate click must be greater than X minute to generate a leapfrog transaction. Where X stands for however long it usually takes complete a transaction.
Also, quick responsive websites help both merchants and affiliates in a LOT of ways.
Wojtek, Kush, great comments! Thank you for them. I hope you’ll win. 😉
Great question! I think there are many factors that you have to think about when referring to this question. (1) What are the different customers profiles coming from different types of websites (coupon, mall, informational, donation, etc) (2) Does the affiliate use banners?
(1) If an affiliate site is a coupon, mall, or donation site, having a co-branded landing page helps conversions tremendously. 2% – 10% depending on the site personality.
(2) Custom co-branded banners also are effective in driving more clicks and creates a since of continuity between the affiliate site and the customer site.
It might sound a bit simplistic, but for me, conversions has always come down to 2 things.
1) As Wojtec said, a large part of conversion rate is just due to the quality of traffic. I’m ‘kinda’ (sarcasm) fond of data, and love digging around in my traffic & conversion stats to find patterns. I have one site that gets a 1:10 conversion rate from one source, and a 1:500 conversion rate from another. Nothing different about MY landing page at all, just better traffic!
2) Again, simplistic, but: “having a website that doesn’t suck”. What is ‘doesn’t suck’? Just like the difference between art, I can’t really define it, but I know it when I see it. And judging on conversion rates – so do customers. 🙂
Thanks for letting me have a chance to attend #ase13 Gino – hope to see you there! 🙂
I’ve had a great opportunity to see work with different solutions and tactics working on larger affiliate accounts and what I’ve realized is that it always comes back to practical functions like;
Having Several Payments Options
A”Friendly” return policy
Page load times. When I worked for a costumes merchant and we fixed this simple step we seen conversion shoot up. Again, very practical but vital.
Site navigation/landing page. Companies have gotten much better over time but I can point out sites today (I won’t) that we know and love that drop you off in the middle of nowhere and more importantly the message is not cohesive. Testing with a tool like Monetate will help but taking care of first things first helps as you move towards the success you’re looking for.