Advanced Affiliate Program Management & Analysis by @eprussakov at Affiliate Summit West 2012 #ASW12

Source: http://twitter.com/eprussakov

Geno Prussakov from AM Navigator LLC did a very informative presentation on Advanced Affiliate Program Management & Analysis by Geno Prussakov at Affiliate Summit West 2012 at Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas, here are my notes and tips:

Five Pillars of Affiliate Program Management

Recruitment

Activation

Policing

Communication

Optimization

 

Focus today on Policing and Optimization

 

Affiliate Applications

10 Red Flags

  1. URL-related mismatches
  2. Trademarks in URLs
  3. Nonsensical sounding URLs, very quickly indicate the affiliate who has just applied is actually a spammer
  4. Nonsense descriptions for promotional methods, when they apply they put stuff like “I want to make money”, “I love affiliate marketing” – red flag
  5. Incom – Incentive or Cash Back affiliates are mostly not compatible with Cost Per Lead offers, e.g. Insurance or Legal or Auto services leads for filling out a form, any rewards type affiliate with be incentivizing the end user with cash/points and you will get forms filled out with people who are not interested in the service, just want the cash or points
  6. Inappropriateness of affiliate content
  7. Inaccessible (or dangerous) website
  8. Affiliate relying on adware, toolbars, BHOs etc
  9. Lack or response (give them 72 hours)
  10. Strongly negative feedback, on forums, blogs, like on closed groups Geno runs a LinkedIn group on Affiliate Program Management. Merchants can leave feedback on affiliates on shareasale, so other merchants can see

 

If hired an affiliate program for existing business, if you could base that managers success on 5 measurable things what would that be?

 

5 KPI’s to Measure Success of Affiliate Managers:

  1. Affiliates Recruited – Number of new affiliates recruited into the program, by starting on an established network you will get a constant flow of new affiliate applications, but this is meaningless without activity index
  2. Activity Index – Percentage of affiliates active in the program over a given period of time
  3. Activation – of previously stagnant affiliates
  4. Traffic – increase in hits/clicks sent by affiliates
  5. Sales/leads – increase in sales, focus on monetary figure or leads referred by affiliates

 

Split testing – method of marketing testing where the performance of 2 versions of landing page are being tested against the other to determine which is best, look at lower bounce rate, better converstion rate

Want to be split testing on an ongoing basis

 

3 Challenger Pages Tested

Best converting page:

Clear call to action

Testimonials

Clear product headline

 

What to test

Headlines

Call to action

Page Style and Layout

Images

Description Copy

Prices and Promos

 

Tools to Employ

Google Website Optimizer

Visual Website Optimizer

Liveball

A/Bingo

PickFu

Vertser

Unbounce

Sitespect’s A/B testing

Five Second Test

Vanity

 

E.g. Avangate – software affiliate network, has link to A/V testing in sidebar, can split traffic between 3 different landing pages and measure which one works better for you

Hasoffers – in house affiliate program software offers similar tool, allows you to create both landing pages and banners and you can pick revenue per 1000 impressions and optimize it based on a specific metric / result. You can either manually pick the winner, or you can let them automatically display the better performing creative more frequently, like Google Adwords.

 

ABCs, or 5 ways to spy on competitors

  1. Analyse their performance stats, see which of their creatives perform better
  2. Become their customer and affiliate, subscribe to their newsletters
  3. Create automatic monitoring campaigns, google alerts and social mention
  4. Do friend and follow them – not from your corporate account
  5. Employ traffic measuring tools SEMrush, Compete.com, Quantcast

 

Problems with coupons

  1. Last minute coupon search, they only search after being on the checkout page and seeing the discount coupon field, they go back and now click on an affiliate link. Macys released in 2010 that they were losing money from this as they have a “Coupon Code” box, they changed it and put a link “Find one now” which links to a coupon page ON MACY’s website, so they check for coupons without leaving.
  2. Pseudo- couponing – when you don’t have coupons, but still being featured on coupon site. Some offered sites lie “free shipping” etc even though this is not offered, people still click through on the affiliate link
  3. Coupon affiliates joining non-couponers programs. Solution- Affiliate referred visitors are not shown the coupon code box.
  4. Coupon scraping– affiliates harvest the web for coupons and inevitably scrap exclusive coupons meant for specific affiliates. In Aug 2009 buy.at came up with a solution to deal with coupon scraping when one affiliate has an exclusive coupon and another affiliate users it and gets credit. Buy.at created offer central feature, can create coupon and assign to specific affiliate. Original affiliate gets credited. Impact Radius has enabled unique coupon tracking, unique promo code assigned to specific affiliate, regardless of what medium the
    1. Shopbargains on twitter – they just tweet out coupons, and they LOVE when people retweet as it all tracks back when they use the coupon

Adware and Toolbars

  1. Have a TOS clause on Adware
  2. Monitior & Enforce compliance
  3. ‘Play Without the Ball’

 

Resources

Ben Edelmen – benedelmen.org

 

Trademark Violations

When go to Google and search for a brand, one of the first things you see in Google Suggest is reviews, like “BigCommerce Reviews”, in the first page there are domains that have these keywords “bigcommerce reviews” like bigcommercereviews.com is on the first page. This merchant prohibits trademarks in page search, but they don’t prohibit people using these type of domains.

Do not call it a violation unless you’ve definited in as such in your TOS!

 

How to Police:

iTrademarkBidding – itrademarkbidding.com

Brandverity Poachmark – bradverity.com/poachmark

SearchMonitor

AdGooroo

CitizenHawk – for trademarks in domain names

 

FTC Compliance

FTC charged a merchant $250,000 for deceptively advertising through online affiliate marketers. Merchant in USA but majority of affiliates overseas. They recruited review ad affiliates who posted endorsements as articles and posts and received a substantial commission in return, charged with disseminating deceptive advertisements

FTC rules on endorsements / testimonials, any affiliate relationship is deemed as a sponsor relationship and relationship must be “clearly disclosed by marketer”

Advertiser responsible for educating, equipping and policing compliance

 

What to do

Put this in sub-clause of Affiliate Obligations clause in TOS

Provide Affiliates with disclose templates

Routintely and manually analyse sites of top performers, whether they have disclosure up

Look into solutions like SearchReviews.com

Tell affiliates you strongly advise them to stay compliant with the FTC’s rules on disclosure and you reserve the right to terminate non-compliant affiliates

 

Performance based doesn’t mean effortless

 

Action Points

  1. Screen applications
  2. Analyze KPIs
  3. Test (to optimize)
  4. Spy on competitors
  5. Monitor
    1. Coupon Violations
    2. Adware & Toolbars
    3. Trademark Abuse
    4. FTC Compliance

Slides at amnavigator.com/blog

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