Adwords - Affilates and the Dreaded Feast and Famine syndrome

Thread Title:
Clicks Up - Clicks Down - Trend bites
Thread Description:

If you're using Adwords for your affiliate programs you might well be familiar with this scenario, member Havok2004 describes how when he starts a campaign, more often than not it does incredibly well for the first few days then fizzles out to nothing...

You have to wade through some obvious waffle but AdwordsAdvisor, a Google AW rep and a few other knowledgable folks are in the discussion so it's certainly worth a peak.

nick3131 has something to say about the problem that may bear looking into:

No youre not the first person to see great sales the first couple of days and then everything goes to #*$!. You're suffering from the same thing that alot of other affiliate bidders suffer from, and its non diversifying ads. Beleive it or not people are way more likely to buy something they have never seen before. So the first days that your ads are run chances are the people who are clicking on your ads have never encountered that product. But as the time goes on you have alot of the same people clicking on your ads. To make matters worse someone else just picked up on what youre selling, now youre competing with yourself. SO chances are that visitor who was once totally new to your product already has seen the product but only clicked on your ad because it was new to him. If you've ever shopped online you tend to go through different merchants before making a purchase. Well if they are landing on the same exact merchant from a different ad, guess what, thats bad for conversions.

Im not a PPC guy so i only understand the basics however, i know we have PPC Heavy Hitters in here so perhaps one of them can give an educated opinion on this here at TW?


Affilates and PPC

Impossible to say for sure what happened to havok2004's conversions and sales. Here are some potential reasons: parasites, increased competition, merchant turned tracking off, network had tracking problems or cookie eating and blocking apps rendered later visits to merchant untrackable.

It is really hard to guess based on info he gave. It would however, be very interesting to see what would happen if he found a good honest Indie that sold the same product and re-ran the same ad.

We recently had an affiliate complain about the exact same thing with one of our clients, National Geographic Store. His August - Oct PPC ads were pulling well and then dropped off to almost nothing in November. He 1st blamed his decline in sales to parasites - well we don't allow parasites in our programs. Then he blamed it on CJ fraud and/or tracking problems. Since my goal is to help affiliates make as much as possible and since I like to play detective in cases like this, I analyzed the stats, every which way I could.

After analyzing all the data and seeing that every stat for that program - sales, commissions, conversions were going up, up, up except for his numbers, the answer in this case was clear. It was due to increased competition, especially in light of a huge contest they are running. A lot of other PPC players that were better at the game than he was, just jumped into the fray. There is a thread over at about it, along with stats & screen shots if anyone is interested.

I have always been known as sort of a parasite hunter, so like many affiliates I would sometimes blame lack of sales or poor results on that particular issue. However, these days I think the biggest threat to affiliate commissions is cookie eating and blocking apps. With the increased governmental and public focus on spyware and adware, more of the public is deleting cookies and more apps are eating and/or blocking most network cookies, even though they are not spyware. So I think many of the tracking and conversion problems we see are cookie related. I hate to even think about what percentage of commissions are being lost.

Linda Buquet AKA Catalyst


A very thoughtful post. Yes, this is all true and we see things similarly. The interesting thing, to me, is how quickly many affiliates scream and cry when the goin' gets tough and they can't just rake it in. It seems to me that they simply need to get creative and/or find more inventory to push the product (that the competition hasn't found yet).

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