March 21, 2008

Interview with Google Website Optimizer's Tom Leung

By Julie Joyce

Google's Website Optimizer, currently in beta, is a free site content testing tool offered inside of Google AdWords. Designed to improve conversion rates on paid ads and thus keep advertisers happy (and, not coincidentally, keep them spending money), Website Optimizer allows advertisers to test out various combinations of original and varied headlines, images, etc. in order to determine which combination has the highest conversion rate.

Tom Leung, Business Product Manager of Google Website Optimizer, was kind enough to answer my questions about Website Optimizer. As someone who’s been doing PPC for a few years, I was actually quite excited to speak to him and learn more about a product that even a picky client who swears by numbers would like. (I’ll let you know how it works out once I convince my picky client to use it.)

What’s so fascinating about this product is that it has the potential to provide clients with NUMBERS to back up what the best chance for the highest conversion rate is.  As you’ll see below, the product has the potential to increase conversions by 30%, which is quite significant. If you’ve ever dealt with a client who didn’t trust your recommendations because you didn’t really have actual numbers to back it up, Website Optimizer could seriously make your day.

And, just for all the mathletes out there, check out their section on Fractional versus Full Factorial Analysis for a jolly good read.

Julie Joyce: “What are the basic principles behind Google Website Optimizer?

Tom Leung: "It's a tool that lets you test different combinations of content and web designs. You tell Website Optimizer, for a given page, what things you're curious about testing to increase its effectiveness: this headline could be better, one of these three images should work, this button should be located here ... Website Optimizer lets you test all of those ideas by distributing the traffic that hits that page, showing each visitor one of the various permutations, and providing reports that help you make more informed decisions and maximize conversion rates and visitor satisfaction."

Rptcombo_2

Julie Joyce: “Where did the idea for this product come from?

Tom Leung: "It came from the overall goal of what we do with Google AdWords and Google Analytics: increasing transparency and marketing effectiveness. With AdWords and Analytics, we've done a good job of helping website owners get targeted traffic to their sites. Website Optimizer closes that loop; it's the third leg of the stool. Website Optimizer will show what you can do to make pages perform better. The only way to figure out the ideal page is to try a bunch of combinations simultaneously and see, with great precision, what caused conversions."

Julie Joyce: “What does Google stand to gain from the improvement of PPC conversion rates?

Tom Leung: "Google benefits from doing big things: making a big impact on the Web and the world, helping people design better pages so that users have a better experience. Websites can do a better job of converting and getting people more engaged and involved. It's also very scientific. Website owners will get a higher ROI, which can help people decide if they want to invest more with AdWords. Everyone wins."

Julie Joyce: “What feedback have you received so far on the tool? Has the initial response been what you anticipated?

Tom Leung: "Great feedback. As a result of doing testing, a lot of users tell us their companies will not make any permanent changes to their site unless they've done at least one test. People aren't just designing pages by guessing and gut feel. A 20% or 30% increase in conversions is not uncommon! We encourage people to test all the time; it's a free tool. And marketers feel like they've gotten some power back. They used to be beholden to the designers and the IT team. Everybody feels like it's not about opinion and politics anymore, which makes it great buy-in across the company."

Julie Joyce: “What is the maximum number of combinations that can run for one page?

Tom Leung: "From an engineering point of view, we limit the number to 10,000 for a single experiment, but it depends on your traffic. The rule of thumb is that for every 100 conversions, you can test 1 alternate version of your page. If you have 300 conversions per week, test 2 or 3. That's suggested for statistical relevance. We also recommend that people start small."

Julie Joyce: “Currently the tool doesn't allow testing of database-driven content. Are there plans for doing so in the future?

Tom Leung: "Website Optimizer will work fine for a dynamic page, as long as the tags get inserted on the page by your CMS or webserver. We hold webinars about once a month where we explain how it works. As your site gets more sophisticated, the tool is still flexible enough but it requires a bit more investment. We also have Website Optimizer Authorized Consultants who offer additional support and marketing strategy."

Julie Joyce: “How long is a typical experimentation period?

Tom Leung: "Even if you have a ton of traffic and you're testing 2 versions, let it run at least a week, but generally 2 weeks because of seasonal effects that need to be normalized."

Julie Joyce: “Any potential abuse that could happen from the tool? Can black hats use it for anything nefarious?” [Editor’s note: I was hoping to get some black hat tips but Tom was too clever…]

Tom Leung: "Testing is good if you're improving user experience, but if you're using any testing tool to deceive search engines or users, that is subject to the same penalties. Using Website Optimizer does not buy you any protection for wrongdoing, but if people are worried about being mistaken for cloaking, they can read on our Help Center about how testing for the good of users and making pages more effective are good things."

So there you have it...Google's Website Optimizer is quite a fascinating tool so if you're doing PPC, give it a go.

March 18, 2008

SES New York: Landing Page Testing & Tuning

By Brian Cosgrove

Moderator: Sage Lewis, (www.sagerock.com)
Speakers:

Description:
This session had only one speaker which is atypical of an SES conference. Fortunately, this speaker came with a great ppt full of examples to illustrate each point and plenty of enthusiasm to keep the entire room engaged.

Who should design your website?

Marketers? IT? No! Visitors should design your website! You get thousands of people who can test out your experiments. Guinea Pigs who are willing to give you answers about your site.

Case Studies:

Tim presented a number of test scenarios from various sites. For example, he shows that RealAge.com received a 40% lift in conversion rate once the proper form was identified.

The headline, the length of questions, the look of the button,… these were all factors for the site’s registration page. The point is that a number of subtle changes meant $3 million to bottom line. Thinking streamlined, shorter, and simpler is a good way to get a page to convert. A big green round-edged button doesn’t seem to hurt either. In many cases a radical simplification is the best option.

The Matrix:

Tim’s Matrix is a calculation to decide whether people’s needs are being met.

The Matrix = Roles x Tasks x AIDA

AIDA stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.

In essence this means:

Getting the Right People

through the Right Activity

in the Right Order.

Example Roles:

Southwest airlines had a number of actions that a new or returning visitor might want to perform. They made to sure to organize their homepage to reflects these roles.

Common Awareness Problems:

Banner Ads can be distracting and could lead users away from the primary point of the site.

Entry pop-ups are annoying and invasive.

A cluttered home page such as Adorama with 146 links is confusing and overwhelming.

A site with good awareness will focus on categories. That is, if you have a lot of crap, let people focus on the subset of crap that they care about.

Keys to Creating Awareness:

  1. Stop screaming at your visitors – Flashing banners or lots of competing visual elements will drive a negative response.
  2. Eliminate choices – Less choices puts more prominence on each one.
  3. Uncluttered what remains – A clean interface simplifies choice.

Rules of Web Awareness:

  1. If you cannot find something easily, it doesn’t exist.
  2. If you emphasize too many items, all of them lose importance.
  3. Any delay increases frustration.

Typical Desire Activities: Research and Compare.

Example: A user may go to a shoe store and research the options by a number of criteria such as – Text, Category, Brand, Size, Color “On Sale” “New”

A site that is unhelpful for the research component of desire is Zappos. Its search feature lends itself to zero-results options make you reenter your search criteria again (or enter a form to get updates on new sizes…).

Rules of Web Desire:

  1. Make me feel appreciated
  2. Make me feel safe
  3. Understand that I am in control

Action Stage Consideration:

Brand Strength – Some users buy on brand. This is more the result of long-term efforts.

Previous Resource Investment (“satisfycing”) - Maybe your option is the next best thing that comes along.

The total solution- Users may be looking for the all-in-one value: availability, customer service hours, return policy, price, free shipping, etc…

Risk reducers & credibility:

These concepts are different. Risk reducers eliminate things that would scare a user away. Credibility increases the likelihood that this site is the best place to convert.

Unhelpful Risk Reducers:

Trust and credibility symbols below the fold or placed as an after thought.

Helpful Risk Reducers:

Petsmart put their Hackersafe symbol in the upper left where a logo would normally appear. 

Credibility and Validation

A lead form on the left side of the page is complemented by a list of high-profile customers on the right.

Rules of Web Action:

  1. Get out of my way.
  2. Make it easy.
  3. Don’t surprise me.

Bad Web Action:

Overstock.com’s screen is reconfigured when clicking radio buttons indicating whether you’re new or returning. A better design would focus on the new customer first and make any registration occur after the checkout process.

Transaction Interruption such as a popup during checkout will drive down conversion. Don’t ask the customer “Would you like fries with that?” through a popup when they have their wallet open. Don’t interrupt checkout process.

Interaction

Most tuning methods don’t take into account the interaction between the elements. For example the term: “Ferraris are Fast” would go well with an image of a fast moving car. It would not go well with the image of a car wrapped around a tree. A picture of a car wrapped around a tree would go well with the headline “Volvos are Safe” if it accompanies a story of a person walking away from a horrific accident.

That is: It’s not the picture, it’s not headline, it’s the context in which they appear.

The best setting for a variable depends on its context and it’s best to maximize positive interactions. Not only do interactions exist, they can be very strong. Ignoring them will lead to suboptimal results. A/B split and Multivariate/Tagushi testing assume that there are no interactions.

A-B Split Test:

Test one variable at a time (with 2 or more vales), send equal traffic to all versions.

- Very simple to implement

- Requires atleast 10 conversions/day to get worthwhile results.

Multivariate

Test several variables at the same time, ignoring interaction.

The scope requires identifying the size of the test in terms of total unique recipes. For example: 12 variables making a total of 38 different values leads to 552960 different versions of the page. This type of testing needs more than 50 conversions a day to get valuable results.

Tuning Pitfall #1: Ignoring Your Baseline

- Always devote some bandwidth to your current version (the baseline)

Tuning Pitfall # 2 Not Collecting Enough Data

When considering numbers, remember that some degree of variance is inherent in chance. For example, 1/3 of the time, 90 is the same as 100. An inadequate sample size leads to very wide and overlapping error bars. When sample size is ramped up, bars get narrow and become uncrossed. Sample size matters.

February 24, 2008

SES London 2008: Balancing Organic & Paid Listings

By SEOidiot

Moderator: Kevin Ryan VP Search Engine Watch
Speakers: Dixon Jones, MD Receptional Limited
Jay Bean: Founder CEO, Orange Soda Inc
Nathan Levi: Head of Search Campaign Marketing Avenue A | Razorfish
Richard Clark: Pureplay Marketing Manager, Dixons.co.uk

Paid and organic has been a debate for a long time and the panel discussed the ways to balance the two strategies for the best results.

Dixon Jones
Lots of peoples clients argue that organic is something that should replace the early spend for PPC. Dixon showed an example of someone who contacted him via the form on his site after clicking on Receptionals Adwords ad attempting to sell him SEO!

You should pay for ppc even when you have placement within the organic serps. Dixon showed a good example of how the organic and paid results are blurred now, the example illustrated how a search can return the one box results that gives news and stock info etc.

Many of the sites linked to within the one box carry advertising as a business model. So traditional organic listings do get pushed down the page, thats why you need a dual approach.

We then looked at an example of how changes in screen resolution / size can almost allow one company with indented results in the serps to dominate the above the fold results.

Dominance in any one serp cannot be achieved without a balanced approach to using both methods.

Affiliates can also provide a way of finding your site pushed from the visible to below the fold for a given vertical.

PPC is part of the mix, SEO is the sum of the mix. You need both tools to be able to ensure you have the ability to respond the changes in circumstances that come with any search engine.

Two listings on a page converts better than just one method and more listings help you dominate more of the space on the page from your competition.

Jay Bean
Smaller local advertisers have some real opportunities today as a growing percentage of searches feature a localization element.

Benefits for the balanced approach: -

  • You can turn up and down the ppc spend dependent on business or seasonal factors.
  • You don't have any guarantees that the organic wont change and without the paid listing you can find yourself exposed to changes in search engine preference.
  • You get greater credibility from appearing both in the paid and organic results and this can benefit conversions significantly.

Where to start ?
Check the current ppc spend and analyze your keywords to give you an indication of terms that you might want to optimize for in natural search or by adding a local market segment.
Set a budget to allow you to allocate your spend between the paid and SEO efforts and in the early days whilst waiting for the seo efforts to kick in paid can take more of the resources.

The case study Jay showed highlighted the benefit of targeting specific terms for SEO and a far broader set for paid.

For the smaller or local companies it may be difficult to compete with the large corporations but there remains good opportunities to compete on the local level.

Nathan Levi
Why should I buy my branded keywords when i rank for the terms in the organic listings often at a high cost per click?
Nathan showed us some case studies to illustrate the effect of the dual strategy over the single.
Its important that you try to get the analytics in one place to allow you to make informed decisions.
You need to be able to drive enough traffic to be able to get robust statistics so keyword choice is key.
They did a test to see what effect turning the paid listings off one day and on the next would have.
When the paid listings were on it pulled traffic away from natural but the click through rate was greatly improved and the overall effect was that both listings benefited from each other.
Conversion rates were static across the test, whilst increasing the incremental cost of having paid listings the overall benefit from the increased conversions made it well worth it.

In conclusion there is a multiplier effect of holding both natural and paid.

Richard Clark
60% of searches now have 3 or more words and 90% have 2 or more.
Dixons.co.uk started by spending all their online budgets on paid listings targeting generic terms but have grown to use a more balanced approach.

Dependent on budgets you need to target the stage on the buying process that you can afford and that makes sense for you, for example if Dixon's target the term 'TV' they  are targeting people in the research phase of the buying cycle but you can also target people in the buying phase by targeting much more focused terms like 'Toshiba 32 inch  lcd TV'.

When trademark isn't protected you should always bid on the brand.
Over 20% uplift in revenue when bid on branded terms when you are also top of the organic.

Being top of ppc and organic increases brand awareness and recall.

Q & A Session:
Will buying paid listings affect your organic listings?
Nathan Levi - Throughout there many thousands of listings where they have organic and paid results they don't see any effect that would indicate the engines (MSN specifically in this case) do not alter any organic results based on paid ads for the same.


January 27, 2008

Effective PPC Strategies For Political Campaigns

By Account Deleted

Ppcandpolitics In a previous post on SemGeek.com entitled "Study: Search Marketing In Prime Spot To Play Major Role in Political Spending" I discussed the great opportunities that awaits for the Search Industry to get a bigger piece of the campaign spending pie. The only thing in our way is convincing the Politicians and Campaign Managers to see the value in all that the Search Industry has to offer. Especially the "high level" online strategies that can be created, implemented, tested and reported on in Paid Search. If we can convince them of that, then we will strike that "all important" commonality of getting a greater ROVP (Return On Voter Participation). However, it is that same messaging power of the web that also scares them to put more money into it. But over time, Analytics and actionable data will change their minds.

To help reinforce this skepticism, acccording to this study done by Borrell Associates which states “The jury is still out regarding the Internet’s effectiveness for reaching and targeting the undecided,” the report read. “There is a fear that their message may end up going to an unintended recipient. Consultants would need to be convinced of the accuracy of this type of direct advertising reaching and persuading the intended targets before they would find sufficient value to devote much money toward it.”

Who's Helping To Get This Message Out:
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a new company called CampaignGrid which is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA where the goal is to not only educate and persuade the massive opportunities in SEO, PPC, Social Media, Analytics and Testing, but also drive measurable results that help the candidates, non-profits and charitable organizations who need help. In a nutshell, it's all about Raising Money, Advertising and Organizing Online to drive the best possible results. Results consist of online donations, capturing information from volunteers and cross channel support.

Campaigngridlogo2_2

Here are just a few of the things we are doing at CampaignGrid:

  • Behavioral Targeting with Interactive Video and Transactional Banners
  • Using PPC to persuade voters of all parties on the candidates messaging.
  • Counteracting negative campaigning tactics (which is essentially reputation management)
  • Testing different messaging tactics across different Geo and Demographic  audiences.
  • Creating streamlined data flow processes to maximize the effectives of all online advertising
  • Implementing robust analytics tracking to provide political campaign managers with everything from the amount of donations and volunteer submissions on any given day to how effective specific PPC campaigns are doing against others.

In conclusion: There is a big perception problem with political parties that the Internet is a very dangerous playground and it's easier to spend millions on traditional media such as TV, Radio and Print. However, we can bridge that gap by simply educating the political arena that Search Marketing is not only much more cost effective, but it is comprised of "cutting edge" strategies, best practices and highly detailed analytics which allows for a greater understanding of how the campaign's money is being spent.

As an old Mentor used to tell me you need to tell clients "Fish where the Fish are!" It doesn't get any easier than that in Search.

December 16, 2007

Ruin Your PPC Campaigns With Analytics*

By Alex Cohen

Numbers are your enemy.  They will only complicate your life and take time away from your instinct and opinion.  In fact, I think analytics just might ruin your pay-per-click campaigns.  Read on to learn to stop loving metrics and start loving subjective decisions!

Too Many Metrics?  Just Optimize For One

Listen, there are a lot of data out there.  Trying to look at all of the data takes too much time.  That's time you could be spending turning on all of the automatic management features of AdWords and getting a martini. 

Web Analysts want you believe that analysis is hard.  It's not.  Just pick a number for your campaign that matters to you, say conversion rate.  Now base all of your optimization decisions around that one metric. 

Who cares how many impressions those other keywords got?  Revenue and cost-per-sale?  Forget them.  Optimizing for one goal is easier and people love seeing conversion rate go up and to the right.

Everything That Matters Happens Before The Click

Keyword research is really time consuming.  The same goes for setting up campaigns, ad groups, and creatives.  That's why you should spend your time measuring those things.  Don't waste your time seeing what happens when people land on your site.

Continue reading "Ruin Your PPC Campaigns With Analytics*" »

June 13, 2007

eBay vs. Google: Google Protests, eBay Pulls U.S. Adwords

By Li Evans

Ebay A collective sigh of relief can be heard from a lot of online marketers right now.  eBay's pulled all of their U.S. ads on the Adwords network.  According to Computer World and other industry blogs,  eBay spokesman Hani Durzy characterized the decision to pull the U.S. Google ads as "an instance in a continued experiment eBay does to determine the best allocation of its advertising and marketing budget."

eBay's rather notorious for there ads on every imaginable keyword out there.  At one point you could even buy "Danny Sullivan" on eBay.  That was at least, according to their paid advertising if your searched for information on Danny.  One of the most annoying things for almost all online marketers is dealing with EBay and its very broad marketing campaigns, tonight at least for a little while, perhaps campaigns might see some relief with not having to compete with eBay.

With saying that, you might be wondering why eBay's "really" pulled there ads. 

Continue reading "eBay vs. Google: Google Protests, eBay Pulls U.S. Adwords" »

May 08, 2007

Google Quality Score Myths & Truths

By Account Deleted

In today's world, most SEM Gurus play the quality score game with Google and to some extent Yahoo. However, in order to impress a client or get kudos for a really innovative idea to improve CTR% or conversion, we are forced to some sort of A/B test, Ad multivariate tests and sometimes Day-parting (with the help of analytics). Typically speaking, one would think that all of this testing would wreak havoc on our goals for high Google Quality Score. Well, after a bit of thought and a quick call into Google, I can confirm that it's not as bad as we all may think it is. Let's discuss.

Day-Parting:
Day-parting DOES NOT AFFECT overall Google Quality Score because Google keeps the CTR% history. However, day-parting could backfire on you if the CTR% for that specific time is lower than it's original full-time running. So it's important to use analytics to verify when is the best time to segment the day parting.

Pausing & Deleting of Keywords:
At first, I assumed this was a no brainer that it would affect quality score, but oddly enough according to Google the deletion and/or pausing of a particular keyword/search term DOES NOT AFFECT Quality Score, because there is no loss of performance history and hence keeps it's own Quality Score.

Quality Score & Ads/Creatives:
When I attended the SES NY conference in April, 2007, one of the presenters mentioned that when testing Ads on Google, it's important to not change the Ads too much because you will lose history and eventually Quality Score. However, it's importance to note what really effects quality score at the Ad/Creative level is any change made to the landing page of a Destination URL field. (Note: This is different than losing performance stats that get recycled  when making a change to any of the Ad fields) To back up my claim, here's a real example from Google regarding an inquiry I had made about a past client of mine. "As long as the landing page of the Destination URL is not changed, merely adding additional tags to the URL will not affect your Quality Score or average cost."

So, in a SEM-nutshell, the skepticism of on-going testing (day parting, deleting/pausing of keywords and Ad Variations) does not hurt the ongoing efforts of Google quality score. Frankly, I was a bit surprised that Google continues to capture of history on all of these areas. I have to admit that I am impressed with Google's dedication to allowing it's customers test and improve performance of their keywords/campaigns, etc... Let's just hope that neither of these testing elements change in the near future, especially since it's getting more expensive everyday to compete in the space.

April 16, 2007

Would You Report Paid Links?

By Li Evans

Buyinglinks Over the weekend Matt Cutts put out a short, but to the point, post on his blog about reporting paid links through the webmaster centrals console by using the authenticated spam report form or by using the unauthenticated spam report form (if you don't have a webmaster central account).  I found this rather curious, and seriously pondered this thought.

Would you report a site you knew was selling links?  Could you prove it?  If you were "found out" what would be the repercussions?  Where is the line between what a webmaster can put on their site and what Google "forces" them to put on their site?

I'm not about to play "lets kick Matt Cutts around", I really like Matt and respect his knowledge and his openness.  However, I keep coming back to the question - "is this Google telling people what they can and cannot put on their sites, link wise?"

Money What if I worked really hard on my site, on my blog or on my portal, and it became an authority.  Someone emails me and offers to pay $20 bucks a week for a link and it's truly relevant to my site, I've checked it out, it's totally legit, not a link farm, not a spam site, not cloaked - but a true, legit site.  Does Google have the right to basically "blackmail" me with the "loss of page rank"?

Blackmail is a harsh term, but, in essence, isn't that what it comes down too?  Either you want the page rank integrity, or you want the payment for your hard work. 

And I'm not this "naive whitehat" that doesn't understand there's a lot more at work here.  Sure there are companies that make their living at doing this.  But if they are legitimate companies, that check these sites for relevancy and not spam/link farms - what's the harm?

I just feel that Google's starting to slide down a slippery slope here - how about you?

April 05, 2007

Adsense & Adwords Units Roll Out Changes

By Li Evans

Google's PPC units have been hard at work over the past couple of months.  We saw a few screen captures a few weeks back of things Google Adwords' unit was testing.  Those test results are being rolled out as you read this.   

Google announced the 2 new features on its Adwords blog: 1) new yellow backgrounds 2)  instead of clicking anywhere in the box, users now need to click on the link in the top line of an ad in order to be taken to an advertiser's site.

Googleadwords

The Adsense unit has also been hard at work and has rolled out changes as well.  Adsense, when it appears on a website, will now have a new look.  No longer will you see the text "Ads by Google" and each ad being divided by a line, the new version is a much "Cleaner" look.  Ads are separated by whitespace and the text "Ads By Google" is replaced by a "folder tab" look and "Google" actually appearing in its logo font.

Googleadsense

Could this be Google's attempt to prevent "banner blindness" from happening?  With both of these changing at the same time, it certainly seems that way.

April 02, 2007

Leveraging Paid Search and Affiliate Marketing

By Account Deleted

Maguire In a recent blog post, I wrote about the Death of Affiliate Marketing in the online marketplace. Citing that companies are being more cost conscious with all of the expensive monthly fees, setup costs, affiliates bidding on Trademark terms in paid search, etc...  Well, after giving this some thought, there are some useful and opportunistic tactics where companies can leverage their affiliate relationship in paid search resulting in a Win-Win for everyone, especially the consumer. I'm NOT talking about traditional Branding.... I'm talking about New Customer Aquisition.

Trademark Bidding Rules:
Ok, so we all know that there are major issues regarding Trademark Bidding with competitors and affiliates bidding on a company 's trademark search terms. In most cases with SEM, the "branding" search terms drive the most revenue at the lowest costs, resulting in a continuous ROAS% profit machine. However, as I have learned firsthand in this industry, acquiring new customers by bidding on more generic search terms is getting increasingly more expensive as competition and saturation influence ROAS and profit margins.

So in order to "not piss-off" affiliates who are trying to generate additional sales, position your affiliate network NOT as a Branding Channel, but as an Acquisition Channel because the "SEM reality check" has taught us that getting new customers is more expensive and just shutting affiliates down because of  Trademark bidding is a ticket for disaster because they will go elsewhere, most likely to a competitor. You need to empower them with genuine and useful information to entice them to  come back to the program and give them the initiative and tools they need to drive more new customers. (ie. share the love!)

Help me... Help you! (Entice your Affiliates in SEM Battles)
After discussing the Trademark woes,  it's a good thing to share with your affiliates new ideas that can excite and bring back to life this once powerful marketing channel. Let them know things like "hey, of the 10,000 keywords that we are bidding on, only 10% are driving successful revenue (mostly brand terms). Share with them that there is a great opportunity for them to penetrate new markets and you need their help do it. Make them feel they are a part of the overall plan and be very clear that they will be rewarded for their participation.

Here are some other things that can be addressed:

  1. Provide them with new products coming to market which can give you that all-important "upper hand" on competitors.
  2. Give them new customer acquisition bonuses based on specific product categories/segments that have historically achieved lower ROAS% in the past
  3. Provide them with SEM tactical best practices docs such as ...
    1. Keyword research for top products (provide them with keywords)
    2. Examples of Ad/Creatives that have work well iin the past
    3. Provide them with new (CTA) landing pages
  4. Just be honest with them. Share some basic analytics/data with them
    1. Conversion rates
    2. Top 100 products
    3. Top converting products
    4. Bounce Rates

If there is anything to gain from affiliate marketing and paid search, it's finding a way to make it successful over the short term but most importantly the long term. One of the hardest things anyone can do with paid search is to turn it into a highly profitable, money-making machine that adjusts itself to market conditions. As competitors continue to saturate the market and raise CPCs, it becomes more and more difficult to acquire new customers while sustaining a healthy ROAS% based on traditional Cost/Margins of products & services. It is this trend alone where the Affiliate Marketing Channel can be leveraged to your advantage. Let your affiliates drive more qualified NEW customers to your website and lastly let the affiliate know that you want them to succeed because if you can help them succeed, imagine the long term benefit of new and repeat buyers over the next 5-10 years.

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