Working in the online advertising industry, I try my best to stay on top of the latest news and notes. There are many great resources to lean on, from digital (and print) magazines to blogs written by thought leaders in our field. Many times they focus on one specific channel and how businesses either need to get into that channel or how they are currently using it. Other blogs talk about recent news and rumors with the main players in our industry (see Google and the recent talk about acquiring Groupon).
Some of the most informative resources deal with statistics and trends in online advertising. It is extremely beneficial when recommending a specific marketing channel to a client when I can reference expected expenditures in that channel. It provides greater relevance by showing the expected growth in the channel I am recommending. However, the best resources of information are usually the hardest to find…real life performance of businesses implementing multi-channel marketing programs. While it helps to show expected (or predicted) results when proposing a new idea to a client, nothing beats the real thing.
I have been working with a client for the last 3 years managing a multi-channel marketing program. We manage their Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns through Google AdWords and the new Search Alliance (Bing and Yahoo). We also handle all of their SEO efforts and Affiliate marketing. In addition, we manage shopping feeds and remarketing programs on their behalf. They administer their own social media marketing and blogging, but only after extensive consultation and training by our internal teams. In other words, we have had a robust multi-channel program in place since April 2008.
I was recently reviewing the program’s overall performance via Google Analytics, and would like to share the following real life (not predicted) results:
Comparing November 2008 to November 2010
Revenue from Direct traffic increased by 137%
Revenue from Google CPC traffic increased by 142%
Revenue from Google Organic traffic increased by 566%
Revenue from *Search Alliance Organic traffic increased by 214%
Revenue from *Search Alliance CPC traffic increased by 101%
Obviously, we grew the programs over time and many of the multi-channel programs were in their infancy stages which somewhat inflated these figures. To further my point, I went ahead and compared last year to this year (at which time all programs were mature with solid previous statistics throughout the date range comparison):
Comparing November 2009 to November 2010
Revenue from Direct traffic increased by 71%
Revenue from Google CPC traffic increased by 25%
Revenue from Google Organic traffic increased by 65%
Revenue from **Search Alliance Organic traffic increased by 63%
Revenue from **Search Alliance CPC traffic increased by 45%
*For easy comparison I combined MSN and Yahoo stats pre Search Alliance formation*
In these economic times, especially when you factor what the economic climate was like during the time frame of my analysis (November 2008 — today) these are exceptional results. Basically, my client has achieved record sales growth during one of the most difficult times in our economy by leveraging and aggressively pursuing a multi-channel online marketing strategy and achieving excellent real life (not predicted) results.
Affiliate Marketing is the oldest, most original form of performance based advertising. It goes way back to the days before the internet. The evolution of the internet and related technologies has helped propel this marketing mechanism to the forefront of online marketing opportunities today.
More advertisers are beginning to realize the importance of this channel due to increasing competition in the search engine marketing spectrum. As a result, some heavy hitters are making a bullish effort to capitalize on its popularity. In addition to the “big guys,” small CPA (cost per acquisition) networks are popping up all over the place.
If you haven’t been in a hole for the past few months, you’re aware of the Google/Double Click deal. Double Click owns Performics which is a search engine marketing company as well as an affiliate network. In early March, the deal received approval from the Federal Trade Commission and the EU. The deal quickly drew enormous amounts of scrutiny as many saw this as a conflict of interest for Google. Finally on April 4, Google announced it would go through with the acquisition but would sell off the search engine marketing side of the business. Google made it clear however, that they would in fact retain the affiliate marketing division of Double Click/ Performics.
Another big player to join the Affiliate Marketing arena is AOL. AOL recognized this as an important online marketing sector that is growing at a rapid pace; and this past February acquired buy.at. Buy.at is a large affiliate network which was started in 2002.
The emergence of these large companies joining this channel along with the startup of many smaller CPA networks; has helped propel this marketing technique. With the forecasted spends for online advertising, it appears that this method is poised to grow impressively. It should be exciting to see what these new players will bring to the table.
Affiliate Marketing has been a hot topic recently and with much good reason. Although it has been around for years, many companies have just started to learn how effective affiliate marketing can be. But what does it take to create an effective Affiliate Marketing Program?
Here are a few tips that will help you make the most of your program:
1) Recruit the Right Affiliates
Recruiting affiliates is the most important part of affiliate marketing. The affiliates are the ones who actually sell your products or promote your services. Choosing the right affiliate is like hiring the right employees. You want to choose sites that will represent your product with a positive image and generate quality leads. The easiest way to find affiliates is to join an affiliate network, but there are many other ways to find them. Posting in online forums, listing in affiliate directories, and directly contacting websites that relate to your product or service can also be very effective.
2) Choose the Right Banner
Choosing the right banner to use will greatly affect your click through rate and the success of your campaign. Graphically rich banners might seem like a good choice, but these tend not perform as well as the simpler ones. The main reason is download time. If a banner is the last thing to load on your page, by the time it has loaded your visitor may already have scrolled down the page and missed the ad completely. If you use a banner, the recommended size would no more than 15kb if possible. A great alternative to the banner is a plain text ad. A short descriptive with a call to action can go a very long way.
3) Determine the Proper Pay Scheme
Setting up the pay scheme for your affiliate campaign can be done a few different ways. PPC (pay-per-click) is the traditional method where a specific amount is paid for each visit. PPL (pay-per-lead) is where registration or sign-ups are rewarded. PPS (pay-per-sale) is when a specific commission per sale is paid. Pay per sale is often the preferred method, because it ensures that you generate revenue before paying a commission. However, any of these systems can be effective depending on your business needs.
Successful affiliate marketing programs take a lot of patience and dedication. An effective program is one that is managed on a daily basis. With time and persistence, or the right team working for you, you can achieve new levels of success with your online business.