Affiliate programs for beginners
At some point each beginning publisher faces the issue of not understanding some affiliate program parameters and not knowing which program to choose to get profit. That is why Admitad Academy is examining which affiliate programs are relevant for beginners so that they don’t waste their time.
Affiliate networks generally offer many different affiliate programs of different categories (there are more than 1700 programs at Admitad). So it is not a surprise that many publishers are confused at the beginning: some advertisers have a higher rating, others pay better, and another brand you use by yourself, so what should you choose? Let’s review the parameters which publishers should pay attention to when choosing an affiliate program to join.
Interest comes first
Of course, programs with luxurious furniture or loans are more lucrative. But if you have no experience in these fields and you have never used them by yourself, it is hardly possible that you will promote them successfully to the audience even if it’s target. Your main task is to make the readers/subscribers want to purchase a product/service, and they won’t do it unless you provide strong enough reasons and show them that you know well what you are promoting. It especially relates to the content projects. It is almost impossible to create the product/service reviews and DIY instructions if you have just found out about the advertiser from the catalog of programs.
To sum up, just choose the programs you are interested in, it will help.
What is your ad space about?
If you have an ad space with the content on some topic, don’t choose the affiliate program with goods which do not correspond to this topic. Do you have a blog with fishing tips? Then promote useful supplies from Chinese shops, shops for tourism and probably something from the category “Sport”, but avoid programs with cosmetics and accessories. Of course, you can come up with some mix of categories like “food delivery to the lake” but it’s hardly possible that it will work. If you have loyal subscribers, don’t disappoint them with irrelevant content and don’t make them unsubscribe, it’s much better to provide them with useful content and products from affiliate programs.
To sum up, it should be a sort of native advertising of products. The promotion should supplement your content, not make it worse.
Examine target audience
Compile the profile of your audience (your traffic). Key parameters are the following — gender, age, location, income, if they have children, marital status, the secondary parameters are — job position, education, hobbies, the device they use (it’s important for the mobile segment). This information will be essential for you when you check if your traffic matches the target audience of the affiliate program. The more it corresponds, the higher chances will be that users will click on your affiliate links and make purchases.
To sum up, the better you understand the profile of target audience, the easier it will get higher conversion.
Check the regions of the affiliate program
It’s clear that if the shop doesn’t deliver to an exact city or country where your audience live, or if the delivery would cost a fortune and take months, it hardly possible that somebody will make an order and you get the reward. Besides, you can find the region which the advertiser works with in the affiliate program description, and sometimes it is with the focus on exact cities. Some affiliate programs indicate the exact sales regions they need (for example, it’s essential for taxi and food delivery services).
To sum up, check the sales region and make sure that it fits your target audience before starting to promote an affiliate program.
Evaluate the brand awareness
It also depends on the target audience you have. For instance, for an older audience brand name is not that important, they value the quality of goods and acceptable price. But for a younger generation brand name can be the main reason for purchase, especially if this brand is trending (it relates to such categories as clothing, shoes, accessories, and gadgets).
To sum up, there are two ways of promoting a product: emphasizing its brand or showing its usability. Each publisher chooses his/her own way.
Check affiliate program launch date
The longer advertisers work with an affiliate network, the easier it will be for a publisher to work with them. The managers on the side of the advertiser are more experienced and know if some traffic source is more effective and how to work with it, thus they can advise. Moreover, the affiliate network doesn’t work with advertisers which constantly violate rules and delay the rewards to publishers. So if the affiliate program has been working with the network for a year or more, you can trust it.
But there is nothing bad about the new offers and maybe one day they will get to the top. But for the beginning publishers it can be harder to estimate the effectiveness as there is not much statistics yet.
The affiliate programs which have been working with the network for a long time have detailed statistics.
To sum up, don’t avoid new affiliate programs, but be attentive and careful.
Moderation is the process when the advertisers decide whether they want to work with this publisher or not. Some advertisers have strict requirements for ad spaces, others automatically accept all publishers and disconnect only those whose traffic isn’t satisfactory. In order to test your ad space and to try working in affiliate marketing, you can join such programs. But keep in mind that your traffic source must be allowed by the advertiser in any case. Such programs will be also a good start for those whose ad spaces do not have traffic and content yet.
To sum up, in the beginning, try to work with the programs which automatically accept publishers’ requests. When you gain more experience in this field, it’ll be easier for you to join the more demanding programs.
Traffic source selection
If you decide to try working with CPA marketing, you should think in advance which traffic source you will use. Pay attention to the program rules, especially to the section “Traffic sources”. If you drive traffic from the forbidden traffic sources, all actions will be declined.
To sum up, choose the affiliate programs which allow the traffic source you use.
The average earnings of a publisher for 100 clicks. This parameter helps publishers calculate how much approximately they can earn from working with this affiliate program. The higher the ECP is, the better it is for a publisher. Of course, this number is average due to the fact that this parameter includes the earnings of both experienced and successful publishers and those who don’t earn at all.
To sum up, try to find offers with higher EPC (it’s different in each category). .
CR stands for Conversion Rate, which is the ratio of the number of target user actions to the total number of transitions (clicks) to the advertiser’s page. This figure is also average. The CR can be higher or lower because of many reasons. For instance, if a website is not user-friendly and has confusing navigation, a user simply won’t understand how to buy a product. Or if you advertise a smartphone at 99.9%, but share a link to a book, of course, users will leave without buying anything. Besides, terms and conditions of order and delivery also matter, if a user notices that delivery costs more than the purchase and it takes 1-2 months, of course, he/she won’t buy anything.
To sum up, choose offers with high CR and try to evaluate the advertiser’s website by yourself. And never confuse or mislead users.
It reflects how many orders made via affiliate links are approved (on average). This parameter can be lower if users make orders but do not actually buy products. For instance, they order 10 dresses in order to try them on, but in the end, they actually purchase only two, or if a user comes to an offline store sees the product and refuses to buy it. Low approval rate can be also cased by the traffic source which a publisher uses. For example, if a publisher drives traffic from the forbidden sources, the advertiser will decline such orders.
To sum up, choose offers with high approval rate and drive traffic only from the allowed sources. When you gain more experience, you’ll be able to get a higher approval rate even working with affiliate programs which have a low rate.
Cookie lifetime is a certain period of time which users have in order to make a purchase after clicking your affiliate link. In an ideal scenario, you should know how to create such attractive advertising materials (creatives) which will make users to purchase a product once they clicked on your affiliate link. But it doesn’t happen always and requires certain experience and skills, thus, in the beginning, it is better to select programs with longer cookie lifetime. It will provide users with some time to think it over and after a while to go back to the advertiser’s website and check the order out (and you’ll get the reward for this order thanks to long cookie lifetime).
To sum up, select offers with cookie lifetime longer than a week — this period time should be enough for a user to decide whether to make the purchase. Goods from China can be an exception because usually such products are bought impulsively and users don’t need much time to decide.
Average payment time
It’s the time which advertisers need to conduct the reconciliation (the process of approving or declining orders) and make the payment. The faster publishers receive their reward, the faster they can invest it in the development of their business models. Sophisticated business models which make much profit require investments in most cases, and it is better not to use your own money but invest the money you’ve earned by promoting affiliate programs. But it’s better stay realistic, eCommerce segment is not that easy and fast and it is almost impossible to withdraw money on the same day when an order was made. Therefore, compare the programs and find the ones where the time is the shortest.
To sum up, make up your mind on how much time you are ready to wait since the moment the purchase was made till the withdrawal.
Tools for motivation
Coupons, deals, discounts — all these can help motivate users to buy. Select programs which have tool “Coupons&Deals” and use them to promote products.
To sum up, provide additional benefit to users.
Don’t get lost in many categories. Test your traffic on 1-2 similar product categories in order to learn what is more relevant.
Compare affiliate programs. Work with programs which have better parameters because it is easier for beginners.
Don’t expect everything at once. A perfect program with all high parameters and all traffic sources doesn’t exist. Some of the parameters will be low, thus you need to decide which of them are the most important for you and choose the program accordingly.
All parameters are average. Don’t forget that all figures shown in the program description reflect the work results of both experienced publishers and beginners. In other words, you shouldn’t think that your results will be the same as it is shown in the program description, you will be able to evaluate the effectiveness only after working with the program for a while.
Try. We have examined the parameters of the affiliate program in order to explain what they mean and how publishers can estimate the effectiveness. But it doesn’t mean that you should not join other programs and promote their products/services. It is possible to drive traffic to any program just some of them require a little experience.
To sum it up, allocate money to try new programs which you were afraid to join. Maybe one of them will bring you lots of profit and will help you develop your business model.