Before I started in internet marketing, I ran experiments in a Biology lab. I think applying the scientific method to PPC marketing has really helped me become a successful affiliate. I am always running several tests of one thing or another. I thought it would be interesting to start sharing some of results on the blog. (without giving out the actual niche).
This quick test was designed to compare 4 PPC networks to find the conversion rates. All other variables were kept constant, including keywords, ad copy, and landing pages, and domain. I ran the test for 24 hours on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and 7 Search. Offer is in financial services area.
I expected MSN to be the conversion leader of the big 3, and with a 11.35% CR they were. The big surprise of the test was 7 Search, with a whopping 17.39% rate. Of course the volume on 7 search was much lower, as you expect with any 2nd tier network. It’s also important to note that these amounts of clicks aren’t enough to be statistically valid, but they are enough to start seeing trends and making decisions about what direction you want to start heading with the campaign. At this click rate, I would probably need to run this test for a week to get >500 clicks for statistical validity. Based on this short test, I would definitely push forward with full scale campaigns on MSN, Yahoo, and 7 search. The Google conversion rate was very close to the break even point.
Are these results what you would expect from those 4 PPC engines?
This is one of those tips I should probably to keep to myself, but I want to thank the growing number of subscribers by giving out something really juicy!
I’m sure we all remember alliteration from our high school english days. If you forgot, its the repetition of a leading vowel or consonant sound in a phrase. In other words using the words that start with the same letter. I have done a lot of testing with this, and using this trick almost always leads to a higher CTR. Here’s an example of how easy it is to use.
This is an ad without alliteration. Kind of boring, nothing to grab the eye. Would probably be a low CTR ad.
Now the same ad, with alliteration in the title. People are subconsciouly attracted to alliteration. CTR will go through the roof with this one.
See, your english teacher was right. Paying attention in class will help you succeed in life.
Conventional wisdom is usually not wise. That’s why thinking outside the box is so important in PPC affiliate marketing. Take for instance, the content network. I don’t know how many times I have heard “experts” say don’t use it whatever you do. The fact is, the content network can and does work.
Case in point:
I have an education offer that I have been experimenting with for about 3 months now. I have 2 identical campaigns running on Google; same keywords, adgroups, and ads. All is the same except 1 campaign is on the search network and 1 is on the content network. The results are surprising.
Search 3 Month Conversion Rate = 8.23%
Content 3 Month Conversion Rate = 13.87%
The content network sends about same volume as the search network. But the content network is converting 5.6% better than the search network. That’s right, content is converting better than search! Plus my bid prices are about 40% less for the content network. Of course every single offer and campaign is different, which is why testing is key. If I would have paid attention to the “experts” I never would have found this little goldmine. In this particular case, my results clearly disprove the notion that the content network doesn’t work for affiliate campaigns.
One of the smaller PPC services we have tested is called Pulse360. (Purposely not linking to them). We made a small $100 deposit to do some testing, and ended up pausing the campaigns after so so results. Like every other service I have ever used, I expected the balance to remain there until I was ready for more testing. Imagine my surprise when I got an email from them stating that they had removed $10 from my account for “inactivity charges”. I have to say this is a totally lame and cheap way to squeeze money from an already paying customer. You could have gotten tons of money from me by just serving up good traffic, but this little stunt has sealed it for me. I’ll be closing my account before the rest of the balance is charged away by you guys.
I’m always on the lookout for creative ways to generate traffic. One interesting way I have been testing in the last month is with the recent blog entry links at the Digital Point forums. This feature pulls your latest blog entry from your RSS feed and displays it at by your name and avatar with your blog posts.
I noticed that I was getting pretty decent traffic from this, but I don’t post that much, so I need a way to increase my exposure with these links. So I posted a message on the forum asking to rent people’s recent blog links. I got a pretty good selection of responses and rented out links on 9 other members’ profiles.
The average post count of the 9 members was 2,958.
The total post count for all 9 profiles my link was displayed on was 27,623
The total cost to rent these for one month I paid was $193
According to Google Analytics, the referral links send 502 visitors in the month of September. That breaks down to an average CPC of .38 cents. Not dirt cheap, but not a bad rate for quality targeted traffic. Of cours, this particular link only works for promoting a blog, but it goes to show you that alternate traffic sources are out there if you look for them. Forums are a great place to find targeted traffic for any niche.
I’ve made no secret on my blog that YSM is my favorite PPC engine. No, it doesn’t have the stellar interface and offline editor that Adwords has, but considering all factors like price, traffic quality, ease of keeping ads online, Yahoo is my favorite. It seems now they are trying to ad cool little Adwords type tools lately, like the new Yahoo Ad Generator.
It works kind of like a keyword permutation tool. You enter a few titles, and short sentences, as well as your display URL, and destination URL. Then the tool generates many variations of your ad automatically and puts them in a pending area for you to view. It will optimize performance of the ads by comparing the ads in this area from your running ads to find the best CTRs in the group.
I like this new tool and the general direction Yahoo seems to be heading with YSM. Give it a shot today, maybe you can raise your CTR and find some new top performing ads.
I like to track trends. The more info you can know about your campaigns and conversion rates, the better. Certain days have always seemed to have better conversion rates than others so I decided to run the numbers. I took a campaign that has been running for over 10 months and crunched the data to see which days of the week really converted best.
You can see that for this affiliate campaign, Fridays definitely converted best on average. The worst day of the week was Sunday. Keep in mind these numbers are conversion rates, which takes traffic volume out of the equation. What conclusions can be drawn from this? Maybe people are in the best moods on Fridays and want to buy stuff:)
(Note: this is NOT a paid review)
Every affiliate marketer needs good tools. So when I saw a promotional video for SpeedPPC, I was eager to test it out. After visiting their website I was a little nervous. It was one of those 1 long page, sales letter looking sites. Those are my pet peeve, and normally I would click right off, but I stuck with it and downloaded the program. Once I started going through all the materials, I was glad I did because this program is the real deal.