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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    What Level of Bonus Will Make You Act?
    So I've been seeing a few bonus announcements this month and they are so small that I'm wondering what's the point? A $10 bonus, a $100 bonus, etc. So I'm curious, why do AM's put out such small bonuses? Is there a segment of affiliate marketers who respond to such offers?

    From my perspective, I might spend a bit of time thinking about a bonus in the $500+ range and get really serious about a bonus in the $1,000+ range. I spend the most time thinking about bonuses that have the potential to grow with sales where the top end isn't limited.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  2. #2
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Is there a segment of affiliate marketers who respond to such offers?
    Yes, there are. Part-timers and/or "hobbyists" like to see an extra ten bucks every now and then. But I also imagine some of the foreign contingent can see $10 as a pretty big deal.

    When Jill and I were actively promoting GirlyChecks as a merchant site (and had an active sub-forum here) we received quite a bit of response on the "small" awards - if they were easy to obtain. We made them VERY easy to qualify and thought of those ten-dollar gifts or awards as an interest-builder for our program.

    Our most popular bonus however was a 5% boost in commission after making 10 sales. There was no time limit on making those first 10 sales so it was achievable by anyone and everyone who promoted our checks.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  3. #3
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    There are so many different types of affiliates, some just learning, some satisfied with their current level, some that earn 100% of their income from affiliate marketing.

    I've found that there are lots of ways to bonus affiliates, from small easy-to-achieve goals which encourage the newbies and smaller folks, to the huge prizes which inspire top performers. I've seen affiliates completely demoralized because there's a contest which they have absolutely no chance of winning because they aren't one of "the big guys." I've also seen contests ignored by the big guys because it isn't worth their while.

    The best thing I can say when crafting a bonus program is to set your goals first - is it participation? Is it inspiring your top performers? Then design a bonus plan to target those folks. I've actually set criteria based on past performance to determine which prize category affiliates were eligible for - a public promotion for the general affiliate population and a private program for the top performers. And it worked.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  5. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Yep, it's all over the board.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, the really large bonuses (with high qualifications) can be a disincentive for smaller affiliates. I've received emails from several merchants (where I have no hope of ever reaching these sales levels) with bonuses or higher commission tiers for $50,000 to $500,000 in monthly sales.

    It's similar to coupons. A coupon works really well if it's a little higher than the average order size. Someone who is planning on spending $40 might spend $50 or $60 to use a coupon. But if the coupon is for $1 off a $10 order or $50 off a $500 order, it's not going to motivate them at all.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

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  7. #5
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Usually a sales bonus doesn't trigger much interest with us - but a commission bump, either for the following month or permanent, will...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  8. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    We've found having thresholds, whether a bonus or commission increase (temporary or permanent) to be the best way to go to motivate small, medium, and large affiliates to act.

    We usually do $5/$10 for 2 orders, $25-$50 for the 5-10 order range, $100-$500 for the 25-50 order range, and on and on up to several thousand dollar bonus for much larger order ranges. We do the same when we run commission increases.

    It's been solid overall but our goal was to make sure the little guys on up to the big corporations all see some value in the bonus program.

    Bob

  9. #7
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    A temporary bonus may motivate me to add a new merchant's product(s) to an existing section or feature it for awhile, but if the merchant is trying to influence me to add a section to a site or even start a new site to promote their product(s), if it takes that bonus commission value to get me to do it, the bonus would have to include a permanent incentive. If they normally pay 5% and that is insufficient to get me motivated to promote them, but if a $1000 sales tier that bumps it to 7% would, that can't be for a month or two, but rather it needs to be permanent.

    When I see a merchant offering that has one of those bonus tiers that kicks in at $100,000 or more, I generally keep looking. It seems to me that merchants with that kind of offer are looking for really big affiliates and will short change smaller ones in every other aspect of their program as well. It's putting a sign out that says "Don't bother us unless you will drive $100,000 in sales per month". In my opinion, if you want to attract a high volume of new affiliates, mechants should keep those extra high bonus tiers private.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  11. #8
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phil kaufman but still affiliatehound View Post
    when i see a merchant offering that has one of those bonus tiers that kicks in at $100,000 or more, i generally keep looking. It seems to me that merchants with that kind of offer are looking for really big affiliates and will short change smaller ones in every other aspect of their program as well. It's putting a sign out that says "don't bother us unless you will drive $100,000 in sales per month". In my opinion, if you want to attract a high volume of new affiliates, mechants should keep those extra high bonus tiers private.
    +1
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  12. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    I'm mulling over a bonus at the moment, just waiting on final approval but the client seems happy with the idea so I thought I'd run it by seasoned affiliates here. The commission structure is very good so no need for an increase, sorry but that's the truth as it is seriously easy to earn decent commissions on the program. The thing is whether affiliates would like the bonus. The idea is to give customers free diamonds (0.5 ct to 1.0 ct) above a minimum spend. The affiliate that generates enough traction for that campaign would also get a free diamond.

    Now would shiny sparkly things interest affiliates or would the cash equivalent be more responsive? From my point of view, cash bonuses are sooooo last year or was that last decade?
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  13. #10
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Cash is king.

    About the only thing that has the same value as cash to me is an Amazon.com gift certificate.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

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  15. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Cash...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  17. #12
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    Haven't had any bonus campaigns in my current role, but ran a number at my old. I would segment the audiences to achieve different goals, really. At times at $5/$10 bonus for a smaller number of orders in a month worked well, coupled with offering the top 5-10 publishers a commission bump for the following month. I've also run larger bonus offers where the top bonus was $5k, then tiered down to $500.

    Do your best to know/work with your publishers and what makes sense for you, and what makes sense to incite/excite them.
    [SIZE="2"][COLOR="DimGray"][B]Online Marketing Manager[/B] (tom.featherstone at surlatable dot com)[/SIZE]
    [SIZE="1"]Sur La Table - The Art and Soul of Cooking[/COLOR][/SIZE]

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  19. #13
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey View Post
    Cash is king.

    About the only thing that has the same value as cash to me is an Amazon.com gift certificate.
    Ok, I have to admit I like winning sales contests for prizes. I haven't kept a single one, but I do give them to family members, which is kind of nice. The best sales contests have luxury items that you wouldn't normally buy for yourself.

    If a sales bonus can "move the needle" on my monthly earnings then I will give it extra attention. So I'm not working on this bonus right now, but it caught my eye. What do you all think?

    sylvane.com
    Airocide is offering a $50 commission bonus for every sale of the Airocide APS-200 air purifier through August 31, 2014.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!


  20. #14
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    I ran an extremely successful program once using silver bullion as a prize. I would think diamonds have sufficient "cool" factor to succeed as well.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  22. #15
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    sylvane.com
    Airocide is offering a $50 commission bonus for every sale of the Airocide APS-200 air purifier through August 31, 2014.
    All depends if they've sold for us in the past, overall cost of the unit, available/specific creatives, etc...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  24. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    So I've been seeing a few bonus announcements this month and they are so small that I'm wondering what's the point?
    Personally I totally disregard all bonuses.
    Actually if there's a bonus I grow suspicious as good stuff usually sells by itself.

  25. #17
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachbum View Post
    Personally I totally disregard all bonuses.
    Actually if there's a bonus I grow suspicious as good stuff usually sells by itself.
    There is big money to be made on the right bonus programs. Most of them are no good, but some can be pretty special depending on your circumstances.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  26. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    There is big money to be made on the right bonus programs. Most of them are no good, but some can be pretty special depending on your circumstances.
    I believe you but our circumstances might differ. I can only give feedback according to my own way.
    I was thinking about this question the last 30 minutes, digging my brain. The last 5 years I have sold one item for amazon, from one article.
    It got me almost one grand a year and all I did for it, was to write an article, spin it, send it off to the article directories with a link back to my domain, which redirects to the offer.
    The offer never worked so I redirected it to something else and something else till it started to sell, I then forgot about it and just went swimming.

    Ever since , I just got paid, I talk to nobody, I know no aff manager, they don't know me. No talking no nothing, just swimming in the sea.

    I want 100 of these little trickles and that's all I care.
    If the aff managers want my take of it, it is me who gives them a bonus when I give them 100 users to see if their page converts, so with their bonus money they should pay a testing person to work on their page, make tons of a/b testing to make it convert better than the competition and then I'll stay.

  27. #19
    Affiliate Manager kario's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback on bonuses, all. It's good to see that different affiliates are interested in different types of promotions. I'll continue to offer a variety of levels and see how things go.

    One thought - how many promotions (within one program) is too many? One every month, or less often? I want affiliates to have enough time to act - I know we are all so busy... Thanks all!

  28. #20
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Jupp View Post
    Now would shiny sparkly things interest affiliates or would the cash equivalent be more responsive? From my point of view, cash bonuses are sooooo last year or was that last decade?
    Actually I like the idea of earning something of substance that I normally would not purchase for myself. I wouldn't want it all the time, but periodically, a bonus like this could perk my interest.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

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  30. #21
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachbum View Post
    The last 5 years I have sold one item for amazon, from one article.
    It got me almost one grand a year and all I did for it, was to write an article, spin it, send it off to the article directories with a link back to my domain, which redirects to the offer.
    The offer never worked so I redirected it to something else and something else till it started to sell, I then forgot about it and just went swimming.

    Ever since , I just got paid, I talk to nobody, I know no aff manager, they don't know me. No talking no nothing, just swimming in the sea.
    But what if a bonus encouraged you to choose a specific merchant? You have an infinite number of things you can write an article about, and thousands of merchants to choose from. If one offers a $20 bonus to any affiliate that writes an article and generates their first click and sale, would that motivate you to choose them out of the thousands of merchants available?
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

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  32. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey View Post
    But what if a bonus encouraged you to choose a specific merchant? You have an infinite number of things you can write an article about, and thousands of merchants to choose from. If one offers a $20 bonus to any affiliate that writes an article and generates their first click and sale, would that motivate you to choose them out of the thousands of merchants available?
    To really answer this I should talk three days.

    It is me who chooses who I work with, not the other way round, this is not personal at all. I don't push something because they give me a gift to push the thing.
    I research the market and see what people are going mad about, even better, try to predict what they'll go mad about.
    I made a ton of money with that cards against humanity thing and I don't even know how to play it but I was one of the first to write about it!

    But to get to specifics, this one advertiser the other day said that if I add two of their banner to my page and tell them the page, they'll send me $50. wow.

    It immediately set me in motion but not about doing what he's asking me to get the $50, (two banners, one selling one thing and one selling another?? what??) my reasoning was *he is sure of what he has* and is willing to pay, to show me what he has.
    So I approved the offer, got his link to the one thing and added it in rotation to a system I have, to test landing pages.
    There are 4 advertisers right now in that text file, each of them gets one click every 4 and each of them is fighting to stay in the text file (maybe they don't know they are fighting, being too busy thinking of promotions).
    For this advertiser to stay in there he has to kick one of the others out or at least equal them, by showing a better conversion rate.

    Four days later I check what I have:

    1) 100 clicks $27.00
    2) 101 clicks $22.00
    3) 99 clicks $19.00
    4) 101 clicks $4.00 <-- new guy

    Ok 4 days is little time, he is still there now actually, but it doesn't look good, does it?
    What should we do to improve the situation? And who should do it? Me or him?
    From my point of view, he doesn't turn my users into money.. am I wrong?
    Once again, the guy that has to pay to get things started, is showing that he isn't doing his homework correctly somewhere.

    and here's from another angle.

    I just bought hosting, you do know that I could buy it from my own links and pay less, right? It is a way to get a "bonus".
    I belong to about 10 networks, plenty of choice.
    Some of them will give you 100% of the money, they start earning the year after.
    Well, the guys I bought hosting from, they don't belong to any of my networks! But they seem to beat them for presentation, for the reviews in the forums, and for speed, as that's what I want, speed for little money.
    So, I bought one month from them just to test them and if they are good, why not tell the world that they are good and make money out of it?
    And I will be able to say: trust me I say they are good because they are, not because somebody gave me some money to promote them.

    Said all this, I don't say trust me to anyone because nobody really trusts you, do they? haha but the point being if the thing/service/whatever is good, then it'll sell by itself and you don't have to lose face over it.
    Like the guy advertising hoovers, how do I know I want to sell your hoover if I have never seen one?
    I'd have to have one and use it for a month, first. So giving me a bonus to sell the hoover, really is telling me "get my hoover and test it" which could be a good pastime, if you didn't have a beach to go to

  33. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey View Post
    You have an infinite number of things you can write an article about, and thousands of merchants to choose from.
    brainstorming for you Michael. Of course we are looking at it from a totally different point of view.
    The guy giving bonuses is stuck with something he wants others to sell and is one of the thousands of merchants trying to be seen.
    I can't really advice as that is not my job, but if I was in HIS situation I'd get out of it immediately.
    Example: the other month I invested $1000 in some switches.
    Do I sell switches? Nope, do I sell tangible stuff, nope, not in a long time.. the closest I get to it is dropshipping, maybe.
    This time, I got 1000 switches from a guy called ding dong (indeed!) freely delivered to my home from somewhere in China.
    (hey do you know that it is near impossible for me to buy from the USA but China is like, next door?? why is that?? I am in Venice btw italy).

    Anyway I mention teh switches because you said that there are thousands of merchants and I am thinking *what could I sell you my dear Michael* and there you go, I have a switch which is like your light switch in the house, something flat and square, white. Behind it, you stick two wires to it just like any switch.
    The difference is, there's no switch to flip up, it's a little ball, when you pass by it it switches on.
    I have one in my bathroom. There are all the other lights but this one works the light in front of the mirror, if I am in a hurry, it's enough light and it does everything by itself, on, off, on off.
    Do you think it will sell to a trader for $2000?? My whole box, I don't need all these switches.
    Well, it did, and I am waiting for 10 boxes now. So, that's what some people do. It all started when I said: I am tired of flipping that switch, I don't want to do it any more.
    do you still turn lights on and off by hand? think of the time wasted. Forget the bonus, I know you could sell my switch. But wait I am the affiliate, how did I become the trader?

  34. #24
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Right. I think my point is that as affiliates we have a LOT of different things we could choose to promote, and those signup bonuses and sales bonuses (if structured right) can be a motivation to help us choose.

    Some affiliates have more flexibility on what they can promote than others. If I have a site about flea collars, no amount of bonuses would convince me to promote prom dresses on it. But if I'm a PPC affiliate or if I write random articles, or if I have a site about prom dresses, I'm much more likely to find a bonus on prom dresses appealing.

    Years ago, I had a merchant that paid a 7% commission and they had some really obscure, high-end ($2,000 and up) watches (which wasn't their market at all) that they wanted to clear out so they offered a $200/watch bonus, on top of the commissions. Researching prices, they were really dumping them well below market value. This was in the early years of PPC, and while I wasn't really into PPC I figured it was worth a shot. I set up a few PPC ads, and sold dozens of watches with an obscene ROI.

    A more recent example, I have one site that is an authority on a particular subject. I work with most merchants in that category, but I have a list of ones I don't work with yet (some because they don't have affiliate programs, some because they don't pay competitive commissions, some because they have a poor reputation, but most because I just haven't had time to add them). A new merchant in the latter group offered me $500 if got them up quickly. So I set some other projects aside and put them up.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  35. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey View Post
    if I have a site about prom dresses, I'm much more likely to find a bonus on prom dresses appealing.
    Everything else being equal, the bonus will make a difference, yes.

    But if the landing page doesn't convert, everybody loses.. ok the affiliate gets his bonus for his work, but then it ends.

    It's all short term stuff, no recurring payments. One of the perks of being an affiliate and not an affiliate manager is that the affiliate might die and still earn money haha
    This is unrelated, but Check out Robert C. Beckman's The downwave and the upwave books.

    He wrote them in 1985, I wrote articles where I quote him and because of those quotes, I have been selling his books ever since I can remember.

    I am not talking big amounts, maybe $100 a year. But it must be 15 years now.
    He talks about the future in those books, about 30 years ahead and that is now, very fascinating.
    He predicts that Italy will split because in the history of man (5000 years) no country that has been put together that way has ever lasted for more than 150 years.
    And the Venetian lot is now going to split. Tell them about the book, give them a link they'll all rush to buy it! How's that for a tip? I bet there's many Italians in the USA that might care about it? Could be an earner for somebody.

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