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  1. #1
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    Yahoo Stores: "Rev-Share URL" & SAS Affiliate Sales
    All,

    Background: We operate on the Yahoo Stores platform and run our affiliate program through SAS. Each order that comes in through one of our PPC campaigns is tagged with a url which is displayed as "Rev-Share URL". By looking at the url we can determine what network (google, yahoo, msn) the customer searched on and the search terms they entered. Presumably, we paid for the click-thru to the given network.

    Issue: I was going through some of the sales generated by affiliates within the SAS network, and noticed that some of the sales were tagged with the "Rev-Share URL" giving credit to google or yahoo.

    Question: Does anyone know why/how this is happening or have any thoughts on scenerios in which this may occur? Does anyone know if we are ultimately paying for the click AND the affiliate commission?

    I came up with some possibilities, but as I looked at more and more sales that appeared this way, it doesn't seem like my ideas are valid. Here they are none-the-less:

    1. The customer found us via the affiliate originally. The cookie was dropped in and later the customer used a search engine to find us again.

    2. The customer searched the affiliate's site who's search was powered by google. The customer clicked through on a link within the site (meaning not part of the sponsored search section) and was brought to our site.

    I know this is very specific but was hoping someone might have had this come up before or may have additional information. I have yet to post a questions without getting some solid information on this board, so THANK YOU in advance.

    Best regards,

    Gideon
    Last edited by gideon; July 18th, 2006 at 06:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    #2 shouldn't write both an aff cookie and have your search link url.

    But #1 is fairly common. For affs with domains, we introduce people to you for a living and many don't buy in the same session that we hand them off - we get credit for return day sales. If they're clicking on your ppc, it should be your trademark they are typing in - are you finding your keywords tagged are your marks? If so, we are introducing them to you and they are remebering you by name (a very good thing for you to get from our work) - and we should be paid. Look for the specific keywords that your ppc is flagging in these events and you'll know the story.

    These occurences of double tagged tracking also should be spread around your affiliate base with some scattering... if it's just a few affiliates that this is happening to, or just a few have a disproportionately high number of these, it's time to review those affiliates methods of promotions (sounds like bho traffic that is stuffing cookies on both your ppc and organic searches).

    Get to the bottom of it before you take any credit away from your affiliates and think of the value we contributed by introducing the customer to your brand (and mind your affiliate contract as well).

    If you are running a proper trademark ppc campaign, your clicks should be EXTREMELY cheap - I mean the very cheapest traffic you have, per click, anywhere. Maybe 1/5 to 1/20 of the price of your average product ppc CPC. So the cost of your ppc, if these are bona fide cases of your scenario #1, should be VERY inexpensive and it should be an easy decision for your company to bear the cost of both the aff comm and the ppc click cost.

  3. #3
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    But #1 is fairly common. For affs with domains, we introduce people to you for a living and many don't buy in the same session that we hand them off - we get credit for return day sales. If they're clicking on your ppc, it should be your trademark they are typing in - are you finding your keywords tagged are your marks? If so, we are introducing them to you and they are remebering you by name (a very good thing for you to get from our work) - and we should be paid. Look for the specific keywords that your ppc is flagging in these events and you'll know the story.
    Thanks Donuts...I totally agree that customers coming back later via search is a very good thing! Also, taking credit away from any affiliate did not even cross my mind and was by no means the reason for my inquiry. What I am trying to determine is how this effects my PPC conversion rates. If the search url is getting attached to the sale, the google/yahoo tracking is probably also assuming the sale was generated by them. Even with only a few instances, this could grossly skew the ROI calculation within my PPC campaigns. If I can figure out how and why this is happening, I can consider this while reviewing the data (on PPC and Affiliate).

    To provide more details, the search terms are not trademark searches, but terms fairly common within the industry. If I click on the Rev Share Url it takes me directly to the search results page where I was able to locate our PPC ad within the sponsored section of the site. Neither our site nor the affiliate site was within the natural results
    .

  4. #4
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gideon
    Thanks Donuts...I totally agree that customers coming back later via search is a very good thing! Also, taking credit away from any affiliate did not even cross my mind and was by no means the reason for my inquiry. What I am trying to determine is how this effects my PPC conversion rates. If the search url is getting attached to the sale, the google/yahoo tracking is probably also assuming the sale was generated by them. Even with only a few instances, this could grossly skew the ROI calculation within my PPC campaigns. If I can figure out how and why this is happening, I can consider this while reviewing the data (on PPC and Affiliate).
    .
    Yep, make sure your trademark stuff is separated / broken out within your ppc - your tm keywords costs will go way down if you do this properly.

    And if you confirm that it's a normal course of things for returning visitors to get double tracked in this fashion, yep, you can mentally discount your tm ad group's / keyword's conversion stats cuz you know the real deal behind the scenes. Your tm stuff should be so obscenely high if properly ppc'd, that your guy told you this long ago.

    "the google/yahoo tracking is probably also assuming the sale was generated by them" -- if you're using the conversion tracking snippets on your thank you / receipt page, yep, those systems don't recognize your aff tracking cookie at sas and those mechanisms, so they wouldn't know to not count them. In any case, you still want them counted, but now know it's a sale from an aff where your cheap tm ppc also made a contribution, but proportionately a small one - both in terms of cost and consumating the intro / sale.

  5. #5
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gideon
    To provide more details, the search terms are not trademark searches, but terms fairly common within the industry. If I click on the Rev Share Url it takes me directly to the search results page where I was able to locate our PPC ad within the sponsored section of the site. Neither our site nor the affiliate site was within the natural results
    .
    I'm a tad fuzzy on exactly what you mean by the rev share url thing - I am assuming it's an appended data pair that your team (or software) adds to your ppc landing page url strings for tracking purposes...

    If so, and if you and I both are to believe that an affiliate deserves credit for introducing you, then a portion of those people are returning to you... I believe they should be searching primarily (high %, but not entirely, maybe 70-90% of the time) by your name or site / domain url... by your tm keywords.

    I'd need more info (not appropriate to post those details here) to see whether something sneaky like adware / parasiteware are going on (and the aff shouldn't get squat)... my best advice if your aff sales show signs of duplicity with your non-tm ppc, contact affiliatefairplay and request a quote for a check up... the owner, Kellie, is not only a regular poster here, but a goddess bestowed on the affiliate community whose work protects affiliates and merchants alike from bad actors.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Member KirkMcD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gideon

    If I click on the Rev Share Url it takes me directly to the search results page where I was able to locate our PPC ad within the sponsored section of the site. Neither our site nor the affiliate site was within the natural results
    .
    It could also mean the the affiliate is using geo-targeting in the PPC campaign and his choosing not to show the ad in your area.
    So that when people search outside of your area, their ad will show, but in your area, your ad will show.

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    If so, and if the rev share thing is an appended data pair they use to track ppc in-house, then why would the affiliate have chosen to use the same data pair in their landing page strings... either I'm missing something or closer examination is needed.

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