affiliate

Affiliate Sites and Mobile Traffic

Mobify has a great post with a few informative links and stats about mobile traffic and its implications for marketing on the web in 2013…

13 Stats to Convince Your Boss to Invest in Mobile in 2013 | Mobify: “To help you pitch your boss and frame the situation from their perspective, we’ve prepared a collection of the most exciting numbers around the mobile web. It will help you get the attention of any skeptic, be it your manager, your client, or your mom.”

Mobile has been a massive traffic source since Android, iPhone, etc came along and that trend only continues to grow. However, a lot of our industry has been slow to adapt to that change and is still catching up. If you’re not analyzing where your traffic comes from on your sites (things like Google Analytics are great for this) and optimizing accordingly, you’re missing out on important traffic that can ultimately lead to conversions. In other words, if your site doesn’t work well on mobile, you’re losing money.

Affiliates need to stay on top of their game and be optimizing their sites and apps for mobile. Responsive design (we love Squarespace for this) is a great way to optimize your sites. iPads, Android tablets, and smartphones (think iPhone, Android, Windows Phone) are accounting for an increasing number of pageviews across the web. Especially if you rely on referred traffic from social media, you need to be thinking about and making changes as needed to make sure your site works well on mobile.

In 2013, there’s no excuse for horrible mobile themes or having to pinch-and-zoom a million times. Also, you’re probably losing some search traffic to sites with optimized designs.

Mobify’s slide deck also has some good pointers and excellent statistics that elaborate on what mobile means and why you should be optimizing your sites accordingly:

50 Must-Know Mobile Commerce Facts and Statistics from Mobify

Avoiding SEO Mistakes and Finding the Right Agency

Great post that highlights a few of the mistakes that companies make when having to deal with SEO, but this is the highlight:

The SEO Mistakes That Wiped Out 80% of My Organic Traffic: “The best marketing and SEO is done by a committed in-house team that builds real relationships with others in their niche. And if you’re marketing your first site, I strongly recommend doing your own SEO and marketing to learn the ropes and build your experience. If you ever do decide to outsource it in the future – or hire your own in-house team – having the knowledge from doing it yourself will be crucial to properly manage the process.”

We do SEO for many of our clients. They trust us with this very crucial and necessary facet of doing business, or just having a presence, online. However, I’ve had great fun and success working with companies where I ended up teaching an in-house team or person how to manage their own SEO and eventually their affiliate management etc.

In the long run, the web becomes a better place when agency and marketers stop trying to keep an Oz-like curtain up in order to keep the income flowing in. Sure, we have to pay our bills but the clients will come since what we’re offering is good.

It’s much more satisfying to work with a company (large or small) as it learns and grows along with this constantly evolving web. We much prefer those types of clients than the “set it and forget it” types.

Affiliate Marketing After Coupons

Affiliate marketing as a mainstream channel is something we talked about a great deal in 2006 and 2007 when the industry was largely dominated by either email marketing or coupon marketing.

It has been fascinating to watch the combination of social media and content marketing really transform the paradigm of affiliate marketing from faceless high volume publishers to a more transparent stream of traffic and clicks. That’s been a positive development:

Affiliate Marketing Going ‘Mainstream’ Says VigLink CEO Roup: “Roup adds, ‘[Affiliate marketing] has gone from coupons to content. Though coupon sites were dominating up until a few years ago, what you’ve seen since that time is mainstream publishers, who deal in real content are starting to delve into the affiliate world.’  Huffington Post and Wanelo are among the larger media companies using VigLink products today which, he asserts, ‘proves’ that affiliate marketing is less on the fringes than ever.”

More to the point, the idea that the affiliate chain can include compensation beyond the last-click has been a hot button topic for over a decade now. Roup speaks on that as well:

But we suspect that coupon sites intercept a lot of the value that our publishers are creating and that the coupon site gets the credit. At this point, publishers are not compensated for any click other than the last one. We are working to try and understand that more deeply. Ideally, we would like to compute that value and be able to deliver as promised to the publisher. I wouldn’t say we’re there yet. We are doing some fairly detailed experiments with some merchants though.

It’s interesting to see the notion of affiliate marketing becoming both mainstream as well as realizing the pitfalls of having a core publishing center based on coupling. As the economies and scales of affiliates and performance marketing channels continue to evolve in the next few years (with the steady rise of social media and location based advertising), I suspect we’ll see a very real and solvent affiliate space that need not rely on coupons.

However, what does that look like?

Affiliate Site Twitter Profile Pages

If you’re using Twitter in conjunction with your other social media marketing plans for your affiliate site, don’t forget the important aspect of the design of your Twitter Profile page.

TheNextWeb has a nice practical guide for points to consider when doing so (it’s aimed at brand marketing folks, but still applicable for performance marketers)…

Tips for Twitter Brand Pages: “The header image can be used to direct the user’s attention to a specific item on the page, as was the case in HP’s example, or it can be used to promote an engaging marketing plan, as Staples did, with a competition. Using the header image as nothing more than a banner advert, as both McDonald’s and Coca-Cola did, wound up getting the least attention from viewers.”

Word of caution here… unlike Facebook Fan Pages or even Google+ pages, Twitter Profile pages area mixed bag. Yes, they are somewhat customizable and the new embedded media feature helps the look/feel. However, up to 1/2 (depending on whose numbers you trust) of Twitter users access the service via mobile or apps. I’d venture to posit (strongly) that most “power” users that are desirable for many niches are these types of app users (I rarey go to the main Twitter page and most of my network is similar).

So, design and test but don’t fret if you don’t see the type of interaction you do with a Facebook Fan page etc. Twitter, unlike Facebook, has lots of meaning in the message.

Dealing with eComXpo eMail

No matter how many times I've asked to be unsubscribed from eComXpo's mailing lists, I always get redundant mail from them anytime there's a new "virtual event" taking place.  It makes me wonder just how much money eComXpo has spent in acquiring email lists of affiliate marketers, publishers or bloggers over the years because the various email aliases that get sent their messages are all directly correlated to specific affiliate networks or newsletters.  Whatever… just don't sell/rent your email lists.  It's really a bad practice (and an ineffectual one in 2009). 

So, instead of relying on the good graces of the folks behind eComXpo to actually follow through with unsubscribe requests, I've had to invoke the nuclear option.

Thank goodness for GMail's filters:

It does not bode well for your business when you make folks take actions such as this for what should (legally) be your own responsibility. 

Lame.

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