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  1. #1
    Newbie alexrein's Avatar
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    7-Day EPC vs 3-Month EPC
    I would like to ask all the affiliates here which of the two (7day vs 3month EPC) you find more useful or suggestive enough of a good program (or can it be misleading at times?)...which of the two EPC measures you mostly take into consideration before joining the program?

    Is 7 days too short (vis-a-vis too long for 3 months) to be accurate? Would you like it to be measured anywhere between the two?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I like to see both, and I usually assume that the lower of the two is most accurate.
    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

  3. #3
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    As I've noted in several recent discussion threads, I am starting to conclude that EPC figures are nearly irrelevant. (When I do look at EPC, I never look at 7-day EPC, but only at 30-day EPC figures.)

    A low EPC may simply indicate that the merchant has one or more high-traffic affiliate sites who are sending very "broad" or "general" traffic.

    Or a low EPC might represent "stale links" on affiliate sites -- for example, an affiliate might have posted dozens or thousands of pages featuring the merchant's products and prices, but those pages haven't been updated for a year or two. If many of those products are no longer available, or are no longer offered at the price shown on the affiliate site, visitors may click and then abandon the merchant site in anger at the misrepresentation.

    As I noted in another thread, once a product is discontinued or is in short supply, customers are likely to search "more deeply" and find the affiliate's page and click on those product links, only to be disappointed. The same issue may occur if the (wrong) product price is prominent enough on the page that it appears in the Google search results.

    Some "coupon" sites will claim to have a coupon for a merchant, when in fact they don't -- they tell visitors to "click here for coupon" but the link is just an affiliate link to the merchant site. Or the coupon site has a code (XMAS2005) which has long expired. Now the customer is mad that she was promised a coupon and didn't get it, and won't buy from the merchant, so the EPC for that affiliate may be zero.

    Or, as I noted earlier this week, low EPC may indicate that an affiliate has just launched a large PPC campaign on Google AdWords, causing a GoogleBot to check every link; for a merchant with a large number of products, and/or an affiliate testing a variety of creative text variations, this could quickly run up a huge number of "hits" (since SAS doesn't yet exclude bot clicks) and thus depress EPC for the next 30 days.

    Low EPC could also be caused by "bad affiliates" who may engage in prohibited activities, such as using deliberately misleading text ("free porn") copy to drive traffic to the merchant, or who may use pop-ups or exit-redirects (loading the merchant's web site in a new window), or by "parasites" who create a bogus click in order to stuff a customer's cookies in the faint hope of poaching a transaction later. (Of course, high EPC is another potential result of parasitic activity, if the parasite software infects a large number of consumer PCs in your target audience.)

    A high EPC may represent a single affiliate whose site is incredibly closely aligned with the merchant's product offerings, and who is linking directly to a merchant's product pages (or potentially even the "add to cart" functionality).

    Or a high EPC may represent a merchant which prominently displays an "Enter Coupon Here" box during checkout, and who has coupon affiliates who present current coupon codes. The "coupon prompt" causes some customers (who have already decided to purchase) to search on Google for a coupon code, and then click on the coupon site's affiliate link.

    Or a high EPC may represent one or more affiliates who very effectively "pre-qualify" customers, by showing current prices and product availability info, so that consumers who don't find the terms acceptable will not click.

    Or a high EPC may represent a mistake by the merchant's employees, who are accidentally entering phone or mail orders using a computer that was used to visit an affiliate's site; now every phone order is logged as an affiliate sale (and the merchant may reverse the transaction until a week or two later, or in many cases may go ahead and pay the affiliate, possibly ignorant of the error).
    Last edited by markwelch; March 1st, 2007 at 01:36 PM.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I like to see both, and I usually assume that the lower of the two is most accurate.
    Personally, I prefer to see that these numbers are as close as possible. If there is a significant difference, I tend to take the lower of the two as more indicative of how profitable it MIGHT be for me to research further.

    However, I think I'm starting to agree more with Mark on this issue. I've always felt that EPC was overrated, but I think I'm leaning more towards believing that it's just above useless (kinda' like me when the Dallas Stars are playing...).
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I should also mention that I proposed a way to calculate an EPC range, which I think is a little more informative and accurate than a network average EPC. Here's some discussion from a merchant who ran the numbers manually. For him, his network average EPC was around $54 and the "range" from my calculations was $20 / $100 / $300. These numbers should fairly accurately reflect what affiliates with untargeted, average, and well targeted traffic might expect to see.
    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

  6. #6
    Newbie alexrein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    A low EPC may simply indicate that the merchant has one or more high-traffic affiliate sites who are sending very "broad" or "general" traffic.

    Or a low EPC might represent "stale links" on affiliate sites -- for example, an affiliate might have posted dozens or thousands of pages featuring the merchant's products and prices, but those pages haven't been updated for a year or two. If many of those products are no longer available, or are no longer offered at the price shown on the affiliate site, visitors may click and then abandon the merchant site in anger at the misrepresentation.

    As I noted in another thread, once a product is discontinued or is in short supply, customers are likely to search "more deeply" and find the affiliate's page and click on those product links, only to be disappointed. The same issue may occur if the (wrong) product price is prominent enough on the page that it appears in the Google search results.

    Some "coupon" sites will claim to have a coupon for a merchant, when in fact they don't -- they tell visitors to "click here for coupon" but the link is just an affiliate link to the merchant site. Or the coupon site has a code (XMAS2005) which has long expired. Now the customer is mad that she was promised a coupon and didn't get it, and won't buy from the merchant, so the EPC for that affiliate may be zero.

    Or, as I noted earlier this week, low EPC may indicate that an affiliate has just launched a large PPC campaign on Google AdWords, causing a GoogleBot to check every link; for a merchant with a large number of products, and/or an affiliate testing a variety of creative text variations, this could quickly run up a huge number of "hits" (since SAS doesn't yet exclude bot clicks) and thus depress EPC for the next 30 days.

    Low EPC could also be caused by "bad affiliates" who may engage in prohibited activities, such as using deliberately misleading text ("free porn") copy to drive traffic to the merchant, or who may use pop-ups or exit-redirects (loading the merchant's web site in a new window), or by "parasites" who create a bogus click in order to stuff a customer's cookies in the faint hope of poaching a transaction later. (Of course, high EPC is another potential result of parasitic activity, if the parasite software infects a large number of consumer PCs in your target audience.)

    A high EPC may represent a single affiliate whose site is incredibly closely aligned with the merchant's product offerings, and who is linking directly to a merchant's product pages (or potentially even the "add to cart" functionality).

    Or a high EPC may represent a merchant which prominently displays an "Enter Coupon Here" box during checkout, and who has coupon affiliates who present current coupon codes. The "coupon prompt" causes some customers (who have already decided to purchase) to search on Google for a coupon code, and then click on the coupon site's affiliate link.

    Or a high EPC may represent one or more affiliates who very effectively "pre-qualify" customers, by showing current prices and product availability info, so that consumers who don't find the terms acceptable will not click.

    Or a high EPC may represent a mistake by the merchant's employees, who are accidentally entering phone or mail orders using a computer that was used to visit an affiliate's site; now every phone order is logged as an affiliate sale (and the merchant may reverse the transaction until a week or two later, or in many cases may go ahead and pay the affiliate, possibly ignorant of the error).
    What I can actually deduce from Mark's post is that a low EPC doesn't actually mean that the program is bad at all. Affiliates must know that there are more factors than low EPC to consider (eg. lame affiliate, misleading banner ads etc.)

    However, a high EPC may not be all accurate but it is a good hint that this certain program can actually translate to good cash.

    All in all, i think that EPC measures will be a good indicator in the assupmtion of the existent or inexistent of what Mark has stipulated above.

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