Dealing With Affiliates (Pepperjam & Performics)

Dec 6, 2006 - 1:11 pm 1 by
Filed Under SES Chicago 2006

Jeffrey K. Rohrs is moderating this panel, a new panel for SES.

Anton Konikoff from Acronym Media is up first. He starts off explaining that he is a fan of affiliate marketing. They have a brand new affiliate program, they offer 15% commission. He then lists a ton of terms you cannont bid on, you cant bid more than $0.25 and you much praise the client and no bidding on client names, this is of course a joke on affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing obviously has its challenges. Affiliates can drive up bid prices, affiliates can effectively block your ads from showing up in Google AdWords, they can cause a lower volume of traffic, higher cost per acquisition. The bad thing is that clients are not able or unwilling to control their affiliates use of paid search. He shows an example for one of his clients get bidded up, 7 out of 10 links are from affiliates. Google favors affiliates in some cases, he says, because amount of historical data, higher CTR and better quality score matters. Google is making a little easier for search marketers by requiring things like unique domain names and a landing page quality factor. A case study with Sirius radio, with Google's changes, increased volume by 15% and drove higher CTRs and lower bid prices, since Google's changes went into affect. As an affiliate, you can always be harsh and say no bidding on brand terms, limit the search engines and channels, unique offers only for affiliates, no brand name in copy and don't let affiliates bid higher than the search vendors. He advocates against such tight restrictions, the 7 deadly sins of affiliate marketing book, he came up with his own. 7 Brilliant Ideas on dealing with affiliates intelligently: (1) Ground Rules, fight the "reflex to restrict", revise inventory estimates with affiliates in the equation, create a search revenue model for affiliates and show the shortest path to the long tail. (2) Learning from Affiliates ; closely examine affiliates that appear to be performing better than you and why are they beating you out (landing page, ad copy, larger sample, etc.) (3) Reconnaissance Mission; monitor top affiliates keywords, landing pages and ad copy for brand compliance. SEMs: offer affiliate monitoring as a standalone service. Automated tools can help harvest the data for analysis. (4) Are you good at sharing? Build loyalty, in exchange ask affiliates for search intelligence, ID two or three key affiliates and use them to complement your efforts and develop metrics to report on affiliates search contributions. (5) Battle for Search Domination: use affiliate intelligently to own more SERP real estate, design search programs to boost awareness and trial, quantify benefits using branding metrics and do not offer exclusive affiliates. (6) A Taste of Organic; run ranking reports on affiliates, educate affiliates on SEO best practices and potential pitfalls. Use them as a workaround. Train them (7) Advocating your SEM Work: success will require solid relationships between SEM and the client and other agencies and affiliates, create a what if scenario for the client and be vocal to your client.

Mark J Rosenberg from Sills Cummis Epstein & Gross P.C.

Key Intellectual Property Issues with Affiliates: - Trademarks - Copyright - Infringement - Third Party Liability

Trademarks and Affiliates: - Keyword issues (when you can buy trademarks, how you can, intent, etc.) - Domain Names (cyber squatting, intent is important) - Meta Tags (playboy examples) - Search Results - Affiliate Web Pages

Take Control: - Know your Affiliates - Set Guidelines and Standards (they need to be contractual) - Police Your Affiliates - Terminate The Problem Affiliates

Kristopher B. Jones from Pepperjam is now up. They are super affiliates and leading outsourced affiliate marketing management company.To run an good affiliate campaign is about two things; communication and transparency.

Affiliate Friend or Foe: - Affiliates are your friends if you work with them strategically. - 95% of your sales are generated by 5% of your affiliates (super affiliates) - SEM affiliates are generally most sophisticated than you are. - SEM agencies can be expensive or cost prohibitive - Believe it or not, you can control what your affiliates do, he says.

"Affiliates" Potential Strategic Partners - Affiliates are your partners, not a cowboy or something like that, they consist of - SEM Professions - SEM Agencies - Niche Web site owners - Coupon web sites - Comparison Engines - Maybe Amazon - Maybe eBay

It's a Land Grab - Search results represent available real estate - Google offers users 10 organic spots and 10 paid listings (max) - The more land you own, on average, the more sales/leads you will generate - Work strategically with a few professional SEM affiliates and control more land - You can't be selfish if you don't own the real estate

Working Strategically with Key SEM Affiliates - It's your choice, your competitors or your affiliates - Identify potential partners - Carefully select your SEM affiliate partners - Define a list of keywords from the head and long tail - Broker the deal; agree to provide internal conversation data and metrics

The Rules: - Use the basic affiliate contract or add an amendment to control the relationship - You must share information, require an NDA - Set a min and max bidding rule - Restrict or include certain keywords - Allow affiliates to bid on trademarks

Examples of Good and Bad policies were not given at the end due to time..

Chris Henger from Performics is last up. 4 or 5 years ago, affiliates totally dominated the search results, it was very much the wild wild west but now that has changed a bit. Understand the business market of the affiliate, each market is very different and you need to know that. Biggest thing to think about is what is your business model as an advertiser? Each business model will alter the search landscape and types of affiliates you want and attract. He shows examples of merchants that use two different affiliate partners (CJ and Perfomics). He shows a bunch of examples, stuff hard to type. The key thing to note about affiliates, is that they can be very opportunistic on your behalf, be selective with your affiliates, they are willing to take risk, they are willing to spend money and they can be top performers.

What is the affiliate wish list? - Authorization and guidelines to bid on trademarks and brand names - Ability to direct link to an advertiser's site - Ability to send traffic to domain that contains advertisers brands - For lead generation programs, the capability to host the form on your own domain - Authorization letter to search engines providing permission to use advertiser's brand in ad title and copy - Ability to build links quickly and flexibility (offline BYOL, and data feeds).

Lessons Learned: - There is a balance between advertisers interests and the affiliate's need to drive traffic - Affiliate publishers are often at focusing on conversion than advertisers - Set guidelines, communicate and monitor for compliance - Maintain feedback loop - Provide tips and best practices to your affiliates - Measure the impact across channels

These posts may have spelling and grammar issues. These are session notes, written quickly and posted immediately after the session has been completed. Please excuse any grammar or spelling issues with session posts.


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