[Note: I titled this post from the book “Blindness” by Jose Saramago. The book is completely unrelated to affiliate marketing, so take that in mind if you go out to buy the book later on today ;-)]
Maor Sadra here! The online advertising world is a jungle today (cue monkey sounds). There are so many sites, blogs, affiliates, publishers, media networks, etc. The more you spend online, the more likely your ads are being placed on thousands of sites. This is generally good news, but can marketers control their spending and optimize the results in this chaos?
If an advertiser is working with a blind network, there isn’t much they can do to track results by site or affiliate. You can never really predict results as you don’t control which affiliates or sites are running your offers. So what should advertisers do?
The two remaining options: transparent, or half-transparent (or half-blind, depending on how you look at it), will support an advertiser’s efforts to do better business, but only one of these really comes through for the advertiser.
On completely transparent networks, an advertiser can view a list of publishers running their offers and find out which publishers or sites are bringing them the most impressions & clicks. But it’s very possible that only 1/10 of the sites actually generate the results from beyond the click. Many networks and publishers prefer that the advertiser will not know this, fearing that the advertiser will optimize the campaign by limiting it to the best performing sites (which creates more work for the network employees to do, and leads to less revenue for the network…). When networks do this, they are ignoring the simple fact that the advertiser will drop the network entirely if the results are generally not good…
Some advertisers still choose to go with a transparent network without the ability to track results by site. I ask you: Why? Does it help the advertiser to know that an expert PPC affiliate called: “expertPPCaff1982” is running their campaign, if they won’t know how good the long term results are from this affiliate?
I recommend that an online advertiser today use a sort of modified transparent network, which allows them to independently track a few parameters. While the name of the network can remain static, other parameters should be dynamic. A good example of this is tracking the performance by site or affiliate in an independent system.
Sounds like a lot of data? It is.
Sounds like a lot of work? It’s not really.
By tracking results per site/affiliate, advertisers can periodically analyze data to optimize and improve the results of the campaign over time.
Using this dynamic method of tracking will allow advertisers to find sites/affiliates within the network where there’s a high potential for quality traffic, and as every advertiser knows, finding quality sources is like finding gold! For these strong performers, advertisers can raise payouts or create customized marketing material or landing pages to increase the level of quality traffic. The opposite is also true; tracking also allows advertisers to spot which sites or affiliates drive lower quality traffic and make one of two calls: drop the site/affiliate from the campaign or optimize the creatives/landing pages to improve the results.
I always recommend that advertisers use a simple numeric site/affiliate ID, enough to get control over the results of their campaigns, and I encourage advertisers to identify sites or affiliates that drive quality traffic, which leads to a solid, trusting, relationship and mutual success. A true “win-win” situation.
I admit, for the advertiser it’s sometimes a hassle to manage a large advertising budget online on multiple channels with multiple CPA /ROI targets, but it the long run it’s worth it!
So my tip this time is pretty simple: It’s better to have at least one eye to see the true results than being totally blind. You don’t want to miss out on the amazing things you’ll stumble upon!