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  1. #1
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    Very bad numbers from affiliate programs- advice?
    I am running two affiliate systems. One is Commission Junction.

    The results are absolutely pathetic. I am wondering if anyone else has a similar experience.

    The systems are deployed with several affiliate programs and run on multiple sites that include a mix of banner, text and product links.

    Most pages have 1-3 affiliate links.

    I market offline and online.

    The overall numbers are approximately...


    Affiliate system 1
    1/1/2007 to 6/18/2007
    66,000 impressions
    3,100 clicks(4.6% CTR)
    3 sales
    Less than $90 in commission


    Affiliate system 2
    1/1/2007 to 6/18/2007
    60,000 impressions
    2,400 click(4% CTR)
    1 sale
    Less than $8 in commission


    I requested an audit from both systems and they verified my links were correct.

    Does anyone have a similar story or advice?

  2. #2
    Speechless OTProf's Avatar
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    You'd probably need to give a bit more info to get some specific thoughts here. Stuff can take time to develop and people may be accidentally clicking your links depending on how you have the site set up. How long have the sites been around? What type of products are you focusing on? What kind of off & online marketing are you doing? Is it paid? If so someone may be bringing you junk or fake traffic. To be sure, 4 sales after 5,500 clicks seems peculiar but it really depends on what is behind those clicks.

    Hope it gets better for you!

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Sam Bay's Avatar
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    Did you buy these "affiliate systems" or websites on eBay?

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    To be successful in affiliate marketing, you have to have traffic and you have to monetize it well. It looks like you have neither.

    With just 120,000 impressions (and presumably 40,000 page views) in six months, that's barely a couple hundred page views per day.

    Your CTR isn't too bad, but your conversion ratio is awful. 1/2400 on one network and 3/3100 on another. Overall, 4/5500, which is under 0.1% conversion ratio. Most affiliates see at least 1-2%. Many strive for 10%, and some of the most targeted, shopper-oriented sites see conversion ratios of 20%, 30%, or better. A 0.1% conversion ratio indicates one of several things:

    1) You have extremely untargeted traffic.
    2) Your ads / affiliate links aren't targeted towards your traffic (although your CTR would be lower if this were the case).
    3) You have a lot of international traffic.
    4) You have a lot of young traffic (too young to shop online).
    5) Your links are broken.

    My guess is that the problem doesn't lie with either of the networks (or with broken links), but with your site. It's likely what I would consider a "low quality site". I don't mean anything negative by that, but just that you're not giving people a reason to visit, aren't catching them when they're in a buying mood, and aren't guiding them to the right things.
    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

  5. #5
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    Affiliates have to sell if they want to get paid. Are the links just put up on the site or is there something about the site that motivates people to buy or cathes them when they are ready to buy?

    Maybe AdSense or anotehr contextual program would be a better fit that affiliate programs.

  6. #6
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superstar
    Maybe AdSense or anotehr contextual program would be a better fit that affiliate programs.

    Yes, AdSense might be your better bet.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  7. #7
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Well, I went to your first site (the true-religion jeans one -- hah! which religion is the true one?) and most of the pictured jeans links go to pages that say the item is unavailable. And the one I finally got an in-stock item with, was a pair of jeans for $181 dollars. Geez, what a rip! I tried some other links below the jeans links, e.g. Jessica Simpson shoes, and again things were mostly out of stock or did not have prices attached to them (blank where it says "price:"). It's hard to make money when what you're trying to sell isn't available. Not sure if it's the merchant stores or the way you're trying to set up your storefront that's the problem (datafeed or whatever it is).

  8. #8
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    Yes, I have a similar story, and I am even thinking to drop CJ completely. My stats is very very bad:

    Peroid: 6/1/2007 to 6/18/2007:
    Leads 46
    Clicks 1,914
    Impressions 341,239
    CTR 0.56%
    EPM 0.03 GBP
    EPC 0.61 GBP

    It was a little bit better before 11-Jun-2007 but than something happened and I can not even get a single lead. I started to believe that cj's system doesn't work. I use one of my links and singup to a program to test it and guess what. It didn't track that one either. I contact CJ about this and request help and they adviced me to contact merchants. I send email to one of the merchants which were converting before 11-Jun-2007 but they didn't even send a reply.

    I beleive CJ is not for small affiliates. They don't care whether your leads are counted or not (which are not counted).

    I dropped lots of the merchants already. Still testing 2-3 merchants and will close my account with CJ and stick to Sharaeasale which is the only one who cares about both affiliates and merchants.

  9. #9
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    Are you getting a lot of organic search visitors?

    How many affiliate links per page?

    Does that other site really perform well?

    My issue is not just related to CJ. The numbers are even worse in my experience with LinkShare.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mybest
    Yes, I have a similar story, and I am even thinking to drop CJ completely. My stats is very very bad:

    Peroid: 6/1/2007 to 6/18/2007:
    Leads 46
    Clicks 1,914
    Impressions 341,239
    CTR 0.56%
    EPM 0.03 GBP
    EPC 0.61 GBP

    It was a little bit better before 11-Jun-2007 but than something happened and I can not even get a single lead. I started to believe that cj's system doesn't work. I use one of my links and singup to a program to test it and guess what. It didn't track that one either. I contact CJ about this and request help and they adviced me to contact merchants. I send email to one of the merchants which were converting before 11-Jun-2007 but they didn't even send a reply.

    I beleive CJ is not for small affiliates. They don't care whether your leads are counted or not (which are not counted).

    I dropped lots of the merchants already. Still testing 2-3 merchants and will close my account with CJ and stick to Sharaeasale which is the only one who cares about both affiliates and merchants.

  10. #10
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    Is there a site or a service that reviews affiliate web pages? I had CJ and Linkshare check my links to ensure they are implemented correctly but I would like more advice. Does the design and placement of the affiliate text/banners just suck on my site? Is the content not relevant? Are visitors from organic searches worthless? Should I only focus on paid search visitors?

    I would like to get some feedback from people who make a significant amount of money in the affiliate game. Can they tell me if it is even possible to earn more than a couple pennies a day from affiliate programs?

    Is the other poster right? Do sales only get counted if you bring in 100 per day? I am working to play at that level. However, earning commissions from 1-2 sales per day would give me more money to grow my business at that level.

    In my opinion, the affiliate game is this simple- create content related to dogs(tricks you can teach them, cute pictures of puppies, dog names) and then you put links to merchants(pet stores, pet food makers, dog accessories companies, etc.) next to, or in, the content. A viewer comes to the site to get a name for their new dog, then clicks the PetsMart link to buy a collar with that name. The users get what they want, the merchant makes a sale and the affiliate earns a commission. Is this the wrong idea?

  11. #11
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    According to google these are my visitors which are coming only from search engines every month:

    1. google 3,203
    2. yahoo 192
    3. search 48
    4. msn 46
    5. aol 45

    I think it's not bad.

    I also have:

    30,676 Absolute Unique Visitors
    229,662 Pageviews per month which is increasing all the time...

    Below is the stats belongs to one of the merchants I was promoting through CJ:

    8-Jun-2007 0.49
    7-Jun-2007 3.41
    6-Jun-2007 3.90
    5-Jun-2007 1.47
    4-Jun-2007 3.42
    3-Jun-2007 4.41
    2-Jun-2007 3.44

    After 8-Jun-2007 all leads coming for this merchant stopped suddenly and after 11-Jun-2007 I haven't received any single lead from all the merchants. I continue to promote it one more week than removed all my links (Before removing the links I tested it myself for the last time and it didn't count that one also).

  12. #12
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    How can I remove my post with the URLs? I do not want to violate the forum rules. I thought affiliate URLs meant the actually linking code.

  13. #13
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    May I ask where the other 27142 uniques come from? Are they direct? Paid search?

    Do other affiliate programs you work with perform much better than this?


    Quote Originally Posted by Mybest
    According to google these are my visitors which are coming only from search engines every month:

    1. google 3,203
    2. yahoo 192
    3. search 48
    4. msn 46
    5. aol 45

    I think it's not bad.

    I also have:

    30,676 Absolute Unique Visitors
    229,662 Pageviews per month which is increasing all the time...

    Below is the stats belongs to one of the merchants I was promoting through CJ:

    8-Jun-2007 0.49
    7-Jun-2007 3.41
    6-Jun-2007 3.90
    5-Jun-2007 1.47
    4-Jun-2007 3.42
    3-Jun-2007 4.41
    2-Jun-2007 3.44

    After 8-Jun-2007 all leads coming for this merchant stopped suddenly and after 11-Jun-2007 I haven't received any single lead from all the merchants. I continue to promote it one more week than removed all my links (Before removing the links I tested it myself for the last time and it didn't count that one also).

  14. #14
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    Yes, some of them are coming from the other sites (I have 742 back links according to google) and some are direct clicks because my site is online since 2002 and already known.

    The problem with CJ is that I am not getting ANY leads since 11-Jun-2007. I never experience such a think with other networks. It may go bad, but from time to time, you always get some leads. Tell one of your friends (or do it yourself) to test a CJ program than do the same for Shareasale. You will understand what I am talking about. Shareasale will count all clicks and leads but there is problem with CJ's tracking. May be some merchants found a way how to cheat Cj's system. May be there is a technical problem (it's also working very slow these days). I don't know...

  15. #15
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    Today I read some similar stories at some other affliate forums. People are talking about that Cj is not tracking their leads. I don't know why they don't do anything about this...

  16. #16
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    I don't know whether to blame CJ for this, but since June 14th or thereabouts I've had a dismal conversion rate across all my CJ merchants. Pretty much just as many clicks as in weeks before, but my combined EPC has tanked from the $100 range to less than $50. Other ABWers say that their CJ sales are strong. It's hard to say if there are possibly some sitewide tracking problems, tracking problems specific to some merchants, or nothing technically wrong but people have just stopped wanting to buy the things that I advertise (even though they still click my ads and banners). Whatever it is though is mystifying. I don't remember it being this bad last June. For two to four days at a time, sure. But for well over a week... that's very unusual for me.

    I should add that my EPCs for ShareASale merchants are lagging slightly during this time period, but they're still fairly close to their averages.

  17. #17
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    In my opinion, the affiliate game is this simple- create content related to dogs(tricks you can teach them, cute pictures of puppies, dog names) and then you put links to merchants(pet stores, pet food makers, dog accessories companies, etc.) next to, or in, the content. A viewer comes to the site to get a name for their new dog, then clicks the PetsMart link to buy a collar with that name.
    If people aren't looking to buy in the first place, there is no reason to thnk they will buy when they are looking for a name for their dog. They're just looking for a name for their dog. Who is going to be more likely to buy, someone looking for "creative dog names" or someone looking for dog collars? You probably won't see anyone looking to sell something advertising on "dog names" but you will find them advertising on "dog collars". The "dog names" search provides the opportunity for you or someone else to get newsletter signups for people interested in that or some other keyword topic, build up a list and then use that list to send out newsletters to get people to buy stuff if that is what they are opting into.

    You're on the right track, you've got some traffic, just need to keep working on it, tweaking it and finding the right combinations that attract people who are looking for more than information. They need to be looking to buy something and buy it now.

  18. #18
    Full Member ske9963's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mybest
    After 8-Jun-2007 all leads coming for this merchant stopped suddenly and after 11-Jun-2007 I haven't received any single lead from all the merchants. I continue to promote it one more week than removed all my links (Before removing the links I tested it myself for the last time and it didn't count that one also).
    What type of lead generation program are you promoting?
    If you are looking at education, maybe this is their slow time as it is summer now.

    So what vertical are you in?
    Ma, where the beer? :escape:

  19. #19
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by publisher15478
    In my opinion, the affiliate game is this simple- create content related to dogs(tricks you can teach them, cute pictures of puppies, dog names) and then you put links to merchants(pet stores, pet food makers, dog accessories companies, etc.) next to, or in, the content. A viewer comes to the site to get a name for their new dog, then clicks the PetsMart link to buy a collar with that name. The users get what they want, the merchant makes a sale and the affiliate earns a commission. Is this the wrong idea?
    Close, but not quite. There's usually nothing compelling about a simple link to a merchant. What you link to needs to be the answer to the viewer's problem, or something they would need.

    Superstar is right in many ways. If they're searching for "dog collar", a page of dog collars will probably be much more likely to close the sale. But there's intense competition in the search engines, and a page like that isn't going to get word of mouth and repeat visitors. If you're going to focus on product pages, think specifics and specialized pages. It's not just "dog collars". It's "red dog collars", "spiked dog collars", "large dog collars", "personalized dog collars", "designer dog collars", "reflective dog collars", "leather dog collars", "gps dog collars", etc.

    But my opinion is that you can do much better if you don't necessarily focus directly on the products. A site that is helpful and well organized and that has fresh, useful content in a specific niche could get the traffic and repeat visitors. But you need more than just a link to a merchant to monetize it.

    If you have a page about dog tricks, link to a book about dog tricks or a specific product designed to help teach dogs tricks. If you have photos about puppies, have links to perhaps half a dozen different articles on your site about common puppy problems. Each of those articles should have links to products that help solve those problems. If you have a section about dog names, include a link to an article about "What you need for a new puppy", including links to specific items. For each name, include links to personalized dog items with that name.

    The key is to focus on the problems that products can solve, not the products themselves. The old saying says "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." A lot of times, people could care less about the product. They just want their problems taken care of.

    Don't be overly commercial if you build a site like this. You'll get far more word of mouth and repeat traffic if your focus is truly on helping people rather than monetizing every lasy visitor. Monetize everything you can, but don't be "in your face" about it. It's okay to have some pages that aren't monetized and some links that aren't affiliate links. Don't build pages/articles primarily to monetize, but rather to help.
    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

  20. #20
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    While what Michael posted will most likely help your traffic, it won't help your sales. You need to have products and even better if you have individual product pages, much easier to optimize for a particular dog collar than say red dog collars. Don't forget to also put up some links to other dog related stuff, either affiliate or internal links.

  21. #21
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    I like what mike said about going more detail as opposed to just having dog collars, etc.

    In order to have a repeat customer, it might be a good idea to try to collect an email address.

  22. #22
    Newbie dezine_design's Avatar
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    I'd like to thank everyone who has participated in this thread - although I am new to affiliate marketing and therefore cannot report any specific trends so far (beyond the fact that I am getting a higher success rate from SAS than from CJ), I have found this discussion very interesting and informative...once I have been trading a little longer, I hope to be able to contribute more to discussions like these and help other members too...

    One thing I can say is that I concentrate on content on my site and, as Michael suggested, not all my links are affiliate links - some are there merely to help others with information related to my content. Mine is an art site, so my affiliate links are mainly to companies like CafePress, Imagekind, Boundless Gallery etc. but I have a lot of useful information on the site for aspiring artists and people who want to get into the creative world, or who have an interest in buying or selling art, photography and crafts online.

  23. #23
    Full Member RickPlmr's Avatar
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    Have you tried submitting to StumbleUpon?
    Especially since your pages sound like they are content-driven, you'll notice a HUGE surge in traffic by submitting a few of your pages to some web 2.0 sites like StumbleUpon.com, digg.com and netscape.com.

    I usually get between 200 to 300 visitors on the day that I submit to these sites, and it continues for a couple days after. Then, down the road a couple of weeks you'll start to see your submittals showing up on page one in Google search results because those sites rank much higher than my sites.

    Don't do this on Shoutwire though - you'll get banned right away ( )

    And be sure to spend some time on those sites voting and stumbling on other articles. Give and you shall receive.

  24. #24
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    Thank-you. I did the StumbleUpon.com thing today.

    Yes, the site is content driven.


    Quote Originally Posted by RickPlmr
    Especially since your pages sound like they are content-driven, you'll notice a HUGE surge in traffic by submitting a few of your pages to some web 2.0 sites like StumbleUpon.com, digg.com and netscape.com.

    I usually get between 200 to 300 visitors on the day that I submit to these sites, and it continues for a couple days after. Then, down the road a couple of weeks you'll start to see your submittals showing up on page one in Google search results because those sites rank much higher than my sites.

    Don't do this on Shoutwire though - you'll get banned right away ( )

    And be sure to spend some time on those sites voting and stumbling on other articles. Give and you shall receive.

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