A report was released yesterday from the IAB with some great news for the affiliate industry - investment from brands in their affiliate programmes has seen a remarkable uplift of 45% according to a recent survey. Personally, I had expected the recession to have the opposite effect and whilst that might be true in some sectors (where commission levels continue to be cut), this survey has determined that's not the overall trend. More
Over the past year or so affiliate marketing has gone through a transformation (you might have seen it). Change can sometimes be good or bad (or both) but one thing's for sure, I'm not going to be calling myself a "performance marketer" any time soon.
With more of the larger affiliates becoming suited and booted, the industry seems to be on the move again. From the sounds of it an ever increasing number of smaller affiliates are leaving the industry altogether thanks to dwindling returns, lack of care and passion as well as external factors (such as reams of Google changes). More
I love infographics and this one from Affiliate Window showcases the network traffic received from smartphones and tablets. More
An interesting thread appeared on A4U yesterday which seemed to echo my own thoughts recently Ė the affiliate marketing playing field is changing.
Sure we know the industry is on the move with plenty of acquisitions and mergers, new corporate start-ups, and many seasoned affiliates dropping out due to ever squeezed margins, increased competition and the mighty search engine algorithm changes.
The infamous Panda and Penguin updates have stripped out a lot of low quality affiliate sites from the index altogether and have also had a knock-on effect for larger affiliate sites too. More recently Iíve noticed a lot of drivel in the search results Iím presented with as the latest algorithms seems to favour these thin bare non-affiliate sites over affiliate-marketing funded sites with more substantial content (perhaps it depends on what Iím searching for though!).
Ultimately it seems that the search engines are demanding more useful, more informative and more authoritative content. So is that a bad thing? More
Most affiliates have some form of statistical software running, either in the forms of a third party service like Google Analytics or as a server program. Thus, most can generally see where sales are coming from in terms of locations and keywords (though this is getting more difficult by the day). But long gone are the days when you knew pretty much everyone was using an 800x600 screen!
So how are visitors landing on your site and how are your sales being generated? More
Today Affiliate Window have launched the US arm of Affiliate Window which replaces the Buy.at US brand that exists across the pond. Effectively this means the transition from Buy.at to the Affiliate Window brand is pretty much complete. More
Over the last 12 months weíve seen plenty of hard-hitting changes from Google , plenty of chatter over new legislation and a further professionalisation of the industry. It feels like now more than ever the smaller affiliates are being squeezed into an ever decreasing minority whilst the volume of larger scale corporate affiliates seems to be growing. To me it feels like this industry is beginning to get exceedingly competitive. More
The EU Cookie directive came into force on 26th May 2011, with the ICO offering a grace period of one year before starting to enforce it. Plenty of people are sceptical over the content of the directive, it's motives and enforcement. As such, I've come across no other examples of websites seeking permission to drop cookies, other than the ICO website - though according to eConsultancy even that doesn't meet the regulations, and they are the people due to be enforcing this.
So with so much scepticism, where does it leave smaller affiliates? More
Jason wrote an excellent blog post back in May posing the question So What Happened To The UK Affiliate Bloggers?. In it he talks about the lack of fresh affiliate orientated content from some of the most prolific affiliate bloggers in the UK and beyond. My initial reaction was that affiliate bloggers have moved onto social media as an alternative. However, more recently I've been wondering where all affiliate marketers have gone, not just the bloggers. More
I've not really had much to do with remarketing. For those not in the know, remarketing (in a nutshell) allows you to show ads to users who've previously visited your website as they browse other websites on the Interweb. Wikipedia has a nice rounded explanation of behavioural retargeting aka behavioural remarketing aka retargeting.
The example I remember seeing was a Firebox ad. I browsed the site and then somehow ended up reading an article on The Times website (back in the day when it was free!). As I read I noticed a great big advert saying that I had viewed ABC product and similar products include DEF and GHI. The banner was run by a remarketing company, the name of which I cannot recall.
Having been on the user side of things, I personally hate the intrusive feel of the ads shown on third party sites as the direct result of visiting a specific retailer. In fact I wrote an article about how to opt out of such ads being displayed - it's relatively simple to do but you need to chase a lot of ads through to find the privacy settings on the networks and then to opt-out.
The vast majority of visitors won't do this, especially the more casual web surfer, so remarketing is big business. So much so that Affiliate Window are now offering all their merchants a value added service called MasterTag. In a nutshell, merchants include a "Master Tag" in their sites that help with tracking, analytics, etc. and within this they can easily swap in and out remarketing code from remarketing companies without requiring any development work. It offers cost and time saving benefits to merchants and will undoubtedly be popular.
But where do affiliates stand in all of this? I interviewed Kevin Edwards, Strategy Director at Affiliate Window, to help answer this question and find out why there's so much buzz in the remarketing sector. More
Affiliate marketing is a tricky business to liken to anything else, making it difficult to explain to people what it is I do. The best I have come up with is that I'm a telesales marketer using websites rather than phones, in that it is my job to convince someone that double glazing really is what they want to buy online. More
Behavioural advertising is a relatively new concept where some advertising networks track what you look at, displaying adverts relevant to what they think you are after based on what you have looked at. Here's a quick video explaining one company's solution:
The most common example is when I'm working on my travel deals or mini cruise websites. A visit to these then a website using behavioural advertising and I'm shown travel adverts, even on unrelated websites.
The logic used is that if I'm going to be shown adverts then I might as well be shown the most targeted adverts possible. By watching what I do online, adverts are tailored to the profile the ad agencies create about me. To me, this is irritating and it raises privacy concerns too. I'm also unsure of the profitability of such adverts.
There's quite a lot of information about behavioural advertising to follow so I'll split it into small groups. More
After using affiliate networks for a while, you get to see features on some you like and would love to see rolled out to other networks. There's also a few things you think of that networks don't currently offer.
Here's my list of dream changes I'd love to see implemented across the UK affiliate networks. More
I stumbled across an article about how voucher codes can be causing more abandoned shopping baskets rather than more sales yesterday. Ironically, it was also the day that Red Letter Days revealed their latest baby - intelligent affiliate links.
It's a move that sets the company apart from others but also, in my opinion, takes the game to a new level.
I can share (exclusively I might add - my first bit of breaking news!) that this innovation has indeed been submitted to the A4Uawards and together with Joshna's nomination, Red Letter Days may scoop a few prizes that night.
I was fortunate to be involved in the testing stage so I've had a chance to play around and look at various scenarios. I also submitted a bit of text for the award and would like to share my own opinions on the new developments (which seem to be echoed by those that have tweeted and posted on the above forum post. More
This year's shortlist for the A4U Awards has been released and I have (more specifically this blog has) made the cut for the first time since the awards were started.
Thank you ever so much to the readers of this blog for nominating me. I must admit I'm slightly baffled by why you voted for me when there are so many better alternatives but I'm really chuffed nevertheless. Thank you.
Round two of voting doesn't open until Monday but here's the shortlist and who I'm voting for to win this year:
UPDATE: Voting is now open via http://www.affiliates4u.com/a4uawards/ ) More
It's that time again where round one nominations can be made via http://www.a4uawards.com/nominate/
This year follows the same format as before, with one different question.
It's definitely worth entering as it's a collaborative effort. That said, I wonder how many of my choices will stick. To pad out a blog post, here's where my votes go. More
It's the beginning of a brand new year and so it's time for many to plan for the next year. It's also the time when people brag about how well they did last year. I did okay but nowhere near enough to afford a luxury holiday each year :-)
So, if like me, you need a virtual kick up the behind, here's a few inspirational posts to help you along the way. More
The A4U Expo presentations are online and I wanted to make sure I went through them all so thought I'd share some of the more useful points I stumbled across.
Tips cover all aspects of affiliate businesses. I've only pulled the points I find interesting or useful. The full presentations (including those not cited from) can be found here. More
It's that time of year again when affiliate marketing offices close for the best part of a week. But contrary to popular belief, not every affiliate marketer is attending the Expo this year.
I did toy with the idea of going and whilst it would be great to meet my account managers, I'm personally put off by the after-expo frivolities that encourages so many to attend the expo (call me Mr Not-So-Great-At-Social-Situations - lol). That together with the hassle of getting to London, the 'fun' of getting around, the cost, and the lack of willpower was a strong enough combination that restrained me from signing up. That said I imagine that I would attend in the next few years when my portfolio looks more rounded and polished, and knowing that meeting my account managers would get me way more Christmas presents ;-) .
Anyhoo, if like me you're not attending this year, here's a few things to remember: More
No, I didn't hear about it either but Affiliate Window confirmed on Friday that they had reached a mutual agreement. It's taken a year to resolve the issues that were aired in public but now they are best friends again.
So what does this mean for affiliates and merchants, and perhaps more importantly Quidco? More
I'm not one to shout about new affiliate programmes all that much unless I have a reason too. And this one I do.
Sainsbury's launched yesterday on Affiliate Window thus joining the likes of Tesco and Asda who also have affiliate programmes on Tradedoubler / Silvertap and Buy.at respectively.
Not content with being the new kid on the block, Sainsbury's have decided to launch with a flying start in terms of incentives!
There are three incentives schemes running. More
Ever since the launch of interest based advertising, I've noticed that they do indeed work. It's a clever system that delivers relevant adverts based upon what you've searched for.
The only problem is ... I don't like it! More
Alas, the time of year has come again to stand up and by counted in the UK affiliate industry awards. You've got a few weeks to register your first round of voting at http://www.affiliates4u.com/awards/nominate.php
If you are a forum member, stand up and be counted. It takes a couple of minutes to do.
Here's who I have voted for this year, and the reasons why. More
When Google Checkout launched many moons ago, it sent curious shock waves around the merchant side of the web. Would it kill PayPal? Would loyal PayPal users make a switch?
The novelty with Google Checkout was the tiny percentage it charged to merchants for each credit card transaction. Sales up to 10 times the percentage of any AdWords spend was free and thereafter each transaction was charged at 1.5% + £0.15 per transaction. Compare this to PayPal's standard of 3.4% + £0.20 per transaction and you'll see why there was so much interest.
But alas, an innocent looking email now blows all that out of the water. More
The drop from 17.5% to 15% in VAT, in my opinion, has been a complete waste of time.
The reduction was made on 1st December 2008 and since then, I've yet to see prices fall, suggesting that some retailers are now absorbing the extra 2.13% reduction as profit. More
The credit crunch seems to be taking it's toll as some merchants re-evaluate whether the affiliate revenue stream is adding value and is cost effective.
There's more and more merchants leaving the affiliate space at the moment for various reasons, some publicly discussed, others not.
Having worked as a full time affiliate marketeer (not musketeer) for 2 years, I've dealt with many a merchant and many an affiliate program, ranging right through the broad spectrum of good to bad. It's this experience I draw from in this post when I attempt to concoct the perfect affiliate program. More
If you were starting out in affiliate marketing today from scratch do you think youíd be as successful as you have been and would you want to get involved in AM now as a newbie today?Very eloquently put. It's the first part that intrigued me and whilst I'm not a super affiliate, I'd like to offer my 2p worth. More
I love magazines but I've yet to come across one that fits my affiliate marketing lifestyle. I've tried NMA a couple of times but it's too generic for my liking, failing to cover topics that are important to me.
What I would like is a monthly magazine just for the UK affiliate marketing scene. I don't think this is out of the realms of possibility but perhaps there isn't enough demand for it.
Here's what I'd like to see in it. More
Unless you've been hiding under a substantially sized rock recently, you'll have heard that Quidco in a roundabout way announced it was leaving Affiliate Window (AW). It's a bizarre case of twists and turns.
From what I understood, Quidco's SureShop agreement was the primary reason why they were leaving as AW didn't sign up to it. But it turned out not to be that simple.
Here's my comments on some of the more important allegations that were revealed in the last week. More
I've had a spring clean over at UK Affiliate Marketing Blogs RSS Feed, removing feeds that haven't been updated since Christmas and crediting those that have been added since.
I've got 23 UK affiliate related feeds that are compressed into one handy RSS feed taking up less space on my Firefox toolbar ;-) More
Be Cheeky posted a question on the forums earlier this week: what do affiliates want as incentives?
I think the best thing merchants could offer is a set of gift vouchers. Why? More
First off, congratulations to Kieron, Jason, Kirsty, Lee and Paul for being nominated. Last year I voted for Kieron as his blog was top notch. This year itís slipped a little, with more focus on cars than affiliate marketing. Itís his blog and he can do with it what he likes but I fear he is digressing too far. Iíve suggested a dedicated car blog to feed his addiction and time will tell whether he takes advantage of the suggestion.
This yearís vote went to Jason who has been very vocal in the affiliate advice arena. Kirsty almost certainly gets my vote next year.
Anyhow, the question we all want to know is what do we have to do to get nominated and subsequently win the award? Hereís my interpretation. More
This is the first time I've seen this on the Amazon site so I presume it's fairly new.
With Amazon Prime, you pay an annual subscription fee but then get some good perks. Here's a run-down of what you would get. More
I placed an order with Find Me a Gift yesterday at 3:30pm yesterday. I received an email from them at 3:45pm saying it had been despatched. I've used Google Checkout as a merchant so I know that you can do this to tidy up your interface so I just assumed it would be despatched today.
I was truly amazed at 11:30am today when the postie handed over the parcel from them! More
Remember a while ago, free iPod sites exploded. They quickly lost their buzz in favour of the million dollar homepage style sites which, in turn have lost their buzz to cashback sites.
Well, there's a new payment gateway based upon the free iPod concept. More
On the 20th September I wrote about how the Royal Mail could be killing e-commerce. According to a comment on Boyd's website, they are but he's come up with an ingenious idea.
I pulled out my artbox and came up with this (can you guess what it is yet?):
For those who donít know, Royal Mail employees want a fair pay rise and Royal Mail wonít give them 100% of what they are asking for. The Communications Workers Union has instigated several one day strikes, then last month it moved onto rolling strikes in an attempt to slow the whole postal network down.
They have now just issued a 5 day strike. More
I've logged into my Tradedoubler account and noticed a new program (that doesn't seem to be set up properly) called BT Web Clicks. Intrigued, I followed the links to here, BT's answer to all your PPC woes.
This really does raise some interesting questions. More
Just a heads up to this offer I'm pushing over at Compare Sat Nav. Thought it may interest a few others.
If you buy Tesco Car Insurance before mid September, they'll give you £100 off a TomTom sat nav system. More
This story (ChoicesUK have called in the administrators) has been picked up by all the major news outlets but thought it was worth blogging. Plus, whilst I was on the BBC's website, I've noticed a set of social bookmarking links at the bottom of the post! The Beeb's gone all Web 2.0! More
Over the past few months, new affiliate networks have popped up.
Fraser has highlighted a Swedish network targeting the UK called Affiliator (apparently bigger than Tradedoubler though I suggest not - and I don't seem to be the only one.)
I popped over to Affiliator to see what clients they have. This is where my question comes from! More
Yesterday I saw an advert for a free laptop at PC World and today I've seen a free laptop at Carphone Warehouse. What's interesting about the Carphone Warehouse offer is that you have to sign up for AOL. Seems weird being that CPWH are the same group as Talk Talk! More
Just logged into Tradedoubler and found a link to contextual ads.
Here's an example set to show adverts relating to fridges: More
July 10th and I wrote a piece about How Not To Close An Affiliate Program.
I took down my links as requested. Job done I though.
I have just received an email saying the program is still live - arghhhhh! More
I wrote 15 days ago about how Affiliate Window emailed me in a poaching manner with regards to the Pixmania program.
Anthony Clements commented on the post, clearing up the issue, namely saying Tradedoubler had been informed of the program closure.
So why is it only today Tradedoubler are emailing me and telling me Pixmania closes tomorrow? More
I received a personalised (i.e. Dear Dave) email today from a Ross Truesdale of Affiliate Window. Not that bizarre until you realise a) I'm not a member of Affiliate Window and b) it is addressed to my Tradedoubler email address (tradedoubler@...)
It seemingly turns out Affiliate Window are trying to poach publishers from Tradedoubler. More