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  1. #1
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    Question about sales and commissions
    Hi all. I've spent over 30 minutes searching the web and over 15 minutes searching at this forum to try and find an answer to this question, as to not be one of those people who asks the question that's been asked and answered 50 times.

    I starting running Avantlink ads today. I've seen good CTR today, but I'm at a point in clickthroughs that I really should have seen a few sales.

    I haven't run across any info suggesting that Avantlink merchants batch. They don't, do they? Is there any other reason that sales would be delayed in reporting?

    I do know that not every person buys this very second, but still I would have expected an impulse buyer by now.

    BTW, awesome program! The tools are the most innovative I've seen with any affiliate program. In all the searching I've done I've read nothing but good things about this program.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Only thing I can add is that all of the Avantlink merchants I work with report in real time. (Or near real time).

    I think, and I'm going on a foggy memory, that it is true of all Avantlink merchants.

    These days, there are a lot of "shoppers" out there, and less "buyers". Big sales are coming at the end of the month, so conversion may tail down a bit right now.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
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  3. #3
    Newbie
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    Thanks Kevin. I didn't see anything in the T&C regarding the things affiliates in the network can/can't talk about, like earnings, conversion rates, etc. Would there be anything wrong with me throwing some numbers out, like the number of clicks I've gotten so far?

    Thanks,
    Gregg

  4. #4
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    Hi greggb, welcome to ABW!

    Your question is similar to MY very first post, it's not an uncommon question at all.

    When it comes to clicks vs. conversions, there are many different factors, much of it related to your own site performance.

    Conversion is unique to every site - some of my best sales have been days after click-through, but I do see impulse buyers as well. You also have to look at your source of traffic... paid traffic vs natural SERP. Or is your site attracting more window shoppers than buyers? This is more difficult to determine, and was definitely an issue for me with my first site.

    Take a look at your merchant published stats.. low EPC means more clicks are needed to earn commission ("avg earnings per 100 clicks"). Although some view low EPC merchants as potential performers.

    Not sure this helps, but do a search here for conversions, there have been numerous discussions on the topic!

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the great reply!

    My site is all natural traffic. Typically I send well over 1000 visitors to the sites I'm running ads for. With other programs I've typically had 3 to 5% conversion...so typically 30 to 50 sales per day.

    I've been running Avantlink ads since about 1:00 PST. I now have 251 clickthroughs and no sales. I won't be able to continue running this ad with this kind of conversion, if this keeps up.

    The company I'm running ads for has a 3% conversion rate.

    I'm showing items at the top of my search and category pages the way I normally do. I also provide a search box that people can use to search the company's site directly. It's clearly labeled and distinct from other parts of my site, so people know they're searching the merchant's site.

    The only thing different in this case is the merchant.

    So anyway, I'm going to search for "conversion" like you suggested.

    Thanks again,
    Gregg

  6. #6
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    Actually, a search for "conversion" turns up just about every new merchant announcement. It must be because that word is typically used in those.

    So anyhow, I'm going to switch back to my other ads now and continue to watch my stats here for delayed sales. If 4 hours and 250 clickthroughs doesn't result in a few sales for whatever reason, this isn't going to work.

    And it's odd, because this program is for a merchant that sells products directly related to the theme of my shopping comparison websites. I joined Avantlinkstoday because I saw this company had an affiliate program. I'd actually never heard of Avantlink before.

    None of the companies listed at my sites have affiliate programs (at least reliable ones that are part of a trustworthy network). I don't get the products I list from data feeds (because there are no data feeds) either, so there are no other sites like mine in my niche. I get a lot of traffic but have always had a really tough time monetizing it... and maybe that's part of the reason why there aren't other sites like mine.

    This really is a great program! I mean, the tools are the best I've ever seen, and I've heard nothing but good about it. I might be inspired to start other price comparison sites that would go with some of the programs here.

    Thanks again for all the help!
    Gregg

  7. #7
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    You have historical conversions already, so you obviously know your traffic, I didn't realize that...

    Silly question, but are these ads or product links?

    My site averages about 25 sales/day, I'm not sure if I would notice if one merchant didn't perform on a particular day. I don't think that 1 day could really be long enough to assess, but that's just me.

    There can be other intangibles.. I once changed the order of wording on a particular page (to look a little tidier), sales for that store dropped. Put the wording back to the way it was 2 weeks later (which I thought was a little mesy), sales came back! Very puzzling..

  8. #8
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I use a bunch of merchants from AvantLink (and other networks too) and I get a check from AvantLink just like clock work every month - and on time too.

    I've never been able to count a certain amount of clicks to get a sale for any merchants. I use natural search too.

    One month - a merchant may get a sale for 250 clicks and the next month the same merchant may take 1,000 clicks for a sale.

    You just have to sit back and relax, and leave the merchants on your sites and take the sales as they come instead of checking stats and all that crap all the time.

    You could have been building pages instead of checking stats.

    I've been doing this since 1998.

    If you'll put out datafeeds instead of ADS you'll be suprised how much your sales will increase once the datafeed pages are indexed by the SEs.

    Don't just go by the site in my signature - I have a lot more sites than just that one and they are all datafeed sites and they all make money every month.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
    ABW Forum Rules - Advertise At ABW

  9. #9
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    November 2nd, 2009
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    Thanks to everyone for all the advice! I want to mention something interesting I've learned that may be of value to you, so please bear with me while I get to that.

    First of all, I did get a $5.00 sale which amounted to .25 for me. I switched back to the ads I was previously running and got that sale a few hours later. If more follow in the next few days I may reconsider, but otherwise I'm losing money with that kind of conversion.

    I used to have Ebay ads on my sites, and at times I've done very well with those. I've seen close to 100 sales in a day there before, most on lower dollar items. But with the new payment structure I'm seeing record high traffic levels now, and record low earnings.

    I always used the editor kit and placed 3 items above the start of the results, and about 10 below the results in my price comparison sites. I also had it setup to display a search box when no items were found. At my website people are either browsing categories of items, or using the search engine, which produces much better results than your average site search box. You can actually find the items of all the sites better at my price comparison sites than you can at the sites whose products are in my price comparison, the search functions at these sites are so poor.

    So anyhow, I was using either the category name or the search query at my site for the search term in the editor kit. So if someone did a query at my website for "blue widgets" (I hate that cliche) they'd get the Editor Kit results for "blue widgets". Or if they were in the "red widgets" category at my website, they'd get the EK results for red widgets, and so on.

    A while back I discovered that I'd accidentally set up the top EK displaying 3 items to not search descriptions, which meant that on over 50% of the searches or category page views, all that was showing up was a search box with an Ebay logo and the "Right now on Ebay" slogan. So, I set the top EK to search descriptions and noticed that probably closer to 90% of the EK views showed items. Which very oddly resulted in significantly fewer clicks and sales at Ebay. I set the EK to not search descriptions, and once again my clicks and sales rose again. The reason being that, I think, when there were no items people were mistaking the Ebay search box for the search engine at my site, even though the EK clearly said "Right now on Ebay" and displayed the Ebay logo and all that. People at my site seem to be drawn to search boxes, but then again, most of them are there to use the search engine.

    That was back in the days when you just had to get people to Ebay. And those days are gone now, and I'm pretty well fed up with the EPN.

    So anyhow, this morning I got the data feed for the merchant I mentioned, and put all of the listings into a table in a database, and basically replicated the Ebay Editor Kit. So whenever someone viewed a category page or performed a search, relevant items would be displayed above and below the normal results at my site. I also figured out the parameters of the site search engine, and created a link with my affiliate code so I could have a search box that redirected to the site search function (which is horrible, btw). I displayed the site logo right next to the search box and even marked the submit button with "Search Merchant Name!", and it clearly says, "Great Related Items at Merchant Name". Furthermore, I'm doing an OR search sorted by relevancy for items to make sure items are always displayed, so I don't have a replay of my successful Ebay mistake.

    I track all the ad clicks at my website, and I'll tell you that literally 75% of the clicks I sent to this merchant were searches. So, if you have a similar setup where you're displaying blocks of items and you don't have a search box for the site, you should really consider it. In an instance with some other ads I was running, I found that this increased the number of clicks I could send by about 80% - almost double. A certain number of people will click your ad items if there is no search box, though the majority of those will use the search box before clicking an ad item. And about an additional 80%will use the search box, where they wouldn't have clicked an item.

    And all of this got me thinking... where 75% of the people are using the merchant's search engine and getting really lousy results, I may be better off not having the search box at all... because over half of the people who use it would click a very releveant ad if it wasn't there and be more likely to purchase. And as for the additional 80% who wouldn't click an ad but use the search box, well, they're probably not going to be very likely to convert if they're getting lousy results. And I do mean lousy results. So that additional 80% may be immaterial.

    I guess a better idea would be to leave the search box there, but show the results at my website where I have control of the search results. I'm also planning on adding the items to the regular item database at the sites. That will actually add value to my site, and even if I'm only getting a few sales per day this way, it will be in addition to my income instead of a replacement of it.

    I really thought this merchant might be the golden ticket for me, which is why I wanted the ads to work so well. And who knows? Maybe it still will be.

    I honestly can't say enough good things about Avantlink and the group of people here. It's such a pleasant change from other programs out there.

    Have a good one,
    Gregg

  10. #10
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    November 2nd, 2009
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    Just to clarify some possibly ambigous info from my last post...

    I was displaying items from the data feed in a golden rectangle (the listing backgrounds are white), with a search box linked directly to the merchant's search function. I was displaying 3 highly relevant ads before the normal results on my category/search result pages, and 7 below. It was labeled, "Great related Items at Merchant Name". The submit button was marked, "Search Merchant Name!". And each item had a note, "Listed by Merchant Name".

    75% (almost exactly) of the clicks are from use of the search box, again linked directly to the merchan't search function. 25% are from clicks on the items themselves. And this data comes from actual tracking data, not estimates.

    In my past experience, adding the search box increases clicks by about 80%. The reason you don't wind up with, say roughly 60% of the people clicking items and 40% using the search box is because people are more apt to use the search box than click an item. In my case, a good portion of the people who would have clicked an ad used the seach box instead, which may not be a good thing where the merchan't search function is turning up very poor results. I suspect the high majority of the additional 80% who are using the search box aren't converting because of the poor results they're getting.

    I'd love to hear anyone else's theory, and like I said, if you don't have a search box at your site for your merchants, it might be worth giving a try.

    Gregg

  11. #11
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I have search that searches my own sites to find what the customer wants and then they click on through to the merchant. And yes, the search box is used a lot.

    It makes it easier for the customer to find what they want and to navigate your site.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
    ABW Forum Rules - Advertise At ABW

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